Bass Tournament Tips for Spring
When fishing in a tournament, time is of the essence and you cannot afford to waste a single minute! It is not about how many bass you catch, it’s about how those catches size up to your competition. Here are some tips to help you spend the maximum amount of time on the water and catch the biggest fish:
Preparation is the most important factor when fishing in tournaments. The more time you spend on preparing and educating yourself, the more success you will have on the water. Here are some things to consider when preparing for the big day:
- Equipment: Organize your equipment based on weather conditions. The night before the tournament you will have a much better idea of what the weather conditions will be. Always be prepared for rain no matter what. Make sure your hooks are sharpened, lines are fresh, and lures are where you need them to be. The last thing you want to do is waste time searching for lures. Your best lures should be easily accessible. For more tips, check out our tips for Organizing your tackle box.
- Weather: The weather will play a key factor in your overall strategy. Make sure you check daily for weather changes. Come the day of the tournament, wake up early to see what the exact weather will be for the day.
- Learn the lake: Study the levels, clarity, temperature, potential hot spots, etc. Communicate with the locals: They know the lake better than a map. Pick their brain and ask as many questions about the lake as possible. The more you know, the better game plan you can create.
- Practice: Once you’ve got an idea of the areas to hit first on the lake, fish those spots a few days before the tournament. Practicing weeks before will not help since the bass could move from that spot come tournament day. Practice close to the start date to get the best idea of where the bass will be. Don’t over work a spot, this might hurt your chances of landing a bite come tournament time. Remember, bass behavior can change quickly. Just because they showed interest the other day, doesn’t guarantee they’ll go after that same presentation. Always have back up lures ready to go.
- Performance Log (optional): You should always carry a notebook for every fishing session and document your performance. What worked? What didn’t work? Weather conditions, lake level, Lures used, etc. This will serve as a guide for coming up with an overall tournament strategy and what to do in critical situations.
Based on what you’ve learned about the lake and getting some hands on practice, you can start developing an overall strategy. Take note of what baits triggered bites during practice. These will be the baits to test early in the tournament.
- Hot Spots: Figure out the hot spots you want to hit that you think will get the most bites based on your research. Outline a path to hit all of them throughout the day.
- Fall Back Spots: Often times, things don’t go as planned. It is important to have several fall back spots to go to in-case luck isn’t on your side. Generally, anglers work a spot for 20-40min min before moving to a new location. These also come in handy for the last minutes of the tournament.
Most tournaments, your partner is selected at random. It is very important to break the ice and let each other know what your weaknesses and strengths are, especially if you’re a rookie.
- Train Your Partner: If you are more experienced, make sure your partner knows the electronics, how to read a map, how to troll, etc. Teach them before the tournament instead of wasting time on the water.
- Do not target the same water column: Target different depths until you figure out what is landing the most catches. If you decide to target the same depth, use different presentations.
- Team tournaments: Make sure you have the net readily available for when your partner lands a catch. If your teammate lands a miss, get both of your lures back in that area as soon as possible.