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dtag31

Fish Finders- What am I missing

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Hi Everyone, 

It's a pleasure to have found this site, I am a new angler who just bought his first aluminum boat from his uncle. He also sold me his old fish finder, which I am very excited to use, but I have to ask a HORRIBLE question. I understand the purpose of seeing hard bottoms, structure, schools of bait fish, etc to locate where bass are likely to be. But the question that keeps pestering me is:

 

If I am fishing off the bow of the boat, using my trolling motor, monitoring my fish finder, and I see that I just passed over several fish... what good is it to me now??? The fish do not show up on the chart until I have passed them, and since I am fishing off the bow, wouldn't it really only be useful to my old lady who is casting off the stern? 

 

Feel free to shame me in the process, but I would love to understand what I am missing about the utility of spotting a fish on the fish finder and how I would actually cast for it without turning the boat around. 

 

Thank you,

Dillon

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You can   cast behind the boat .

 

 First  there are fish everywhere and you cant cast at every fish blip you see .  Now if I see fish that I suspect are bass and I just passed over them  , I fire a quick cast "Usually a crankbait "past the fish and bring it through . Most of the time I come up   empty but every so   often I hit a school and catch a bunch . If I see some sort of cover for instance a stump   with fish around it , then I will fish it too . 

 

Get some marker buoys . If you see something that looks promising , toss one out but dont toss it on top of the fish . Toss it several yards away .

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Welcome to the forum.  There are no "HORRIBLE" questions here.

 

I agree with everything @scaleface said.  It's usually not about see a fish on the screen and then trying to catch that fish.  Use your fish finder as a tool to understand the water you are fishing. Marker buoys are essential if you don't have GPS.  Use these tools to map out the structure,  it's form,  and how the bass and bait fish are relating to it.  Then position your boat to catch those fish.

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I fish vertically for bass all the time.  I set my graph up so I can see my bait on the screen.  Then it's just video game fishing.  It's really about the only way to fish deeper than 15-20 FOW.  You can do this with jigs, drop shot plastics, spoons, and blade baits as well. 

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Welcome to the BR site. Is your transducer in the front or back of your boat, transum or trolling motor mounted? Sonar brand and model?

The reason I ask is to focus my answers. 

First thing to get clear is everything displayed on most sonar screens is a history of what the TD has passed over, it's all behind younfSqawfish you are moving forward.

Real time sonar signal returns are only located at the far right edge of the before it scrolls across to be displayed. The question is how far behind the boat are the targets displayed?

During the cold water period bass like to be very close to the bottom and often they are not easily seen with traditional down looking sonar, they tend to look like bumps on the bottom in lieu of arches. Knowing what you have regarding a sonar unit and how deep you are seeing returns helps to determine the size of the signal return area.

Tom

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Hello and welcome to the forum. Good luck with your boat and electronics.

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I fish water that is mostly less than 10ft deep.  So I never get to video game fish, does seem like it would be fun though.  If you are fishing mostly shallow water, you should just use to to find good structure.  Once you find it, either mark it on GPS or make a mental note and you can come back and fish it later.

I will rarely see what I think are bass on my FF, usually what I will see is bait balls in the middle of whatever bayou or pipeline canal I'm fishing.  If that is the case, then I usually stop and fish the nearest drop off or grass edge. 

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I want to thank everyone for the very helpful responses. I think I am learning exactly what I needed, and sort of suspected:

  • electronics are used to find good structure that general hold fish
  • you are not using your electronics to actually attach one particular fish you saw on sonar
  • mark your points you identify as good areas and come back to fish them

 

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Just stop, pivot boat hard left/right with trolling motor and make a couple casts if the spots looks promising. I'm usually just fan casting away in the direction I'm heading anyways. Unless I'm taking a arm break.

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On 1/9/2019 at 12:38 PM, dtag31 said:

you are not using your electronics to actually attach one particular fish you saw on sonar

  It will show bass and every other fish .  If you're going to delve into structure fishing points , humps ....  then you are going to see bass and bait-fish on or  near the structure . Pay attention to those fish signals and try to learn from them . I'm not an expert structure fisherman but I do mark schools of bass quite often out on the structure . 

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On 1/8/2019 at 2:20 PM, J Francho said:

I fish vertically for bass all the time.  I set my graph up so I can see my bait on the screen.  Then it's just video game fishing.  It's really about the only way to fish deeper than 15-20 FOW.  You can do this with jigs, drop shot plastics, spoons, and blade baits as well. 

That's pretty much how I fish smallmouths.

This is how I explain how I generally utilize fish finders. When I first started bass fishing, way before I had electronics on a boat, I would follow the bank. If I saw grass I would cast at it. I would cast at rocks, points, fallen trees, anything that looked like a bass might sit near it. 

   Now I have electronics. I do the same thing except under water. I find rocks, trees, brush piles, ect, and I fish around them. I basically use mapping to find underwater points or humps, that sort of thing. Then I will idle around looking for things that will hold fish. The same stuff I fished on the banks back in the day. If I find a brush pile on side imaging, i mark a waypoint, run over it or near it at an idle with 2d and di on. If it see anything that could be fish I'll cast at it. It's basically just like bank fishing except that the fishfinder shows me the things that might hold fish. I'm no expert fisherman, and maybe some people will find my methods to be over simplified, but it's how I do it and i catch more fish doing this than I did before I had electronics. I think that trying to catch 1 "fish" marked on 2d is a fools errand. It could be a bass. It could be a catfish, carp, clump of leaves, or God knows what else. Use the fishfinder as underwater eyes to find splots likely to hold fish. 

This year will be my first year having 2 units on the boat. The one at the bow will be set up for vertical fishing just like jfranco said. I just sneak up on top of rock piles and watch the smallies come to the lure. There are some you tube videos showing this process. The settings need to be adjusted and you need to know how to interpret the returns. things look a little different on screen when you aren't moving.

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This shows the tech off perfectly

 

 

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On 1/9/2019 at 7:45 AM, Troy85 said:

see is bait balls in the middle of whatever

This can be THE thing at the right time of year.  Makes the electronics worth it...unless there's birds...then the birds are just as good as the electronics...

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I'm not working with panoptix. I wish I was. I use 2d and watch my arches turn to blobs and my jig turn into a straight line.

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