Now that the 2007 season is all said and done, it is time to start planning and preparing for the upcoming tournament season. There is a lot of different things that I can do now so that when it’s time to fish, I’ll be sure to have more time on the water. First and foremost I have to make sure my boat is all ready to go. I’m so excited because this year I got a new boat! I’ve already had it in to be fully serviced by Frankie’s Marine, now it’s just a matter of getting the boat fully rigged. I just ordered two Lowrance sonar/GPS units, a Lowrance LCX 37 C for my console, and a Lowrance LCX 27 C for the deck. These units are very important because they are my eyes underwater. Not only are they a sonar but they have built in GPS to help navigate the water. A few companies offer mapping data chips for these units that will give you high definition mapping. I suggest either Lake Maps or Navionics. I am also looking into new batteries. These are real important. A matter of fact they cost me a great finish in a tournament last year. So you can imaging that is a priority to me to make sure my batteries are the best.
**From left to right: Lowrance LCX 27C and a Lowrance LCX 37C
I also make sure to stock up on tackle and make sure to keep up with new products. During the course of a season a guy can go thru the tackle. I never truly know what I am going to use in a single day but I do have a good idea. The first thing I go threw is my “go-to” baits. These are the ones that I feel most comfortable with and use on a regular basis. Some of my every day tackle consists of the Ten K jig by 10000 Lakes Tackle, Net Bait’s Paca Craw, or Lucky Craft’s Sammy. There are many more baits that follow under this category and I want to make sure I am fully stocked on these before the season starts. Usually it’s easier to get stocked up during the off season when I have more time on my hands but most importantly, I can find what I need. Way to often I will need something in a certain color and won’t be able to find it anywhere because their more likely to be sold out in the middle of the season.
Another thing I take into importance is my terminal tackle. Lets be honest, it’s not as fun to buy hooks as it is to buy some new Japanese crankbait, but it is more important. I make sure to stock up on things like fishing line such as P Line fluorocarbon, Power Pro braid, and Berkley Sensation for mono. I also stock up on Gamakatsu hooks for everything from trebles to Super Line to the drop shot. I also am a huge fan of the Reaction Innovations BMF hook for all my flippin’. Also I make sure I have a huge selection of Tru Tungsten Flippin’ weights and Worm weights in all different sizes.
Probably the most fun I have is stocking up on new products. This year I am really excited to be using the new line of baits by Amp Lures. These Japanese influenced baits are sure to fool many bass this year. I’m especially excited for their Air Shot Jig matched with a High Low 5.5″. I’m counting on this lethal match up to entice those finicky bites from a 6 pounder.
Also new is the one and only Basstrix Paddle Tail Tube. By far the most sought after bait on the market. This hollow belly swimbait has been silently cashing paychecks for pros for a few years now. Now let me assure you the cat has been let out of the bag. This lure is extremely hard to come by. There are alternatives that will do a great job such as Poor Boy Bait’s Silly Rabbit or Berkley Power Bait’s Hollow Belly. Although all are fantastic lures, in this case I tend to lean in favor of the Basstrix. Each one is hand made for the perfect presentation and it’s hard to beat the original. Chatterbait used to be a “craze lure” until it became more accessible, now there are dozens of imitators. Some of them are real nice baits but I think Chatterbait is still number one.
Also I spend a lot of time studying maps of lakes I will be fishing. I try to figure out what the primary forage is and what the cover and structure are like. This usually helps me come up with a good idea of certain patterns that may work. From there I have an idea of the baits that I may want to stock up on as well. I better get going, I have some work to do!!