Thursday, October 30, 2014

Simrad Structure Shots

 In this shot I was running about 20 mph as I went over this underground silo. Even at 20mph you can clearly see the depth of the depression [about 5 feet] on the sonar page. I keep my sensitivity up pretty high when I run which increases motor noise [all the vertical dashes] but that enables me to see bait and fish [and of the marks with color] better. In the structure shot on top you can see the silo clearly and with structure scan you can see the reflection of the concrete floor of the silo. The harder the object, the better it reflects the pings. The concrete is seen horizontally in the pic going out about 10 feet either side of the silo. With this color palette the harder the object the whiter the reflection on the structure page. On the sonar or echo screen the harder or denser the object the redder the return. As I run using the sonar page the more color in a school of bait represents more density [baits grouping tighter] and the more color the fish have the denser or larger they are. I don't mind the motor noise, I see right through it.

 This is a picture of an old road bed. In the top Structure Scan screen most of the structure shows up pretty light. The hard road and rip rap stone reflect pings very well. Check out the detail of the guard rails on the sides of the road. Structure Scan leaves little to the imagination, it is crystal clear.

This is a pic of the same roadbed at a slightly different angle. There is a lot of activity going on around the structure. In the sonar view as I approach the road on the left of the screen you can see a school of 4 to 6 inch Gizzards. About midway through the screen there are a couple stacks of Crappie then right at the edge of the road there are a couple Bass noised right against the road and railing.
In the side scan shot notice how the the small schools of bait are relating to the edges of the structure just above the railings. Setting your side scan page up utilizing the entire width of the screen like I have it here lets you get the full benefit of Structure Scan technology. I have adjusted the splits in the  screen so I can get the most out of both echo and structure. Fishing for Stripers I am more focused on the echo than the structure and having more sonar page showing allows me to see bait and fish better. Both Simrad and Lowrance have similar features letting you customize the appearance of your screen to meet your specific needs. I have shown these structures in earlier posts using my Lowrance  and since I get so many inquiries as to the difference of the two units I thought I would post these pics using my Simrad.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Front moving through [Pre-Frontal]

 Jeff and Lisa

 David and Jeff

 This was taken as the front moved through around noon today. The air temps were falling, barometer was dropping and the bait was schooling into tight balls.

 After seeing that large school of bait in the pic above I set out some downlines about 20 feet deep and hooked up a couple rods. After boating the fish I lost the small school so I scrolled back in history, touched my screen where I saw the fish, hit Waypoint on my Simrad and went right back to where they were. You can see the fish best on the side scan right where the cursor is.

Here is the shot once I got back on my waypoint. You can see some Stripers on the side scan 30 to 40 feet to the left of the boat. You can also see fish on the echo screen on the bottom. We actually fought 2 Stripers on this screen. One is at the left of the screen at 20 feet. You can barely see the bait [white broke up line] then the fish hits [red zig zag line]. That fish swam directly away from the boat and out from under the transducer. Then in the middle of the echo screen you can see me lowering a bait then locking in the reel at 20 feet. The boat moves about 15 feet then that bait hooked up with a Striper. This rod was in the middle of the boat and in the extreme edge of the cone so the signal of the fish was week. The fish came up out of the school of Stripers, hit the bait and swam out from the boat.

Cloudy and 61* in the morning with falling temps midday, Water temperature 65* and Clear.
Today my clients wanted to experience the whole deal so they met me at the ramp at 4:30 then went with me to catch bait. It was so warm this morning I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt. Later in the day I would regret that move. I looked for Stripers this morning but all the bait was less than 15 feet deep and I saw no fish that we could put downlines on so I decided to pull a flat ranging from 3 to 16 feet deep with boards. I had 6 baits that were 7 to 10 inches long out and the rest were rigged with Herring. After 10 minutes all of the big baits were clobbered along with some of the Herring. Lisa had boated the largest Striper of her life and David had caught a nice one as well. I only made one pull on it then the fish moved out to deeper water as the sun was trying to break through the clouds. For the rest of the day we banged them on downlines. Today we caught about 25 fish and everyone had plenty of Striper to take home for the freezer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Slow day on Lake Anna for Stripers

 7.2 pounds
5.10 pounds

Today fishing was slow this morning for Stripers so my clients said they wanted to at least catch a "Lake Anna Hat Trick". I agreed and took them to a brush pile where I thought some nice pan fish were holding. I marked some nice fish on my Simrad so we decide to put some baits down and give it a try. All I had were 12 inch Gizz in my bait tank so I rigged a couple downlines and lowered the baits to the brush pile. In less than 10 minutes we caught these two nice fish, completed the hat trick and went back to the marina for pictures. We caught them right outside the power plant.  All kidding aside, I saw these pics on facebook and thought if they are in fact real everyone would enjoy seeing them. Supposedly the Crappie was caught in Mississippi and the Blue Gill was caught in Arizona. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mike and Louis

Sunny and Beautiful, Water temperature 65* and Clear
Louis met me early this morning so we went out and caught bait then picked up Mike at the ramp around daybreak. I looked for fish for about 10 minutes then set up over a 20 foot flat. We started hooking up immediately and had fun for quite awhile working depths from 20 to 30 feet deep. After a couple hours we got tired of that spot and went to look for some other fish. I found an active school over 35 feet of water, set up on them and started the ritual over again. We had a hard time keeping baits in the water because we were taking so many hits. After loosing that school we looked for others with little success. We ended up putting out 8 down lines, six boards and a bobber and pulled shallow and deep flats with the remaining baits we had. The guys were wondering what they were going to do if all those lines went off like they did this morning but I knew the bite was over and we just took single hits the rest of the day. We had a great day on the water, beautiful scenery and good people. Come to find out we had a lot in common and talked all day. Every time Mike would tell a story he would hook up so we did not have many dull moments today.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Beautiful Fall Morning

Scott, John, Brian and Thumbs 

Sunny and Bluebird Skies, Water temperature 58* up and 63* mid lake.
 Today the guys wanted to fish a half day charter and take back enough fish for a dinner. They had rented a house on the lake and had their family's here on this pretty weekend. I got out early and caught bait then picked them up at their dock around 7. I say around 7 because the fog was SO thick I bounced from bank to bank trying to get to their house this morning. We went about a mile from their place and I saw a lot of action on my Simrad. I stopped and wanted to throw for some nice Gizzards but every time I would see the bait the Stripers were laced through out the bait. I put out a couple of downlines and looked on my trolling motor. I wanted to pull a shallow flat with boards so I put out a spread on the left side and started to set up the right side of the boat when rods started bowing over. After hooking up with 8 or 10 fish in about 10 minutes we took a quick break and situated some rods in the boat then went back after them. We popped about 15 more before the action petered out. I got back up on the big motor and located some pods of Stripers with the help from Anthony so I set up on them. We picked up where we left off earlier catching fish after fish. The only lull we had is when 8 or 10 boats ran over us and a bunch of fisherman moved in on us but we hung in there and banged the fish. We saw one other guy catch only 1 fish then Tony came over and started hooking up with his clients. We had steady action this morning, probably catching close to 40 Stripers and 3 or 4 Catfish. The guys threw a lot of fish back today and ended up keeping more than they could eat this weekend.The fish will start to feed up now that the water is cooling off nicely and the action should pick up.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Roger, Bob and Andy

Oct. 9th, Sunny and Pleasant, Water Temperature 69* and Clear
After a rain last night then clearing around 2am on a very bright full moon I wasn't too excited about going to the lake. As I expected when I hung my lanterns there was not much difference in the lantern lights and the moonlight. I threw for about an hour before picking my crew up at 5:30 then threw for another hour and a half. My clients wanted to go out to watch the bait collection process and saw first hand how difficult it can be, even for a guide throwing a 10 foot net on 4 different lights. We ended up with about 75 baits which was plenty to start with. I told the guys with that bright moon we would be lucky to catch fish in the morning because every fish already ate on that full moon and especially since the major feed was at 5am. I set out a spread of 6 boards, a bobber and 8 downlines and started pulling shallow flats and points where I knew fish were holding. We took a couple of short hits which confirmed my thoughts on the non feeding mood of the Stripers. After leaving the shallows I started to move out to deeper flats when a few gulls started circling over the flat I just pulled. I saw a couple swirls under them so I turned back and pulled the flat again. That was a mistake, I went back to 8 inch punks chasing 2 inch Threadfin to the surface. I moved to a ledge and we ended up catching 3 or 4 Stripers but took a dozen hits to boat them. The guys did not want to keep any fish but I kept a few for some people who had been asking me to save some fish for them. I worked a similar ledge and popped a few more then decided to go catch some larger Gizzards and try them. After catching them I set out my spread of 15 more lines and pulled about a two mile stretch of water only to catch a couple more fish. It was getting late and I told the guys I wanted to check out one more place. I went to an area where I catch fish in the middle of the day on a 30 yard section of a ledge. I set out downlines and before I could get 5 out 3 of them hooked up with nice Stripers. We boated them and many others till the bite simply quit. We had released fish in the area and I believe they warned the rest of the fish about our presence. My clients ended up being very happy with the trip and and want to come back and do it again, hopefully not on a full moon. They are holding a couple of the fish they caught today.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Progression of working a school of Stripers with my Simrad

 I located this school up on a 30 foot flat first thing in the morning. After setting out down lines we started catching fish. This pic was taken 30 minutes after I found the school. I had dropped a bait to the bottom [straight line on bottom left of screen] which hooked up immediately when it hit the edge of the school. You can barely see the fighting fish in the middle of the screen as it is being reeled in [Between 25 to 15 feet]. The fish was on the edge of the cone angle of the transducer therefor it was not very clear. These fish were on the trailing edge of the school and were all punks. They were not keepers but were fun catch.

 Using my side scan I determined the school was moving deeper on the flat so I steered the boat in the direction the school was moving. We were steadily catching Stripers but the larger fish were at the top of the school. We raised the lines up to 23 feet as you can barely see [very light horizontal line at left of school] then two thirds of the way across it hooked up rising up to 15 feet then the fish dove back down into the school.  We had numerous fish on at this time and fish in the boat that we were taking off the hooks therefor we could not reel this fish in for a couple minutes.

 I had temporarily lost the school in this pic and was over a small pod of punks. I saw some larger fish off to the right of the boat so I steered the trolling motor that direction. You can clearly see our bait about 10 feet deep [horizontal line at 10 feet]. We had raised our baits up this high because the nicer fish were feeding in the upper water column.

My move paid off in this shot. Just a minute after I turned the boat and got away from the punks we hooked up with nicer fish. We continued to catch nicer fish for quite awhile but I was too busy to pop more pics. I could have never stayed on this school without the aid of my Side Scan. Simrad and Lowrance have made my job SO much easier and productive. Technology has come so far in the last few years it is a shame for anglers who have major investments in fishing [boats, tackle, vehicles, etc.] to continue to use outdated depth finders. In addition to Structure Scan, today's electronics have features like touch screens that allow you to quickly navigate through menus and are simple to use. If you purchase a unit from Greentop they will even program the unit before you leave the store to set the unit up for the waters you are using. I have been primarily focusing on Structure and Echo uses of my units but but when you incorporate the technology of Navionics Charts the fish almost don't stand a chance. I will try to take time to post some cool uses of charts in the future. For more information on Navionics, contact Thomas at Greentop. He is extremely knowledgeable about Navionics and also is a regional rep for Navionics.