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A lot of people look at “pre-fishing” for a tournament very differently. There really isn’t a wrong way to hit the water, and I would always be one of the first to say, if you have a tournament coming up on a body of water you aren’t used to get out there and get used to it. It isn’t smart to go into a new body of water blind. Pre Fishing a body of water can provide an angler with multiple resources to help them out come tournament day. The most important of these is of course, knowledge, but a close second is comfort.

Pre-fishing, done correctly can offer an angler a chance to find their pattern before the day of a tournament, find out what colors are working the best for the larger fish, water temp and clarity are a huge factor in what colors or techniques to use, and the best way to figure these out is to get on the water and see for yourself. This is also the time to experiment with different lures, having rods rigged up with chatterbaits, crank baits, and whopper ploppers are very important, but never forget that trusty Senko! Being educated come tournament day will allow you to put a plan together and have your rods rigged with what you know will catch fish. Now, of course this isn’t ALWAYS true, fish are fish and sometimes they don’t want to eat what they ate the previous day. We have all seen that happen in the past. But you will at least be in the best position to catch fish.
With the knowledge you gain while prefishing for a tournament also comes the comfort on tournament day. There is nothing more stressful than having no idea what you are doing or throwing the morning of a tournament, if you do that, you just need to go out on the water and just have fun fishing. If you want to win or place well at a tournament, preparation is key. Allowing yourself to be calm and collected the morning of the tournament will actually allow you to fish better, your tempo and rhythm will be steady and you will find you can concentrate much easier.
Now, with all the preaching I am doing about “pre-fishing” it is important to note that there is a WRONG way to pre-fish. It is important to learn your pattern and STOP! Move on from a hot location (believe me I know this is hard) but if you over fish an area, you can guaranty that the fish will not be there on tournament day. Practice restraint and move on, but being sure to mark down that location and depth for the important day.
The main thing, like all my tips when kayak fishing, is to just enjoy it. Have fun being out with nature and with like minded people. These tournaments are meant to bring people together for fun and fish.
Tight Lines my friends!