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Old 01-13-13, 04:26 AM   #1
IowaBasser
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Default Practice Fishing for a Tournament

I'm not a serious tournament fisherman; I only fish 1 or 2 tournaments a year and they are local and small. I have 2 tournaments planned for this Spring, both I will probably fish the weekend before the tournament and the day before the tournament.

What are your on-the-water stategies when practice fishing for a specific tournament.
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Old 01-13-13, 04:36 AM   #2
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The week before hopefully one finds something,the day before you fish just enough to determine they are still there,then using same pattern look for more holes more schools,,then mother nature can also toss hers in.
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Old 01-13-13, 10:38 AM   #3
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Depends when in the "spring" and if that means pre-spawn or spawn cycle. Water temps would be my primary indictor, moon phase second, when trying to find bass. Conditions in the spring can change week to week, but finding where the bass may be holding (pre-spawn) could help you determing where they may move should conditions change form pre-fish to tourny day.

Basically pre-spawn conditions: males will move to spawning areas when water temps stabilize in the upper 50's. They begin their nest building, the females hold back in staging areas of deeper water until the water temps stabilize in the low to mid-60's.

Finding fish is first priority. If you can get a lake chart, look for spawning areas and transition areas from deep (winter holding) water to the shallows (shallows will be variable from lake to lake). If the water temps are in the mid-50's I would start with those transition areas - primary points, creek channels, humps something with a little cover with deep water close by. Temps is the 60's, I'd be looking at secondary points and the shallows.

Tournament fisherman want the females, especially in the spring, so if you are catching the smaller males, the females will be behind them in deeper water (staging areas) until you hit spawning temps. If you have 60+ water temps the males & females will likely both be in the shallows ready to or actively spawning, or guarding nests.

That's the "general" drift. If you find bass pre-fishing and the water temp does not change much either way, then they should be close the following week for the tourny. Should the water temp rise (bass may move up) you'll probably still find fish, but where you caught males you may find females. If the water temp drops, then the fish may fall back to deeper water.

Moon phase - generally at the full moon and water temp stable in the low 60's the spawn will be in high gear, but bass do not all spawn at the same time. Here in PA that's usually the May full moon. Iowa, maybe the same, but full moon combined with the stable water temp is when the spawn will be at it's height.

Spring time is all about the spawn and the transitions form wintering areas to the spawning areas and eating during pre-spawn. Adjust the areas you search based on that and good luck.
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Old 01-13-13, 11:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassboogieman View Post
Depends when in the "spring" and if that means pre-spawn or spawn cycle. Water temps would be my primary indictor, moon phase second, when trying to find bass. Conditions in the spring can change week to week, but finding where the bass may be holding (pre-spawn) could help you determing where they may move should conditions change form pre-fish to tourny day.

Basically pre-spawn conditions: males will move to spawning areas when water temps stabilize in the upper 50's. They begin their nest building, the females hold back in staging areas of deeper water until the water temps stabilize in the low to mid-60's.

Finding fish is first priority. If you can get a lake chart, look for spawning areas and transition areas from deep (winter holding) water to the shallows (shallows will be variable from lake to lake). If the water temps are in the mid-50's I would start with those transition areas - primary points, creek channels, humps something with a little cover with deep water close by. Temps is the 60's, I'd be looking at secondary points and the shallows.

Tournament fisherman want the females, especially in the spring, so if you are catching the smaller males, the females will be behind them in deeper water (staging areas) until you hit spawning temps. If you have 60+ water temps the males & females will likely both be in the shallows ready to or actively spawning, or guarding nests.

That's the "general" drift. If you find bass pre-fishing and the water temp does not change much either way, then they should be close the following week for the tourny. Should the water temp rise (bass may move up) you'll probably still find fish, but where you caught males you may find females. If the water temp drops, then the fish may fall back to deeper water.

Moon phase - generally at the full moon and water temp stable in the low 60's the spawn will be in high gear, but bass do not all spawn at the same time. Here in PA that's usually the May full moon. Iowa, maybe the same, but full moon combined with the stable water temp is when the spawn will be at it's height.

Spring time is all about the spawn and the transitions form wintering areas to the spawning areas and eating during pre-spawn. Adjust the areas you search based on that and good luck.
I have nothing to add. This is a great response Bruce!
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Old 01-16-13, 06:23 PM   #5
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The tournaments will be pre-spawn. (Water temps in Iowa t the time of the tournament will likely be in the low to mid 50's) I've typically followed the idea that fish move up shallow in the early mornings to feed and then back to deeper water as the sun gets higher.

Does this pattern holds true in the pre-spawn with cold water temperatures?
Or do the females just stay deep most of the time until they're ready to spawn?
Or do fish move up throughout the day as the sun warms the water?

Yes - there are many variables - weather, water temp, etc. I'm tlaking pre-spawn generalizations, or at least some different strategies based on conditions.
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Old 01-17-13, 08:08 PM   #6
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Durring that time of year I never get up early. I have found the fishing picks up as the sun warms the water. But I like to be on the water by nine or so. Some of my best days fishing when the water temps are in the low to mid 50's have been durring mid afternoon! Jerk bait, jigs, lipless cranks and chatterbaits are the ticket for me.
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Old 01-18-13, 10:24 AM   #7
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bruce gave you some sound advice. and i agree with keith too. it's been my experience that the fish come to shallow waters after the sun has warmed the water a bit. remember this, the hot water rises to the top...heat rises right? and ol zooker told me something, o to the ROCKS that the sun hits FIRST, water around rocks will heat up quicker than the other parts. rocks hold heat longer and heats up quicker.
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Old 01-18-13, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithdog View Post
Durring that time of year I never get up early. I have found the fishing picks up as the sun warms the water. But I like to be on the water by nine or so. Some of my best days fishing when the water temps are in the low to mid 50's have been durring mid afternoon! Jerk bait, jigs, lipless cranks and chatterbaits are the ticket for me.
Thanks Keith, I agree 100% that the fishing picks up as water temps warm up. Jerk baits, jigs, lipless cranks and chatterbaits are what I plan on using later in the morning, but what would you use starting at 7am in a tournament until the water warms up. Perhaps something that moves slower like a shakey-head or senko in transitions areas from deep to shallow water?
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Old 01-18-13, 06:12 PM   #9
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Cool water temps in early spring, I would throw a lipless crank first off as a search bait, vary the presention - pause/retrieve or yo-yo the bait, Red Eye Shad is a GREAT lure for the latter technique. Jerk baits should also work. I would not be throwing much plastic at that time of year, but that's me. Bass should be keying on baitfish for forage prior to spawn. If you know what type are in the water you will be fishing, "match-the-hatch" as best you can. Find the baitfish and you will likely find the bass. If you find bass actively feeding on baitfish a spinnerbait would be my choice, thrown near (but not into) the baitfish. The other bait I might throw when bass are active would be a fluke, again near the baitfish the bass are attacking - they will look for the injured or stragglers - jerk/pause and you'll most likely get bit as the bait falls. Water in low 50's I think around primary points would be where I would start.
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Old 01-18-13, 08:06 PM   #10
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Well I agree with jerkbaits and points and any west or nw bank with rocks and shallow water will warm first.As for early bite nope as it warms the more move in,and seldom in low fifties are they that active,as it gets higher in water temp lead in lead out banks.
Unlike the others after using say a jerkbait then spinnerbait or lipless prior to leaving if bass are present rubber will take the finicky fish,that are not as active,just have to plop it down in front of them as not moving far to get it.
It is in my opinion a big mistake to prefish one area a lot,check see if home and leave not only bass are watching but others fishing.
Curious as to the trail you are fishing?
Ive recently started back fishing T myself in aba am currently ranked about 80,out of the back of the boat no less.
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Old 01-20-13, 07:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Curious as to the trail you are fishing?
The tournaments I've fished are small local tournaments.

I'm 43 years old and boatless. My Dad has a home on a small private lake (500 acres with 500 houses.) The home-owner's-association sponser's 2 tournaments a year; one in early spring and one in late fall. The proceeds going to a kids fishing day in the summer. I have the most trouble with the Spring tournament. In my opinion it's got some of the bass fishing in the state - which isn't saying much because Iowa's doesn't have many good largemouth lakes.

A buddy of mine has a nice bass boat and I talked him into fishing his first tournament last spring. It was also my first tournament not counting the ones on my Dad's lake. We didn't do, but had a ton of fun and planning on trying again this year. My buddy lives near the Mississippi River and I found an open tournament sponsered by a local Bass Club out of Grant County Wisconson. The entry fee was only $65 for 2 people including the big-bass pot. There were 60+ boats and it was extrememly competative.
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Old 01-21-13, 01:36 PM   #12
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Those open T are a lot of fun ,generally for a good cause.
For a format where one doesnt have to have a boat try
http://www.americanbassanglers.com/index_aft.php
70 dollar entry,5 dollar big bass,yearly dues is like 25,each time you go out give the boater 20-30 depending upon how far he runs,you do get to pick some places to fish if known but not operate the boat
By going with different people learn how others fish as its a draw format.
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