Opinion: What’s Most Enjoyable About Tournament Fishing?

Four anglers give their insight on competitive sport fishing

What do you enjoy most about tournament fishing?(from Left): Courtesy Guy Arrington, Courtesy Doug Allen, Courtesy Laura Russell, Courtesy Nick Pratt

Guy Arrington

Guy Arrington, Wild Hooker/ Strong Persuader, HoustonCourtesy Guy Arrington

Everything! The chance to compete against the best and win as a team—not as an individual—tops the list. When we are fun fishing, we set our own benchmarks, but in tournaments, we measure ourselves against some of the finest fishermen around. Kona, Cabo and the Gulf of Mexico attract many of the best teams, so if competing at that level doesn’t get your blood pumping, you need to find another pursuit. Winning as a team is about executing under pressure. Everyone knows their role, and no one wants to let the team down. When we all execute, it’s an exhilarating feeling knowing each one of us delivered.

Doug Allen

Doug Allen, Big Oil, Vincetown, New JerseyCourtesy Doug Allen

The charged atmosphere when fishing against some of the best teams and crews—in addition to all the boats fishing in the same area—provides the high-energy excitement of competition; that is what I enjoy most about tournament fishing. Being able to fish with my family, friends and crew, and also not knowing what fish might show up on any given day is equally exciting. Ultimately, when that one fish presents itself, it’s the feeling that it might be the fish to make it to the top of the leaderboard. That provocation of my competitive nature makes tournament fishing something I look forward to every year.

Laura Russell

Laura Russell, Hit ’n Run, Palm Beach, FloridaCourtesy Laura Russell

Tournament fishing brings together not only some of the best anglers in the world, but also a diverse and interesting group of like-minded people. I have met the most amazing people and made some of the best friendships at tournaments. And while my ­competitive nature—and the sometimes-intense rivalry—initially drew me to start tournament fishing, the lasting friendships I have built along the way keep me coming back. There is nothing quite like it. We love the camaraderie on the dock, time spent on the boat with our family, and bonding with our crew the most. Fishing on Hit ‘n Run is always fun, even if we aren’t in the money.

Nick Pratt

Nick Pratt, It Just Takes Time, Theodore, AlabamaCourtesy Nick Pratt

Tournaments are one of the greatest things about fishing on the Gulf Coast. But there are times when the weather is terrible and you second-guess the idea of even being out in that weather. With a fleet of so many good teams, every tournament is extremely competitive. From the dock parties to the shotgun starts to the race to get those first baits in the water, it’s easily a 17-hour day, so you really have to love it. It all becomes worth it when you start backing up on a big blue marlin. It’s an even ­bigger rush when that fish ends up on the tournament scale; it brings chills to ­everyone involved.