Fishing tournaments can be intimidating, especially when your going up against anglers with a “home lake” advantage. However any and all advantage that experience on that body of water can be eliminated with proper preparation and commitment. Here are my four steps to preparing to fish a tournament on an unfamiliar body of water.
Step one- Have a thorough understanding of the behavioral patterns of bass.
Everybody knows bass go deep with colder water and shallow with warm. But a thorough understand of the seasonal patterns and understand how weather changes can impact the progression can pay huge dividends when it comes to locating bass.
Step two- Study, Study, Study..
Bury your face in the navionics charts and depth count outs and circle/mark spots that stand out to you. A big advantage a new set of eyes has on fishing techniques is that you don’t have the bad habits built up by fishing that body of water in the past. All of us our guilty of the thought of “I’ve never really caught bass there before”, or I’ve only caught a few from that ledge in the past. In a tournament one fish can make or break you, if there is one good fish on a ledge it’s worth a significant amount of time in regards to your efficiency in a cast per fish evaluation.
Step three- Stick to the basics
With all the advances in lure technology, Alabama rigs, whopper ploppers, swimbaits bigger than most bass… it’s very easy to over think situations. You throw too much at them when all you need is a square bill 1.5 to wear them out. Practice fishing with three lures and adjust those retrieves and our targeting methods to master the basics. Advances gear can be deadly to bass when used properly and just as deadly to your results when used improperly.
Step four- Get solid pre fishing days before the tournament
Use your pre fishing time wisely, I spend more time looking at my sonar for water temp, depth and schools of fish than I do fishing. I make sure I have a good understanding of where the fish are consistently holding and then I try to see what the are hitting. The locations are more important than strikes because of weather changes the day before you have a good idea on where they are and can adjust tactics accordingly, if you just focused on what lures to throw you can be left starting at square one once the clock starts.
I hope you enjoyed this quick post and I look forward to detailing pre tournament planning as I prepare for the 2017 Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship. Thanks again for swinging by and don’t forget to let you thoughts be heard by way of comments. Stay safe and God bless.