Monday, July 16, 2012

Pre-Fishing.. Timing is Everything

There is a lot to be said for per-fishing, it really gives you a leg up when your not familiar with a body of water. It gives you an opportunity to try out new baits and see whats working and what you can leave at home, and more importantly it is just another great day on the water fishing with friends

The tournament series that I fish, has a pre-fishing moratorium in place 1 week prior to an event. although this can be hard on anglers (water levels and structure can change week to week) it is also helpful to those non-local anglers who cant fish the lake each night of the week. Taking the moratorium into consideration my tournament partner and I have to plan out our pre-fishing schedule pretty thoroughly, and try to get to each lake prior to the moratorium but not so far in advance that the lake and conditions have time to change drastically. This is a very fragile balancing act that we do each year, and although no amount of pre-fishing can hurt your changes, the changed in the lake can sure make things interesting

Last year, we had two incidents in which our pre-fishing schedule bit us in the butt. The first was on Limerick lake, due to our  busy work schedule we needed to pre-fish Limerick approximately 3 weeks prior to the tournament start date. By the time the tournament rolled around the water level dropped so drastically that the area in which we had prepped for our starting spot was nearly un-fishable and we were left scrambling to move to our follow-up spot.  Not only did this throw us of our game, but it was also a kick to the confidence as we had some great success on the spots we pre-fished. With these out the equation we moved on to some deeper water spots and were still able to string together a 5 fish bag, but we did not enjoy the same success we had during pre-fish.

The second incident occurred on Paudash Lake, in this instance my partner could not make the pre-fishing day at all and I fished the lake with a few friends, we had a great time and hammered some decent fish. The issue on Paudash was slightly different to the situation on Limerick in that the pre-fishing took place nearly 4 weeks prior to the tournament and in "summer like" conditions. By the time the event rolled around fall weather was in full swing and the fish were on the move.. this resulted in our worst tournament bag of the season. I will admit that we were not the only ones to struggle, but seeing as this was the first time in which we did not weigh in 5 fish, we were extremely disappointed in our results.

All in all finding fish can at times be a hard thing to do, so when you put in the work and find some fish you believe can get you a paycheck, there is nothing worse then arriving at the lake on tournament day only to find all your hard work is for naught. Dont get me wrong, pre-fishing is a great way to learn a lake and boost your chances of success on a tournament day, but that being said timing is everything and if the timing is off, some times it's just better not to know.

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