What are you Doing Now to Win Later?Submitted by Full Limit Outdoor Media
It’s winter time. For a lot of us that means either very little, or no fishing right now. There is without a doubt the hardcore faithful minority who fish year around despite seasons, weather, etc. But, there are many more of us who, for various reasons, don’t fish nearly as much while Ole’ Man Winter is around.
That seems to hold true for pro bass anglers as well. Although some of them guide in the “offseason”, many more spend their “breaks” hunting and working seminars and boat shows. This is also their maintenance time prior to the tournament season getting underway.
Even if you aren’t a full-time touring angler on a pro bass trail, right now is a great time to get prepared for your next trip to the lake. It is a lot easier to convince yourself to work on tackle and equipment during the winter doldrums than it is when the weather breaks and spring starts peaking its head out of hibernation.
I asked a few of our pros to share with us what offseason/pre-season prep they deem to be most important. Here is what they had to say.
Greg Hackney – “The main thing for me when it comes to tackle preparation, is to lay everything out and get a visual account of what I have and what I need. I don’t want to rely on memory when it comes to making sure I have the right inventory and tools. This gives me a confidence when I’m on the water that I KNOW I have everything I need and exactly where it is. I don’t worry about not having a certain color or size of something. I know exactly what I have in my boat.”
Mark Rose – “Organization is by far the most important element of tackle prep. As a tournament angler, I travel to different lakes, rivers, region, water clarities, season, and fish species all the time. Having the right stock of tackle and having it organized is crucial to being a versatile tournament angler. I don’t need to be searching for baits when I need to be casting during practice or a tournament. I don’t need to be running around tackle shops looking for this certain color of a 6XD that I’m almost out of when I need to be resting or working on something else the night before a tournament.”
Jordan Lee – “The most important thing for me when it comes to tackle prep is checking my inventory and making sure that I’m stocked up for all the situations that I expect to encounter. There will always be scenarios that can’t expect, but I know that I’m going to need a lot of green pumpkin Rage Craws and ¼ oz. Tour Grade Tungsten Drop Shot Weights and staple items that I know that I’ll need. Being organized has really seemed to help me over the course of the last few Elite Series seasons.”
Dennis Tietje – “I go into tackle prep just like a store does when doing inventory. I know what I’m going to need for the most part. I make sure that I have a good inventory of those items. The tour season takes a toll on your tackle. It gets misplaced, broken, bent, etc. I like to start the season out with a perfect inventory of tackle that is in perfect shape.”
Mark Menendez – “I am really OCD about my tackle prep prior to hitting the road at the beginning of the season. I categorize and arrange hard baits by depth range. For example, Series 3 crankbaits have their own box. Series 5 has their own. 6Xd’s have their own. Etc. I store all my spinnerbaits in hanging racks to maintain the integrity and shape of the skirts. I check all my hooks on all my hard baits during this period as well. However, I don’t actually change hooks until tournament time in order to lessen the chance of a hook getting bent or dull. The night before an event I will change out the hooks that need it with chemically sharpened Gamakatsu’s that are fresh out of the package.”
Kevin VanDam – “Pre-season tackle prep is as important as practice. This is when I meticulously go over every single piece of equipment. And, I mean every piece right down to each individual hook point on each treble on each hardbait.I check all my guides on my rods. I make sure that everything is working flawlessly on my boat and that I know every facet of its operation. I organize and inventory my tackle in a very specific fashion that makes me more efficient on the water. I gather, organize and store my cold weather gear in my boat and truck. This phase of my job is what gets me ready to hit the road and water with confidence that everything is right and all I have to worry about is finding and catching fish.”
So as you can see, before a cast is made, preparation is the key to success. Now is the time to ensure that your valuable time on the water is successful and efficient. Use this time to maintain existing equipment and stock up on items you rely on or want to try. Sitting in the middle of a lake while a school of bass are fired up and eating is not the time to be searching for another crankbait like the one you just broke off. An ounce of preparation could be worth 25 pounds of bass…….