ith recent success in a local tournament, we
have found ourselves in a unique situation.
Not asking ourselves, what could we have done differently? Or what did we do wrong? But, what did
we do right to end up at the top of the field?
Two things instantly come to mind.
The first is good fortune, as in the past we have missed victories by one big hooked and lost fish. This season we are hooking the same big fish, however they are hitting the net and joining us for a boat ride around the lake for the day.
The second being the most important of the two and the one I would like to further discuss, and that is pre- fishing.
Now, we don’t have the luxury of spending a week on the water leading up to the event. In fact, we only have one day to dissect a select body of water and using our time to the fullest on that given day has been a crucial element leading to victory.
Also, our pre-fishing doesn’t start when we get to the lake and end when we load the boat at the end of the day. It is also complimented with hours of analysis as we travel to and from the lake and accompanied by nightly phone conversations.
Amidst one of these in- depth conversations, I began to veer from our strategies, of locations, techniques and conditions and began to analyze the procedures in which we had applied. I reviewed the process of elimination, our familiarization, and how we were making calculated decisions based on what we found or didn’t find.
“There’s a name for that,” said my tournament partner Rob Betsch in one of our conversations. “It’s the OODA LOOP.” And since this conversation we have been accurately using this formula to prepare for each event.
So, what is the OODA LOOP?
The OODA LOOP (Observe, Orient, Decide and Act) is a four-step approach to decision- making that focuses on filtering available information, putting it
in context and quickly making the most appropriate decision while understanding that changes can be made as more data comes available.
It was developed by military strategist and the United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd.
How do these four steps apply to each day of fishing, pre-fishing for a tournament or guiding?
Here’s how I break them down and a few things I’m looking for.
First and foremost, we must look at the body of water we are on and hypothetically imagine how and where the fish might be positioned. We do this with an in depth understanding of how the fish respond to a variety of variables.
Seasonal patterns, structure type, depth, water temperature, light, water clarity and current/wind are a few of these variables. These are all very descriptive intervals, but each one can and will open and close windows of opportunity.