It’s time to start my prep work for the first Bassmaster Open on Lake Amistad. Up until last weekend, I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to go since the new boat won’t be ready in time, but thanks to a friend’s generosity, I have a boat to use, so I paid my balance and now it’s time to start thinking about how I plan on catching them.
Some folks think that all that’s necessary for one of these events is to load up your stuff and go out there and find them. And for guys like KVD, that may be the case; although I suspect they go through pretty much the same steps that I do, only they do it better.
I always like to start by digging out the map and hanging in on the wall of my office about 30 days before time to leave. This does a couple of things. First, it gets me thinking about areas that I’ve fished in the past, areas that others did well in the past and things that I’ve wanted to try on that particular lake. Also, since I’ve never had the discipline to totally log my fishing trips, my notes on any particular lake are generally written on the map. Colors, depths, spawning areas, lake features and ramp information are the most common notations; but I see on this map there is a notation to be sure to bring everything I need, since tackle store selection is limited there. Finally and most importantly, by having the map on the wall, it’s considerably harder to leave it at the house when it comes time to leave.
The next step is research. There is no reason for anyone today to go to a lake without a very good idea of what to expect. There is a ton of information out there; from lake reports, to lake levels, to satellite photos, to tournament reports. All of this information won’t find the fish for you, but it gives you a starting point for that search and more importantly gives you an idea of how the lake fishes.
Next, I will generally try to find someone local to fish with me before the information cutoff at the start of official practice. Sometimes these people have good ideas, sometime not, but again, it’s a part of the process of learning all you can about a certain body of water. Anyway, I met a lot of great people over the years like this and I’ve never had one of them that I wouldn’t want to spend the day in the boat with again.
Finally, I’ll start watching the Weather Channel a couple of weeks before I leave. Seeing the trends in the weather will help key in on what the fish are doing. You’ll see rainfall amounts, warming or cooling trends and trends in how long it takes a front to get to the area you’ll be fishing. Fishing three day events, with up to 6 days of practice before hand, require a different approach to the weather than a single day event. Since we are there so long, the weather is going to change and planning for those changes is critical.
So that’s how I go about getting ready for an upcoming tournament. The next step is to start thinking about the tackle that I’ll need to have in the boat and what to carry with me, just in case I need it. But that’s for another day.