Prefishing Do’s & Dont’s

After a recent tournament, a fellow competitor asked how I did. I said I had 5 decent ones! I asked him how the same question, he replied, I zeroed today. I don’t understand it, I caught 5 nice ones prefishing yesterday! I just smiled and shook my head, what I wanted to say was, well maybe if you didn’t “sore lip em” yesterday you might have caught them today!

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With our sport exploding and more & more people jumping into tournaments, I realize that many have never fished competitively before. What follows are some tips for how to go about it. It makes no difference if your fishing your local trail for $300.00, or a national trail like the KBS for $1600.00, or a charity event for a new kayak! Prefishing is a good idea, because everyone wants to put in a good showing!

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Step 1   Map study & Research
Before you ever get to the lake, you should know a little about it. The internet makes this relatively easy. You can find bait types and what patterns have done well there in the past! Then take your map and circle areas you think will be holding fish, based on weather & seasonal pattern that the fish should be in. ***Note***  At this point we need to look at boat ramps and rules! If you’re fishing a small lake it’s no big deal, because you my be able to cover the whole thing on your practice day! But if you’re on a big body of water, you’ll want to target areas you feel you can reach, fish, & get back to the ramp and load up and make it to your check in area on time! Remember we are paddling or peddling, we can’t fire up the engine and make long runs. If you have multiple good looking spots, you may need more than one day of practice to check them all!
You can also make virtual scouting trips from the comfort of your couch, using just your sonar and mapping chip!  The last thing is be sure you’re keeping track of the weather.  Conditions in that area.

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Step 2  On the water
You’ve arrived for your prefishing, you head to your most likely spot, & you’re feeling great! You may have just driven 2-12 hours and you’re jacked up & ready to rip some lips!! Whoa slow down hoss!  Make sure you do 2 things on your high speed paddle to your spot. 1) Always keep an eye on the depthfinder, you may come  across a hump, shell bed or brush pile that’s not on the map! 2) Always be alert for birds diving or fish schooling, make a mental note of these, you may need them later! Now at your spot…spend more time looking and studying the area, you only need to catch 1 or 2 bass just to see what size your dealing with! If you catch them look for that spot on a spot, if you don’t you may want to move on.  One final tip, those spots you noted on your way to your spot may save you! It you didn’t note anything, spend a little time nosing around closer to the ramp. Reason being; a storm could pop up or the wind could howl, making it tough if not impossible to get to your spot. A limit of peanuts close to the the ramp on derby day could be a lifesaver!!  Remember, no need to win practice, everyone you catch the day before is one that likely will not bite on derby day!

 

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