The Bassmaster Opens have quickly become one of the most competitive tournament trails in the country. A record number of anglers signed up to compete in all nine of the 2023 Opens, and with the 2024 schedule featuring stops at some of the top lakes in the U.S., it’s likely to become an even more hotly contested playing field for aspiring Elite Series anglers.
Bass Talk Live host Matt Pangrac is currently finishing up his third year of fishing a full Bassmaster Open schedule, and has learned some important lessons along the way that he thinks can help anglers looking to make the jump in 2024.
“Fishing a full Bassmaster Open schedule gives you a true taste of what it is like to travel all across the country to compete on different fisheries. The schedule is similar to what you would experience if you qualified for the Bassmaster Elite Series, so it is a great learning opportunity. Over the past few years I’ve learned several things that I wish I knew when I started this journey. Hopefully learning from some of my mistakes can help you succeed in 2024,” said Pangrac.
Pangrac’s Five Tips For Opens Success
- Take care of your housing before the year starts. One of the most stressful things is not having a place to stay and depending on where the tournament is places fill up fast. Figure out who you’re rooming with and reserve your housing ASAP so you don’t have to worry about it and can focus on fishing.
- Create a budget with every expense that you think you’ll incur for each tournament. Having an expectation of the amount of money you will spend will help keep you from being stressed out. I also always add a cushion for additional expenses, such as baits and tackle that you might need for a specific stop.
- Identify an area of the lake or river where you can fish your strengths. It’s hard enough to compete at this level doing what you’re good at, let alone something that you are not familiar with. One of the biggest mistakes I personally have made numerous times is trying to see an entire fishery with limited practice time. I’ve had my best tournaments when I concentrated on a small area and fished within my comfort zone.
- Realize that you are not fishing against the other competitors. You’re fishing against yourself. Your goal is to come in with five fish every day. Don’t worry about what other people are catching. Just figure out how you can catch the five biggest fish. If you can do that the results will take care of themselves.
- Understand that it’s a process. Even those who experience success immediately realize that even the best professional anglers win less than 10% of the events they compete in. Set achievable goals for yourself and don’t set your expectations too high. This is a process and each year is just one step in the process, you can‘t accomplish everything all at once.
Registration for the 2024 Bassmaster Opens will open November 7, beginning with B.A.S.S. Life and Nation anglers who want to participate in the Opens EQ Division.
For more information, visit Bassmaster.com/Opens.