The parallels between fishing and football

Today we’ll look at the correlations between tournament bass fishing and the greatest game in America, football.

As a former coach and player, and a longtime angler, I can say nothing comes close to matching what football and tournament fishing gives you. Football is a team sport that has 11 guys on the field working together as one. But if only one guy does not do his job, the other team will make you pay. Bass fishing, on the other hand, is all about one guy — the angler holding the rod!

No other sport requires the emotional level that football does but tournament bass fishing is a close second. There are just as many emotional highs and lows on tournament day as there are in a four-quarter football game. One play or one cast can completely change the outcome.

Another word that describes both sports and is often overused: momentum. One minute you have everything going your way, scoring on every possession, but then your quarterback throws an interception, and everything goes south. Same goes for bass fishing as you get an entire school of fish fired up catching fish on every cast, when for some unforeseen reason, they quit biting. Momentum can even carry over from one tournament/game to the next.

No football game or bass tournament can be won without one important detail — a game plan. Your football game plan can change not just on every series but on the result of only one play. An angler’s game plan can change on the very next cast. You spend hours preparing for your next opponent or tournament and all of a sudden, you have to punt and regroup. Then there are days that everything you planned works like a charm and your game plan pays off with a championship win or collecting a check on tournament day.

There are times as athletes or anglers that are a grind, those days when nothing you planned goes right. Everything you thought would work, does not. Every play/cast is a struggle, and the game/tournament seems like it will never end. Just trying to get a first down or catch that fifth fish for a limit seems to take forever and some cases you can’t get it done. This is where heart, grit and determination come into play and the player/angler that has the most of those qualities will usually prevail.  

In football, they say defense wins championships. The same can also be said for tournament bass fishing. With football, you scout an opponent to gain an advantage. In bass fishing sometimes you catch fish in areas you know you’re not going to fish on tournament day because you don’t want to beat up your own fish. It’s not something you do to intentionally hurt a specific angler, but it’s a strategy anglers employ in order to play defense. Every once in a while, you’ll find an area by accident simply by fishing defensively in areas you otherwise might not have fished.

The final comparison between football and tournament bass fishing that just might be the biggest difference between winning or losing: decision making. At some point during a football game a coach has to make a decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal or kick a field goal. One is the safe play while the other is a huge gamble. Anglers must also make major decisions during a tournament day, like “do I make the long run for bigger fish and hope they’ll bite, or do I stay where I’m at and wait them out?” One has high risk while the other is a safer play. Anglers will most always take the risk because it has the highest reward.

There’s no better time of year as football season kicks off and it’s also when most tournament trail championships take place. Football and tournament bass fishing; two sports that have so much in common and appeal to so many fans. Now you have an angler’s perspective on how these two awesome sports parallel each other.

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing, apply your sunscreen and drink plenty of water. 

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