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Zach Dunham

Using Sonar / Structure Scan Effectively

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Hi all. This isn't my first post on here but my other username stopped working for some reason so I created a new one.

The guy I always go fishing with, who owns the boat that he is kind enough to bring me out on, has a structure scan on it. We are great at using this to find good bass structure. Now I'm not sure if it is just the lakes we fish or what, but we can never seem to find fish on these things. Are bass usually close enough to the structure or bottom that they just appear as part of it on the screen? We can find humps and drop offs and sunken things really well, and they just never seem to pan out. I live in northeast PA and we fish Lake Wallenpaupack more than anything.

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The saying goes that fish hold in 10% of the lake. I've also heard that structure don't always hold fish, but fish are always next to structure. Sometimes even the most prime looking spots won't hold anything.

My hummingbird picks up when there's fish. It gives off an alarm to let me know if there's a fish underneathe. But when fishing a good looking spot, I've received good advice to turn off the electronics.

Even when I do some good structure, even if I do see some fish down hanging around it. I still use a search bait like a chatterbait, spinner, or crank. Then after a fish or two I slow it down with a finesse technique. Like a shaky head worm, or a jig.

Good luck

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Another good saying: "Not all structure holds fish, but all fish hold to structure" (for bass anyway).

Some fishfinders have to be 'in motion' to see fish, if I recall correctly. Maybe you aren't moving fast enough? I can't pick up any fish if I am just trolling on low speed, but once I start moving at about half to full power, I can sometimes pick up arches.

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On 6/3/2011 at 11:01 AM, NateFollmer said:

Another good saying: "Not all structure holds fish, but all fish hold to structure" (for bass anyway).

Some fishfinders have to be 'in motion' to see fish, if I recall correctly. Maybe you aren't moving fast enough? I can't pick up any fish if I am just trolling on low speed, but once I start moving at about half to full power, I can sometimes pick up arches.

I can see them better on down scan than side scan. For me on sidescan they are usually small white dots around cover.

I think this is a big cat swimming under the boat.

bigfish.png

Here is a spoonbill swimming under the boat.

spoon1.png

Here are some white bass close to a school of shad.

BH2.png

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Here is a pic from an HDS-10 and the downscan from StructureScan. It is a school of 12-16 inch bass between two brushpiles. I know because I caught them every drop with a dropshot for 45 minutes, :D

1214inchbass.png

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With regular sonar or imaging equipment, to get returns that represent fish, either you have to be moving or the fish have to be moving to form the arch with regular sonar or the fish shape with imaging.

With Structure Scan or Side Imaging, if the fish are above the bottom, they will have a shadow off to the side of them directly opposite the transducer. The farther from the bottom they are, the farther away from them the shadow will be.

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