I’ve been enjoying crappie fishing and deer hunting lately, but in the back of my mind I’m also starting to think about the next tournament season. Every tournament is different, but there are things you can expect to happen on a lake at a certain time of the year. So I like to get out my lake maps now and try to figure out what the fish are likely to be doing when the tournament gets going and anticipate where I need to look for them. You don’t want to get too mired down in a plan, because the local conditions will change things, but prior knowledge of the lake is a good starting point. When you actually get to the lake, you can home in with your GPS.
The second bit of research I do is to get on the computer once in a while and find out as much as I can about how the lake is fishing – what the water conditions are, and that sort of thing. Besides giving me clues about where the fish are, it also helps me plan what tackle I’ll likely need for that particular tournament. Everything could be 180 degrees different when you get out on the water for practice, but scouting with a map first might help you there too. Whatever comes along, you won’t feel like you’re just showing up at the lake and going in blind.
---- Chevy pro Dion Hibdon, Sunrise Beach, Mo.