As co-anglers, there’s really not too many tips and tricks articles out there for us to dive in on. What’s crazy about that is the fact that there are tens of thousands of us out there that fish competitively as weekend warriors almost every weekend of the season… we just do it from the back of the boat.
With that in mind, I’m going to break down how I prepare myself for a big tournament as a co-angler. I’ll cover how to select what techniques to use, how to select the baits to bring along, and some mental preparation you’ll need to be successful.
Selecting Techniques as a Co-Angler
When selecting what techniques to use, the first thing you should do is determine what part of the season the tournament is in. Will the tournament take place in the pre-spawn, spawn, post-spawn, late summer/early fall, fall, or winter?
Once you determine that, think about what technique you’re most confident in during that time of year… personally, I will usually have at least three.
Most of the time my most confident techniques are dropshot, crankbait or jerkbait, and a chatterbait. I will then figure out a couple more techniques that could come into play such as topwater, Carolina rig, Texas rig, or a jig. I will then base those colors solely on the forage in the body of water.
Selecting Baits and Colors as a Co-Angler
I will do whatever I can to determine what the water clarity of the fishery is prior to rigging. I usually start looking into this pretty heavy the week before the tournament. Watch the rain forecast, if there’s a lot of rain, prepare for less water clarity. It also helps to look at the bottom composition for that body of water, that information can usually be found by doing some digging online.
Once I have determined the clarity, I will then look into what the forage is at that fishery. I can determine this by searching the internet for fishing reports and/or searching the fisheries forage (what shad are in lake (fill in the blank) or what color crawfish are in lake (fill in the blank?) this usually will give me an idea of what to baits use, as well as colors.
When selecting colors, take into consideration what the water clarity is. For fisheries that have clear water to slightly stained water, match the hatch.
If you’re going to a fishery that has stained to muddy water, focus on reaction baits and baits that have more of a dark color pattern.
Mental Preparation as a Co-Angler
Mental preparation is just as important if not more important than rigging up your rods for the tournament. Try to get your rods rigged up a few days prior to the tournament at the latest, so you can mentally prepare during the last few days leading up to the tournament.
How do you mentally prepare yourself?
Think of situations you may encounter such as the cover or structure you’ll be fishing and ask yourself;
What will I use?
How will I fish it?
Will I go fast or slow?
What if my boater is going too fast or slow, how will I adapt?
What if my boater is paralleling the bank what will I do to be the most efficient?
What will you do if you get to your first spot and the water color is different than you thought, what will you tie on?
These are all questions I ask myself throughout the few days prior to the tournament. Some may say that’s too much thought prior to the tournament, but I am actually preparing myself for situations that I have encountered in the past and did not make good decisions. I play these scenarios over and over in my head so if or when it happens on tournament day I am ready for it and will make a good decision as well as be confident in the decision I am making.
No matter what scenario you find yourself facing, remember to keep a positive mental attitude and remember why you fish… enjoy your time on the water, it’ll help you fish more freely and focused.
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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