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27 Sep

Maximizing Your Offshore Electronics

Fishermen today have the benefit of a vast array of fishing electronics and more coming with what seems like every day. Not too many years back, the angler had to depend on a fish finder that was both complicated and sometimes not totally accurate. Today we have highly sophisticated underwater images that make our fishing far easier. However, in many cases those electronic capabilities far outrun the ability of those that use them. One problem is the anglers focus on the screen and its view without understanding that the transducer camera often plays a bigger role. In my case, I purchased a good fish finder, but then I invested in a really good transducer that provided the bottom view that I needed. Now, this is where the tricky part comes in. You need to fully understand how the coverage of that transducer and fish finder works. Without even a basic knowledge of that, you’re likely missing a big part of what electronics can do to enhance your fishing success. Newer transducers allow the fisherman to see far past the immediate area of the boat. Identifying hard bottoms and structures that attract fish is very important.

The beams that improved transducers produce are cone-shaped, very much like a light beam that expands farther away from its source and expands a significant amount in the deep water. This serves as a great benefit when you’re searching for bottom structures, hard rock bottoms, and other changes that hold both bait fish and species you’re fishing for. However, it’s important to remember that when trying to locate the actual fish themselves, you will need the most narrow angle you can get. Then pinpoint your target, which is the fish, rather than a larger target like the bottom structure.

These transducers allow you to determine the type of bottom by the image they provide. Images of the sandy bottom are thin, and images of a harder structure, such as rocks, will be considerably thicker. You will want to mark the hard bottom locations that are likely to hold fish. It’s important to move around the area to see how big the hard bottom extends and where it starts and stops. It may require multiple waypoints and be marked for future use. I also recommend you have a map, such as the laminated map by Maps Unique, which marks the bottom structures, allowing you to compare the location on the map with the image you are seeing on your screen.

Another tip you should not depend on is locations where you last caught fish. They swim away looking for a better food source. Start pursuing the locations where the fish are likely to be. Again, structure. Moving from one spot to another that has been marked will produce a far higher level of success. The more you pinpoint your hard bottom and structure findings, the more fishing options you will have. This is true for bottom fishing as well as trolling.  It’s not uncommon for me to mark 40 or more spots in a single day. Always keep your eyes on your depth finder!

The next time you’re going fishing, create a plan that includes a line of waypoints you have already captured and head out. You will be surprised at your success.

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