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NJfishinGuy

how to with fish finder?

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id like to know how to use and find stumps and stuff down bottom and how do you postition the boat to fish them after u find them? theres a lake i got a map of where some stumps are and i wanna find them and fish them but i have the slightyes clue what im lookin for and how i would even put the boat to fish them if i did find em, the electronics things is new to me

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good post, im wanting to know the same sort of imformation, im looking forward to responsed on this one guys, help us rooks out.

danny

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The most important thing you can do is pay attention to the depthfinder.  If you see some odd bumps on the bottem and constant changes in depth, then you know you're over rocks or stumps.  The stumps will often times show us as slight depth changes or little minature humps on the sonar display.  If fish are holding there, then there is a number of things you can do.

The most obvious and probably most popular method is using a marker bouy.  I use these http://www.shopping.com/xPC-Lindy_Little_Joe_Lindy_Marker_Buoy_Rack_Pack_Kit_Buddy_Rack_Pack

Once you have your buoys set up, now you have an above water idea of what is going on below water.  For stumps, I'd break out jigs or carolina rigs if the fish are holding to the bottem or at the base of the stumps.  If they are suspended above them, treat them like you would any suspended fish and target them with crankbaits, senkos, fat ikas, spinnerbaits, swimming jigs, etc.

Another thing you can do is just start fan-casting the area with carolina rigs.  You will know when you hit a stump or other structure with a carolina rig.  When I do, I like to give it one more pull then dead stick it for about half a minute.  

Hope this helps

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well the piticular stumps im gonna be goin for are in about 15-25ft of water, those bouys how do they worm what is there a weight that drops to the bottom so the bout stay floating above the target. i guess you would just drop it as sson as you see somethin on the sonar

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I had the same problem at first. There are instructional videos which you can buy on the internet. But the best advise I got was when I was told to take my boat out to a particular lake (Round Valley Res. in NJ) that is ultra clear. You can see clearly down 20 30 feet. I took the advise, and spent most of the day just traveling over various types of structure like weeds, rocks, stumps, breaklines, etc. It was so helpful to be able to see into the water exactly what the graph was showing. The thing that surprised me the most was how narrow the cone of vision was. The previous post of throwing marker buoys is exactly what I do when I want to fish particular structure like fish ladders. Personally, I don't try and target individual fish I see on a graph (it won't work and will frustrate you), but key on structure (with or without fish holding on them because the fish will move in on structure) and also to look for baitfish.

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well sense your a NJ fisher then you know what im talkin about im lookin to find the ones on manasquan, along witht he roadbeds,and fish shelters. i dont think mana is that clear to see there tho

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Usually the manuals that come with depthfinders are invaluable for learning how to read them. If you haven't already, you should really study yours. Also there are some good free tutorials at the Lowrance Web site.

A common misconception with these devices is that they point out individual fish that you then go after. That may happen once in a while, but most of the time they are really habitat finders. The Fish ID function on these things are grossly misleading and can obscure the most important information you need. I never use it. The real trick is to spend enough time with your depthfinder that you learn to interpret what you're seeing on the screen. Using the info in your manual, for example, you should be able to tell whether you are looking at a hard bottom or a soft bottom. Weeds and stumps are fairly obvious on the screen, as are changes of water depth.

Once you know what you're looking at on the screen, match all of this data with what you know about bass. They like cover, for example, so the bottom patches of weeds and stumps you see are areas to work over with whatever bait you use.

Case in point: a pond I fish a lot is about 20 feet deep in the middle, with relatively little variation in depth until you get very close to shore. That whole middle section is flat and contains little vegetation, so there isn't a lot to hold bass, and sure enough, I've never caught anything there. But my depthfinder helped me pinpoint the areas that rise up to shallow plateaus with lots of lily pads. There's one area in particular that is a wide, shallow table covered with pads, at the edge of which the water drops quickly to about 7 feet and then down to 17. The table and the seven foot area is where the bass in this pond tend to hang out, and I've caught some nice hogs there. It makes sense, because bass like to grab forage in shallower water and like to use the shade and additional oxygen under the lily pads when the temperature gets hot. Bass also like to be near deep water in case they have to retreat, and my depthfinder showed me why this area of this pond is where the bass are most concentrated. Without a depthfinder, I would have hit the pads around the pond, but the device helped me pinpoint the precise area that has the best combination of traits that bass love.

So a depthfinder helps you figure out what areas to concentrate your fishing in; it doesn't really show you the fish themselves.

Hope this helps.

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I'm not familiar with Manasquan... never fished it. What I did at Round Valley was to learn by seeing, how the electronics worked and what they represented. That way I could go to any lake and understand what the graph was showing, without being able to see into the water.

I looked back at my notes and our club fished there a couple of years ago, but I didn't get to fish that lake. My notes (I take notes at the club meetings because our club shares information) My notes say to go right out of the ramp to find the timber. Timber is not far from the ramp. Also to fish the riprap between the timber and the pump house, if any of that makes sense to you? Senkos and crankbaits caught the majority from our club.

The timber will probably show as a sorta dark "bell curve" that you might remember from school.

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If you can't find the manual, some of the fish finder manufacturers provide their manuals on their websites under support or other areas on their site, which you can download.  Some also provide tutorials for their fish finders.  Good luck.

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well the piticular stumps im gonna be goin for are in about 15-25ft of water, those bouys how do they worm what is there a weight that drops to the bottom so the bout stay floating above the target. i guess you would just drop it as sson as you see somethin on the sonar

NJ-one thing to keep in mind: If the transducer is mounted on the stern what you are seeing on the depthfinder is actually behind you rather than directly underneath you. Makes a big difference when trying to fish a single, individual stump ;).

You are correct on the marker buoys-a weight tied to the line on the buoy. It holds the buoy in place. They are an extremely useful piece of equipment.

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About the marker buoys, I don't know how much they weigh, but they do a good job at staying in place.  They look like a floating dumbell on the water though, which is kinda funny.  There is a weight on the inside of them to keep them from unwinding unnecessarily in the wind or in chop, though I'm sure that's unavoidable in really bad conditions.

As far as roadbeds, you can locate them like any other bottem change if you know where the road is roughly.  Just look at the bottem of the lake on your depthfinder.  If the bottem is hard packed, gravel, or something to that effect, then the bottem will the thinner and flatter.  If it is muddy, sandy, or mushy, then the bottem of the lake will look thick on the sonar.  I'm not sure if that's a good description or not, but if you watch your depthfinder, you should be able to pick it out when it changes.  BTW, anytime you come across a bottem change, throw a buoy out then idle around it looking for cover along that bottem change. (IE mud to gravel)  If you can find some timber or grass along that bottem change, there will almost always be fish there.  Drop another buoy when you find the cover you're looking for, back off, and start fishing.  

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Another thing to note is that there is alot of difference in fish finders. My boat came with a unit mounted in ythe rear of the hull. I bought another unit for the trolling motor on the bow. My newer unit is much clearer on bttom features, I can pick out stumps, sticks, ect much easier. My other unit isn't very clear on bottom features and has boxy graphics. I mainly use that one to keep track of depth while I am running.  

nboucher is right about the fish ID. Mine will often depict tree limbs as fish.

I took a long time to figure mine out, but if you haev a clear water lake around that you can pick some thing s out and figure out how they look you will go forward in leaps and bounds.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

The harder the reflective surface, the more signal returned, the lighter the image. Soft bottoms show dark, hard bottoms light. Solid rocks show brightest. Using a color screen they ought to appear bright yellow. Vegetation shows dark (purple or reddish in color, stumps a little lighter (brighter red or light brown in color for rotted stumps, tan or dark yellow for well-preserved stumps). With grayscale you have to interpret shades of light to dark gray.

I settled a lot of my questions comparing a submersible camera image to what showed on sonar. But if you can find a stump in clear water, sit over it and memorize what it looks like compared to a boulder or gravel, sand, and mud.

If you have GPS you can set wayponts around a habitat area and set an "anchor alarm" that sounds off when you depart however many feet from a waypoint. If you don't plan to spend more than 30 minutes on a spot you find interesting just throw out some pieces of yellow "swim floaties" as I call them for now, those tubes of foam you see everywhere. They work unless waves are high, and are inexpensive. I've lost way too many store-bought floats to want to go back to those. Just scoop them up with a landing net when ready to move. For a longer lasting float just save the plastic drinking water pint bottles, paint them bright yellow or whatever color you like, put a knotted string inside, screw the cap on over the line, and tie a rock to the other end. You can wind the line up on the bottle for re-use.

I don't bother marking individual stumps, but will mark each end of a field of them with just two markers, then drop back and fish trying to hit them.

Jim

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Guest ouachitabassangler

If you have a color sonar and have the settings right a lone fish belly on the bottom can be seen. A high resolution color or grayscale either will do that, especially if you zoom in close on bottom. A fish appears as a red oblong hump over a yellow gravel bottom, for instance. A ball of baitfish is fairly unmistakable, a good sign of a fishng spot. When baled up in a ball or teardrop shape that usually means they are being threatened. When the ball breaks up suddenly they are being preyed upon, scattered.

When sitting still you won't see a fish arch. The sonar signal must scan a fish from end to end to get that. Instead, when a fish moves under a stationary boat, lines appear to grow from right to left. If a bass or school of bass are rising together a line or parallel lines will grow diagonally from lower right to upper right. Steep lines often represent bubbles rising from the bottom.

To see a fish arch the transducer must cover a fish, and you need to be travelling at troll speed. At higher speeds fish appear more as slices. Slices at troll speed represent fish outside the sound cone emitted by the transducer.

Jim

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Guest ouachitabassangler

The warning earlier about Fish ID is to be taken seriously. It's just there to give you something to learn by. Debris often shows as fish symbols. Turn the feature off to weed out unwanted images.

I was fishing along a long weedline when I came across two guys in a boat fishing about 50 feet out from it. As I passed them they asked whether I was a local. Their problem was finding a huge school of fish but couldn't get a bite after hours of trying everything they could tie on, using crappie and bass lures. I pulled alongside and noted they had Fish ID on, They were looking at what was reported as stacks of fish, hundreds of them suspended. My sonar showed they were over probably a large cedar tree with no fish anywhere around it. Cedar is very hard under water so is highly reflective and almost always reports Fish ID symbols galore. If the limbs are moss-covered a color unit with Fish ID turned off can still appear to be a stack of red fish images suspeded. With color red is the most common color for fish if all your settings are tuned right, their flesh being a poor reflector of sound. You can see them fine with high resolution grayscale, but the job is tougher until well experienced.

Factory default settings are usually ideal for average water conditions. The sooner you get away from auto sensitivity the better, though. Default settngs won't usually show a thermocline, for instance. That requires a high sensitivity. Get out over deeper water and keep running it up until you see the horizontal band. Once you note its depth run the setting back down to clear debris off the screen. Play around with combinations of settings until you get realistic returns. If you get it all messed up, reset default settings and start over.

Once locating a thermocline I am ordinarily interested only in stumps at or above that depth, with some exceptions. If the thermocline is a double band or double line and say 10 feet thick, I might fish stumps inside the bands. But if the layer is thin or deep (over 15 feet down) there's too much of a sudden temperature drop, very dense water below it, and not likely to have been recharged by wave mixing on the surface, so I fish at or above it. However, if there's plenty of vegetation below a thermocline I assume adequate DO above the vegetation regardless of depth to the layer. In fact, in a hot lake the bass might be very deep seeking more comfortable temperatures, as long as they have enough DO. But in that case they are probably suspended and inactive, though can be aggravated into reaction bites. Bump the stumps around them. The truest sign of fishable water is the presence of baitfish or fish arches at whatever depth, and of course catching fish and noting the depth of the bite, so I don't completely rely on sonar information.

Jim

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I wish they made fishfinders with FLIR instead of sonar.  Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR like we use in the military) OWNS sonar :P

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