A few weeks back Braden and I embarked on a new experience together, we entered a small fishing tournament.
He has been fishing in the local catfish league for a couple years now with a friend of mine. My buddy needed a partner last year to complete the year with him after his partner moved away. B stepped in and took the spot. He had so much fun that he talked the partner into doing it again this season. They have also fished a small time one day tournament together. This is all while I make sure the boats are where they need to be and weigh fish.
My tournament experience goes back to the early 2000’s. I fished the big Cats Incredible tournament three times and a few others over the years including a national stop of the Cabela’s King Cat Tour. I never felt right fishing in tournaments and have found my place in directing them.
So back to our tournament. I was scheduled to work the trailer for a Wednesday Night League like I do every Wednesday. I had gotten done guiding for the day and had my boat all tucked in for the night when Rob, Braden’s partner called and said the new pickup he was buying was late and he would not be able to fish that day. After some thought and another call Rob was going to weigh fish (my job) and I would be B’s partner for the night. Time to load the boat back up.
We arrived to the word out that I was fishing and people were for some reason nervous that I was playing. I don’t know why? I am terrible a tournament fishing. I paid our $55 entry (special high stakes night) and we were off to find our spot.
I went into this with a plan. I went to an area that had been good a few days before with the plan to start there and fish my way back to the landing. We needed two of the right fish to win this thing. Our first spot was the spot. We quickly caught a 13-pound fish and put it in the box. Within just a couple minutes we had another fish on and this one was just under 12 pounds. Braden wanted to keep it and weigh in a limit because they had not limited all year. I knew we would not win with that fish so I threw it back and we kept fishing. We needed a 16-pound fish or bigger to pull off a win. We kept fishing at one time landing a fish that would have won the big slot fish award of $20 Scheels gift cards. I threw it back telling B that we were in it to win it.
We fished hard right until the end, not getting the right fish but we played very hard. I have no idea where we fell in the final placings, I would think somewhere in the middle. Had we kept the 12 pounder we would have gotten sixth place which would have paid us the same as what we got.
I wanted to finish in the money and I wanted my boy to see what it was like to work as hard as we could to be the best. I wanted him to not give up for just a prize or to weigh in a limit. I hope he learned that the prize at the end of success the goal and sometimes it takes failure to reach that goal.
I had a blast fishing that tournament with my boy and can even see us fishing in others down the line. I don’t know when but we just might be a team some day in catfish tournaments. Either way it was a great memory for me to fish with him and I hope he feels the same.