There are fishing tournaments every year, all over the country, with substantial prize money at stake. For the pros (and enthusiasts) working those tournaments, a bad day on the water can mean the difference between loss and victory. That’s why smart pre-tournament practice sessions to gather information about the area and improve your angling technique are essential. However these pre-tournament scouting days take a lot of time and waste a lot of gas, but there’s a few strategies you can take to cut down on time and be more effective when pre-scouting, such as incorporating a fish camera underwater.
Basic Preparation: Gear and Boat
Talk to most pros and they’ll have stories about a tournament setback due to an avoidable tackle or boat maintenance issue. Basically, ensure that the boat is in tip-top shape. The engines and motors are the first priority, of course, but don’t overlook the livewell aerators, pumps, bilges, and everything else that could possibly fail.
It’s also essential to prep and organize all of your gear. Have a selection of rods rigged up with your favorite baits—preferably top-water and sinking lures in a variety of styles—based on the location, type of fish, and tournament rules.
Getting Unbeatable Intelligence
As technology improves, so do the opportunities for gaining unbeatable intelligence on the body of water you’ll be working. Depth finder and fish finder technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, but it can’t show you everything. For a true edge in a tournament, invest in an underwater fishing camera. A fish camera underwater can provide fishing intelligence that’s simply not accessible any other way, such as features of the structure around which fish congregate, undercuts that lunkers hide in, schooling locations you wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and a whole lot more.
A Skim, Not a Deep Dive
One of the toughest parts of both practicing and tournament fishing is repressing some of your natural angling instincts. For example, it’s not about landing fish, it’s about getting bites to determine if a spot is productive. In fact, to avoid the risk of “sore-mouthing” fish in a honey hole, many anglers will crimp down their barbs or clip the top off of a hook cover and slide it over the barb. Being a skim rather than a deep dive, practice should involve throwing out a number of different baits in a number of different spots and noting rigs and locations that proved productive.
Keep Real Notes
Don’t rely solely on your memory. A successful tournament angler is one who keeps good notes before, during, and after the tournament. That means procuring a map of the lake early and identifying real estate that looks promising. Keep notes on the locations that hit and those that didn’t. Record what bait was hit where, at what time of day, and anything else that seems helpful or relevant. After the tournament, go over those notes and consider comparing them with notes from earlier tournaments, looking for patterns or anything else that could aid you at your next competition, or the next day you’re on the water for fun.
About GoFish Cam
Feeling discouraged during a slow fishing day at what they thought had been a honey hole, Brandon Austin and his brother wanted to figure out what was happening under the water. That frustration triggered a realization—why couldn’t they take a peek beneath the surface? From there, the idea for the GoFish Cam was spawned. In 2015, it came to fruition as the HD video in-line underwater fishing camera, used by anglers to gain intelligence and capture epic strikes. The GoFish Cam allows anglers like you to gain incredible insights about your favorite spots and discover new honey holes. It’s also excellent for improving trolling and retrieval technique, scoping how fish react and what they react to, and reliving every thrilling strike from your favorite pastime. Get one to up your game, or, if you are looking to make an angler in your life very happy, check off the “gifts for fisherman” box from your to-do list and pick up the GoFish Cam.
Optimize your technique while reliving every strike with a GoFish Cam, at www.gofishcam.com