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Is winning a tournement just luck?


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I have fished in a couple of crappie contests before and it just seems like the winner was just plain lucky. Is this how bass tourneys are? I can catch bass pretty good on my home lake and I would like to try winning some money in tournements this year. But I am worried that there is to much luck involved. What are your thoughts?

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Some luck yes. All fishing contains an element of luck. The closer the field is in abitity, knowledge of a particular body of water, and as the size of a body of water increases the bigger a factor luck becomes because you can't check everywhere. Hey anyone's motor can blow at any time, I believe Moynah missed winning a big tourny on Tonka for just that reason.

However some fisherman are able to consistantly have superior showings which shows the overwhelmingly more important factors of time on the water, decision making skills, raw angling ability and fish sense, casting and boat control proficiency and ability to focus and concentrate.

In a single day tournament the luck factor can also be magnified. But I think luck is a minor factor compared to over all angling ability and experience.

I think the best way to dispel the importance of luck is to fish a tournament or two in the boat with a really good angler when their A game is on and with mediocre anglers with their A game. You will quickly notice a difference.

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the luck in a bass tourney is what boat number you draw. i would say it is 99% skill and 1% luck. i fish as pro on mn pro/am tour and you look at the standings year in and out and you will see pretty much the same names at the top and that is not because of luck they are excellent fishermen!!! luck has nothing to do with bringing 3-4# average to the scales these guys know where the big fish are and don't care about the little ones. lets take tonka for example because if you know it you can win alot of money. i can catch 2#ers (usually) all day but that will do my no good you need 4#ers to win. people who win are the ones who know where/when/how to catch these big fish and it is all skill. the 1% of luck i am talking about is the fish don't come unbutton, line breaks, good boat draws(if you see other people in your hole). you say you are pretty good on your home lake now put 100 pros on their and sit back and watch you favorite holes and i will guarantee you that you will see at lest 10-15 guys there. don't get me wrong their guys who get lucky (majority small tourneys) and win but the ones who are consistant are very very skilled angelers.

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Mnbass sounds like the typical tournament bass guy. 1% luck is low because the varibles involved in tournament fishing are astronomically high and get exponentially higher with more anglers and as the real estate to fish expands. Luck depends on factors beyond one's control that either go for or against someone. I would put luck at anywhere from 20 to as high as 99%. Record breaking Huge bags are almost totally dependant on factors beyond the record breaking fishermans control. They hit the proverbial jackpot.

The honest pro's in high stakes competition know and will freely admit that to win against stiff equally skilled competition requires the breaks to fall your way in a big way.

Cashing a paycheck is more about fish catching skill. What place you finish is more about luck as that you can't control what the other guy brings in. Doubt this, go ask Mark Davis what it is like to catch an all time record bag and still finish second to Dean Rojas.

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I would say that catching any fish takes skill to some degree, the size of the fish you catch has a lot to do with luck. The ability to catch fish on new lakes in varying weather conditions and times of the year takes quite a bit of skill.

I beat Jim Moynagh in a couple of tournaments last year, I did not get lucky, I did about average for me but I think luck was not on his side on those particular days.

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Thats what I was thinking. If there was no luck involved the best fisherman would always win. I think I will try fishing a couple of tournements this year. Hopefully luck is on my side!!

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I do believe that you best fisher(wo)men will be in the top of each tournament. There may be an occasion lucky winner of a tournament, but if (s)he is truly just lucky (s)he won't probably win again.

The bassers who win the year end prizes are the ones who consistently finish in the top half in nearly each tournament.

------------------
God bless,
Judd Yaeger
Yaeger Guides (Twin Cities Guides) www.yaegerweb.com/guide

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"I was really fortunate," he said. "I haven't been catching that much, but just felt like today I was really lucky with the conditions. I kind of guessed what stage the fish were in in the area I was fishing. I didn't lose anything and I got some good bites. It was just one of those days when everything went the way it was supposed to – and I haven't had many of those this year."

Kevin Van Dam as quoted at Bassfan the very day this thread was openned on his openning day 3rd place so far performance at the [email protected] Kentucky.

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I think if you are relying on luck to win tournaments you are going to find yourself not bothering to go to the weigh in. In the tournaments I fish there are 50 boats and the same 15 will be at the top each time. Are they all just lucky each and every tournament?

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basspastor,

Luck i think not!!!
Lets take a look a Moynagh
Fort Francis tourneys
1st twice, 2nd twice, and 5th in the last 5 yrs
1st flw tonka
1st don shelby tonka
pelenty of other wins. he has won i would say close to $600,000 thats not luck!!!
my buddy fished with dean capra on tonka they would pull up to a spot he would say their is a 4# fish hear make 5-7 flips and then leave they would do this on 8-10 spots all day till they would bite.
these guys dont just put their boat in the water drop the trolling motor and go and get lucky on 5-8 big bites. these guys know where the big fish are.

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I'nm one of the most superstitous peopel in the world, but I still htink that fishing is mostly skill, but a little luck never hurt anybody!

------------------
Hey look, a diversion from my stupidity!

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How about the fact that someone has to win every tournement? The more tourneys you fish the more likely you will win one? Or is that a false assumption?

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Each tounament is independent from each other and therefore not related. You would have the same chance to win in each tournament. If you were relying on luck you would probably have to enter quite a few tournaments to win one but have an equal chance in all. The people that fish tournaments generally are pretty serious about fishing, the ones who win tournaments are not relying on luck to put them at the top, they are relying on their skill to put fish in the boat consistently.

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"Luck i think not!!!
Lets take a look a Moynagh
Fort Francis tourneys
1st twice, 2nd twice, and 5th in the last 5 yrs
1st flw tonka
1st don shelby tonka
pelenty of other wins. he has won i would say close to $600,000 thats not luck!!!"

Moynagh is a full time pro and gets his hat handed to him more times than not. At Kentucky Lake right now he is 108 out of 200 and is ranked 76th out of 196 FLW Pro's; I would not classify him as an elite pro but as an above average pro and the best pro bass fisherman ever to come out of MN. My guess is that he probably fishes out of the money more times than in it but he is usually able to hit a home run or two a year which makes up for an inconnsitant average.

Those who dispel luck as factor in an individual tournament are ignoring what happens when the level of angler and time on the water pretty much match up for all involved. When the field is evenly matched then there tends to be A LOT of shuffling in the deck and a person has to really be on a roll to finish high consistantly.

When you have a circuit where the same people are always at the top there is probably a good reason. The people who are at the top are usually able to be on the water more often than those that don't do as well. In this respect tournament fishing can be like playing 5 card Stud poker but some players get dealt a few or maybe quite a few extra cards from which to pick the top 5. Lets face it, a guy who is on the water 30 days a month is a mismatch against someone that is only out say 5. Yet there is no guarnetee that Mr. Onthewatereveryday will win; He will win most days but not everyday. It is a matter of knowing how to play the cards that are dealt and in tournment fishing these are some of the cards that are out of your control: weather, fish movements, take off number, a local who is on your hot hole first, the time on the water and experience of the competition, fish that slap instead of grab, good hooksets gone wrong, pike biting off the hot lure, boat trouble, netting errors, fish that unbutton for no good reason...etc)

I think from my line of argument I am learning that bad luck is probably the real luck factor. Against level competition, bad breaks are magnified and a killer. The key to success would then be trying to limit the possible negatives with alternative options.

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Basspastor,

That makes a ton of sense to me. Sounds like a person needs to be prepared...and get a little lucky.

Someone said that Jim M. lost a tournement cause his motor blew up. Extremely bad luck for him and extremely good luck for the guy who would have came in second place!

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Well id say to win a Tourney it about 20% luck and 80% skill.
It takes skill to pick the right lure at the right spot at the right time.
You just can get lucky and say this should work and catch a 5lb bass. But you got to know what you are doing and be able to constantly catch good fish.
Sure, if you are depending on luck you may win a tourney once in a blue moon. But it has to take skill to win every so often or to place in the top ten 90% of the time.
To be skilled you have to study, learn the lake and prefish otherwise you better depend on luck alot.
You get lucky on catching a big fish, but it takes skill to catch numbers of big fish.
You bet you can get lucky but dont count on it. Depend on skill before you depend on luck. You will win more tournaments that way.

------------------
AKA fishstunner

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Luck in fishing = When perperation meets oppertunity.

Yes you do hear of someone that comes in and will say they got lucky. However, I think people create thier own luck with skill. Either that or its the same people that get "lucky" all the time!

Luck has very little to do with who wins and who looses, which goes for everything. IE loosing fish, breaking off, equipment failure. Most often if you lost a fish it was something you did OR its just something that happens in our sport, if your line breaks maybe you didn't check it enough, and if you have equipment failure, well maybe your upkeep hasn't been what it should have?

[This message has been edited by Exudedude (edited 05-15-2003).]

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Mr Lee
Just because you can catch bass on your home lake doesnt mean you will do good in a turny. in a turnament, you dont get to use live bait.
You need to take time and pre-fish so you will know where the fish are. This is where you remove the luck and your skill comes in.

If you want to win here are some tips....

First thing you need is a fast boat, something like bullet21xd with 225 opti on the back.

Second you need 4 types of baits...
1 The key bass catching bait....White Spinner
2 second best bass catching bait... Jig&pig
3 third best...plastic worm 6" black
4 key for the open water hogs...rapala fat rap

Good luck to you. the Tender...

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Basspastor,
I have to disagree with you when you say time on the water equals success in tournaments... time on the water has absolutely nothing to do with success... I would be willing to bet a top pro would demolish you in a tourney if you fished every day on that lake for 2 months and the top pro spent one day on the lake prefishing. Knowledge level plays into how fast you can pick up on fish activity, adapt to changing conditions, etc... Everyone has their own learning curve and those with a slow learning ability, will need to practice longer to compete at the same level. Saying that practice on the water equals tournament success is like saying if you practice as hard as Tiger Woods, you'll beat him some day... That just isn't going to happen... he has skill as a golfer, the top bass pro's have skill as fishermen... practice is required to compete at their level, but that isn't the deciding factor... The fact is that the top pro's have natural talent and could demolish most of us with no practice.

Luck comes to those who are catching fish in my opinion.. if your doing enough things right to catch fish, you have a better chance of getting lucky and landing that pig... those not catching any fish are obviously not doing the things it takes to get lucky... they are less skilled and therefor less likely to get lucky..

In other words, luck is direclty related to skill.... luck is a small factor, but without skill, luck becomes a much smaller factor... put yourself in the right place at the right time and your bound to get lucky...

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"time on the water has absolutely nothing to do with success... I would be willing to bet a top pro would demolish you in a tourney if you fished every day on that lake for 2 months and the top pro spent one day on the lake prefishing."

1st Let me clarify that "time on the water" was not necessarily body of water specific. Although the bigger the body of water the more time spent on it can be a big advantage. Jim Moynagh is a clear example of this on some of his major tournament victories; they are bodies of water he has fished hard, Tonka and that Canadian Bass Championship Lake.

As for your challenge as quoted most pro's will have been on the water most days during those previous two months as well. Time on the water is time on the water. My guess is that the contest would be pretty close but I would have the advantage being that I would know the lake foreward and backward.

As for skill, I cannot say that I have ever fished with a person that I thought was technically far more proficeint than I or was doing something that with a little practice I could not master. Obviously Pro's have to be skilled in fishing techniques, but most fishing techniques can be mastered sooner rather than later. It is learning how, where, and when to apply the techniques and the increased proficiency with a skill that is the big advantage of time on the water.

I don't think the analogy to Tiger Woods has much merit. Fishing is not golf, and pitching 20ft into a cup is far easier than making a 20ft putt. Also don't forget that on Lake Minnetonka David Fritts AM partner outfished not only Fritts, but the rest of the BASS Pro's one day from the back of the boat.

Lets be honest, fishing is a bit of a guessing game. The more experience you have the better able you may be to guess right but even the best pro's don't guess right and find conditions that throw them off. It is just a lot harder to throw off a guy who has seen it all.

Also fishing is a game where head knowledge can and does contribute to success. A young gun who studies a lot off the water can gain valuable experience through reading.

[This message has been edited by Basspastor (edited 05-21-2003).]

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I have read the above messages and MNbass is right on. The guys that win don't win because there lucky the win because they are so much beter then everybody else. Yes the difference between first and fifth place may be a few things going your way or not but its not luck.
Basspastor. I saw you fished the Balsam lake tourny last week. Brad Cline didn't win because he was lucky he won because he was hands down the best fisherman in that tourny.

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"Brad Cline didn't win because he was lucky he won because he was hands down the best fisherman in that tourny."

The Bosshardt/Cline team is pretty good, but it could be argued that Jeff is the better of the two. However, there were some other pretty good sticks there such as Berg/Block, C.Guttenfelder, Davis/Lindquist (these guys have dominated Team Bass the last three years including a win at Balsam last year with a 13lb sting, they only brought in 3 fish, a rare no limit.) and probably several other teams I am not aware of.

From what I understand many of the top finishing teams were doing almost the exact same thing and sometimes in the exact same area's. This is a tourny where a little good luck figured heavily in the outcome.

Doubt this! Straight from the Winning Teams lips (From fommn.com):
Jeff (Bosshardt) said, "The key to winning the tournament was making long casts and trying not to spook the fish. Usually, if we saw a bass the fish were really hard to catch. But if we just guessed and made long casts we would catch more fish. The team fished worms shallow in spawning areas all day." Note that they "guessed" and were pretty much sight fishing blind as did many other teams in the top ten. They just got a little bigger bites than the rest of the top 7. Team 7 could have been in first with just one reasonably big bite. The closer the field the more that is beyond your control that has to go right to win and none of 2-7place teams got that one kicker (heck Cline/Bosshardt didn't have a kicker either nobody caught one).

I would say Cline/Bosshardt are odds on to win the Trip to the Super Bowl but if Berg/Block are in it for the duration than C/B better look out because B/B can be awesome on Tonka and Clearwater.

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...And as for the Basspastor it was a frustrating day on the water. I didn't even catch a 14". But I do have a story about how maybe a little bit of bad luck may have changed my day for the worse.

My original plan was to go into one particular spawning area and just grind it out all day. About an hour into the tourny I had a really good swirl on the Zoom Superfluke, but when I set the hook I got nothing; It was a rare case of a bass either missing or just "rolling" on it. Or maybe it was a pike, who often miss. Around this same time I also had a bass that was over 14" follow my floating worm to the boat and then stare me down instead of inhale the worm. Had that swirl been a 3lb bass and I caught it or even hooked it and lost it, which could have easily been the case, or that follower just inhaled than my day would have looked entirely different because I would have fished it differently.

But as it stood at 4 hours in and only 1 fish in the well with this area looking like it was depleating instead of holding or improving from yesterday my confidence in the area and my original plan plummited and we left at the urging of my partner, which to me was as good as admitting defeat because we really didn't have anything else. The rest of the day was spent mostly flailing away rather than fishing. We came back at the end of the day to our original (and in my mind our only...) area only to watch Cline/Bosshardt and another team I think was in the top 5 catch their last fish of the day. Ouch!

I didn't get that one break that would have told me to stay and boosted my confidence. I don't know how much better we would have done, but we could not have done much worse. And to make matters more frustrating my partner at Balsam last year who didn't contribute much to the team that day came in with a limit. Sheesh It's like I have bad Karma or something.

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basspator,
you don't get it!!!
cline/bosshardt are good they just did not fling lures to the shore and get lucky!!!! during prefish they figured out they cant catch the fish if they see them. so they probably located each fish to a piece of structure and wrote it down it what we call a log book and then come tourney day they opened up the log book and stayed away from the fish.
a bit of advice for you if the fish boils and misses or follows your bait. the fish is telling you something. they do not want that lure they want something else. this why the good pros do so well they know when to adjust when to move. they know the fishes behavior.
you are taking this moynagh thing a little to far. yes he does well on tonka and rainy he has also done very well on other lakes here in minnesots. he dominates on natural lakes but when you put hin on resovoir he struggles. when you fish on these waters down south you might as well take everthing you know from up here and throw it out the window because it is completly different ball game. river rats do better down south than natural lake fishermen. look at tom monsoor he is doing very well on his first year on the flw he is a river rat he knows moving water.
lets look at flw kentucky lake wendlendt was in 97th after day one he finished in i think 18th he knew the fish moved from his spots in prefish so he adjusted on day 2 thats is called skill not LUCK!!!!!

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