I’ve been waiting for Predator Tour 2021 for many months. It was postponed many times and at the end it was scheduled to almost the same time as the other competitions that I wanted to participate. The decision had to be one – we’re going no matter what. So, thanks again to Daniel and Lee Brackley for picking me up straight from Lake Challenge 2 . My boat partner – Pawel – came long way from Poland by himself. Not an easy beginning.
The scoring in Predator Tour is a little bit complicated. You need to catch 3 pike, 3 zander and 3 perch and you can do it in any order but to get points from your perch you need to have 3 zander and to get points from your zander you need to have 3 pike.
The plan was simple – I’m a casting angler and Pawel is a vertical angler – so we try to figure out where fish are and we target big ones utilizing Pawel’s experience with pelagic fish and livescope. In the meantime we catch smaller fish by casting. Unfortunately we had only 2 days of practice and it wasn’t enough. We didn’t find any patterns and spots with pelagic fish. We had only nice perch when casting. We knew that my best spots from previous years are well known by others and everybody hammers them during practice sessions and also there will be many boats fishing them during competition days. So we wanted to find smaller and more secret places. It worked out with perch but surprisingly we struggled with zander which for me is always the easiest specie to catch. We had no time at all for pike but I assumed that as always they will be a bycatch.
Luck was not on our side from the beginning and we were making a lot of mistakes. We lost our boat registration plates (they should be glued better), we lost a side scan transducer, I broke my favorite zander rod… I had also a feeling that we are in the right places but at the wrong times. And the first half of the first day didn’t look any different – we couldn’t find pelagic fish and in our perch spots we couldn’t catch any fish although we saw them swimming around. It was frustrating … In the middle of the day Pawel lost 80+ pelagic zander and I thought that the day will going to be a disaster. I was wrong – we went to the last spot and fish started to be active. I was targeting zander with big shads and Pawel was casting with spinners after perch. What happened? I caught two big perch (48+) and Pawel two nice competition zander (59 and 62). That was a good finish that extremely built up our morale !
The second day we had to change our plans – because of the strong wind the first 2 hours everybody had to fish the rivers. It was not allowed to go to the big water. I knew it’s going to be crowded, so we decided that no more searching for fish but we go fast through my old waypoints and we stop at the first available. My best spot was occupied by two boats but the next one was free so we stopped and started to fish. There was many boats around but nobody was catching fish. After 30 minutes I had the first zander but I lost it very quickly. I was pissed because it would fill our zander card but Pawel said I will catch the next one soon. He was right – a few minutes later I had 59 cm one. It didn’t stay long on the card because I caught another one of 76 cm. Very good competition fish ! We were very happy and we decided to stay at this place till the end of these first 2 hours. Again it was a good decision because after another 30 minutes I caught 98 cm pike. Our card started to look very good.
The rest of the day and the big water wasn’t so nice for us. We struggled with perch and only fish I caught was another good zander – 72 cm. Pawel had a nice pike around 80-90 cm but he lost it.
It wasn’t an easy day but we were happy with the result. We had very good fish and “only” 2 pike and one perch left to catch.
We had to make a difficult decision for the day 3. Should we go to small fish spots and fill the card quickly and search for bigger ones or go far far away to my big fish spots hoping to get 2 good pike and one perch? We calculated the points, compared with other teams and we knew we have a real chance to get into the top 5. We just need a little bit of luck. Maybe we’ll go 40 km (one way) and all my spots are going be empty and we’ll end up without 3 pike (zander and perch won’t count then)… We hadn’t checked these spots this year so it was a big gamble. At the end the decision could be only one – go big ! 🙂
The day started poorly – our best perch spot produced zander between 59 and 63 cm but we didn’t need them. So, we moved further to the distant location and started to scan all my spots. Unfortunately they were almost empty – only bream. We made a few cast here and there but mostly we were moving and trying to find some predators. At some point we decided to have a break and we started to drift on shallow water and casting after pike. I had a very good fish quickly but it was on my perch rod with a very short leader (30 cm) and it was not long enough. I lost it 🙁
Next hour didn’t give us any more bites so we went back to the searching mode.
Finally we found interesting looking fish on one of my big perch spots. I was expecting monster perch but … it was zander again.
And that was it. We didn’t catch any more pike or perch only zander. So we end up at the very bottom of the list with very good fish on our card. Are we regret our decisions? Not really. We had an opportunity to finish at a very good place and we grab it. We didn’t play safe and we lost. At least we tried 🙂
Big congrats to my friend Jeroen Breur for winning the whole event. You deserved to win it !
Congrats also to Mariusz and Slawek for 5th place. You’re always at the top. Pure class !