What’s the skill involved for professional fishing contests?


Assuming all participants know how to fish, isn’t it just luck which people catch the biggest fish?

In: 4

Everyone has patterns that they may have discovered on prefishing days. Or entrant 1 may be a specialist with one technique while entrant 2 is a specialist with another, and their presentation was more effective on that day. Everyone will have their own strategy going in and the winner will generally be who was right. Experience on that body of water helps a lot, but then it’s just down to some luck.

I’ve placed relative well a number of years in a pretty significant walleye tournament. It’s my “home lake” so I know how to get fish.

The non-local dudes who win it catch fish in places I’d never even considered. They’ll say stuff like “the water was 64* at the 5ft depth, so we knew they should be deeper, but the clarity was below typical and it was sunny out so we found a place where it jumps from 20-12ff relatively quickly. We checked out the stomachs of recent local catches and found these little nibs that we knew hatched in coons tail weed. That’s how we found them”


I am not a competitive fisher myself, so I do not have the credentials to give you the full insights, but I do have a friend who is a competitive fisher and likes to teach me about fishing.

From what I understand, fishing is far more than luck. The competitors compete on knowledge, understanding, craft, technique, and attention. Like okay, a newbie could get very lucky without knowing what he is doing, like hooking a fish without the fish biting the bait, but at a competitive level, these guys are seriously taking so much into account, especially the fly fishers.

Knowledge and understanding of the fish, environment, ecosystem and how these would affect the fishing are very important. The competitors would then compete on deriving the positioning of the fish from the season and environment. In addition to what bait would be most optimal for catching the fish, mimicking the local insects in the ecosystem at the specific time of day. To be prepared and ready at the right place at the right time.

Craft and technique are also a huge part of the competition. From homemade equipment to well-executed technique are something that could always be improved upon. For technique longer range, more accurate and precise throws could impact your performance in the competition or the maneuvering of the fly to stimulate the hunting instinct of the fish. The most hardcore often brings homemade flies, and the better quality of your bait, the easier the fish would bite.

In fly fishing in particular, a fisher would watch over the water and throw out the fly at fish in the surface at the perfect moment. Deceiving the fish into thinking that there is a fly that is near them and trying to run away. The ability to spot fish breaching the surface is very important. My fisher friend pointed out like upwards of 50 fish breaching the surface, without me noticing anything. It is so awesome to witness.