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Daze Off

Pre-fishing Plans

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I was thinking about some pre-fishing that I have to do for some up-coming events and got to wondering about how others go about their pre-fishing. Is there a strategy that you use for planning out your day to make the best use of your time? Do you hook fish or shake them off? How near or close to the tournament do you try to get on the water (depending upon off-limits rules)? In general, how do you go about pre-fishing?

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I like to get out as much as I can. I dont hook fish the day before if I can prevent it... unless I need to see the size range. I always try not burn a spot, I think that it can be done pretty easily too. I also try and cover my bases as best possible.

You can win a tournament off one spot, but it's always better to have a handful.

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I prefish A LOT ---- and I usually only spend enough time catching fish to get an idea of where they are and the size --- then I leave and go explore new areas or try other baits or techniques, looking for options and back-up plans.

If I'm fishing with my partners or my regular "prefishing guys" we usually don't catch a lot of fish when prefishing ---- but we cover a lot of water and check a lot of spots. Sometimes we find new things that help us, but most of the time we fish the old reliable spots and patterns in the tournaments.

If I'm prefishing with guys that want to get out and catch fish, then I do a mix of the old reliable spots and trying new spots. We may not fish the best spots or fish them for long, but we spend time in spots where I think we can catch fish.

I don't worry about setting the hook or shaking fish off. Depending on the spot I may get concerned about catching too many fish there too close to the tournament --- but mostly I worry that if I spend too much time on my best spots other guys will see me there and catch on to what I'm doing.

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No such thing as too early or too much time on a lake. If its a larger lake, try to get info about where a lot of the tournaments are won and spend more time in there. I usually dont shake off until day before, or if I catch a good one and cast back into a spot and get bit.

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I tend to disagree a little bit. For me, most the tourneys I fish are on lakes that I have prior experiences on. A couple trips the week before to see where fish are, or maybe more importantly where fish are not, is what I tend to do.

I think, from personal experience, it is possible to pre-fish too much. As crazy as it might sound, it is possible to have too many spots. You either spend the whole day behind the steering wheel running all your spots, or your always thinking to yourself that "that other spot is probably better". You are so consumed fishing memories that you overlook what the fish are doing on that day.

I prefer to check my normal spots, try some new stuff, and try to get a feel for what the fish are doing. I don't spend a lot of time on my beating up my best stuff. Once I have a general game plan, I will take that info to a similar lake, or a lake I like to fish and try catch the heck out of them to gain confidence in my plan. Bottom line is "The More You Fish The More You Will Catch." but I don't want to catch all the fish I need for the tourney. By going to a similar lake your not burning your fish, and your not sitting on spots giving info to your competition.

Most importantly, on tourney day trust your instincts and fish the fish that day.

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I agree that its possible to have too many spots. But thats on the angler to know what ones to fish. Not the fact that you have a lot of spots.

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Ditto to Cecil.

the more spots = the better you know the lake = the more options you have

It is up to the angler to know or guess what the fish are doing (based on seasonal and daily patterns including weather, biology, etc..)and then fish your spot works with those considerations in mind. Then adjust accordingly.

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After every day or half day of pre-fishing I think of what my tournament day would consist of. If I find a new spot, I figure out where it would fit into my game plan. Do I start there? Do I start at that one spot then hit those docks since they are on the way then go to the spot I just found? Always trying to plan the day out. Things can change, but I think it's best to have a defined plan.

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Daze,

For me it depends on the size of the event. If there's 40 boats on a 1200 acre lake, your first spot better be good. So, having lots of options is not a bad idea. If there's 15 boats or less, I like to keep my options open. Having 3 or 4 good areas are usually good enough for me for a smaller event.

One thing I like to do is to have at least one option for any direction wind. I like wind and have no problem fishing in it, but there are limits. So, I always like to evaluate that. Some areas might only be good with wind pouring into it, so keep that in mind as well.

I have no problem pre-fishing the day before. I don't try to shake fish off, but do limit myself to one bite in an area.

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