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Pre-Tournament fishing

Summer is rolling in quickly and that means one thing for dedicated fishermen: tournament time! Whether it is bass, walleye, or muskies, pre-fishing is an important aspect succeeding in tournaments. While many people consider the competition time to be only during the one or two days that the tournament is hosted, Minneapolis Examiner Christian McHugh considers game time to be the actual tournament as well as the three days leading up to it. Here are few concepts and tactics he likes to use while getting ready for a tournament.

When your normal tactics aren't working, then it's time to switch it up.
Christian McHugh

Fish Like its Clutch Time

Just because it is not go-time, does not mean you treat your pre-fishing any differently. Your goal should be to fish the same hours as the competition is held and fish it just as hard as you would if there was money on the line. By doing this you get a better feel for how the fish will be acting all day long and if you fish several days in a row, you can understand how the same fish will react under any possible weather changes.

Switch it Up

Everybody has their go-to lures or tactics, but that does not always mean that is what will win you the big money. By trying different tactics such as top-waters, live bait, slow retrievals versus fast ones and other different techniques, you can decide which will catch more fish or that single big fish. In addition to trying new techniques, Christian wants you to remember that if you have one particular tactic that you have confidence in, use it during tournament hours as well. It is important to have confidence in the baits you are using because it reflects in the effectiveness of your retrievals. You may not know the difference, but the fish will!

Do Your Homework

As Christian has mentioned before, using the Internet is one of the greatest resources you can have. With numerous forums and fishing websites these days, people readily share what is working for them. This can often times be the fastest way to get caught up with your competition if your tournament destination is not on your home turf.

Be Ready

Lastly, but definitely not least, it is important to have your boat, tackle, and other equipment ready for action long before you even get to the landing. Simple things such as nets, tape measures, scales, pliers, and other tackle are essential to your success.

Being on both your physical and mental game is crucial for tournament success. By trying these methods, you can be as prepared as possible when the time comes. Whether it is as simple as having a pliers handy and keeping your net untangled, or more complex like doing your research on what the fish in your particular body of water may do during a cold front, it is necessary to be on your game.


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