One of the most challenging and frustrating things an angler faces is being skunked. Whether fishing a tournament, or just out fishing for fun, getting zero fish in the boat isn’t a story you want to share. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love, as many others do, to just be on the water. It has a calming effect in your spirit. But we all desire to have a great day while catch something.
I want to share a few tips on ways to improve your odds while fishing from 0 to 100.
1. CHIRP Sonar
It is said that 90% of the fish live in 10% of the water. Once that craziness sinks in, you are handicapped without eyes under the water. Using a good sonar with CHIRP technology will give a clear picture quickly. Lowrance makes some great models for some of the clearest and most effective options for the money. Where some other competitors have a six foot
cone at a depth of 20 feet, the latest fleet to include the HDS Carbon, or their more affordable but very effective Elite Ti unit, will give you a 16 foot viewable cone.
2. Downscan, Sidescan and 3D
New technologies such as downscan, sidescan and the totally awesome 3D scan from Lowrance is a true game changer. StructureScan® HD offers best-in-class, side-scanning range and resolution, plus DownScan ImagingTM to provide crystal-clear, picture-like views of what’s beneath a boat. Lowrance StructureScan® 3D allows anglers to see fish, structure
and bottom contour in a stunning three-dimensional view. StructureScan® 3D imaging scans underwater terrain and fish-holding structure to create a high-resolution, 180-degree, three-dimensional view beneath your boat. With this unique imaging view, anglers gain a better understanding of where fish and structure are located in relation to their boat.
3. An underwater fishing camera like a GoFish Cam
Now that you have an idea what your sonar and graph is telling you is down there, hook up your GoFish Cam and make parallel cast over the area to get a true picture of the underwater landscape. For a view of the bottom, hook it up to a carolina rig or a heavy jig and drag. If you want to look more at the mid-levels of the water column, hook it up to an appropriate crankbait. This
will give you confidence that the area is holding fish. Many times, you can see what other types of baitfish or other forage the bass may be feeding on. Another cool way to use the wireless fishing camera it is by attaching the free live-stream float accessory that comes with the camera. Use this to see live on your mobile device a top-down landscape of what's happening underwater.
4. Go where fish live
Circling back around with the concept that 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water, you have to know where the fish live. Understanding these location and basic feeding habits is essential. There are two types of bass personalities I have found. The cruiser, or flush feeder, and the ambusher. We generally fish the ambusher where there is plenty of cover like brush or rock piles. They lay in wait for a tasty morsel to come by and pounce on it.
The cruiser travels up and down structure such as a creek bed along funnels looking for it’s next meal. When full and less productive, you can usually find them resting, suspended between 8-15 feet over that same structure. Learning where they live will increase your odds.
5. Match the food source
You can also drastically increase your success odds by understanding what the current major food source that the bass are accustomed to eating in a given lake, river, pond, etc. When you know what they are accustomed to eating, select lures that best match that forage are key. For instance, in the summer there are an abundance of frogs. Fishing a frog bait early morning
or late evening can be monumental in your success. End of the summer into the fall, bass are keyed on shad. Finding balls of shad and using your sonar and underwater camera, you can find bass lingering around waiting
for the next dinner bell.
6. Fish, fish, fish
I can’t stress enough, and whole heartedly believe, there is no substitute for time on the water. You need time to perfect your use and knowledge of using your electronics and fishing techniques. You also need time on the water to practice locating fish. There is no substitute for hard work and persistence. With the use of a GoFish Cam hooked up and giving you video, and data coming from your Lowrance graph, you can actually see what your sonar is picking up. Gaining confidence that what you see on your graph and confidence in your fishing technique, equipment and specific baits will increase your chances of success and enjoyment of the sport.
Getting skunked is no fun. Increasing your odds of fishing success is possible, and hopefully these fishing tips helped. Knowledge is power and with the use of quality equipment you can easily gain the right knowledge to empower you to catch fish consistently.