December 30th, 2012
Getting the Most From Your Boat’s Electronicsby Steve Rowswell December 8, 2012
One of the biggest factors that set anglers apart from one another is how they fish a spot. It’s easy enough to find a spot and fish it from one end to another, but the most consistent fishermen find the spot within the spot. This ability comes from spending countless hours on the water, marking hundreds of waypoints, and really knowing how to read your electronics.
The “spot within the spot” is going to be anything that’s a little different than the rest of the area. It could be anything from a thick weed clump that provides an ambush point, a boulder on a large gravel bed, or even a slight depth change. Although there’s times when you can find fish scattered all over an area, knowing where these spots are will make you a more consistent angler.
In shallow water, finding these areas often comes from fishing a spot numerous times. It’s important that whenever you’re not watching your line, you’re studying the bottom to find anything that looks different or even looking for fish to see which way they came from and where they’re going. Once you’ve been over the area a number of times, and have a collection of waypoints on spots that look good or where you caught fish, go back and repeatedly fish those spots to narrow it down to the areas that hold concentrations of fish. If time permits, it’s best to do this over a number of days to determine how different wind and weather conditions position the fish in relation to the structure.
In deep water, knowing how to read your electronics is key. Sure, you can look at your charts and see where the shoals and significant depth changes are, but so can everyone else. Anyone with a map of the lake can go out and do exactly what you’re doing. The best way to set yourself apart from other fishermen is to find the subtle changes that aren’t shown on the charts, for example a small grass bed the size of your boat, out in 35 feet of water. Finding these areas comes from spending hours upon hours, and sometimes days, idling over a series of areas. Whenever you mark a concentration of fish, or any kind of irregularity such as a log, boulder, or isolated grass, mark a waypoint! Then come back and fish the area to find out exactly what you’re dealing with. A good search bait in deep water for me is a heavy tube. Dragging a tube along the bottom with allow you to get a feel for exactly what’s down there, while probably catching some fish in the process. It’s easy to get impatient after a while, but in the long run the time you’ve put in is going to make your future days on the water that much better.
When it comes to fishing a lake, either recreationally or in a tournament, knowing the water will save you time and allow you to have a more successful day. Fishing a spot at least 5, maybe 10 times, provides the ability to key in on areas and make high percentage casts, while quickly passing over spots that don’t hold fish. Tight lines!
About AuthorMore info about author
Steve is a talented multi-species tournament angler, based in Orillia Ontario. When Steve isn't on the water, writing articles or editing YouTube fishing videos, he's an Environmental Studies student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. Steve plans to pursue a career following his passion for the outdoors and in particular fishing.More by Steve Rowswell