Photo by Josh Gassmann
By Joel Shangle - January 8, 2019
ARDMORE, Okla. – Major League Fishing Select rookie Brandon Coulter learned the hard way that time goes way faster than you can anticipate during a day of MLF competition. Especially during the breaks.
Fishing his first-ever MLF round in Summit Select Elimination Round 1 on Lake Murray, Coulter finished seventh out of eight anglers, with one fish for 3 pounds, 8 ounces. Granted, it was an extremely tough day for the entire field, with only 28 fish caught over a combined 60 fishing hours, but the Tennessee pro found himself shaking his head at his own failed time management.
“I came into the event with the thought that I wouldn’t tie on many baits, and then use the 15 minutes before the start of competition to tie on some stuff based on what I saw when I got a look at the lake,” Coulter says. “I also thought I’d have enough time between periods to make wholesale changes if I needed to. Turns out that I had a terrible strategy.”
Coulter knew he was in trouble near the end of the first-period break, as he hurried to switch baits on the collection of rods he had on deck. As he left the launch for Period 2, his number of new baits tied on was exactly one.
“On TV, those period breaks seem like an easy half-hour,” Coulter says. “Heck, I can tie on eight or nine new baits in 30 minutes, so I had this idea in my head that I’d have all these rods ready, and I’d make seven, eight or nine bait changes and be all ready for the next round. I just learned that the breaks aren’t really breaks. The time just disappears. You have run time back to the ramp, you do a little recap for the TV camera, you eat a little beef jerky, and you get six new rods out. And then somebody says something to you, you start talking and the next thing you know, the break is over and you have exactly one bait tied on.”
Next time out – at the 2019 Challenge Select – Coulter will fish with a completely different strategy.
“I’m going to show up with 30 rods, rigged for every possible situation I should run into for the time of year and the area we’re fishing,” Coulter says. “That’s what I should’ve done in Ardmore. I should’ve had a white jig tied on, because at that time of year, you swim a white jig. I had a little bit of a learning curve the first time out, but I’ll be ready next time.”