Buddy tournaments rock

Last Wednesday I fished a buddy tournament here in Columbus. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had fishing in Ohio in years, and not just because we caught a lot of nice bass. Rather, it was because I revisited a format I once fished all the time. I call them buddy tournaments. Some guys call them team tournaments. Either way, they’re one heck of a lot of fun.

My new fishing friend from Ohio State, Brett Warrick, started the evening by fishing shallow. That was largely at my doing. He’s really an offshore guy. I’m more of a bank fisherman. I couldn’t resist the temptation, though. The air was thick and heavy and the water is unusually high in Hoover Reservoir this year because of all the rain we’ve had.

We had a couple of good bites but didn’t get them to the boat. So, we headed offshore to try our luck out in open water. We caught several. Then we headed back to the shallows. We caught some more there.

When all was said and done we managed to cull out a pretty good bag of bass, actually I’d call it an extraordinary bag for Ohio water. We finished second. The winning team had a 5 1/2 pounder. We couldn’t overcome that.

The thing that struck me about our evening was the friendship and camaraderie we experienced fishing as a team. There was no “me” or “I” in the boat. Our goal was to collect a solid bunch of fish with both of us working together. Frankly, I’d almost forgotten what that feels like.

At the pro level of bass fishing we fish pro-am events or we have a Marshal in the boat with us. It’s very much an individual sport. Sure, I care if the amateur fishing from the back of the boat catches fish. I’m always glad when anyone does that. But, and here’s the brutal truth, it’s more important that I catch them. I’m the one with a career on the line. It’s a business with me.

The great thing about the buddy tournaments is that all of that is gone. His big fish is my big fish. I can still relive Brett and I doing the high-five on the way back to the ramp. We had a lot of weight and we knew it. More importantly, we did it as partners.

I want to fish more events like that. I know that would be a radical departure from the norm but it would liven things up and give me a shot of adrenalin during the offseason when things are a little slow. If you haven’t fished a buddy tournament in a while I respectfully suggest you give it a try. It really is fun.

Before I go I want to say a few words about my not using Brett’s name last week. It might sound a little funny to some of you but if I’m not absolutely sure it’s OK I don’t mention people by name. In my opinion, everyone is entitled to their privacy. I don’t feel I have the right to invade that privacy without their explicit permission even if it’s something like going fishing.

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