The Best Times
August 2, 2012 by 6 Comments
I thought you all might like to hear a little bit about how we used to schedule events back when I was the Tournament Director for B.A.S.S. We didn’t just schedule events on weeks that were available, there was a method to my madness.
When I first started fishing I would always see a piece published in the sport magazines and local papers titled, “Best Fishing Times.” I always wondered if it was valid and how someone could determine the best times from the worst or if there was such a thing.
Years after this, after we organized the Chattanooga Bass Club, and started fishing tournaments, I again wondered about the “Best Fishing Times” and set out to prove or disprove them altogether.
With the club I figured I had a good number of anglers in which to draw the data from and that could help me determine if this was hokey or not. I came up with a small catch report and gave it to each angler before the day started. The anglers were then asked to record where they caught their fish, what lure they caught it on and its color and what time the catch was taken. Then the anglers were to return the reports to me at weigh-in.
What the anglers didn’t know was I was using the reports to compare with the times published in the magazines.
At the end of the year at one of our club meetings I took and wrote the published best times on a blackboard for each tournament and beside that I wrote the times the club members said they caught their fish. The results blew everyone’s minds. The results showed that 94 percent of the time the fish were caught during the published best times.
Later after I went to B.A.S.S. and became their tournament director, BassMaster Magazine was publishing a “Best Times” by Dan Barnett. I contacted Dan and asked him how he determined the times. He told me they were based on the moon and they’d worked for many years, if you knew how to interpret them.
During our conversation I asked him to make me a chart for the best week in each month along with the second, third and fourth best weeks. I also asked him to make sure those best times fell within our tournament dates and the hours we’d be on the water.
The last thing I asked him was not to tell anyone about what he was doing for me because I was going to use it to schedule our tournaments a year in advance so we had either the best week or second-best week in each month.
From then on Dan made me that chart each year until 1987 when I left. We were always able to schedule our tournaments for the best or second-best week for as long as I was the Tournament Director. It would always assure that we’d have the best fishing for that month.
For years we gave the anglers questionnaires to fill out and mail back to us after each event. the return rate was around 60 percent and all of them had the question, “What time did you catch your fish and what time did you get your biggest?” Again the anglers didn’t know I was using the data to compare with the data that Dan had given me a year in advance.
According to the data the anglers gave me, the times they caught their fish hit Dan’s predictions 96 percent of the time. Pretty amazing and also definitive results showing the “Best Times” work.
There is a best time to catch fish but most anglers never use this knowledge.