It is almost October in Missouri. For fisherman, that means that it is time for the annual Fall Big Bash Bash (BBB) at Lake of the Ozarks. The fall tourney is always the first full weekend of October and draws thousands of fisherman in search of one great bite that will mean pay day.
The Big Bash Bash is an excellent tournament because it gives everyday fisherman the chance to compete for real money like the big boys of the FLW or Bassmasters do on their circuits. This tournament is different, however, from regular fishing tournaments. In the BBB, fisherman are really only looking for one good bite. Big fish for the day will win someone $100,000. Second place will take home $20,000, third is $10,000 and fourth is $5,000. More than $105,000 guaranteed in bi-hourly payouts with a total of 240 places paid. 30 places will are paid for each of the four time slots (7-9, 9-11, 11-1, 1-3). Typically, fisherman are looking to weigh five fish for the heaviest weight.
I have had several friends fish recent Big Bash Bashes on Lake of the Ozarks, and I have always been curious about their strategy. A few of them have taken checks in recent Bashes which is really quite an accomplishment given the number and quality of anglers. After listening to them as well as formulating my own plan of action, I have my own roadmap to hopefully take a check at this year’s BBB.
1 – Just fish
I know this sounds funny, but how many times have you been pre-fishing for a tournament and hook into a nice 4 lb.+ bass. I believe that I fish better when I am not under pressure to win. Take your time and enjoy the day. Fish like you want to fish, and don’t be inundated with information from anyone and everyone on the Internet and friends of friends. Go out and fish the way that is comfortable to you, and gives you the best confidence in catching fish.
2- Do something different than the rest of the crowd
There are going to be a ton of boats on the Lake for this tournament. Chances are that at some point in the day, I will be following someone down a bank. When that happens, I am going to be very aware of what the people in the boat in front of us are throwing. My plan will be to show the fish something different. If they are fishing, jigs, I am going to switch to a large swim bait or spinnerbaits and search for fishing in a different part of the water column. I could also use a different type of bottom bouncer to present to the fish something different. If they are fishing show and picking apart a piece of structure, I might try a faster presentation and go for a reaction strike.
3 – Use big-bass lures
While I will have a few “regular” lures tied on my line, the majority will be large jigs, swim baits or other large-profile baits. I am looking for one bite all day. If a fish hits one of these baits, it will most likely be a money fish.
4 – Target out-of-the-way brush piles
If you have had the chance to place your own brush piles in the Lake, then you are in luck. If not (like me), you have to rely on the handy work of others. When pre fishing for any tournament, I am always very aware of other fishermen on the water. I pay special attention to those boats who are camped on a bank that would not be a “typical” bank. A good example would be someone who is fishing a do-nothing bank, and they are not moving very fast. Chances are, they are fishing some out-of-the-way brush. Once they leave, I go check out what was making stay in that spot for such a long period of time.
5 – Hope for some serious luck
Someone is going to win, it might as well be you. There are always a lot of anglers on the Lake. Luck goes a long way when searching for big fish. I always tell my partner that we have a 50/50 chance to win…either we will or we won’t. I never did well at statistics…