By: Tommy Nitahara
We all look forward to planning a fishing trip which is part of the excitement that builds in us. Many fishermen I know get so excited they can’t sleep the night before a trip or tournament. But when we finally get on the water, we are at peace. Once on the water, pre-fishing for a tournament begins.
Pre-fishing is simply searching to find fish you can catch at a later time. Tournament anglers spend countless hours looking at areas and studying the current habits of the fish.They will pinpoint areas where biting fish can be found. They look at tidal and current movements as well as moon phases and wind patterns. Water temperature and color will be important.
Let’s discuss approach and strategy with proven tournament anglers.
Frank Wong, Seeker Rods Pro Staffer, member of team Shaka, which holds the SWBA Spottie Record for a five fish limit: You should try and fish on tides that are similar to tournament day. You want to develop as many patterns as you can, keying in on patterns that will produce big fish on tournament day is the objective.
John Beerling is on the Seeker Rods, Phoenix Rods, and Mc Swimbaits pro staffs. He is also on team Perros Veijo: Reading the water is the most important in calico fishing. One a recent trip to San Clemente Island, the conditions were poor. Water was clear, no tide, no current, kelp was standing up and couldn’t get a bite. We moved around the island and found a stretch of dirty water of about ¼ mile long. It was game on, and we boated 32 pound five fish limit in a matter of minutes.
Benny Florentino is sponsored by, Lowrance, Mercury Marine, Angler’s Marine and Big Hammer lures. He is with Team Hammer and a charter captain of Coastal Charters: You should use Google Earth to look at new areas you will fish. Always ask questions and seek knowledge to improve. Calicos are spawning now and are moving to the beaches. Look for the days the gunion have their runs. The fish you catch will tell you how they want to be caught that day.
Mike Nuguyen is with Turners Outdoors and Seeker Rods Pro Staff. He is with Team Slam Ola: A successful calico fisherman should: (1) Have confidence in every cast, (2) Make lots of cast and cover lots of water, (3) Study every bite as a clue to catching more fish for the day.
Gene Yun,Seeker Rod Pro Staff: Look for the water surge on the shoreline. It will tell you where to cast. Also, be aware of the casts the person in front is making, cast to a different area and try to use different type of baits.
Bob Suekawa owner and operator of Wallstrong trailers and Haddock lures: The fisherman in the back has advantage, he can changes lure at any time and he has more water to fish. Be observant of the man in the front and what he is doing. Where is he casting, what type of lure is he using. But if he speeds down a bank, you don’t have much choice but to do the same.
Matt Florentino works for AFTCO apparel company and is a Abu- Garcia Pro Staffer: Big baits catch big fish. Using bait that has big profile is best. A shirted swim bait is one of my favorites as well as a 9 inch swim bait. I like to make short casts, pitching my bait when I can. When going for the big bite, you may not catch many, but you like the rewards when you catch one. Many fisherman have different ideas about fishing. But you have to ask yourself, what are your expectations? Don’t make them too big — you will get disappointed. My thought is go have fun and take expectation out the equation. Here are a few things I feel are important:
1) Try to learn one or two new things each fishing trip
2) Learn to master and work a new bait
3) Learn to read the water while fishing
4) What depth are the active fish biting at?
5) Find colors of baits that work for you. Build confidence in them
6) Build confidence in every lure you throw
7) Make friends with as many people as you can. It could be at a tackle store, show, launch ramp or dock. Go fishing with them and the learning process will start. Most of all, Remember, “It’s only fishing.”
Tommy Nitahara is a Daiwa Pro Fisherman