BassWestUSA - January/February, 2010, Page 72

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I have


PreSTon henSon

done a lot of traveling. Fishing my way around the country competing in Bass- master tournaments back east. In this article I will give a break down on how I prepare and take on new lakes before I arrive. The first thing I do every year is to check which lakes I’ll be fishing in the up and coming season. From there I get on the com- puter and use the Internet to find maps of the lakes I’ll be fishing. This may even mean buying multiple brands of maps for the same lake. The reason I do that is each map may show something an- other map may not have. From there I look at what time of year I’ll be at each lake and what stage the fish will be in when I arrive. You may say, “Well, what if Mother Nature throws me a curve ball and they’re way off what they should be doing seasonally.” This happens a lot in fish-

ing. The reason for that initial information is it gives me a rough idea on what they should be doing, so I’m not headed to the lake blind. For instance, if I find out that during the time of year I’m there, the fish will be spawning. I know to look at my maps and find areas where I think they will be spawning. Just right there I have eliminated a lot of water. The key is to have confidence in your map reading and don’t second guess yourself. Then there is the Mother Nature card I talked about. Having the information you’ve already acquired is still a big help. Don’t get down on yourself just because a cold front moves in when you arrive. Many anglers mentally take themselves out of the game be- cause they’re all jazzed up for the bite that was predicted. By doing your homework, you’ll know that the fish are spawning, and then you can choose which areas to start fishing. Now it’s time to focus on basic fish movements. Don’t let your- self get frustrated. Just go back to your map and say, “Hey, when fish are spawning and a front hits, they back off to the closest deep water.” Then pull that map back out and look at your spawning ar- eas you chose to fish and look for the first break to deep water outside those spawning flats. This works on all seasonal transi- tions. If you are running a GPS unit check and make sure you have a mapping chip for the lakes you’ll be fishing. I will still always carry my maps in the boat with me to cross reference my GPS. There is something about having that map in my hand and seeing my notes on it that helps my confidence. From here I prepare my tackle for the tournament. Again, I try to get a few clues from local reports from years past on the Inter- net. Don’t take all you read seriously. We all know about dock talk. Just look for any similarities like colors being used on baits, the fish like this grass or this type of rock bank; anything that shows up multiple time in your search, just like a pattern when fishing. Again this is not for sure what you’re going to be doing when tour- nament time comes around, it’s just another starting point to help your confidence. The biggest thing I can tell you is, don’t call local tackle shops. They are always catching them and they want to sell baits. When you’re in the local tackle shop in a town you have nev- er been in put your earplugs in and buy what you need to buy. Nothing is worse when you’re hearing all these guys talk about catching tons of fish; it will get you second guessing things. Confidence is the key to fishing. Trusting yourself in your de- cision-making, even if it was the wrong decision that day. I learn more from bad days then I do good days. This is what makes you a better fisherman next time you go out. BW

Fish Like a Maniac!

Cut’r Bugs

1.5”, 2.5”, 3.5”

Paddle tail worms


maniaC salt stiCks

3”, 4”, 5”


2”, 3”, 6”





January/February 2010