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First tourney...big swimbaits??

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Hey Resource,

 

Long-time lurker, few times poster.  I've got a question about tourney fishing--here's the skinny:

 

I've always been a bank fisherman--39 years old, chasing largemouth since I'm 15, never bass fished off a bass boat (I've rented a rowboat for a few hours a couple times at my local forest preserve lakes, as you can guess it's not great fun for bass fishing), and I've never fished in a tournament.  This year I've joined a bass club as a co-angler, about 40 guys in Northwest Illinois/Southern Wisconsin area, and the club has tourneys on local lakes (Delevan, Geneva, Miss River Pool).  My fishing style is a big bait approach; I fish big swimbaits, big jigs, big worms, and frogs.  I know how to fish traditional baits (senkos, t-rigs, spinnerbaits, flukes, etc), grew up doing it, but a while back I switched to fishing for those few big bites a day and haven't used any standard, traditional lures recently.

 

My question is, does anyone fish tournaments with only big baits, or at least mainly big baits?  My goal in joining this bass club isn't to win tournaments, it's actually just to finally get to fish offshore in big lakes from a bass boat--I've been throwing big baits from shore and dreaming about what it would be like to chuck em out on deep structure where I believe the true monsters spend most of their lives.  But the competitive side of me still wants to have a shot at winning the tourney.  I just hate putting my big stuff down to fish conventional, and seriously, swimbaiting all day off a bass boat in deep water is a day in heaven that I've only been able to dream of up til now.  Do I have any chance of winning if I leave the senkos and flukes and t-rigs and jerkbaits at home and only bring the heavy artillery?  Has any of you tourney vets ever done/seen anyone do that successfully?

 

Thanks all for your help, this place is great.

 

P.S.  I've read the "Worst Things a Co-Angler has Done" thread, and yikes...please God I don't do any of the things I read about there, pray for me boys...

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It depends on whose boat you are fishing from.

Unfortunately you have to adjust accordingly.

I have fished a lot of tournaments from the front and back of the boat.

If the boater is methodical at covering water, you will  be fishing used water.

To me that usually means downsizing and finesse. I have nearly always had better luck from the back with finesse.

In contrast, if it was my boat, I rarely ever finesse fished.

 

In regards to the Co angler horror stories, I have had very few issues.

the worst thing I have dealt with is a boater that would run and gun, power fishing all day, when the fish are not biting.

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Thanks Russ--yeah that makes sense, I didn't think about how I'd have to adjust to what the boater is doing.  If he's running and pitching the shallows it's gonna be pretty impossible for me to creep a big swimbait along bottom structure ha.  Thanks for that input, I've got a lot more to think about.

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You don't have to use big baits to catch big bass. To me location is more important.

I do use large swimbaits occasionally, but Looking back at my fishing log...

My biggest bass was on a super fluke.

My second largest bass was on a shakyhead.

My third largest bass was on a spinnerbait.

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3 minutes ago, Russ E said:

You don't have to use big baits to catch big bass.

Inarguably true, no doubt about it.  I'm just going through a stage I guess ha.

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I fish big baits along with conventional stuff in tournaments. Problem with your situation is you're going to be limited with how much stuff you can bring as a Co. I'd bring one rod to fling big baits and a handful of your favorite baits. You're going to donate a lot of money in tournaments if you only throw big baits, but you might win the big bass pot occasionally. It's a solid idea if it's a team tournament because you can try to pick up the kicker. You could save up those entry fees and buy a decent kayak pretty quickly if getting off the bank is the main thing you're trying to do. 

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I think most of it has been hit so far... but, are your club tourneys draw or do you get to pick your boater? 

 

The reason i ask is if you can pick your boater you will know way in advance who your fishing with and ask them where they plan to fish, shallow or deep. This way you don’t show up and your boater is bed fishing and all you have are your swimbaits and such. But if it’s draw you will have to adjust quickly to get set up. I think you can fish your big baits, I just think you’ll be limited more than you hoped. 

 

Welcome to toureny fishing though its a blast!!

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Thanks for all the responses, this is really helpful stuff. 

 

@Bluebasser86--yeah Russ got me thinking about having to adjust to what my boater is doing, something I hadn't really thought hard about.  And I only plan on bringing four rods at most:  swimbait rod, jig/worm rod, crank/jerkbait rod, and finesse.  I do want at least a chance to win the thing ha.  Re:  buying a kayak--it'd be nice, unfortunately I'm in an apartment.  Working towards my house, but for now I've got no storage.  Besides, I cannot fathom sitting down and bass fishing, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me.  I've bassed out of a rowboat and canoe before and it's just so awkward and cringy trying to throw lures/set hooks/fight fish from a sitting position, I really don't know how you guys do it.  My first boat I plan to be a jonboat conversion (basically take a jonboat, put a couple casting decks and a trolling motor on it and call it a bass boat).  I've been dreaming about it, and pricing ebay and such.

 

@Swbass15--they're draw tourneys, so we draw for boaters at the meeting prior to the tourney.  I'll be able to talk to my boater and have an idea of how he plans to attack the lake.

 

First tourney's not til 4/20, I'm already chomping at the bit.  Much appreciated fellas.  God bless.

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Good luck rip some lip

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