Relationships are tricky to say the least and as we all know, a slight difference of opinion can in some instances have dire consequences for a relationship. When it comes to relationships, there are many sayings that put things in greater perspective. "Y
“The Perfect Marriage...” Relationships are tricky to say the least and as we all know, a slight difference of opinion can in some instances have dire consequences for a relationship. – John Badenhorst
I’m not talking about a normal conventional marriage here. What I’m talking about is something that many anglers have experienced and some will experience it in time to come.
Relationships need care, dedication, understanding, flexibility and a passion to succeed. Take away any one of these elements and the relationship may very well be doomed.
You as an angler have passion, drive and commitment to your sport. One fateful day you bump into another angler with the same passion and after chatting for a bit, you make arrangements to go and throw a line together. Some weeks later you do just that and have an incredible day out on the water.
You chat even more and decide that based on your mutual passion for this sport you are going to start fishing tournaments together.
The new season of a tournament series is about to kick off and you’re excited to get out there with your new found friend and “perfect” fishing partner and do your thing on a competitive level.
The first two tournaments go well and you find yourself sitting within the top ten spot on the log and knowing that keeping at it will put you well within your goals when it comes to the end of the tournament series.
Sadly, in life, we all have to deal with disappointment and the next tournament does not go according to plan and now things start to change.
With the next tournament looming, you know that in order to hold onto your current point standing, you have to be better prepared and do some serious homework which includes an intense pre-fish at a venue that neither you or your partner have ever fished.
You spend hours on Google, you talk to social anglers, get tips and ideas as part of your planning and the day before your planned pre-fish, your partner casually informs you that he can’t make it because he is attending a baby shower with his wife for a friend.
You end up fishing this new venue for the first time on tournament day and barely hold on to your log standing. During the tournament, you suggest a specific spot that you’ve been told about and yet, because your fishing partner also happens to be the owner of the boat, decides to try some other spots only to find out at the prize giving that the top three bags of fish came out at the very spot that you suggested.
With the next tournament you at least get to prefish and develop a pattern and have a sound plan for tournament day and feeling confident, you arrive ready to do battle with those green fish. Out on the water, things are going well and with five fish in the live-well, you start working on upgrading.
With four hours to go before the close of the tournament, you make a suggestion to head out to a spot you’ve heard of when your partner informs you that he’s calling it a day and heading back as he’s tired from a long week of work and promised to spend some time with his wife because tomorrow is their wedding anniversary. You concede unhappily only to find out later that you missed the top ten standings by a mere 100g and with four hours to go, this would have been an easy task.
Here is when you start regretting this relationship and it’s only made worse when your partner informs you that due to his planned long weekend with his brother, he can’t make it to the next tournament.
At this point your team slips down into the mid twenties and you’re not a happy angler.
On the next tournament you plan everything, from extra fuel and maps to picking up some secret lures only to find that your partner pays the entrance fee because he forgot and you hastily have to run out to the bank to make payment and make urgent calls to secure your entry.
This and worse has happened to many anglers fishing the many tournament trails here and abroad. Just like any relationship, it’s important to set out boundaries from the very start and to work together even on paper in planning a strategy and goal and sticking to the plan to the very end.
Tournament fishing takes a serious amount of planning, practice and a very high level of dedication. Granted, there are going to be mishaps where your partner or even you forget something as simple as charging the batteries for the trolling motor and this is simply because we all have busy work schedules to juggle.
Sadly, finding that your partner is not who or what you thought them to be might be too late in a tournament trail and you find yourself having wasted not only time but a great deal of hard earned cash by paying in advance for the season.
When fishing with someone becomes a grind, it’s time to look at your goals again and if those goals are still attainable, then stick it out, if not, maybe it’s time to cut your losses and walk away.
*John Badenhorst is the editor of SA BASS magazine, the Master of Ceremony for FLW South Africa, radio presenter at Platinum Gold Radio and a keen ultra finesse angler.