I have such admiration for what I call the fishing tournament grinders. These are the men and women who grind and work really hard at tournament fishing for the love of the sport and the competition. I could tell by his Twitter that Richard Hough is a true Ontario fishing grinder. And I am so appreciative that he took some time to fill us in on his tournament fishing success.
As this open water season winds down, what were your greatest areas of growth as an angler this past year?
I would have to say patience and time on the water. Fishing is a sport of patience and often times, we go for long periods without a bite. You need to be confident in your water and be patient that you will get a bite when you know fish are in the area. Time on the water is crucial to becoming a better angler; we all read the magazines on tips and techniques but nothing beats getting the boat out and spending time on the water.
What was your biggest bass of the year?
My partner and I were fishing the CSFL Regional Cup on the Bay of Quinte on a partly cloudy day with a slight chop in about 6’ of water. I hooked into a 5 lb largemouth using a wacky rigged plastic stick bait. The sun was not out so you could not see the weeds in the area. I love catching bass this way as you start to feel that tug on your line!
Recently you finished first on Lake Simcoe as a non-boater. Congrats! Walk us through that fishing day.
This was our last Barrie Bassmasters club tournament on our home Lake Simcoe. It’s always a gamble with mother nature as the winds can blow up on the lake and make for a rough day. The day started out windy but Kempenfelt Bay on the lake didn’t look too bad so we decided as a club to carry on with the tournament. We stopped at our first stop about 10 minutes from the launch on a spot I knew produced fish. About 20’ from shore it is about 25’ deep progressing to about 5’ as you get closer to shore. The breeze on the lake kept it choppy and we threw from the deeper water into the shallower water with soft plastics. My plan was to catch a 4 bass limit first and then ‘upgrade’ from there. I didn’t need to upgrade very much as my limit was very respectable and good for the win on the co-angler side.
Other than winning of course, how do you define a successful fishing tournament?
Obviously most tournament anglers want to win; it is the competitive nature in us. Sometimes though we don’t do as well as we plan to especially on a ‘favorite’ lake. You have to be humble about it and congratulate those who do well on the tournaments that you do not. Other anglers judge your reaction both in the boat and on shore during both your good days as well as your bad days. You have to act professional and sportsmanlike not matter how the day ends. One of my greatest pleasures is taking a newer tournament angler out to some spots and have them catch more than me! The smile on their face is priceless!
You fish tournaments all over Ontario. Which is your favorite tournament lake?
That’s a tough one. I have a lot of favorite lakes that I like here in Ontario. One of my favorites is Gloucester Pool, part of the Trent Severn waterway across Ontario. I like to fish it recreationally with my son so when I do a tournament there, I am reminded of the times I am on the water with him. My neighbor also has a cottage on the lake that my wife and I spend time at so again, it is reflective of the good times we have had at the cottage when I am doing a tournament at a different time.
Which lake gives you the hardest time? What have been your experiences on that water?
I would have to say Lake Muskoka or Balsam Lake. Some times I have done well on them and the next time not so well, especially when you go to a spot that you knew there were fish on. I think it depends on the time of year, water temperature and choice of baits. Sometimes you have to slow things down and other times they are looking for a reaction bait. As I said earlier, nothing beats time on the water and this is especially true on lakes like these.
I have recently started using a Lew’s reel again and love it. Lew’s is one of your sponsors. What do you like about using their fishing reels?
Lew’s have been around since Lew Childre began Lew’s back in the 1940’s. I love my Lew’s reels and am glad to be part of their team. I use both their spinning reels and casting reels and have not had a problem with either. Todays Lew’s reels are faster, lighter and stronger and you can have them in your hands without feeling fatigued or sore at the end of the day. They offer great customer service and warranty; several BASS Elite anglers and FLW anglers are sponsored by Lew’s and in those series, the reels would certainly get a workout all year and those anglers need to make sure their equipment is top notch, as are Lew’s reels.
What can you tell us about each of your other sponsors?
I am truly fortunate to be on board with several companies. I started out with VRX fishing, Jim Van Ryn, and the Rod Glove back in 2010 and have loved watching the company grow since then. Rod gloves protect my fishing rods whether in the boat or stored at home. They prevent lines from becoming tangled on each other and also protect your rods from damage as well. They also have reel protectors along with other great products.
I have been with Denali rods, Scott Estes and Mike Helton, since 2011 and love the way the company has also grown. There are specific technique rods coming out every year as well as apparel and accessories. I love my Denali rods; I br
oke a rod tip once and had a couple new tips in the mail a few days later!
I am also with hard lure company Livingston Lures, Robert Castaneda, since 2013; I remember doing a skype interview with Robert back then and it was an instant connection. Livingston is based out of San Antonio, TX and their lures emit an electronic baitfish sound mimicking the sound of an injured baitfish. State of the art lures are coming out now where you can change the sound in the lure with a tap on your smartphone via an app.
I came on board with First Mate Lures, Claude and Rolly Dorval, in 2015. They are a soft plastic lure manufacturer out of Ottawa, Ontario and their stickbaits have caught me a ton of fish! They also pour drop shot baits, craws, tubes, grubs and soft jerkbaits.
This year I came on board with Gill Fishing, Colin Clark and Becky Bowen, to outfit me on the water. The company started out in England many years ago in the sailing industry and has progressively ventured into the fishing industry all the way to the BASS Elite series. I love my Gill gear whether it keeps me warm, dry or cool in all kinds of weather.
I am so proud and grateful to be affiliated with these great companies and look forward to many years ahead with them; I love representing all of them on and off the water as best I can.
During this off season, what aspect of fishing will you be working on most before next year when you will be representing Team Ontario in B.A.S.S. Eastern Regionals?
Making Team Ontario this past August was certainly a dream come true for me. I have been with Barrie Bassmasters since 2009 and this year was the first time making it after many years trying! It was held on the Bay of Quinte and I had 19.53lbs for a 6 fish limit, good for second place overall on the co-angler side. The team is comprised of 10+1 alternate on both the boater and co-angler side. We should find out very soon where the Eastern regionals will be held in the USA. It will be exciting to research the lake and what lies beneath! Fishing is definitely a bit of luck and a bit of skill combined with a positive mental attitude to get ready for over the winter.
Can’t wait to follow Richard’s success in the B.A.S.S. Eastern Regionals and his 2017 tournaments. I am confident he will do really well, grinders always do.
To keep an eye on Richard’s tournament fishing, you can follow him on Twitter.