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alexofoakton

Fish Finder - Should You Actually See Fish?

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I keep my Humminbird 587ci fish finder in the front where I can see it from the front seat. I look for structure and drop-offs as I move along. Sometimes, I have the fish alarm on and I hear occasional alarms. My question is should I be seeing fish indications where I fish (I usually don't). I know in the summer with a lot of vegetation I'm not going to see fish, but in the fall and when I'm fishing in deeper water, if I don't see fish indications should I look for another spot?

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At minimum you should at least be fishing around bait (and seeing bait on your graph) If you dont see either one, it's not a deal breaker, but it's not a good sign.

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A sonar unit will show everything in the water column including fish if you have the correct settings and boat movement.

Your unit will show fish as an arch shape.

Turn on the unit Simulator and you will see lots of examples of fish arches.

This is an example of some fish just above the thermocline:

ThermoFish2.jpg

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Yes it will show fish, but more so than not, if you're bass fishing, it's not going to show the ones that are bitting, the only true fish finder is the lure on the end of your line because the ones you see are either not what you're fishing or or not bitting. Once you learn to recognize what's on the screen, it will show suspended fish, which is great for stippers, and crappy, etc. but then it just helps to get your bait at the right depth. Another area it helps is showing fish holding along the edge of channels in deeper water and holding near underwater stick ups, but most of the time, they are holding too close and you have to recognize their color signature.

Start expecting on it to show you fish to catch and you will probably come home skunked more times than not. Learn to use it to recognize probable fish holding areas and you will soon be cathing a whole lot more.

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In the previous screen shot, the bass (arch) at the number 20 was caught. The position of the arches in relation to breaklines will help you determine if they catchable. The other ones suspended above the thermocline and to the left in the image are not as easily caught.

I caught a couple of these bass on the left side of the screen shot where the thermocline intersects the bottom (under the temperature box). Same senario as the first image.

"It's so easy a cave man can do it"

RTS.jpg

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Sometimes I can actually see fish on my unit but down scan instead of 2d sonar. Here are some pics that I have captured.

I think this was a big old walleye under a school of shad.

BH1.png

These are white bass by some shad. I caught 6 of them.

BH2.png

Here is a shot of a paddle fish swimming under the boat.

spoon1.png

I'm pretty sure this is a big old flathead cat.

bigfish.png

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Jig Man, that is a good example of the Down Scan showing fish.

Here is a Down Imaging/2D screen shot of bass feeding on shad next to a bush.

I caught two of those bass-one was 4# and other was 3 1/2#

S00163.png

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There are actually about 6 bass in his last post. Look again.

Jeff

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There are actually about 6 bass in his last post. Look again.

Jeff

You are correct. Copy the picture to your computer and open the file with a picture viewer so you can enlarge it. The bass will be very apparent.

I am used to using that technology so I have no problem seeing them.

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Getting back to the 587ci capabilities, this screen shot gave me the pattern for the first two I posted. I do a search across the lake to see what the fish's positions are and base my tactics on that for summertime to early Fall.

All of the images are with a bow mounted unit and a trolling motor mounted transducer on an electic-only lake.

ThermoFish.jpg

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Wayne P - I see the bass in your last post. What you are saying is that you sort of "map" the lake by criss-crossing it and marking spots where fish may be will you GPS? One final question: when you fish a spot, do you turn your fish finder off (I have heard that the pings bother the fish)?

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Personally the only time I turn mine off is when I lift my tolling motor up. Other than that it is always on. Also, many vertical jig fisherman fish with theirs on to see their jig depth on the screen so I would say that you heard wrong.

Jeff

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Wayne P - I see the bass in your last post. What you are saying is that you sort of "map" the lake by criss-crossing it and marking spots where fish may be will you GPS? One final question: when you fish a spot, do you turn your fish finder off (I have heard that the pings bother the fish)?

Basically I check to see where the fish are before I start fishing, I don't waste my time blindly casting and hoping to catch one "somewhere". Once I determine a pattern based on the fish's position that is all I do. You don't have to know were all of them are exactly, just were some are at different parts of the lake. That method works quite well--I have caught 2,426 bass so far this year.

Sometimes I will save a waypoint for a particular feature, but mostly I don't. I know the lakes I fish very well and can return to an area easily. When I am fishing an electric only lake like in the pictures, I turn the bow unit on when I launch and it stays on until I put the boat back on the trailer.

When I fish outboard lakes, I leave the bow unit on all the time and only run the console units when at the console. That saves battery power and prevents cross-talk.

As far as the sonar pings bothering the fish, that is just another fishing myth that makes a difference if you think it does, and makes no difference if you think it doesn't. Kind of like lure color and line color.

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Thanks again. BTW - Wayne P - I didn't catch even 1/10 of 2426 bass this year. I can't wait until next year.

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I'm thinking about upgrading my smaller Humminbird fish finder. In this topic, people have mentioned down imaging and side imaging features. Are these really valuable features or are they part of Humminbird's marketing? The type of fishing I do is in lakes and rivers with depths of mainly 3-40' with water that tends to be cloudy.

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If the pings bothered the fish enough to turn off the unit, lots of Table Rock guides would starve because their bread and butter is drop shotting or spooning where they can see the fish and the baits.

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I use mine as a fish finder. If all I wanted a depth finder, I could have saved a lot of money, LOL. You should be able to dial that unit in to see fish, bait and vegetation no problem. I can see all that, as well as my bait when fishing vertical. The ONLY times I turn mine off are when site casting to very shallow fish and when I trailer the boat.

HB 383c over fish:

714264676_hHLet-L.jpg

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I'm thinking about upgrading my smaller Humminbird fish finder. In this topic, people have mentioned down imaging and side imaging features. Are these really valuable features or are they part of Humminbird's marketing? The type of fishing I do is in lakes and rivers with depths of mainly 3-40' with water that tends to be cloudy.

Side Imaging was marketed by Humminbird in 2004 and Lowrance copied it a few years later. That technology opens up a whole new world of underwater information. When operated correctly it will show just about a picture like image of what is below the surface and the water clairty has no effect. It is sonar used differently. It is used not only by fishermen, but it is used by those that hunt for shipwrecks/artifacts and for search and rescue. With that technology you are not limited to what is directly under the transducer and can observe what is on the bottom and in the water column up to 360' on each side of the boat (for a transom mounted transducer). Stuff looks like stuff rather than a blob on the 2D sonar display.

This is an example of a stump/log pile with regular sonar and Down Imaging:

HRbrushDI.jpg

I didn't have the unit set up for "stuff", I had it set to find fish so the image clairty is not as sharp as it could be.

I have posted a screen shot before that has the image clarity of a photograph of the lake bottom.

I have seen images for shipwrecks with Lowrance and Humminbird equipment that shows very good detail.

The Pros use that technology to make them more efficient in catching and making a living.

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