Actually in really tough bites, a pattern might be formed by one fish, one fish bite or even just seeing fish on an underwater camera. The one thing that I have always done is try to establish where a good number of fish are holding – paying attention to the conditions when I do locate a school. What is the water temp and clarity? What is the wind – is it blowing on the structure, are the fish located on the upwind side or the lee side of the structure? Is it a sunny day or cloudy day, etc?. Especially during tough bites little changes in the environment may turn on or turn off the fish that are present.
Once I find where fish are holding, then I try to figure out the most aggressive technique possible to catch them. Ideally I’d like to pull a crank bait and catch the fish, but may have to slow down to spinners, live bait, jigging or rigging to catch them. The final step is to find more locations similar to the productive areas so that I can develop a “milk run”. Of course if conditions change (for better or worse) a good tournament angler can adapt – and at times even throw out all the information found in pre-fishing and start from scratch.