Ultimate Bass

Pam Martin-Wells on Prefishing

We are lucky enough to have Pam Martin Wells, 2006 Women’s Bassmaster Championship, all time money winner for Women’s Professional Fishing, and she has been inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. If you all don’t know already Pam Martin-Wells can fish! I believe she does a little hunting too…

We are lucky enough to have Pam Martin Wells, 2006 Women’s Bassmaster Championship, all time money winner for Women’s Professional Fishing, and she has been inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. If you all don’t know already Pam Martin-Wells can fish! I believe she does a little hunting too…

Pam has been great about letting me pick at her brain about various topics. I for one have questions about prefishing. Not whether we should do it, but how to do it and how to understand what I have found. So I asked Pam Martin-Wells to share some of her thoughts on the matter.

Pam, Fishing at the level that you do, I imagine it’s very seldom you get to fish waters that are familiar to you, so what things do you use to help you start looking for a pattern on a body of water during tournament practice?

“The first thing I do prior to arriving at a lake is try to determine the seasonal pattern for the time of year. Then once I arrive, I will try that and if it doesn’t work then I will work either in or out.”

Many fisherman concentrate on forage to determine what baits and colors to throw. I asked Pam how much effort she put into finding out what the fish are feeding on.

“I probably don’t pay as much attention to this as I should. But I try to keep my thinking and my arsenal simple; don’t want to complicate things too much. Too much thinking can lead to not enough fishing.” She went on to say “I will pay attention of course to pods of shad and such or if a fish happens to cough up a crawfish, but other than that, I’m not going to go out and turn rocks! (With a smile)”

Once you have established a pattern, how do you go about finding more water that fits the pattern? Do you use topo maps or would you rather cruise the lake and actually look at it?

“I’ll do both, however studying a good topo map helps eliminate time. I also depend heavily on my Lowrance electronics as they have excellent mapping built in and I can easily find areas on the lake.”

Pam, once you have found new water that fits your pattern, how many fish will you catch on it and what are you checking for, size and/or numbers?

“When I am trying a new area, I will fish until I catch a keeper and then depending on how aggressive the strikes have been I will either stay and shake a few more fish off or just go ahead and leave the area.”

So let’s say you’re in a new area and are not getting bit. Do you put a time limit on this? 20 minute 1 hour?

“I would put a time limit on it, just can’t say how long, it is more of a gut feeling as to whether I stay or not.” Pam did go on to say that, “If I feel really strong about a particular area I will possibly check it again.”

Pam, when I am prefishing and get a few spots that fit the pattern and are producing I will try do set up a “milk run” for my day. Do you use “milk runs” and how do you build them?

She replied with, “Milk runs would depend on the pattern I am fishing, if it set up for milk runs then I would try to base it on time I got bit in practice, fishing pressure, quality and distance.”

I have heard some folks say they don’t use electronics much, maybe just to determine how deep the fish will be either by finding the thermocline or looking for where most of the bait fish are holding. Do you use your electronics when prefishing?

Pam said she depends heavily on her Lowrance electronics.

What is the most important thing your electronics tell you?

Pam said, “Depends on the time of year, during the spring water temperature would have to be high on the list. However, I use them not only for depth, but bottom contour, whether it is hard or soft bottom, any structure there and how the fish might be relating to it.”

I hear people say they cut the hooks off of their baits when prefishing? When I asked Pam if she did this or would you rather catch a few to determine the quality of fish you have found? She replied, “Depends on the area and how familiar I am with the area. I can do either.”

Pam, I know many fishermen will only prefish during tournament hours, believing that late day fish can’t help them. I know that you fish sun up to sun down when you are prefishing. Say you find a quality pattern around 6 PM; do you feel these fish can benefit you during tournament hours?

“This is a debate open for much discussion. My mother has always told me I am wasting my time fishing after tournament hours and I have heard the same from other anglers. This may be so, however when I am prefishing, if I find something after tournament hours, I have the option of going back the next day during tournament hours to see if they will bite then. I know fish are living in the area and I can try to figure out how to catch them in less than optimum times. Also its just been my work ethic to give every thing I do 110% and if I don’t fish from daylight until dark, I don’t feel like I have given it my best and feel that I may miss something, so right or wrong I will fish until ‘I’ am satisfied with my effort.”

Pam Martin-Wells thank you very much for your time and answering my questions. I know the readers of Ultimate Bass will enjoy your perspective on prefishing and hopefully we all can learn a little bit.

Get the Net it’s a Hawg
Mike Cork
Ultimate Bass
mike@ultimatebass.com



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