Select Page

Tip number one: Map Study

• One of the first things I’ll do in preparing for a tournament is break out the map. I primarily use Google Earth to study the lake where the tournament is being held. Google Earth allows you to view satellite imagery of the lake, but the most important part is that it allows you to view historical images going back years. This is valuable because you can go back in time and see pictures of the lake when it was at its lowest point. Doing this allows you to find holding spots for fish (i.e. rock piles, underwater points, laydowns, roadbeds, etc). Google Earth also allows you to drop waypoints on these spots and import them into your fish finder so you can find them easily when you’re on the water.

Tip number two: Fishing Reports

• Looking into fishing reports can give you valuable insight on what the fish are keying in on come tournament time. Although these reports should be taken with a grain of salt, you can often learn valuable information regarding water temperatures, depths that are holding fish, and even what baits have been hot lately. Look for different sources of these reports by looking up videos on Youtube, checking with local tackle shops, and online fishing forums.

Tip number three: History

• Many times tournaments are held at specific bodies of water around the same times of the year. If you happen to have an upcoming tourney on Lake X in June, then there is potential that there have been tournaments held on Lake X in June in previous years. Go back and read up on how anglers faired in those past tournaments. This will give you insight on the size of fish you will need to win, the conditions anglers were faced with those days, and what baits were used to finish at the top of the leaderboard.

Tip number four: Timing

• This next tip is for when you get on the water to actually prefish for a tournament. When I am within two weeks of a tournament I start paying attention to weather forecasts a ton. What does the forecast look like for tournament day? If it is calm and sunny with a high of 75 then I would try to prefish on a day with similar conditions. In past years I learned to do this after having successful days of prefishing, but then floundering on tournament day due to conditions being completely different. One other tip regarding timing is to lay off your spots in the days leading up to the tournament. You don’t want to catch all the fish out of your spots on Friday when you need to be catching those same fish on Saturday!

Tip number five: Dialing In Patterns

• Finally, you should attempt to dial in as many patterns as possible. If I am prefishing and discover that fish are biting jerkbaits on main lake points, then I put the jerkbait down and try to see what other baits will work on those points. Also knowing that fish are biting on jerkbaits allows me to cover other areas with a jerkbait to locate fish that aren’t on main lake points. Switching things up like this will result in you having confidence in a variety of baits and areas going into tournament day.

See it in action:

Here are a couple videos that you can reference to see these tips put into action. The first video is when I was prefishing for the KBF Trail Series tournament on Chatfield Reservoir in Colorado. On this day I found fish relating to offshore rockpiles and drop-offs. I tried a variety of baits that day, but the majority of fish were caught on Texas rigged craws, football jigs, and swimbaits.

The second video is from the tournament itself. I threw these same baits on tournament day and managed to do quite well!