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You want to win the fishing tournament, and come home with the trophy and a fist full of cash? Of course you do! But winning fishing tournaments is easier said than done. It’s also true that there’s an element of luck that you simply can’t control. Beyond that, however, fishing tactically can make the difference between being a real competitor, and being lost somewhere in the pack. These tournament tips will help you make a plan that boosts your chances of entering the winner’s circle, whether you’re tournament fishing in a freshwater lake, a saltwater bay, or far offshore.
Brent Ehrler with the winning fish of the 2017 Texas Fest. Photo by Nate Sims, courtesy of B.A.S.S.
- Choose lures that target numbers over quality, early in the tournament. The idea here is to start out by filling the stringer. Once you have your numbers built up and a base of fish to work from, you can switch to bigger lures and different methods to search for larger individual fish. If you’re in a tournament that’s structured around one-fish-wins, naturally, you can skip right to the big stuff. But in the majority of the cases when it’s the overall stringer that counts most, this tactic is used by most of the pros.
- Combine pre-fishing with pre-preparation. Just going out to the fishing grounds the day before an event to search for hotspots is insufficient. Winners prepare for the pre-fishing, by spending hours pouring over bathy charts, Google Earth, and topo maps. When you launch to pre-fish you should already have focused in on a dozen or two potential spots you ID’d from afar.
- Think about fishing from a scientific perspective. We all know that factors like light levels and water color play a role in which lure colors will be effective on any given day. But, do you think through which is most likely to be effective prior to tying on the first choice in the morning? Or, do you go right to your “old reliable” because it’s worked in the past? Far too many anglers take the path of least resistance, rather than trying to think through their options from an analytical perspective.