TOUR­NA­MENT STRATE­GIES

I HAVE BEEN FOR­TU­NATE TO FISH THE LAST 6 YEARS WITH KEVIN NAIDOO (AKA THE CUZZY). KEVIN AND I MET WHILST WE WERE MEM­BERS OF PI­ETER­MAR­ITZBURG ANGLING CLUB (“PAP­GOOI” CLUB).

SA Bass - - Contents - >> Barry Blunt

“How to…Choose the Right Boat Part­ner” I have been for­tu­nate to fish the last 6 years with Kevin Naidoo (aka the Cuzzy). Kevin and I met whilst we were mem­bers of Pi­eter­mar­itzburg Angling Club (“pap­gooi” club) – Barry Blunt

Whilst we were not friends im­me­di­ately, we grad­u­ally be­came friends dur­ing our tours through­out the prov­ince for leagues, club cham­pi­onships and the like. Our friend­ship re­ally got ce­mented dur­ing a na­tional cham­pi­onship at Klip­fontein Dam in Vry­heid.

KZN won and we were both se­lected to at­tend Na­tional Tri­als at Klip­drift Dam in the North West. We trav­elled to this event to­gether and share a chalet. It was then that we be­came good friends.

Shortly af­ter this event I hung up my “pap­gooi” rods and started to delve into a bit of bass and bar­bel fish­ing from my newly ac­quired skiff. As I was still a mem­ber of PMBAC I was al­lowed to fish their club com­pe­ti­tions and weigh in bass for points. Dur­ing these com­pe­ti­tions Kevin would be bank fish­ing, and saw the fish we were bring­ing to weigh in. Af­ter a few events he asked me to take him bass fish­ing. By then I had a ded­i­cated bass rig with “TV’s” and I set about show­ing him how it’s done. We caught good fish and the bug had bit­ten hard. We fished a few more times and even­tu­ally, our com­petive­ness found us look­ing for some guys to com­pete against. The BETT se­ries had just be­gun and we de­cided to enter as team “Top Deck”. This was the start of our part­ner­ship. To say we were not for­mi­da­ble com­pe­ti­tion is an un­der­state­ment and it took us two years be­fore we fi­nally started to hold our own.

I have now re­lo­cated to Gaut­eng and as such am not com­pet­ing com­pet­i­tively yet. The lead up to the move got me think­ing as to how I would a find a part­ner as well suited as Kevin was. Af­ter all we never ever dis­cussed who did what, paid for what and so on. We just clicked and got on with it.

So af­ter some re­flec­tion I re­al­ized that there are a few fun­da­men­tals re­quired in or­der to have suc­cess on the water, and hav­ing a func­tion­ing team that gets ev­ery­thing done with­out ef­fort or drama. These fun­da­men­tals are as fol­lows;

Friend­ship

As men­tioned be­fore it is im­per­a­tive that boat part­ners are good friends. Fish­ing can be re­ward­ing and very frus­trat­ing. By be­ing good friends and un­der­stand­ing each other’s moods, re­ac­tions and quirks makes it eas­ier to deal with ad­ver­sity, be it lack of suc­cess, los­ing a mon­ster fish at the boat or sim­ply life in­ter­fer­ing with the thought pro­cesses on the water. You need to have things in com­mon that you can talk about for nine hours on the boat. I am in the road con­struc­tion in­dus­try and Kevin in the build­ing in­dus­try, two very sim­i­lar fields. This al­lows us to pass the time talk­ing about the con­tracts where are on. We have fun when we fish. Ban­ter flies all day and at times guys won­der how we can fish to­gether with all the non­sense go­ing on.

Trust

This is very im­por­tant in my mind. For tour­na­ment an­glers to be suc­cess­ful they need to trust each other. Trust that their team mate has done his share of prepa­ra­tion, home­work on pat­terns and spots, gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion from other sources (in­ter­est­ingly we be­longed to dif­fer­ent clubs and would bring a wealth of ex­tra knowl­edge to the team via these sources) boat prepa­ra­tion and main­te­nance, weigh point shar­ing and so on. If any of these items were to be ne­glected, the re­sult of the fish­ing event would be com­pro­mised. To de­velop this trust once must as­sign re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to the in­di­vid­ual team mem­bers. We never did this of­fi­cially. When we started out, I had the boat so I dealt with boat is­sues, fuel, ser­vic­ing, map­ping and the like. Kevin han­dled lo­gis­tics, food and of­ten pro­vided the tow ve­hi­cle. Later on he bought a boat and we changed du­ties. Kevin han­dled the boat and ve­hi­cle; I han­dled ac­com­mo­da­tion, drinks and brib­ing Natalie, Kevin’s wife, to make us her sig­na­ture boat burg­ers. We never spoke about these items lead­ing up to an event we just did them au­to­mat­i­cally and trusted that the other had as well.

Strengths and weak­nesses

I strongly be­lieve that our di­verse fish­ing abil­i­ties have made us the for­mi­da­ble team that we are to­day. I was tra­di­tion­ally a power fish­er­man who loved to cover water quickly to find ac­tive fish. Kevin, how­ever, was a more thor­ough an­gler, spend­ing time to pick apart the ar­eas and find the sweet spots or force the fish to bite. Now we are both just as ca­pa­ble in ei­ther. We try new tech­niques all the time and then share them un­til both of us have mas­tered them. When we started Kevin was not into elec­tron­ics and fancy finder tech­nol­ogy, that was my job. Find the fish and he will catch them. As the years went on and we up­graded and learnt, he re­al­ized that this is a cru­cial part of com­pet­i­tive bass angling. He is now as com­pe­tent as any­one in us­ing these to good ef­fect. In a nut­shell hav­ing these vary­ing strengths and weak­nesses pro­vides a learn­ing op­por­tu­nity for the team mem­bers. Over time your weak­nesses wane and you be­come more pro­fi­cient, mak­ing you a more valu­able mem­ber of the team.

So­cio-eco­nomic stand­ing

Whilst some may not think this is im­por­tant, it is crit­i­cal that the team mem­bers have a sim­i­lar so­cioe­co­nomic stand­ing. I have heard many an ar­gu­ment, at the wa­ters, be­tween team mates com­plain­ing about part­ners not con­tribut­ing to­wards the costs of com­pet­ing. This is a game of high costs and it is cru­cial to know that both par­ties can pull their weight. It is also good to know who will cover what, even if not bal­anced 50/50.

Lastly we share our win­nings. Some­time the win­nings were kept by me to pay en­try for another com­pe­ti­tion. At times we used the prize money to pur­chase tackle, maps or boat spares. The rest of the time we split it.

When I won the Al­bert Falls Clas­sic I never once con­sid­ered that it was my boat. It was our boat. We made the de­ci­sion to sell it, we de­cided the ask­ing price and we split the pro­ceeds.

I am cer­tain there are many other im­por­tant is­sues to bear in mind, but these to me are the ba­sics. Kevin and I still fish to­gether ev­ery chance we get and are in con­tact daily. I still as­sist him to pre­pare for his com­pe­ti­tions and vice versa. I am now fish­ing with my long­est serv­ing part­ner, my son Hay­den, and we are lov­ing com­pet­ing to­gether again. A dif­fer­ent dy­namic but com­fort­able like old “tekkies”.

Barry Blunt and Kevin Naidoo has been fish­ing part­ners for the last 6 years

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