In a fishing tournament, the smallest detail can be the difference between winning and finishing far down the leaderboard. By taking the time to make sure those details are covered you can better your chances to being the one who finishes with the trophy and the cash. For weekend anglers preparing for a trip can be just as important as some simple preparations can be the difference between a fish of a lifetime and another “fish that got away” story. Here are some of the things I do when preparing for a tournament.
To start I will pull out all my rods and go through each guide, making sure they are in perfect working order. I use Megabass rods with Recoil tips so typically my rods are in good shape. Since not all of my rods have all Recoil guides from time to time I might step on a guide in the heat of the moment of landing a fish. In these cases, I will replace the guide with a new Recoil guide. For the guides that are in good shape, I will go through them with a Q-tip and a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water to get them cleaned up. Clean guides make for less friction and wear and tear on my line and improve my casting distance.
Next, I will go through and change out my line. With Gamma Edge fluorocarbon this is overkill, but like I said before, every detail counts. For my spinning rods I will take off my fluorocarbon leader and strip a few feet of the Tuf-Line braid off before cutting it and adding a new leader. Tuf-Line braid is very durable so I won’t change that out but a few times per season, but I will strip off a few yards off each reel.
I will also go through my tackle and make sure I don’t have a bunch of loose baits lying around in my boats storage boxes or on the floor of the boat. A loose bait can not only get stuck in your skin, but can get caught up in the net when you need it most.
I generally check out the boat’s livewell and make sure the pumps are free and clean of debris. Ranger Boats use the best components in the business, but even the best components can get cluttered with grass or mud. I’ll run the pumps for just a few minutes to make sure everything is operating flawlessly. If the pumps seem to be running at less than full capacity I will clean them or on some occasions replace them.
Lastly, I like to go through my most used tackle and check for hooks that might be dull, bent or need replacing. I generally go through all of my tackle in the off-season, but going through my most-used stuff before a tournament can definitely save me time and potentially fish.
Take the time to prepare for your trip to the water, tournament or not, and not only will your day be more stress-free, you’ll be more successful as well. For more information be sure to follow me on Facebook or visit my website at LukeClausenFishing.com.
Image courtesy Luke Clausen