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Tournament Talk - By: Steve Chaconas - Feb. 2004

When you have a chance to win a tournament, you better take it! Murphy should have written a separate law for tournament fishing. Mechanical problems will occur and you are chasing one of God's creatures affected by minor Mother Nature changes.

Fishing his 4th Bassmaster event, 34-year-old Missouri pro Shane Voyles came from 5th place on the final day to win November's Alabama Citgo Bassmaster
Southern Open . Before he hit Lake Eufaula , all he wanted to know was how
much weight it was taking to win tournaments the weeks in advance of the
Bassmaster event and the lake conditions. Then he watched the weather. Voyles knows how humbling this sport can be. "Don't get caught up in what other people are doing to catch fish, you've got to be able to survive on your own". On the final day, he got plenty of sleep and prepared himself mentally. " I went out swinging for the fences, went out to win the tournament ".

Timing is everything. Before qualifying for December's Bassmaster Open
Championship at Toledo Bend, John Murray had never won a Bassmaster event BUT he had won over $1 million as a pro! With three consecutive top-ten finishes in the 2003 Open trail and qualifying for the Classic, Murray said the pressure was off. "Sometimes you really start to have doubts. "I've had some shots at some Western Opens in the last couple of years". Murray took his Western techniques to a well known "community hole" and worked a drop shot rig while everyone else was throwing Carolina rigs. Getting his limit, he ran to his secondary spot throwing lipless crankbaits in an area where no one was fishing and culled his community hole limit. "To me it was a timing deal, it seemed like 10:30, 11 the shad would get active in this area and I knew those fish would relate in that high sun to the stumps". Murray's experience told him that the worst thing he could do would be to go to that secondary spot early, not get a bite, then leave. His timing paid off.

Fishing from the back of the boat doesn't yield too many chances to win.
Wayne Hayes from Virginia Beach won twice in eight months, a Tour event and an Open event. "I try not to throw the same baits they do when fishing tight
cover if they fish fast, I fish fast." Hayes rigs his six rods with baits to allow him
to fish at the same speed as his boat partner. "You have to adapt, and try
to make friends with the guy and enjoy the day |if you don't you won't have an
enjoyable outing. Whatever you do, Hayes says, "Don't give up!, Sometimes
the last cast can do it!"

Tournament fishing is a sport with the same intensity, focus, and persistence of the "ball sports" without the ball. The winners stand up at every
level. They don't wait their turn.

Steve Chaconas is a bass fishing guide on the Potomac River. Listen to the "National Bass Fishing Show" Saturdays at 8am on

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