Written by: Austin Benenati
Hometown: Auburndale, FL
This year I’m fishing tournaments for the first time. I love fishing with my friends but, I still have that competitive edge. Here is my story about what it takes to be in a fishing club.
4:30am I’m up and ready for the exciting, yet challenging fishing tournament ahead of me today! Have you ever thought about joining some sort of club? I have, I joined a fishing club, named the Lakeland Jr Hawg Hunters. We are a Bass fishing club. We primarily fish for Largemouth Bass. Every month our club has a meeting at the Golden Coral on South FL. Ave. Also later that month our club has a fishing tournament. It is hard work preparing for the tournament because you have to set up your fishing rods and figure out where to fish, what the fish are biting and the bait they like the most. There are so many baits to choose from. There are Soft plastics, Crank baits, Rattletraps, Jigs, Buzz baits, and Spinner baits. I mostly use All Pro Rods when I fish. I like to fish with frogs for lilly pads and trick worms with a shakyhead on a bed. The tournaments are on a lake in central FL. You may think that fishing is boring because you have to sit and wait for the fish to bite, but it is actually very exciting! The anticipation of a big fish chomping down on your bait is enough for most any person to get fired up and then when you do hook that big fish it’s “game on”. I enjoy fighting the fish while I’m reeling it in and that’s when my adrenaline starts pumping and the whole time I’m saying “please don’t let this fish come off”! After getting my fish to the boat that’s when I start to celebrate. One of the most difficult things that I struggle with is setting the hook in the fish’s mouth. I sometimes make the mistake of lifting my feet off the deck of the boat and set the hook too lightly. This is a very competitive sport and like in any other sport mistakes will cost you to loose. There are many great anglers to compete against. Fishing is also very rewarding especially when you start winning tournaments. A tournament consist of catching no more than (5) 14″ Bass. Then weighing them in and releasing them healthy all in a (6) hour day. The most weight at the end of the (6) hour day is the winner. The top (10) weight’s in our club after the tournament year get to go to the Florida Jr.State Championship. The top (2) from there go to the National Guard Jr. Championship and compete for up to $10,000 dollars in College Scholarships. When you get to the Nationals you might also get to fish with one of the top pro’s. Maybe someday my name will be on that list.
I encourage you to join a fishing club to experience the experience of a lifetime!