Jump to content
Alan Reed

Tournament Prep

Recommended Posts

What are some of your go to sources of information when you are prepping for a tournament?

 

Obviously Navionics for reviewing the water structure, but what else? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Normally a few buddies that don't mind sharing info. The only definite info is water temp and possibly what cover or structure they noticed bass around. I don't pay much attention to what lure people caught them on. I'll read local fishing reports as well but they are hit or miss most of the time. I try to rely on practice if that's allowed and from there just fish what's in front of me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't really have many. 

As a co angler I have to go where they want to go but I'll chose what to throw based on where we're at on the lake, depth, weather, experience and confidence in what I tie on. 

 

 

 

Mike

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan, it is critical that you prefish the body of water you are going to have the tournament.

 

You will learn about water clarity, water temperature, baits that work and don't work, structure, cover, piers, docks, ramps, boat houses, current, creeks, coves, marinas, bridges, bait fish and everything else you can see and experience.

 

If a tidal river, you have to do this two weeks before the tournament to get the same tides.

 

You can speak with others; read about the body of water; look at it on Google Earth; but there is nothing to compare to being on the water the day or two before the tournament.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Sam said:

Alan, it is critical that you prefish the body of water you are going to have the tournament.

 

You will learn about water clarity, water temperature, baits that work and don't work, structure, cover, piers, docks, ramps, boat houses, current, creeks, coves, marinas, bridges, bait fish and everything else you can see and experience.

 

If a tidal river, you have to do this two weeks before the tournament to get the same tides.

 

You can speak with others; read about the body of water; look at it on Google Earth; but there is nothing to compare to being on the water the day or two before the tournament.

I will definitely be prefishing for the the tournaments but working through what all I can do before I get there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Sam said:

Alan, it is critical that you prefish the body of water you are going to have the tournament.

 

You will learn about water clarity, water temperature, baits that work and don't work, structure, cover, piers, docks, ramps, boat houses, current, creeks, coves, marinas, bridges, bait fish and everything else you can see and experience.

 

If a tidal river, you have to do this two weeks before the tournament to get the same tides.

 

You can speak with others; read about the body of water; look at it on Google Earth; but there is nothing to compare to being on the water the day or two before the tournament.

 

Even the Pros pre-fish 😉

 

Tournament or not the key to consistency is c to fish a lot!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll often try and find prior tournament results at the given body of water.  I'll look at the time of year and see if there are any consistencies in winning weights.  This can help with bait/technique selection.  For example: if your tournament is in the summer and you've found out that it only only took 8 to 10 pounds to win 5 prior summer tournaments at the particular lake, then you might decide that small baits or finesse techniques are probably the way to go.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Long post incoming :)...Not everything is applicable to ever body of water, but these are the big things I do when prepping for a tournament.  I don't go through every single one of these every time, some bodies of water are more suited for heavy preparation than others for me.

 

Maps/Charts - Navionics online charts have really made things a lot easier, but the old big, folding paper maps are still a good reference to get a perspective of the whole lake instead of just whats on your computer screen.  If you are fishing tidal water or the great lakes, look at NOAA charts also, they can show things differently than other maps do.  I also make my own maps from Navionics screen shots and print them on 11x17 (half the lake on each side).  I'll mark them up with areas I want to pre-fish or explore and also with my own historical notes/spots.  The 11x17 is big enough to read and small enough to tuck in the windshield of my boat for easy access throughout the day.  It's my cheat sheet so that I don't forget about things I intended to check out or to help refocus myself if things get off the rails a little bit.  It's a lot of work and I will update it for each tournament in many cases...But for me it's been one of the best prep items I've ever used.

 

Water conditions - Temperature, levels, clarity, current, dam operations, tides or anything else.  All, some, or none may apply depending on the body of water.  I try to keep an eye on this in the weeks leading up to the tournament to get a feel for the general trends.  This info is not always available, but much of it usually is if you look in the right places.  The importance of this data is not in the physical data itself so much, but more of how it applies to the body of water and the way you fish.  That part is on you to discover through experience ;).  

 

Weather - Again, I try to check it in the time leading up to the tournament to get an idea for the trend.  I also will check on weather in the areas upstream in case it might have an effect on the lake/river I'm fishing.  Just remember that forecasts are never exact and often change (sometimes in a big way) on short notice.  Make sure to check it once you get to the lake and not rely on what you saw the day before....I've changed gears right before launching because things like wind direction or cloud cover forecasts changed dramatically overnight.  I like to use wind direction/speed and cloud cover forecasts primarily for fishing concerns and temperature forecasts to determine how I need to dress ;).  

 

Satellite Mapping - This is huge for me, on many lakes it's my #1 prep tool.  Cycling back through historic images will usually show times of low water, better water clarity, or better overall images that will let you see things differently and can reveal things you might otherwise overlook.  I like to look for images taken in winter since the water is usually lower/clearer and the leaves are off the trees, both of which will give you a better look at the shorelines.  You can also use satellite mapping to see things like where grass grows, if there are sections with clearer/dirtier water, locations of docks, etc...I will put things I find on satellite images on my paper maps so that I can easily check them out on the water, sometimes I'll even create waypoints to transfer to my GPS if's really specific.  Many times Navionics or other charts will simply stop or be inadequate in the very backs of creeks or rivers or coves, showing them to appear as just a big flat area of nothing (or unmapped altogether)...It can cover fairly large areas too.  I use satellite mapping to find and mark things I'm interested in and then transfer those waypoints to my GPS so that I can target them and/or safely navigate the area.  Obviously, all the satellite stuff I do is primarily geared toward relatively shallow water fishing/patterns.  

 

Reports/Results - I look at these but don't place a huge emphasis on it.  Most reports online are brief and generally just consist of "I got this nice one on a jig...".  Most people these days aren't posting specifics in public places (I never do) since they know so many people are looking for that kind of info now.  If you look on local forums you can get a general feel for the conditions from "The lake is fishing tough/great" type posts even if there is no specific info in them.  There are also the weekly type reports from guides or local sites, but they are often too general or are just canned paragraphs so their usefulness is limited.  Results are good indicator of how the lake is fishing, but again take it with a grain of salt since things change all the time and some tournaments/clubs/trails are better than others in terms of results.  

 

I probably do more tournament prep than others might want or have time to do, but I enjoy it almost as much as the actual fishing.  With repetition, I think it helps you as an angler overall beyond just a specific lake.  

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Logan S said:

Cycling back through historic images will usually show times of low water

where do you find old images?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, riverbasser said:

where do you find old images?

Google Earth primarily, the the application you install on your computer has more options than the web based Google Maps.  There are some other places to get satellite images also, but Google Maps/Earth is the one I use the most.  

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yep, google earth application has a historical satellite imagery slider, so you can go back to different images and see low water/water clarity/land erosion(SE Louisiana).  I use it mostly to look for clean water during times of year when rivers are high, you can see the month and year that the image was taken, then compare it to historical lake/river levels and get an idea of what to expect.  Its not perfect, but it doesn't hurt.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great information.

 

Only problem is that you need to see the water conditions to decide where to go and what to throw.

 

So many of us guys have our minds made up as to where we are going to fish and what baits and presentations we are going to use.

 

Then, we get to the ramp; blast off at 100 miles per hour; get to our first place before anyone else; and nothing happens. No bites. No misses. Nothing.

 

What we did wrong is not taking the time to look at the water conditions. All of our mental preparation is down the drain when we encounter unknown water conditions.


Now don't get me wrong, all of the preparation is needed before you tie on your first bait. But what I am saying is that no matter how much preparation, study, review and looking at historical information cannot match time on the water.

 

If you have confidence in your prep work then keep doing it. But please put the water conditions into your formula.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×