Fishing the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail as an Amateur
By Arlen Wendt
I’ve been on the
PWT tournament trail, fishing as an amateur for the past three years and
soon I will be into my fourth; (I will be doing the Eastern Division this
year). I have learned many things over the past three years and would like
to share some of them now.
Tournament fishing is tough and I don’t care what people say (I’ve
been on lake Erie when the waves are coming all the way from Canada from
8 to 10 feet high or have been on Leech Lake when even the PWT called it
quits for the day). No matter what the conditions are, you better
be ready to fish. Having fished the PWT these past couple of years has
made me realize how tough these Pros have to be to go out there and fish
(and consistently catch quality fish), while mother nature usually throws
everything she has at them.
The first thing an amateur has to understand, right off the bat is
that the best fisherman in the boat is the other guy in the boat, (the
Pro). He is the guy that decides where, when, and how you are going to
catch fish. I’ve talked to some amateurs who thought they were better
fishermen than the Pro they were with. That is wrong!!!! It
is the worst thing an amateur can do to himself and the Pro he is fishing
with. The amateur isn’t competing with a Pro on who is the better
fisherman; they are competing with the other 124 people in the tournament.
None of these Pros are out there to catch a suntan; they’re out there to
compete. I haven’t had one PWT Pro who wasn’t trying to make it into the
money. These guys are playing for real and expect that the amateurs are
eager to learn and help them out.
I have finished in the top ten over all for the past two years in a
row on the PWT. The first year there was a little over 40 of us doing
the whole circuit and I finished in seventh place. This past year there
was over 70 of us doing the whole circuit and I finished ninth over all.
Sure, luck was a part of it, but I would like to think I beat all the other
guys out because I did everything I could to make sure the Pro I was with
on any given day only had one thing to worry about… CATCHING FISH!!!
And that I helped make it happen.
The last and most important lesson I have learned while fishing the
PWT these past three years is that if you are thinking of turning Pro,
make sure you have the sponsorship and networking with other pros established
before you do so. This is too big a commitment, both with your time and
your money to take lightly. I have seen amateurs do well during the
season and then think they can compete with the big guys the next season.
The fact is only about ten percent of these guys ever make it past two
years. Besides being a good angler you have to have the sponsorship
and Pro contacts to be successful on the PWT tournament trail today.
Wishing you tight lines and good fishing,
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