Who is the Competition?

Four tournament pros sound off

Some of the world's top-performing owners and captains clue us in on what concerns them the most come tournament time.

Capt. B.C. Angel
capt bc angel baytown texas
Capt. B.C. Angel • Sea Angel • Baytown, TexasCourtesy Capt. B.C. Angel

I think my biggest competition are the teams that have side-scanning sonar and really know how to use it well. The right equipment is deadly when you put it in the hands of a seasoned captain who knows the area and fishes a lot. If you can stay on top of your game, then you’re a threat — to me and the rest of the fleet. With all the technology available to us today, coupled with the guys who fish the most, those are the ones I always watch out for.

Chad Damron
chad damronboat captain
Chad Damron • Sodium • Crystal River, FloridaCourtesy Richard Gibson

Most of our season is spent in the Virgin Islands fishing the North Drop. Much like our captain, Randy Jendersee, Capts. Billy Borer, Mike Kalandros, Eddie Herbert and Mike Lemon have been fishing there for the past 25 to 30 years. They know it like the backs of their hands, so I’d say they are our biggest competition. When you add that to some of the best crews in our sport and insightful owners who are masters at hooking blue marlin, then that makes any of them very hard to beat on tournament days.

Tony Huerta
tony huerta captain of lo que sea
Tony Huerta • Lo Que Sea • Fort Pierce, FloridaCourtesy Tony Huerta

I try not to think about my competition too much because it’s hard enough worrying about your own program. But honestly, every boat in the field is capable of winning any day of the week. When we are competing in Florida, the teams whose captains come from a strong commercial fishing background — Floridian, Wave Paver, Cowpoke, Grand Slam, Miss Victoria — are the main players in my neck of the woods. Each one is very consistent with talented captains who spend more time on the water than most, with dedicated, experienced crews and supportive owners.

Capt. Alan Neiford
capt alan neiford of mister pete
Capt. Alan Neiford • Mister Pete • Charleston, South CarolinaCourtesy Capt. Alan Neiford

I feel most captains would agree their biggest competition is themselves. We have so much to predict and prepare for, that there are always multiple options of attack. When fishing on a day-to-day basis, it is only natural to second-guess a decision, but you have to see it through. And respectfully, there are so many great boats fishing out of the Carolinas, I can’t single any one of them out. The team that puts that puzzle together correctly is going to come out on top. It’s anyone’s game, every day we leave the dock.