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howitt

Early Season

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Kind of off season to post this but, opening day each year my bass club holds a bass tournament. The ice here might  be out from anywhere from a month to a couple of days. This year ice had been off for for about a week and a half. Pre-fishing is out since its opening day. The rules state that entrants can't be on the water for the week before the tournament so even scouting is out. My partner and I spent the day mostly throwing x-raps but had limited success. How would you guys go about fishing this tournament.

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Find bait on structure and deep drop-offs and drop shot or use Silver Buddies. The hard jerks are a good bet if you find the bait shallower. Tubes are another productive option at ice out. The operative word here is slow!

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 Crestliner, something tells me you fish either Quabbin or Candlewood. lol.

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Hair jigs, tubes, and a drop shot would be on my line up in deep water. If I were you (since nowhere in the country that i know of has ice yet), I would get out there RIGHT NOW and the coming weeks and see if you can find their wintering areas. Especially look for those ones adjacent to spawning flats...

Then, When your tournament time comes, check the wintering areas, and if they aren't still wintering, check the shelves that come up to your spawning flats. Heck depending on the time there could even be some fish in the spawning areas, but it sounds like that would be unlikely with ice being potentially just days from the tournament.  An especially good area would be a long point with gravel or sand present, leading up to a spawning flat, with the deep wintering hole off one of the sides or on the end . This way they can move up and down the point to feed and drop off into their wintering areas, finally using the point to navigate their way to spawn, and many fish may dump their eggs on the gravel on the point itself. Remember, smallies sometimes spawn in 10-15 ft of water. It is my opinion that the largest fish in a lake or any body of water, will position themselves in a small area or secition of a lake, that gives them everything they need. If they have areas to spend their winter, spring, summer, and fall, you have an area with extremely high potential. Huge fish will always be on the prime places of the lake, and I believe that more than just a sacred looking brush pile, you need seasonal structure in the mix to make your spots good. If you can find where most of the fish in the lake spend a certain season, i think if you do some hard thinking you will discover where they spend the rest of their year too. Of course some fish travel long distances to other areas, but certainly not all if they don't have to. Keep that in mind.

I don't know your lake, but take some time to get to know it this late fall..And one last parting suggestion...buy some ice rods- MH..spool 'em up with 4-6 lb trilene micro ice, tie on a swedish pimple or even try open water stuff like tube jigs, and get out there and go at it! Bring an underwater camera, flasher, or both out on the ice and see if you can mark/locate these fish. I bet you'll have a blast following them all winter, and right up until ice out before you hit 'em hard!

Good luck,

Cade

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I've fished some torneys like this on a show up and go.

I look at were the Sun comes up and go to the otherside of the lake were that sun is shinning. Then with a map or driving try to find the warmes area. Then I go out and fish all the lead in stuff letting the shallows warm up.

Remember sex is once a year.

it's worked a couple times

Garnet

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