So what is an “online” tournament? The online tournament is a contest that requires the angler to catch, photo, and release just like a “live” tournament but then upload the pictures to a particular online site. It is a lot of fun, and most last a month so the angler has plenty of time to fish at their leisure and on their local waters.
Some of the success with this type of challenge depends on many factors. The handling of a catch can be stressful as the angler determines the length on a measuring board. Most tournament directors require a “closed mouth” and the entire fish in the picture, along with an “identifier” that is previously printed and placed so that it appears in the picture. To keep the identifier from getting wet, the angler can place it in a small sandwich bag and use a small clip for weight, or even place something in the bag that has enough weight so it doesn’t blow away in the wind. [Use care with this – a weighted bag accidentally dropped overboard may sink quickly and end your tournament fishing day… - Imperial Revisionist.]
When placing the fish on the board, the angler can hold the fish by the mouth until the camera is readied. I usually take the first picture with my hand still holding the fish. If you take the hand away slowly and have the camera ready, there is a one to two second time period during which the fish will lie motionless. If you get lucky, there will be a great picture to submit. Many a fish has been lost this way without any credit to the angler.
Some challenges require a “hero shot”, and you can just hold the identifier in your mouth while getting the picture when by yourself. If you catch many fish and take several pictures, it is a good idea to place the identifier in different positions for each individual fish. You can also look at the “time stamp” if you right click on “properties” when editing your pictures on the computer. It is a good idea to take several pictures of the fish just in case there is a blur from movement.
Some anglers like to wait until the last hour of the tournament to submit results. There are pros and cons to this method. I’ve heard of anglers not getting anything submitted because they didn’t make it home in time for the deadline to submit their entries. Also, there is a chance your service provider may be down. It might be a good idea to submit as you catch the fish. You can always “upgrade”, a method used by many anglers to improve their score.
Be sure to label your catch with your name, entry number, and length of the fish. This helps the director with identification. You might also want to make an individual folder for each session you fish, and label your pictures that you save. You can discard all the pictures you are not using to avoid confusion as well.
As for the camera, a portable camera or smart phone is a great idea - but be sure both are charged! You can also carry a spare camera, just in case. There are many opportunities for success and fun for the “online” tournament angler.