Bass Tournament Strategy Sweet Spots

Mark DuaneContributor IJanuary 16, 2010

I used this strategy to win Angler of the Year and Runner up Angler of the year in Wisconsin. I just retired from the Navy and had paid my rent six months in advance. Truck and boat paid for. It was May and time to go fishing. I military for 20 years. I never had the opportunity to truly commit to a season like this one in 2004.

First, I developed my schedule. I belonged to the Salem Bass masters in Wisconsin and wanted to purse the top spot in the club. I fished as a non-boater for most of my time. I bought a Bass Tracker 17 with a 40hp motor from another member in the club. I never have been a good back seat fisherman. This year was going to be different.

Having the smaller boat than most in the club. It was really important to have a great tournament strategy. My son was out of school and he could help me with the baits, colors and things to try and find bass.

I bought a book of lake maps for all the lakes we were going to fish. I got the contour's and layout of the lakes. Helped with Navigation and with the fish finding.

Most importantly now, we could fish the lakes a week prior to off limits. So I would schedule my practice time as close as I could during these times. Sometimes hitting the same lake 3 and 4 times to find what I call sweet spots. Spots that actually hold fish.

I am a firm believer that 90% of the lake does not hold fish. So I set out on a quest of finding area's that had fish. Pull one or two fish from a spot and leave it alone but mark it on my map for tournament day.

I did this for every lake and river we fished.

I also made sure I found a starting spot that was near the launch ramp. Whether I fished it first or not. This gave me a distinct advantage. Time with a wet bait while the boys with the big boats ran all over. I estimated if I fished close. Kept my boat off plane as much as possible. I would gain one hour fishing time with my line wet on the competition. Also it gave me a place to fish prior to weigh in.

By having 3 or 4 spots that I knew held fish, I truly was able to keep my running time to a minimum.

I think the tournament director caught on to my strategy. My first location was near the launch ramp. For about 300 yards was a no wake zone into the main lake. So, they decided to idle out to the main lake for launch. Serious curve ball. Adapt and overcome.

Luckily I had drawn a early boater position. I think it was three. My second spot was less than 100 yards from where we actually had blast off. Now, I had been to that second spot at about noon time with my son. We saw a giant bass and plenty of fertile grass. I hit plane and idled right down on the bank I needed to fish. Within the first 10 casts I had a 5lb largemouth bass and a 2.5 largemouth bass in the boat. My non-boater did also.

After the morning bite wore off which wasnt very long. We went back up the canal to my original starting spot. I pulled in one bass for another 2.5 lbs.

We hit 2 other spots that I had discovered during my pre-fishing but I came up quite empty and so did my non-boater partner.

We came to weigh in and I was seriously concerned. I only had 3 fish and 3 others were rumored to have limits of 5 fish.

Luckily all the 5 fish limits were at the limit and very small. Second place was 5 fish at 7.33 lbs. Mine was 9.99 lbs. Big fish and 1st place cash.

The spots that hold the fish will always hold the fish. Having marked 3 or 4 spots that I knew had fish always kept me confident and in the fishing zone.

We had no need to search for fish. We had spots that were camped out on by us. Keeping our line wet and knowing fish were abound.

I repeated this success for all of the tournaments. Find those hot spots that you know that hold fish. Never search for fish in a tournament. If they are not biting for you. They are probably not biting for them. If your in one of your spots and they turn on for that 5 minutes. It may be the tournament strategy you need. Your on fish constantly.

The small boat limitation also works for the Bass Cadillac's. Try and see if you can pinpoint your bass locations and show your competition how it is done. Never leave fish to find fish. Happy Angling.

Mark Duane