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slonezp

How long do you stay?

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How long do you stay in a certain area when tournament fishing? I've been fishing tournaments in northern Illinois for the past few years on a body of water I'm pretty familiar with. I have approx 15-20 spots that normally hold fish. My son and I are pretty consistant at finishing in the top 1/3 but never abel to get "in the money." I always wonder if I'm spending too much or too little time at each spot. Average fish on this lake system is 2-3 lbs with a 5lb being huge.

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As soon as that first thought of doubt about the spot comes into my mind I'm out of there. If I loose confidence I will change something.

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I fished the ABA tournament today and sit on one hole all day. I caught 14 4-5 pounders out of it and 4 keeper fish to take second place.

The 4 and 5 pounders are slot fish on the lake I was fishing and you have to throw them back. ::)

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I keep moving until I find fish.  Once I find them, I sit there until I go about 20-30 minutes w/out a hit.  Basically, I don't leave fish to find fish unless I'm confident there all dinks but not until I have 5 of them in the boat.

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Spring = keep moving, too many active fish to be waiting on bites

Summer = stay put on spots for longer periods

Fall = see Spring

Winter = stay put on schools of bait, the bass will be along shortly

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Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall  ;)

My strength is deep water structure so I've pre-selected 8-10 pieces of structure which means during a 8 hour tournament I'll dedicate 1 hour to running leaving 7 hours for fishing which will divided equally between the 8-10 pieces of structure which is some where around 40-45 minutes per structure.

The only time this changes is pre-spawn then its find the Bait Fish & the Buck Brush or in other words Run-N-Gun.

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I do not time any specific spot.

I throw different baits and presentations to the same area in a fan pattern until I run out of different baits and presentations.

For example, in the AM I will throw a buzzbait and then follow up with a walking bait, probably a Chugbug or a Sammy.

Frogs fished on top will be on the list.

Then throw a crank bait followed by a spinning bait.

After that, go deep with either a Wacky Senko or a Shaky Head.

Then the Texas rigged plastic be it a worm or a creature bait.

If those don't work, then there are no fish in the area and it is time to move on.

Of course, depending on the weather, I will cut down on the presentations and baits if I can figure out the pattern. Should the fish want Chugbugs, then it is Chugbug time.  If they like Spooks, then it is Spook time.

If it is sunny, hit the docks, piers and shaded areas.

You have to be flexible in your presentations until the fish tell you what they want to eat.  ;)

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Confidence in an area is a must if I am to stay in an area for long but the mood of the fish is the deciding factor. If the fish are aggressive then i can fish an area relatively fast and move to the next. To the opposite of that, if the fish are inactive then I am move prone to find an area that I know has a good concentration of fish and stick with it. The idea is to put the lure into as many fishs' stike zones as possible. since on bad days the fish won't move far for a lure, finding an area with a large concentration of fish and fishing slower will do better in general than jumping to places with fish that have lower bass populations.The best way that I go about studying how active the fish will be is by studying weather and the seasonal pattern. I hear that the barometer and moon phases are good indicators but I haven't applied it yet. I'm sure that there are great articles on this site that will help you learn more about fish moods ;D

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I asked 7 of the top pros at the last Classic that very same question. You can see their responses here:

http://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-videos/bass-fishing-videos.html

Look under "Exclusive Interviews"

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