BassWestUSA - May/June 2009, Page 68

pro file

the evolution

of the Competitive Angler

JASON HEMMINGER

it is

said that the journey of a thousand miles begins the first step. My devel- opment as a professional angler started with my love of fishing and then my com-

petitive side came out. My friends and I would go out anywhere and it was all about who was catching the first, most, and big- gest fish. I feel like competition is what drove me to improve upon my abilities as

a fisherman. Once I started fishing against other anglers, whether it was for money or for points, my weekends began to be mo- nopolized by fishing competitions. Club fishing can really bring out a weekend angler’s competitive nature. For a club angler learning the basics is crucial. Using specific baits at key times is impor- tant. During the seasons of the bass fish- ing year identifying what baits to use at any given time can be helpful. Spring time means throwing a jig, summer time can produce great topwater action, with fall comes crankbaits, and winter is the time to break out the spoons.

Anglers that are trying to get their feet wet, so to speak, need to be versatile. Versatility starts with being confident and comfortable with what you are doing on the water. Anglers should fish with as many different other fishermen as possible and sample various techniques throughout the year. This introduces a person to new tech- niques and tactics which can help expand their arsenal. Incorporating a technique into ones repertoire means the difference between going fishing and catching fish. I was fortunate enough have learned from some very successful anglers, but the individuals that stand out in my mind are Kirk Prouse, Jared Lintner, and Matt New- man. Kirk taught me how to pattern fish. Jared taught me to keep things simple. Matt helped me to fine tune bait presen- tation. All of these components are, in my opinion, important elements of tournament fishing. Patterning fish starts with paying at- tention to subtle details. While I was fish- ing with Kirk whenever we caught fish he would assault me with a battery of ques- tions. Where, how deep, next to what, how were you working the bait; these were spe- cific questions. “Did you catch it in deep/ shallow tulles?” Or he would ask “What kind of rock did you catch it on; chunk rock, pea

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VersatilitY

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May/June 2009