How To Prepare For An Inshore Fishing Tournament In 3 Simple Steps


It’s inshore fishing tournament time!

One of our Insiders, Gene Hammond, works with Reeling Freedom, an amazing organization that provides fishing charters for veterans and first responders.

They recently hosted a tournament to raise funds, and of course, we had to compete!

A large part of how successful you are in a tournament (and really anything in life) is determined by how well you prepare.

And preparing for a tournament is all about finding fish.

Check out the video below to see how we scouted the area for this tournament.

Note: these same tactics can be applied if you’re taking family or friends out on the water the next day, and want to make sure to get them on some fish.


Fishing Tournament Preparation [VIDEO]

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#1: Scout the Area With Online Maps Beforehand

pre tournament scouting online maps

Before you fish an area, you need to know where the fish are most likely to be feeding.

The best way to do that is with online maps, such as Google Maps or Mapquest.

They have satellite images that allow you to see things such as structure, depth, or mangroves that can indicate where the fish may be.

Note: want to see exactly how I prepped for this tournament? Check out the SUPER-Community where I share everything, from the lure I was using to the exact spots I picked and why.

#2: Cover As Much Ground As Possible

pre tournament scouting

The goal of this trip is not to catch fish.

The goal is to find fish.

For instance, I found a bunch of trout in deeper grass, and instead of staying to catch as many as I could, I took note of the spot and moved on.

Also, make sure to use lures that allow you to cover a lot of ground.

If you’re soaking live or cut bait on the bottom, you may be wasting a lot of time to see if fish are in the area.

Artificial lures allow you to cover more ground and more effectively find the feeding zones.

#3: Find Areas To Help You Win The Tournament

pre tournament fishing snook

This tournament was a catch and release inshore slam tournament, meaning whoever had the longest total length for a redfish, snook, and trout won.

To give us our best chance at winning, we needed to find spots that would hold the three species.

Since trout typically hold in deeper grass flats, and snook and reds are typically found in the shallows, I needed to have go-to spots for each of those types of fish.

In the video, you can see I fish some deeper grass flats to see where the trout are holding, as well as shorelines to find redfish and snook.


tournament prep trout

If you want to give yourself the best chance at doing well in a tournament or on a big day of fishing, make sure to do these three things on your prep trip:

  1. Scout the area beforehand via online maps to find a few spots to test out.
  2. Cover as much ground as possible so you can identify which areas hold fish and which do not.
  3. Find areas to help you win the tournament. If it’s a slam tournament, find areas that will hold each type of fish.

If you want to see exactly how I prepped for this tournament, from the equipment I was using to the exact spots I picked out and why, check out our SUPER-Community.

Also, tomorrow I’ll have the tournament footage so you can see how the pre-trip planning paid off!

P.S. know someone who needs help prepping for a tournament or a big day on the water? TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Mark Jacobs
4 years ago

Good advice. Thank you. What’s up with old flashlight? Headlamps are alot more helpful. Fishing!

Danny Trevino
Danny Trevino
4 years ago

Great info! They say failure to plan is a plan to fail….or something like that…

Glenn Acomb
4 years ago

Luke: I enjoyed your video and lot, but what I really like is watching Otis get fired up and enjoying fishing as much as you. How did you get him started being comfortable on the boat and liking it so much. I would love to take my 5-year old Border Collie with me but when I put him on the skiff in the driveway, he’s uneasy. Just curious. Otis is a star!


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