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Copyright 2005


Bass Tournament "Shortcuts"
By "The Bass Coach"
Roger Lee Brown

Have you ever noticed whether it be Club Tournaments, Divisional Tournaments (B.A.S.S. Federation, Red Man, Anglers Choice, etc.) and even the Pro Tournaments, usually you will see a hand full of the same anglers consistently "In-The-Money" most of the time. Then while you're driving home after fishing some of these tournaments without much success you ask yourself "What are these anglers doing so different than I am."

There are many different reasons for these same anglers to consistently "Cash-In" or "Place in the money" fishing Bass Tournaments, and I hope that I can help you with some "In-Site" on what keeps some of these anglers successful when it comes to tournament fishing.

Bass Tournament fishing is a very competitive sport in a multi-billion dollar industry where more and more anglers every day are joining the ranks of the Tournament competitors. With all these new competitors as well as the already established ones, the competition seems to be getting tougher and tougher thus making it harder to stay on top, or consistently in the money. Now, there are several "Tricks-Of-The-Trade" or "Shortcuts" you can use to give you the edge you need to eliminate a good portion of the field of participants. These can seem to "Stack-The-Cards" in your favor when it comes to Tournament Preparation.

The first one we will talk about is:

1. UNDERSTANDING BASS - The better that a angler can understand his or her opponent the better or more successful he or she will be against it. One of the most important factors when bass fishing is understanding what a bass does during different situations and how the scenses make a difference (taste, feel, sight, smell, etc.). There is much to learn about bass especially when you have to consider some of the following:

A. Water Clarity
B. Water Temperature
C. Water Oxygen Content
D. Vegetation
E. Seasons
F. Daily Conditions
G. Pressure Changes
H. Weather Fronts
I. Natural Forage
J. Colors
K. Water Depth
L. Structures

and there's more!....... The first rule of thumb ALWAYS to keep in mind is that a Bass needs "3" elements to survive which are: 1. FOOD 2. OXYGEN 3. COVER

By understanding these three elements and by using these 3 key elements related to some of the situations or conditions listed above should help you begin the preparation for the "Pre-Fishing" period of a Tournament and the start of putting a "Game-Plan" together. Next:

2. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE TOURNAMENT WATERS - This can be done properly by first obtaining a map of the waters that you will be fishing. By understanding how to read a map related to bass fishing you can just about "Pre-Fish" that body of water just by knowing the; Channels, Drops, Humps, Shallows, Flats, Depth, Points, Structures, etc. and by understanding the Seasons, Daily Conditions, Water Temperatures, etc. you should be able to eliminate large amounts of water and key on the areas that would relate to the bass based on many different factors listed above. Another way to get familiarized with the water is to "Hire" Guides or Charters that fish these waters frequently. Now, depending on expenses it would be recommended to hire at least 2 different guides or charters on any given body of water. The reason for this would be to take the "Best of the two" days to help find areas, patterns, etc. Being a licensed guide as well as a bass angling instructor, I need to let the truth be known that there are very poor and very good guides on just about every body of water that holds larger scale bass tournaments. Another way to help to learn the water is to "Fly-The-Water." Go to the municipal or county airport in the area and find a pilot to take you up and fly over the tournament waters. This doesn't cost very much (normally), but you'd be amazed of what you can see from the air that you can't see while sitting on the water.

3. COLOR & BAIT PATTERNS - Probably one of the best ways to learn the color and bait patterns of any given body of water would be to visit as many "Bait & Tackle" retailers in the area as possible. Not so much to talk to anyone, but to look and see what baits and colors are being sold the most off the shelves. If you visit several of these retailers you should be able to get a very good idea of what colors and baits to use pre-fishing based on the averages of all these different places combined.

4. WATCH THE LOCALS - One of the best ways I've found some great "Honey Holes" in the past is just by observing the locals. While you are on the water and see a boat sitting in one spot for a while, just move off in a distance and watch. Remember, some of these locals have fished these waters all their life and are not sitting in areas just to eat lunch! And, especially in the morning before you hit the water, try to find the local diner where most of the locals go eat breakfast. Many times in the past I've got some great information just by eating at the same place at the same time, and by sitting as close as possible. Many anglers like to brag! Just by sitting and minding my own, you can't help to over hear these locals talking between themselves about the 10 pounder they caught off of Trumans Point using a Spook, etc.

5. PUTTING A GAME PLAN TOGETHER - Putting a game plan together for a Tournament and especially "STICKING TO IT!" can make of break most of the anglers in the field. The biggest problem of "Most Anglers" when tournament fishing is not sticking to a game plan. Several years ago, I had the great pleasure and company of Shaw Grisby Jr. and his Father (Pops) over at my home for dinner. That evening, I asked Shaw's father (A truly great and knowledgeable man) what he thought was the biggest problem of why most anglers can't seem to stay consistent, to which he replied; "They always leave the fish!" What he was saying was, that if you are in an area where there are fish, WHY LEAVE? Give a spot time... The biggest part of pre-fishing is locating fish right? So don't just give a spot a few minutes then leave..... I've sat on certain spots for a couple of hours without as much as a bite, then all of a sudden they turn on and I've caught limits just by waiting them out. Also, when making your game plan, select an area where you won't have to run miles and miles to secondary spots. Try to keep at least 3 or 4 alternate spots within a few minutes of each other.

As I mentioned before, being a Pro Bass Instructor, I've had several students in the past who attended my 3-day Bass Fishing School that just wanted to learn how to "Pre-Fish" for tournaments. By teaching them a better understanding of the bass, why it does things, when it does things under the different circumstances, how to put game plans together, showing them different techniques and patterns, teaching them colors, what proper equipment to use, how to locate bass, etc. these former students are some of these "Constant Money Winners." I hope that this article will help you in all your future tournaments and make you a more consistent angler. If you may have any questions on any of the material I've covered, please don't hesitate to contact me at my Email address at: or at any of my websites at: or

Until next time!...... Take Care & God Bless!....."The Bass Coach" Roger Lee

The Bass Coach's
"Personalized Instruction" Bass Fishing School

The Bass Coach's 3-Day "On-Water" Bass Fishing School is designed and developed to teach the novice angler all the way up to the pro tournament angler. As being the originator and founder of the Pro-Tec School of Bassin', Inc. I was the instrumental key in the development of the school criteria as well as being the instructors trainer. After resigning from Pro-Tec, I decided to put a more personalized Bass Fishing School together that would be geared more to the individual angler. Just like all other professional sports, you will always find a "Coach" to teach and to sharpen the skills of the participants, and by being more of a personalized school it gives the students a chance to recieve the "One-on-One" instruction needed for each individual based on their developed skills as well as starting from ground zero in the case of a beginner.

Many former students of the Bass Fishing School have become more successful and consistent with their bass angling skills after completing this 3-Day course, with even some of them being consistant "Money-Winners" when competing in bass tournaments.

Here is some of the in-depth criteria taught while attending this 3-Day "On-Water" Bass Fishing School:

.....Color Selection

.....Top Water Baits

.....Techniques & Presentations used by the Pros

.....Plastic Baits

.....Locating Bass

.....Understanding Bass (Behavior under different circumstances)

.....Proper Equipment



.....Flippin' & Pitchin'

.....Jig & Pig

.....Proper Rigging

.....Tournament Secrets

.....Pre-Fishing (Tournaments)

.....Basic Electronics

.....Water Clarity

.....How to fish Vegetation

.....Soft and Hard Jerkbaits

.....Daily and Seasonal Conditions

and Much, Much, More!

The students are taught on Lake Champlain and Lake George located in the beautiful Adirondak Mountains of New York State. There are two Airports just a few short minutes away (Albany, N.Y. & Burlington, Vt.) which supply some of the major Airlines for your convenience.

The price of the tuition per student is only $1,200.00 which is just pennies over a standard charter fee for 3 days, Or!, you and a friend, wife, girlfriend, son daughter, or partner can sign-up for the "Buddy Package" which enables two students to sign-up and attend at the same time for just $2,000.00 (That's a $200 per student savings). Just think of all the money one would save by knowing now, what to buy, what not to buy, where to fish (a big savings in fuel and time expense alone), how to catch bass on the many different bait patterns, tournament secrets, etc. There will never be more that "Two" students per boat being instructed at any one time to ensure the quality education that a student so richly deserves.

Because of the limited space with the Bass Coach, it is recommended to Sign-up for the 2000 season as soon as possible to ensure your time slot! The 3-Day "On-Water" Bass Fishing School will start approximately mid-April and will continue through October.

Lodging and Food establishments are not included in the tuition price but are very affordable in the Ticonderoga, NY. area. If you need suggestions for lodging or travel directions please just ask. You will find some Lodging information at my website at or you may call (518) 597-4240 for any other information or you can send Email to: . Also, feel free to visit my other web site at:

Take Care & God Bless!

"The Bass Coach"...... Roger Lee Brown

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