Being prepared for a tournament means not only having your first string of rods, lures, baits/rigs, teasers, etc. ready to go, but also having backups for everything and double backups for some things. During a tournament, you only have so many hours of fishing time per day, so if the line on one of your rods gets damaged and you don’t have a backup rod ready to go, you’ve now got one less bait in your spread while someone re-rigs another one. That also means one less set of eyes watching the spread.
When lure fishing, keeping two each of your top producing lures rigged and ready is a big time saver. You should make up several extra hook sets already attached to leaders, so all you need to do is run the bitter end of the leader through the lure and crimp a new loop.
When lure fishing, I prefer to use detachable tag lines with a Blacks outrigger clip at the end, so I’ll have extras ready to go in case one of the clips breaks. Keep extra dead- and live-bait rigs neatly coiled in Ziploc bags — clearly labeled with hook size, leader size and length — in a convenient, dry location. When the bite gets hot, your backup supply of dead bait must be properly thawed and prepped for rigging, not frozen solid in a bait freezer. Spare teasers, squid chains and dredges should be ready to go over quickly when needed.
Pre-fit the fighting chair’s footrest, bucket harness, and/or standup belts and gear to each angler at the dock. Try to have any tag sticks, measuring devices and gaffs securely stored in the cockpit, yet readily available for use. Being as prepared as possible in all areas maximizes your chances of winning come tournament day.
Capt. Randy Baker