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Weekend Anglers – A Juggling Act 2

You ask any professional angler about their key to success and the resounding response is going to be “Time on the water.”  There is no better way to prepare for an upcoming war than to get out there and evaluate the battlefield.  Here lies the problem for those of us who’s responsibilities flood over into our planning stage, how do you maximize the minimal time you may have to prepare?

Maximizing our Time

If it were up us, we would have the time to spend multiple days on the water before a tournament formulating our plan of attack.  Unfortunately, 99% of the time, that is impossible.  At best, we may get one day of pre-fishing in before we donate our money and swing for the fences.  Maximizing on that one day can mean the difference between success and frustration.  Taking advantage of the limited practice calls for more detailed planning off the water.  As we discussed in part one, maps such as Fishing Hot Spots are a perfect way to start, but with the technology available to us today, we can take it about 10 steps further.  Using tools such as Google Maps, web sites like Bass Fishing Home Page, Bass Angler HQ and various other internet outlets will allow dissect any body of water from the comfort of your home and help create a foundation your can build on.

A little at a time

As anglers, when we pre-fish, we have a tendency to try to cover the “entire” lake.  We’ll burn up the water from one end to the other in an attempt to locate the one magic place.  If you have a week on the water to do this, then rock on, but were talking about one day to get them dialed in, so covering 50,000 acres in 10 hours is pretty much out of the question.  Utilizing the information you gathered through your internet research and taking into consideration the current and projected weather patterns, time of year, current water temperatures and the seasonal pattern the bass are in, we can eliminate a majority of the lake as unproductive and focus our attentions on fertile water.  Once you have identified your target areas you feel will produce, you can now begin your formulate your bait selection strategy.

Tackle selection

If you’re like me, you have figured out a way to fit half of a Bass Pro Shop in your boat.  Compartment lids bungee corded down to keep from flying open as you run down the lake; you can go half crazy trying to weed through everything.  When you have limited practice time, versatility becomes your new best friend.  In these situations, I generally hit the water with a buffet of baits for the bass to choose from.  Looking at the deck of my boat you will find everything from Xcite Baits Slim-X Shaky Head, BS Fishing Football Jigs, Custom Lures Unlimited Ikon Crankbait and H2O Dart Top Water, Finesse Jigs and of course, the ball and chain, the trusty Carolina Rig.  Preparing for every imaginable situation before hand will save you from having to spend valuable on the water time rifling through your boat looking to change baits as the day goes on.

Keeping it simple

Fishing with limited time on the water comes down to one main goal.  Don’t over think it!  Trust in your preparation and research and have faith in your game plan.  If your utilize the knowledge you have and keep focused on making the most of your time, you should be able to hit the water on tournament day with all the confidence in the world.  And if nothing else, at least you will know you have a good supper waiting for you when you get home!