Preparing For A Pro/Am Tournament

The countdown begins; you can’t wait until its time to hitch up the boat and head out of town to fish that tournament, the one that you have been waiting months for. This is the feeling that I have every time a Pro/Am tournament is nearing that I am going to be attending. However, before the fun begins, there are many necessary items that need to be taken care of prior to my departure.

Being 17 there are many different items that need to be taken care of before my departure. The first one of course is getting out of school for a week. Though it took some convincing, I was able to have my parents request a contract from my school so that I could have excused absences for the week that I would be gone fishing. Once the school factor was taken care of, I had to request a week off from work. Luckily, I have an understanding boss, and as long as my work is done, my schedule is fairly flexible.

Now that I’m excused from work and school, I’m ready to take off! Wrong! Having the time to go out and practice for and participate in a pro tournament is just the beginning. Prior to leaving, I go through a complete inspection of all my equipment from rods and reels, to the tires on my truck and boat. Though Lake Havasu is only a 5 hour drive from San Diego, you don’t want to leave home ill prepared or without the right equipment.

My first items of inspection concentrates on the boat, trailer, outboard and truck. Prior to leaving for an out of town tournament you want to make sure every piece of your equipment is ready to go. My inspection first begins with my truck. Making a long haul towing is tough on any vehicle no matter what the commercials say, so you want to make sure that you have had a recent oil change. Also inspect your tires for wear, and air pressure, and if necessary have them rotated and balanced before you make that trek across the desert. Make sure that your jack in your truck will work for your trailer in case of a flat, and if it doesn’t, make sure you purchase one that will. Moving on to the trailer, it is necessary to make sure that all lights and turn signals are working properly. Also, make sure that the tire pressure on your trailer tires are up to par, and that the bearing buddies are greased up and ready to go.

The boat and outboard are my last areas of inspection. Spending 15 minutes with a screwdriver and wrench tightening all visible nuts and screws will save you the headache in the long run. Also, make sure all your fluids are topped off, such as your hydraulic steering fluid, and especially your oil in your oil tank. You don’t want to be 30 miles up river to find out that you ran out of oil, oil is just as important as gas! Check your prop and remove any fishing line, rope, and tighten the prop up to manufactures requirements. Fishing for a week straight in big water can take a toll on your equipment; so take the time to make sure that your equipment is ready to go before you leave home.

Once your equipment is in par and ready to go, now its time to move on to the tackle. Remember, you can never bring too much tackle, and that’s why we all have these 20-50 thousand dollar bass boats, to hold all of our tackle. Always bring back up rods and reels, and as much tackle as you can possibly fit in your boat. There are often local tackle shops, but remember they might not always have your “secrete” bait and you can never be over prepared.

Always pack for all weather occasions, bring a wide variety of clothes. You never know what type of weather you may encounter when on the water. To save money, you may also want to bring some of your favorite snacks, and a few cases of water and sodas. You don’t want to end up eating out three meals a day for a week, as that can get quite expensive. You also want to bring items that you take on your daily fishing expeditions, but in larger quantities, since you will be gone for so long. Worse case scenario there are local stores, but taking the time to pack right will save you the hassle of running around at night looking for that item that you forgot, not to mention it will cost you some more money.

Taking the time to inspect all of your equipment will make your trip that much more enjoyable. For the last week I have been going through all of the measures that are listed above, prior to my departure for Lake Havasu. Anything could possibly happen, but taking the time to prepare your equipment will reduce your chance of negative incidents. In my next article, I will be providing a full detailed report of my experiences at Lake Havasu, from the travel, to pre fishing and the tournament. Stay tuned!

Garrett’s sponsors include: Aim Marine, Skeeter Boats, Maxima Line, Gemini Sport Marketing, Hasting Rod Manufactures, and Plano Storage Systems