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Djamesbond3

New to Tournament Fishing

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Hey guys I just joined a bass club down here where I live and fished my first tournament last month. I finished middle of the pack but the guy that won whooped everybody. We mainly fish rivers here in South Mississippi and he had a 16 pound bag which is pretty impressive. I was wondering if there are any tips on how to catch the bigger bass. I caught plenty of fish and usually do on the rivers but they are always smaller. Every now and then I have days where I get a few good ones but never the 15lb bag it takes to win. How do y’all catch the bigger fish?

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Target bigger fish!

 

Most guys goal is to put 5 in the boat of any size.

 

My goal is I'm in it to win it!

 

Those same guys will tell ya, that aint how the Pros do it!

 

To which I reply, they have 3-4 days to win it, I got 1 😉

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Do you fish the Pearl River system?

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Yeah we fish the pearl about 3 times.  That's where our first tourney was last month.  Caught over 10 fish but all small.  The guy who won had 16-17 pounds.  Idk if it is certain techniques to catch the bigger fish or if the bigger fish pattern is different than the rest.

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If all ya catching are small fish...move 😉

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I'm with @Catt most guys go after 5 and then look for a kicker. I fish for 5 kickers! I also am not scared to pick up and leave if all I'm catching is small ones. And a big key is to always have confidence in yourself and don't worry about the other anglers.

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7 minutes ago, CroakHunter said:

I'm with @Catt most guys go after 5 and then look for a kicker. I fish for 5 kickers! I also am not scared to pick up and leave if all I'm catching is small ones. And a big key is to always have confidence in yourself and don't worry about the other anglers.

 

Fish the lake...not against the other anglers!  😉

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22 minutes ago, CroakHunter said:

I'm with @Catt most guys go after 5 and then look for a kicker. I fish for 5 kickers! I also am not scared to pick up and leave if all I'm catching is small ones. And a big key is to always have confidence in yourself and don't worry about the other anglers.

When you fish for the kickers, are you just fishing bigger baits like jigs? Also if you ever fish rivers do the bigger bass generally sit out a little deeper? I know when I fish lakes I routinely catch bigger fish out deeper and off the banks but haven't tried that in the rivers

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7 minutes ago, Djamesbond3 said:

When you fish for the kickers, are you just fishing bigger baits like jigs? Also if you ever fish rivers do the bigger bass generally sit out a little deeper? I know when I fish lakes I routinely catch bigger fish out deeper and off the banks but haven't tried that in the rivers

 

What part of the river system do you fish?

 

Is it tidal effected?

 

When I'm talking bigger fish I'm not talking double digits, that would be nice. The bigger your kicker fish the smaller your 4 can be. 

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I know some of the guys will fish the marsh first(South of the hwy 90), because there are more numbers down there, but smaller fish in general.  They will get a limit south, then move north of Hwy 90 or fish the West pearl to try and pick up some kickers.  Everyone I talk to around there says the closer you get to the West Pearl the bigger the fish get, the biggest fish being in the West Pearl. The down side is, the West pearl is usually the muddiest and has the most current of all the others.  Also, I'm not sure what your tournament rules are, but I know for some of the bigger tournaments in that area that don't have an off limits, some of those guys will run all the way to Delacroix to fish.  I just started fishing the Pearl river system about a a year ago, so I'm far from an expert.  The above is just what I have learned reading and talking to guys who fish the area.

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5 minutes ago, Catt said:

 

What part of the river system do you fish?

 

Is it tidal effected?

 

When I'm talking bigger fish I'm not talking double digits, that would be nice. The bigger your kicker fish the smaller your 4 can be. 

Oh no im not talking about double figures either.  Just those 3-5 pound fish will work down here.  There have been 8-12 pounders caught in these rivers but usually 15-17 pounds will get you a win or top 3 in almost all tournaments here.  Honestly some tournaments are won with 10 pounds but our club has a guy that is consistently averaging 15-17 pounds so I am trying to figure out what he is doing differently.  All of our rivers are tidal.

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I'd use bigger lures, the little guys can't eat them. If the river is muddy, go for baits that have scent, vibration, etc. It'll attract fish better. 

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 Catt is trying to help you!

The tactic of catching a limit of 5 small bass when bigger bass are active is counter productive because you are wasting precious time. Target kicker bass first, then fish for easy to catch size bass during the slow periods. 

Tom

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Fish the West Pearl River when it's below 8'. Target drains, even at slack tide & cypress-tree points. At 9'+  don't fish the West Pearl.

 

First to stop falling & stabilize is the East Pearl, then the Middle Pearl, then the Middle West Pearl & finally the West Pearl.

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1 minute ago, WRB said:

 Catt is trying to help you!

The tactic of catching a limit of 5 small bass when bigger bass are active is counter productive because you are wasting precious time. Target kicker bass first, then fish for easy to catch size bass during the slow periods. 

Tom

Oh I definitely want to just fish the bigger bass.  I want wins, I know sometimes only hunting for kickers will bite you but I want to wins.  I am just trying to figure out what tactic and where to find the bigger ones.

2 minutes ago, Catt said:

Fish the West Pearl River when it's below 8'. Target drains, even at slack tide & cypress-tree points. At 9'+  don't fish the West Pearl.

 

First to stop falling & stabilize is the East Pearl, then the Middle Pearl, then the Middle West Pearl & finally the West Pearl.

Thanks man.  Our next tournament is the 24th at the Jordan River over here in Bay St. Louis.  Hopefully I can find some bigger ones this go around. Then next month we fish lock one on the pearl which I have never even seen so may have to make a trip over there to practice.

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Where do the bigger bass go after being released? Answer, not far!

Tom

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If ya looking at 15-17# to win, you can average 3 lbs or any combination to get there. 

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The hardest thing to do is deciding to leave biting bass because you think there are bigger fish biting.  Knowing previous results from your club's tournaments and other clubs can paint a picture of what you should be fishing for.   For example, in the club I fished, Oneida might produce an 18# day from a northern open.  Keep in mind, those are the best sticks from all over.  15# might win it my club.  In fact, I won on a tough day with 14#, and came in second another time with 12.5#.  Alternately, some lakes just churn them out.  A place like Conesus gets hammered with a tournaments every day of the week, and multiples on the weekends.  In any case, regardless of skill, you need 20# to even consider yourself in contention.  I've bags approaching 30# from really good anglers. 

 

So, aside from all the very good advice above, it really helps that decision process if you know about what you need to have.

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28 minutes ago, Djamesbond3 said:

When you fish for the kickers, are you just fishing bigger baits like jigs? Also if you ever fish rivers do the bigger bass generally sit out a little deeper? I know when I fish lakes I routinely catch bigger fish out deeper and off the banks but haven't tried that in the rivers

I always have 1 or 2 jigs tied on, a couple pitching/flipping setups with heavy braid and big hooks. As well as a rod set up to fish deep cover/structure. 

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5 hours ago, Djamesbond3 said:

but the guy that won whooped everybody.

That happens every time . :)

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5 hours ago, Catt said:

Those same guys will tell ya, that aint how the Pros do it!

 

To which I reply, they have 3-4 days to win it, I got 1

Good point .  

 

 

 

  The first bass tournament I won , a club event , was pure luck . I bought a used Ambassaduer 5000 and put a big handle on it . I could not cast anything but big lures  so I bought a 1/2 ounce spinnerbait with a giant colorado blade  "C.C. spinner" for you veterans who remember . I caught 3 bass that weighted thirteen13 lbs .  The second place  guy caught ten dinks that weighed twelve . I  remember his lure too a Hot Spot in Smokey Joe color .

 

 

    

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I will br fishing clubs this summer for first time. I plan to trow baits that typically get fewer, but bigger bites, and my partner will throw a wacky senko to get us up to a limit 

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2 hours ago, scaleface said:

The first bass tournament I won , a club event , was pure luck . I bought a used Ambassaduer 5000 and put a big handle on it . 

    

I started with a ambassadeur 5000 with a big handle, with my winnings I bought a Shimano Bantam!

 

 

5000.jpg

5000A-1.jpg

s-l400.jpg

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As a person that tournament fishes a tidal river regularly, I keep a jig and big plastic on on tournament day. I have sunrise to 3 to catch 5 fish, 5 small keepers equal 3 average size fish, it's all about weighing your options

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first tournament and middle of the pack is solid. It took me 3 years to win my first club tournament. I, like you, got tired of losing to bigger bags. Even though I caught a limit or caught fish. The only thing that helped me, was getting better. Presenting my bait better, becoming a better caster, learning how to fish focused with someone in my boat, etc. Then I started to find more success. I still lose more than I win, but that's the name of the game. Acquire enough information and put yourself in a position to where you think you have the best chance to win. If there was a certain secret I knew to catch bigger fish, I would be fishing for a living. 

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