Traveling to fish

In my day to day activities, you could probably call me a professional truck driver instead of a professional angler. Over the weekend, with the help of my wife Shelby, we drove from Kenora to Clayton, New York for a Bassmaster tournament this week on the St. Lawrence River. It was a twenty three hour drive through Ontario, taking the northern route (Hwy. 11) and crossing at Kingston, Ontario, over to New York.

The closest to home where I have fished a professional bass tournament over the past ten years was at Lacrosse, Wisconsin, on the Mississippi River, a nine hour drive from home. Most of the venues that we visit are over twenty hours of road time to get to so it’s a lot of driving and traveling. Not a glamourous part of the job.

After all the driving is done, it is fun to fish different places and waterbodies, I love that part of the job. There is some satisfaction to figuring out the challenge of finding new places to find and catch fish. That is probably the most self-rewarding part of my job competing in bass tournaments, when I figure out a way to catch fish in the short three day practice period that we get at the tournament venues we visit.

Shelby Gustafson with a nice largemouth bass from Lake Guntersville in Alabama. Traveling to fish new places is fun and will educate you to be a better angler.

When I’m around home and only have a couple hours to get out, I might go to a spot where I know I can catch fish but most times when I hit the water I’m going to do some exploring and look for new spots or ways to catch fish of all species. Doing this will educate and make you a better overall angler. The more you do this, the more you’ll speed up the process of being able read the conditions to choose your fishing spots and techniques versus simply relying on exactly what has worked in the past.

A little bit of research, regardless of the species or where you’re fishing will help you to make informed decisions on where and how, which will ultimately help you find success more efficiently. If you are visiting a new body of water or going on a trip somewhere the first place to do some research is online. Message boards, guide reports and YouTube videos can all share some intel on a new body of water. You can learn top techniques, bait choices and other general information from these sources. I also like to mix in a little bit of map study so that once I’m on the water, I have better lay of the lake.

The gas prices we’re dealing with right now are not making it very easy to travel to fish right now but hopefully they’ll continue to drop back to a reasonable level. If you’re considering fishing a new lake or taking a trip somewhere to fish over the summer, go for it! Life is short so get out there, see some new water and enjoy new adventures. Your traditional spots will still be there when you get back!

This will be my fourth time visiting the St. Lawrence River, one of the top smallmouth fisheries in the World so I’m excited to get to work this week, despite the long drive. It is the seventh stop of the nine event Bassmaster Elite Series season. The tournament starts Thursday and runs through Sunday.