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Fishing the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail as an Amateur
By Arlen Wendt

Arlen Wendt fishing the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail Iíve been on the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail PWT tournament trail, fishing as an amateur for the past three years and soon I will be into my fourth; (I will be doing the Eastern Division this year). I have learned many things over the past three years and would like to share some of them now.
Tournament fishing is tough and I donít care what people say (Iíve been on lake Erie when the waves are coming all the way from Canada from 8 to 10 feet high or have been on Leech Lake when even the PWT called it quits for the day).  No matter what the conditions are, you better be ready to fish. Having fished the PWT these past couple of years has made me realize how tough these Pros have to be to go out there and fish (and consistently catch quality fish), while mother nature usually throws everything she has at them.
The first thing an amateur has to understand, right off the bat is that the best fisherman in the boat is the other guy in the boat, (the Pro). He is the guy that decides where, when, and how you are going to catch fish.  Iíve talked to some amateurs who thought they were better fishermen than the Pro they were with.  That is wrong!!!!  It is the worst thing an amateur can do to himself and the Pro he is fishing with.  The amateur isnít competing with a Pro on who is the better fisherman; they are competing with the other 124 people in the tournament.  None of these Pros are out there to catch a suntan; theyíre out there to compete. I havenít had one PWT Pro who wasnít trying to make it into the money. These guys are playing for real and expect that the amateurs are eager to learn and help them out.
I have finished in the top ten over all for the past two years in a row on the PWT.  The first year there was a little over 40 of us doing the whole circuit and I finished in seventh place. This past year there was over 70 of us doing the whole circuit and I finished ninth over all.  Sure, luck was a part of it, but I would like to think I beat all the other guys out because I did everything I could to make sure the Pro I was with on any given day only had one thing to worry aboutÖ  CATCHING FISH!!!  And that I helped make it happen.
The last and most important lesson I have learned while fishing the PWT these past three years is that if you are thinking of turning Pro, make sure you have the sponsorship and networking with other pros established before you do so. This is too big a commitment, both with your time and your money to take lightly.  I have seen amateurs do well during the season and then think they can compete with the big guys the next season.  The fact is only about ten percent of these guys ever make it past two years.  Besides being a good angler you have to have the sponsorship and Pro contacts to be successful on the PWT tournament trail today. 

Wishing you tight lines and good fishing,

Arlen Wendt


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