Pre-fishing key to wins

The past few weeks, along with my friend, Davis Viehbeck from Thunder Bay, we have been working on a story for a new bass fishing publication coming out of Toronto called “Bassman.”
The story is a recap of the top five finishers from the region’s two premier bass tournaments, the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship and the Kenora Bass International.
This was a fun story to work on. We came up with a group of questions we asked each team and what we found out was very interesting. Some answers had distinct similarities while others were vastly different.
In the questions, we did not ask anything specific like locations or lures. Instead, we wanted them to share with us strategies for pre-fishing and how they use their pre-fishing to make decisions during the actual event.
The most common theme from all of these fine anglers is the importance of pre-fishing for these big events. There are too many good teams competing is these tournaments to just show up and expect to get lucky. You could get lucky for one day and maybe two, but luck will run out in a three-day event.
I’m not saying there isn’t a luck factor in tournament fishing, because there surely is, but you have to put yourself in a position to get lucky.
I look at the luck factor as getting the fish you hook into the boat and not losing them, or that last big fish at the end of the day that sometimes makes a huge difference.
Alex Keszler, the only angler who finished in the top five at both tournaments, confessed that “pre-fishing is important because you find fish and try to put a pattern together as far as location and the best way to catch them and, most importantly, it is a process we use to eliminate water.”
Also of note is most of these guys try to get a good back-up plan in place in case weather conditions change, and usually they do, during the event.
We also asked each of the teams about “turning points” they had during the tournaments. Everybody had them—some were on the first day while others were on the third day when things were getting tough.
Most of these turning points came when a fish was caught doing something a little different than what was expected and gave these anglers a key tip as to where more bass could be found.
The best “turning point” story I got came from Jim Moynagh, winner of the FFCBC.
“After fishing for a couple of hours without catching a bass on day two, we finally made the right move. We decided to check out a spot that didn’t produce in practice and did not produce on day one. That was not an easy decision.
“Joe and I discussed the option for a bit before agreeing to give it another try on day two. We couldn’t have won without the bass we caught from that spot.”

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