Tournament fishing strenuous work

This is “Bass Week” in Fort Frances.
Anglers competing in this year’s Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship have been plying the waters of Rainy Lake for the past week. You can see rooster tails flying high in the sky as those sleek fibreglass bass boats skim across the water.
The boats—shined into mirror finishes—seem to be loaded with the latest technology systems. Many now sport single or dual anchoring devices on the back.
Stable and comfortable, they are easy to fish from.
The compartments are filled with rods, reels, tackle, and baits—enough stock to fill a small fishing store. There always is something new on the market that every fisherman will need.
One of the most practical products on the market is Troy Lindner’s “Fit 4 Fishing.”
I hadn’t given the idea of being a fit fisherman much credence until I fished my first FFCBC. In fact, I must admit I didn’t think tournament fishing was all that strenuous.
You choose your rods and reels, attach the appropriate baits, and go fishing. You speed across the lake, pull up to a shoreline or rock outcropping, and begin casting or jigging. The sun shines down on you. A small breeze keeps the heat of the day down and everything is perfect.
On the first day of tournament fishing, your adrenalin is pumping and energizing your body. You are on a high. By the third day, although the same chemical still is sweeping through your body, it is doing so in smaller doses.
Being physically ready is seldom on one’s mind when fishing. It should be relaxing, calming, and mind-cleansing. And keeping hydrated is important.
I really was not prepared for strong winds rocking the boat, or fighting the wind and waves with the trolling motor while keeping my balance so I wasn’t thrown overboard. Just that dance on the front or back of the boat was tiring.
And the pounding of the boat travelling up and down the lake seemed to jar every bone in my body.
Tournament fishing also is a mind game. Why aren’t the fish biting? Where did they move to? I used a motor oil-coloured grub yesterday . . . why is that colour not working today?
The wind changed from a light northwest breeze to a strong southeast one. How are the fish setting themselves up?
Your mind continually is trying to process all the variables.
And after being on the water for almost nine hours, I was physically and mentally exhausted—only looking to crawl into bed so I could repeat the process the next day.
My wrists were sore. My arms were sore. My back and shoulders ached. Even regularly applying sunscreen throughout the course of the day, I ended up with raccoon eyes.
I had forgotten how tired I felt at the end of the day until this past week. I’ve been out on the water practising with Phil Bangert and a crew from Missouri, and I found myself experiencing the same exhaustion I remember from the two years of tournament fishing.
I thought that a couple of days on the water would not be tiring. I was wrong.
I have known about Troy’s program for anglers for half-a-decade and really never looked at it. I finally did so, and some of his solutions to relax muscles on the water, or just preparing to be on the water, I will use in the future.
The anglers on the water this week all will experience the potential aches, pains, and tiredness that I felt. Those who have been training will seem as fresh at the end of the day when they walk across the stage with their baskets of fish as they were at the beginning.
Those who do not fish tournaments regularly, or only this one, will be exhausted.
Tournament fishing is geared for a younger generation. This year, there are 40 anglers who will fish the FFCBC for the first time. It’s great to see the new young blood that can bounce back quickly.
It also is great to see the changes made to the tournament are attracting a whole new field of anglers.

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