These tournament tips might land more fish

If you’ve ever wondered why some guys consistently do well in offshore fishing tournaments,Capt.Casey Hunt will let you in on some of his secrets

Secret No. 1:

Make sure all your fishing tackle is in perfect condition. Every fishing tournament has stories about fish that got away because lines broke,knots came undone and reels seized.“You make sure the rigs are perfect and make sure the reels have new line,” Hunt said. “Before a tournament we re-spool our reels with Momoi Diamond Line. That’s a huge confidence factor for me and we use the same exact knot for everything, a fisherman’s knot [also known as a clinch knot].” Hunt,of Pompano Beach, has been winning tournaments for more than 20 years. He got his start as a teenager fishing wahoo and marlin tournaments in the Bahamas with his father, Brad,whose other two sons, Chip and Stan, also have numerous offshore tournament titles to their credit fishing with and against their oldest brother.

For Casey Hunt, one of his most satisfying tournament performances was a few weeks ago when he skippered the Flight Plan,a 66 foot Spencer, to a second place finish in the Mercury/SeaVee Pompano Beach Salt water shootout, which had a fleet of 121 boats

The Flight Plan owner, Chris Peyerk and his friends Joe Ferro, Tom Washaba, Matt Mueller and Jim Doescher had never fished in a meat fish tournament before.In fact,the first time they and Hunt and mates Chris Meek and Craig Maret fished together for kingfish, blackfin tuna, wahoo, cobia and dolphin was the day before the Shootout.

“I was absolutely elated,” Hunt said. “I was just over the top excited.”

“For me to take my boss, who I love fishing with, and to have him be competitive in a big tournament, it meant a lot to me.” It also meant a lot to Peyerk and his friends.

“I get 20 or 30 days of fishing in a year, 40 in a good year, so we’re not as good as the guys we’re fishing against,” said Peyerk, whose father’s boat was captained by Hunt’s father. “I think the reason we did well is a testament to our captain and our mates,a good boat, good tackle and great line.”

Secret No.2:

Every crew member has a specific job. During the practice day, Hunt kept reminding his anglers to focus on the fishing rods they were supposed to watch.

“You’re responsible for a certain rod, don’t leave it. Even if there’s a bite on another rod, don’t confuse things and pick it up. This is even more critical if your flying a kite. One look the wrong way can make one heck of a mess.” Hunt said. “That’s the hard part with a new team, trying to get them to do that, because they get so excited they just start grabbing everything.”

That wasn’t a problem during the Shootout. “We do a good job of listening because we don’t know any better,” Peyerk said. Along similar lines is

Secret No.3:

There is one primary gaffman and one man who backs him up. Hunt does not want different guys going for the gaff when a fish comes to the Boat. If you don’t have the same guy gaffing, a different guy isn’t used to the situation. He can gaff the line or make a mistake,” Hunt said.