One of the most important, and in my opinion, overlooked things is the prep before the tournament. I will be going over a few different tips I use when prepping for a tourney, whether it is local or on a national level.
The first and absolute most important step for me, especially when the tournament is over 1000 miles away from home, is making sure my vehicle is up to par. I usually take it in to the shop a week or two before the event just make sure everything is good to go. You do not want to end up broken down 500 miles away from home in the middle of nowhere. That can most certainly be a game breaker and prevent you from even making it to the tournament. After all that, it's time to make sure my gear is up to par as well. I usually do a quick check of my FeelFree Dorado just to make sure all the electronics and other equipment is all in good shape, greased up, charged up and ready to go.
Another thing I like to do is look up the body of water on Google Maps, Bing Maps and Navionics. The reason I pull up Bing Maps and Google Maps is because most of the time the pictures are taken at different times of the year. So sometimes this will show some structures on one site that you may not see on the other. Then I hit Navionics, which shows the depths, ledges and some structures. Between these three I can get familiar with the layout of the body of water and locations of some launch points.
Also, another great tool that I am sure everyone is familiar with is YouTube! I usually spend a lot of time looking up past tournaments and some local fishing videos. Then I do what most anglers do when they see a picture of a big fish and that is look at the background for a landmark and try to match it with Google Maps or Bing Maps if possible. The videos can be helpful with deciding what techniques you will be using on that body of water and you may even learn a new thing or two. Last year, I learned about the Tokyo rig and now I absolutely love it.
Then comes the gear I going to bring. Aside from your kayak and fishing gear, which is determined by the species and water type, I also like to bring the following with me:
- Fish finder
- Small tool bag
- Dakota Lithium power box
- Spare identifier
- Electrical tape
- Small First aid kit
- Tactical knife or Leatherman
- Approved measuring device (I used a KETCH Board)
Finally, don't forget your phone because it can can handy tool on the water. I especially like to mark my pre-fishing spots and access points on to the GPS.
There are a couple other things I like to do also but I will keep those for myself, I cannot share everything I have learned over the years. I am sure you will figure out what works best for you just as I did. At this point I am ready to go and start my adventure to what ever destination and start my next step pre-fishing. We will leave that for another BLOG.
Live wild, feel free and fish with a purpose.
Written by Chris Gomes, Feelfree Competitive Fishing Team Member