We love to pre-fish tournaments even though sometimes it does not help us on tournament day at all. In fact, the only tournament we have cashed a check at, we did not pre-fish. So why do we spend time doing it anyways? We pre-fish for three reasons, it can build confidence, we can get an idea of a pattern and what the fish are doing, and in the least, it’s more time on the water.
Just catching a couple fish pre-fishing makes you feel so much more comfortable going into a tournament. Going into a tournament blind can be a terrible feeling if you do not have a bite two hours in. Having a specific bait that you caught them on pre-fishing will give you confidence that you are in fact able to catch them. I believe confidence is the biggest factor in bass fishing. You have to be in a confident mental state of mind to catch fish. This is because you will fish every cast like you are going to get bit. When you fish like this you are paying more attention and fishing harder than you normally do. Pre-fishing can be a huge boost in confidence which makes it so important.
When Pre-fishing does help in a tournament it is usually because you have discovered a pattern. You have found a pattern of either where the fish are, or what they are eating, or both. These can be huge in tournaments. Even just seeing a school of fish in a cove can be helpful. If you can figure out what they are eating that can be extremely helpful on tournament day. Figuring out a pattern is very useful in eliminating water. If you caught quality fish off flats, you can target flats come tourney day. All you need is a lake map to help you eliminate water.
Lastly, we love to pre-fish because it gives us more time on the water. This is extremely beneficial when it comes to improving as an angler. More time on the water gets you familiar with different scenarios. You get more familiar with your gear, try out new lures, and get better at casting techniques. Experience is a huge part of becoming a good angler. Going out whenever you have the chance is crucial when you take this sport seriously.
All in all, pre-fishing is beneficial mostly because it’s another day on the water to add to your fishing resume. You should take your pre-fishing with a grain of salt especially if it is a week before. The closer you pre-fish to tourney day the more likely conditions will hold up. So if you can figure out a pattern and build confidence pre-fishing it’s a huge win. If not, well then it’s just another day of fishing.