Lawn chair fishing vs. tournament fishing

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Fishing for many people is a way to relax — a lawn chair, a cooler full of drinks and a fishin’ pole are all you need. This type of fishing makes me think back to when I was a kid, with a lengthy cane pole, a short piece of quality K-Mart or Sky City fishing line, an Eagle Claw snelled hook, and a bobber that we made from small powdered candy containers that looked like little apples, bananas, peaches etc. That was all the gear you needed. The entire rig might cost you 50-75 cents.

A quick trip to the neighbor’s yard to dig some wigglers (that’s worms for the layperson) and we were off to the river or pond. Bream and catfish were the most common catch of the evening, or maybe an occasional sucker or knotty head. Fishing was a very laid back thing to do back then, a way to cool off and enjoy an afternoon.

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Tournament fishing can be the extreme opposite of “lawn chair” fishing. Today’s tournament fishing norm is a 20 ft. bass boat, a 200+ horsepower motor, a spread of at least six rods and reels, countless lures of every color and style, a wake up time of 4 a.m., and an entry fee of $80 and up. You can easily, and I mean easily, spend $150-$200 on a day of fishing, not to mention the $45,000 boat, rod combos averaging $180-$250, and lures that can be $18-$20 apiece. Many anglers will often take a day off work the week of the tournament to “prefish,” or practice for the tournament.

I guess at the end of the day it’s about what you enjoy. Some folks are laid back, some are very competitive, some want to catch every fish in the lake, some don’t care if they catch anything. And while there are extremes, sometimes you can have a good mix of both worlds.

They are usually referred to as “good ole boy” tournaments. Entry fees of $30 or less, smaller boats of every shape, less rules, and a more laid back atmosphere. It’s still a contest, but you don’t have to mortgage the house to play.

Stu Davidson organizes just such a tournament each year on Lake Lanier near Tryon. The tournament is open to Lake Lanier property owners and their guests. The entry fee is just $10, and the focus seems to be on having fun.

This year’s event was the 11th annual held in May. Stu said attendance was down a little this year from the norm of around 24 anglers. Big fish honors went to Denver Mullins and Bradley Rathburn who both fish on the Landrum High School fishing team. (Why in the world did they not have high school and college fishing teams when I was young)?

So, no matter if you are a casual bank fisherman, a die-hard tournament angler, or somewhere in between, there are opportunities to get out there and enjoy some time on the water.