Troubleshooting For Tournament Bass

By: Greg Trass

Ever wonder why some guys always seem to end up at or towards the top of the standings? It can be very frustrating to work your heart out at an event and come up short. Some of the time it is because of lack of skill or experience but I know guys who are very skilled and spend many, many hours on the water and still can't put it together on tournament day.

There are many factors in any competition which will eventually determine the outcome.  The great competitors attempt to control as many of the variables as possible. It doesn't matter if its an auto race or a basketball game, you must start off with a plan. That plan must include as much information as possible regarding your quarry, be it the car you must beat, the player you are guarding or the bass you must catch to place higher in the standings. The information that is important in bass fishing is of course unique to our sport. Time of year, water temperature, weather patterns are pieces to the puzzle but what is most important to the weekend lure dunkers is to use this information as efficiently as possible.

Developing a troubleshooting plan should always begin with the most simple solution and work toward the more difficult only if needed. Imagine, if you would, an auto mechanic replacing your fuel injectors because you had a blown fuse. Not too logical is it. The same holds true for your fishing time.  Why choose a difficult pattern or time consuming technique right off the bat if a more direct approach will do the job? Use the KISS method, KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID! Even if you have never seen the lake you find yourself fishing you should be able to come up with a few bites by following some simple rules. Except for the dead of winter, you should be able to catch some fish near the shore line. If the shoreline has some type of cover its even better. Use a simple technique to start. A small weedless worm pitched to visible cover in shallow water is a great place to start. Give it some time, if there is no action on that type of cover, try changing the cover you are casting to. Don't panic and try something like high speed Carolina rigging with crankbait trailers over 6 inch high ridges that run northeast to southwest in a north facing cove at midnight. If there is still no action when you change cover try the inside or outside edge of a weed line. Use the same weedless worm for a while then try a small crankbait, but be efficient with your time.

Remember, troubleshooting is a logical method for solving a problem that starts with the simple, easiest solution and only gets more complex if the problem can't be simply solved. By the way if its 45 minutes before weigh in time and you haven't put anything in your livewell, try high speed Carolina rigging over 6 inch humps, but don't tell your partner who you heard that pattern from.

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