Prepping for a fishing tournament means many different things to many different people. For a new angler, it can be a daunting task and can mean a good deal of lost sleep.
Even experienced anglers feel the pressure the night before a tournament.
As one becomes more experienced at competitive and tournament fishing, though, certain patterns and systems will evolve that make that preparation easier.
In the beginning, new anglers will likely fish as a co-angler or non-boater. If this is the case, the new angler should contact their partner for the tournament to see what is expected of them and get some ideas of the types of fishing they will be doing.
The more experienced partner will let the new angler know how much room they will have in the boat.
Sometimes you will have a compartment to put your gear in. Other times you will be limited to the floor space between your feet. It depends on the angler and the size of the boat from which you will be fishing.
When it comes to tackle, less is more in this situation.
Remember that you will have to be maneuvering around whatever you take with you all day long. If you have any confidence baits, those may be all you need for the day.
If you have a chance to ask your partner what types of fishing you will be doing, that can be helpful.
In a bass tournament, for example, you may be drop shotting in 20 feet of water or you may be targeting fish on the weed edge in 8-10 feet of water. You may be skipping docks or pitching to shallow wood.
The time of year will also influence the types of baits you want to bring to the tournament.
For colors of fishing lures, keep it simple is a good rule by which to live. Because you will be limited for space, simple colors are best.
If you will be fishing a clear lake, more natural colors such as greens and browns or maybe oranges are best. In darker water, colors such as black and blue, white or chartreuse can bring more strikes. Again, talking with your partner about what he or she expects to be doing the next day can be helpful.
Also, invest in some garlic markers.
They come in several colors and are easy to use. Just be careful not to get the color on your partner’s boat or carpeting as the colors do not wash out.
Using these garlic markers allows you to customize your baits. For instance, a white jerk bait can be made up to look like a perch.
A green craw imitation can have orange or chartreuse tips, and that may make all of the difference in catching fish, or just casting and retrieving all day.
Limit the number of rods that you take and be prepared to re-tie more often. A general rule of thumb is 4-6 rods but again, that can change with the size and configuration of the boat in which you will be fishing.
Be prepared to chip in for gas for the day as well. Some tournaments require the non-boater or co-angler to pay a certain amount toward expenses. In other tournaments, it is an unwritten rule.
It is usually up to the boater whether they take the money or not, and some do not. But it is important to at least offer to pay for your day on the water.
Keeping communication lines open with your partner for the day will make for a much more enjoyable day on the water.