Outdoor Articles

Bagwell’s Bass Tactics: Bass Tournament Downsizing

by Pursue The Outdoors on June 27th, 2005 in Freshwater Fishing

This fall while cleaning out my Triton for the winter, I made a huge discovery. “I had entirely too much stuff in my boat.” The storage compartments were jammed full of hundreds and hundreds of bags containing various soft plastic baits. There were at least ten bags of every size, style, and color of each product that Gary Yamamoto makes. While each of these baits are very productive in various situations, having such a large selection with me all of the time led to some confusion, wasted time and second guessing.

After looking back and analyzing my past season and trying to determine adjustments that needed to be made, I decided that my soft plastic selection had to be condensed. The amount of time that I spent digging through the compartments looking for a specific color and size of a lure could have allowed me to catch one or two more fish per tournament day. Would that really make a difference? I really don’t know, but as long as it is a possibility, I am willing to take corrective measures. The competition in Bass tournaments today is so good that you need to take advantage of every moment you spend on the water. A few wasted minutes here and there could mean the difference between winning the tournament and not making a check at all.

To help with the elimination of wasting valuable tournament time, I am going to choose about five or six colors of each bait. These colors will be the ones that I feel will be most productive for the body of water that I will be fishing. Factors that will assist with my selection process will be water clarity, natural forage, bottom composition and my personal confidence level. For example, if I am fishing a tournament on the muddy Mississippi River, there is a good chance that I will not use a bubble gum or white Senko. Therefore, I do not need to have them in my boat for that tournament. Past experience and common sense tells me that colors like Green Pumpkin, Watermelon and June Bug are very effective in this type of water. My confidence level is also very high in colors like Black with Blue flakes and Ox Blood in muddy water, so I would add these additional colors to my arsenal before waging war in this tournament.

Pre-fishing is a great time to determine what ammunition you will carry in the boat during tournament hours. If you take a few baits of each color and try them during practice, you can get a very good idea of what you need to have in the boat once the tournament begins. This is also a good time to determine the quantity of lures that you need to bring with you. If during practice, the bite is relatively slow and you aren’t going through very many soft baits, you probably do not need to take twenty bags with you during the tournament. Just make sure that you have an ample supply so you don’t run out of them, at the same time don’t go overboard. Excessive quantities take up a lot of room and add unwanted weight to your boat.


Competitive Bass fishing is a game of numbers and usually the margins are very slim. By reducing your idle time, it allows you to keep your bait wet a little longer. We all know that no matter how well a MegaStrike coated Senko works, you will never catch anything on it when the lure isn’t even in the water.

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