I answered countless questions from young anglers during my three seasons competing on the Elite Series, but none more popular than “How do I prepare to become an Elite Series angler?” After having gone through the process myself, I’ve narrowed it down to nine steps if your goal is to become an Elite Series pro.
Start competing in tournaments at the club level and work your way up while being careful not to jump levels too quickly. Once you’ve proven you can consistently compete at each level, you’re ready to move up to the next. Jumping levels too quickly can stall your progress by hurting your confidence.
2. Learn from others
Fish with anglers who have more experience than you do. Doing so can expose you to new techniques and patterns quicker than discovering them on your own. I fished as a co-angler for a few years prior to moving to the front of the boat and picked up several techniques more quickly than I could have on my own.
3. Teach yourself
Learn to fish power techniques with lures that are proven winners, like swimbaits, vibrating jigs, and pitching jigs and soft plastics to cover. Finesse tactics occasionally win Elite events, but it’s rare. Even on fisheries like Lake St. Clair where drop shotting wins tournaments, many anglers win using reaction baits as well.
4. Cover water
Learn to cover shallow water quickly and efficiently with reaction baits. Three days of official practice sounds like plenty of time to break down a shallow water fishery, but it’s not. The time goes by fast. The anglers who effectively cover more water stand a better chance at finding more and bigger fish, which leads to more success.