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How and what do you do during pre fishing a tournament?


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Do you go to likely spots and fish it, or observe whats down there on a camera and try to hit as many spots as possible?

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Do you remember the In Fisherman commercial where a guy with a pole in hand says "that looks like a good spot over there!" and Al says something like "don't let guess work ruin your fishing trip, order this book...."

I'm the guy with the cane pole saying that spot looks good over there... smile.gif

Get a map of the lake, study every detail for depth, bottom content and bla bla bla.

I like to drive the lake. I see something, I stop and fish. Give it 10 or so minutes. Catch a fish, leave!
Watch the depth finder for fish, structure and maybe briefly fish it.
I start shallow and work my way deeper. Have several rods with different presentations ready to go within seconds.

Fish as many spots to learn the lake. Don't burn out a hot bite.

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I agree with Chuck in saying get a good map and study it. Actually, depending on the size of the lake or # of bait shops around, I will buy numerous maps (one at each shop) and have them mark some "hot" areas on them. Many times, different shops have their own hotspots, depending on location on the lake. I will also try to check the lake out a week or two ahead of the tourney. Motor around and look to see where others are gathered fishing. I most likely won't fish the "local" spot, but I will idle around and see the structure, then hit the map to try to find similar areas.

Also, make sure you have numerous spots to fish, depending on wind, current, etc. Conditions may change dramatically by tourny time. Don't get carried away with having too many spots, as there is only so much tourny time on the water and you can't catch fish while your running. You can get by with a few more areas on a smaller lake, but if your running 20+ miles one way, then only about 4-6 spots. One thing I always try to do, and have seen this cash checks, is to have a last minute spot near the weigh-in site. This is the kind of place that may not produce the pig, but can get you that last fish to fill a limit.

Mainly, nothing beats time on the water and remember the most important thing, have fun.

Dean Thorn

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First I pre-fish the map, marking spots that look good. Next I hit the lake with the camera, looking at all the spots I found with fish. Arcs in walleye looking spots are not always walleyes. After I got my first camera the first thing I did was to check out those arcs and found out that suckers look just like walleyes on the depth finder. I hit all my spots with the camera, this gives me an idea of the quality of fish also. If I know they are there I can catch them at some point during the day. Don't waste time fishing spots that you aren't sure about, use that camera!! If I see 4+ lb walleyes I have a hard on for the tourney. Don't waste time fishing spots that everyone is fishing. A lot of people are just after meat and will hit the spots that have large schools of active SMALL fish. Do you want to come in with a limit of small fish or win the tourney?? The biggest advantage a tournament fisherman has today is the underwater camera!! Give me an underwater camera, a good depth finder with GPS, and three days to pre-fish and I'll cash a check more often than not.

Good Luck!!

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With bass, I think it's best to again study the map, pick out mutliple spots for multiple possibilities considering changes in weather, light, temp. etc. Than hit those spots, using faster "search" lures like cranks, lipless, spinnerbaits, etc. Don't work an area thoroughly, takes too long. Mark good spots on a map, and size and number of fish found. On tourney day(if culling) hit the numbers spots first and fill your limit, then work the bigger fish spots over for weight.

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