Dock Talk - How Big Of A Boat Do I Need?




An angler recently asked other bass anglers about fishing a BFL Cowboy Division Bass Tournament in 2021. He was concerned that his boat might not be good enough for his co-angler …

“I am considering fishing the Cowboy division this year. I have never fished these events before, however I have fished several other tournament trails (team trails). I have an older, smaller boat with outdated electronics.

"My question is, if I sign up as a "pro" will I be doing my co-angler a disservice because I don't have the technology or capabilities of 90% of the field.

“I am not a novice angler. I have a couple 2nd place finishes, several top 10s, and have won a regional championship, but it was always with a buddy who knew what he was getting into.”

Our questioning angler is fishing out of an 18.5' fiberglass Triton. The tournaments he has fished have been on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend. “I am familiar with big water. Sure, it’s not a 21' Ranger, but it ain't a 16' john boat either.”

Another angler responded, “Would you want to draw someone like that after you have paid you hard earned dollars? Just being Devils advocate here, not bashing.”

What would you respond to angler number 1?

Bass Karma: “Fish it. There are plenty of guys with top of the line equipment that can’t fish their way out of a bath tub. BFL is a beginner level tourny anyway. Go do it and just have fun!”

Champion 1, who I bet is a Champion boat owner agreed. “Heck yea fish it. FIrst time I fished an open (as a co-angler) my very first "Pro" showed up drunk and puking from drinking all night. You can’t possibly be any worse than that guy!”

B.Dill commented … “I drew a Z7, in a 30 MPH north wind in about 30 degrees weather on Rayburn once. Wet, cold, hurting, zeroed, and front lasted all day. I considered it part of paying my dues. Ain't gonna lie though, that tournament was likely the catalyst for me entering as a boater moving forward... And buying a good Gore Tex suit.

“An 18.5 is fine. If they don't like it, they can buy a bigger boat than yours, pay a little more entry and enter as a pro.”

Like John Cox recently said, "If your boat is holding you back, you don't love it enough". Sign up and go fish.” Look at Cox or Keith Poche, small boats, older electronics or even no electronics, no spot locks and they do just fine on a much larger scale than a BFL. “Look at it like this. Eighty percent of the field with the best stuff money can buy goes home empty handed.”

Red Raider39 sums it up. “Agree 100%. Don't let a 200+ boat field stacked with $75k+ rigs deter you from entering. I generally cut any field size in half and that is the actual competition. If you are capable of getting on fish and giving your co-angler the opportunity at bites, then don't worry about what you are fishing out of.”

Go fish. The boat doesn’t make the angler. I have seen anglers who had bass rigs with all the latest gadgetry but didn’t know a Texas from a Carolina Rigged worm. From reading your fishing background, I think a non-boater is getting a good trip.




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Lake Fork

Fishing Report from TPWD (May 29)

GOOD. Water Stained; 76 degrees; 0.48 feet above pool. The morning bass bite is good for the first of hours of the day then slows on buzz baits, frogs, and swimbaits around shallow grass. Then switch to shaky heads along the edge of grass or bream beds in 3-5 feet. The offshore bites comes into play on bright and sunny days with big worms Texas rigged or Carolina rigs in 15-18 feet. Crankbaits over deeper water are slow but improving. Report by Marc Mitchell, Lake Fork Guide Service. Black bass are in a summer pattern. Top waters are excellent in the shallow grass, streamers are working in the shallow banks and creek channels. Bream are excellent in the shallows, wooly buggers and small poppers should bring a strike. Report by Guide Alex Guthrie, Fly Fish Fork Guide Service. The crappie fishing on Lake Fork was definitely moving into the steady summer pattern this week. We are still seeing great numbers of black crappie on lay downs and certain trees in 14-28 feet. You can also find black crappie on certain docks and bridges over the next few months. We have been seeing lots of small white crappie on brush piles but some bigger keepers showed up the last few days. These will continue to get better and better over the next few weeks. Focus on brush piles in 14-22 feet for the best fish. Some summer time trees are also holding white crappie and that will also get better over the next few weeks. Minnows are working well and small hand tied jigs in neutral colors are working just as well when you pitch and swim them over fish. Soft plastics will also get you a bite. The channel catfishing is excellent as it always is on Lake Fork. Bait you a hole near timber in 18-25 feet close to a creek channel. Use cattle cubes or sour grain to attract and hold those fish. Trees that have overnight roosting birds are a great place to make your hole. Use any prepared catfish bait of choice to load the boat once you get the fish loading up. You can still find some spawning catfish up s

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