NC Angler Forums banner
1 - 20 of 61 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone who owns a fishfinder has found that there is a huge learning curve when trying to use this to improve their fishing. The demonstration screenes show only what would be a perfect fishing world of those perfect arches on the screen. However, with any actual experience you have more than likely seen fish marked as a line or semi arch on the screen. I have made many phone calls to Lowrance and some very experienced friends of mine to ask questions about settings and how to interpret what I see on my screen.

So, I have stolen an idea from someone else, that I think will be a great topic for this board. Also, I think it will help myself and many others that visit NCangler. The next time you folks with boats are out and see something interesting on your Fishfinder snap a photo, come home and post it to this thread and let's discuss what you have seen on your screen. I think that it will be real interesting what we could learn from each other on this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,748 Posts
The top one is mine from Jordan lake. Fish have their mouths shut in 21 ft of water
no structure and water temp of 50 degrees... this equals catchin squat! :rolleyes:

Second pic is from my bud Ricks boat while fishin the nipple out of Orange Beach Alabama with him last year.. This is the edge of a rise in 200 + feet of water criss crossing back and forth over the ledge, there's that tiny bit of structure that sometimes large fish (amberjacks, billfish, etc..) will hold over. For what we were trolling for (marlin) we would focus on the mid depth range for any sonar returns to know whether or not to circle that piece of structure to tease up a bill.

The third pic is part of the Empire Mica wreck off Apalachicola Fla, you can see what looks like a ledge, but is actually part of the sunken vessels and the piece that comes out is part of the bow railing. The green/yellow is debri and rocks/marine growth along the bottom there. The hard red is strong sonar returns (fish if suspended and bottom/rocks/structure).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,535 Posts
striper -
  • Did your sonar tell you they were stripers, or just "big fish"? What do you look for to tell a striper from something else? I'm guessing the fact that they're at least 20' off the bottom is a clue somehow (since the bottom never even shows up on the picture)...
  • I presume you concluded the "feeding" part from there being so many arches on top of each other that they created a cloud on the screen, right? How do you tell feeding stripers from a ball of bait that's not being attacked?
  • How'd you conclude the width of the school? Just from how long it took you to troll over the cloud?
Thanks for helping a rookie. I've only gotten my fishfinder wet three times now.
Lefty
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,748 Posts
Lefty, I'm sure Junkie will answer, but I'll throw in some pennies here.

Size of sonar return helps determine what fish it could be, also knowing what to target and where helps as well. No the sonar wont pop up an say "striped bass", but experience will tell you they school, depth they're at or kinda will be during what times of the season, etc...

A ball of bait fish will be just that.. a blob mass with a less than defined sonar image (due to their inherent size and sonar signature/return).

On grey scale sonars the darker the color, the harder the return (which is good)
Color sonars/graphs have various codes, but solid colors help the angler decipher the sonar image and can give away general size of fish. Again, it wont pop up and say 20 lb catfish dead below,, but you might see a solid sonar image that can give away what it could possibly be. Example, if I was anchored and catfishin, I would search out an area favorable to catfish being there (this is where the angler targets what he's after), I could pull up in the middle of a submerged stump field or on the outside bend of a river channel then study the sonar for returns to determine structure or presence of fish/bait.

When moving (either trolling/running/drifting) objects such as fish when they enter the sonar picture (cone angle of the transducer) will show up as lines or even solid verticle lines/blips depending on speed and how long the object (in our case hopefully a fish) is. The object wont show up as a nice pretty arch or in some cases a half verticle arch (showing tail end of what came into the edge of the sonar cone angle from the transducer).

So how do you conclude a school? In junkies case, is easy.. there's alot of them line signature returns on the sonar. It simply cant be one object as the sonar usually sends rapid fire "pings" and creates seperation of objects detected. (on some/many sonar units, manually adjustable to get better return pictures). So I would agree with Junkie, he's on a school of "something".

How does he know it's striped bass? easy,, he may have trolled over that area and boated one, or he's targeting an area where it's known or high probability that those are striped bass. Another way is by the size of the sonar signature/return. Obviously it's not crappie or sunfish unless he was runnin 10 knots over them, but even so, those are hard (dark colored sonar returns) so not knowing exactly.. it can be assumed they're big fish of some type...

How do you know they're feeding? When you see a bunch of lesser type signature returns (and a lot of them) you can determine/assume it's a school of bait or simply can visually verify by seeing bait jumping on the surface and running below the boat to determine it's bait and the big lines (assuming big fish) are feeding on the smaller fish.

I know... sounds like alot of assumptions and guess work, but that's what it is, sonar doesnt take a picture like we'd think of other than it takes a sonar image and goes by strength and weakness of returns to decipher the image it's telling us.

Will a sonar tell you a 10 large mouth bass is under the boat? Nope
will the sonar give you a large return and show a object suspended at a certain depth? yup
It's experience of both the electronic aid and knowledge/behavior of the game your after that influences your interpretations of what your seeing.
Until you put one (fish) in the boat, then you'll know for sure,,, all you know is "something" is down there,, but you can take educated guess as to what that "something" is and it's size and what depth it's at to target it.

Hope that helps! ;)

With the new technology now, and them underwater fish camera's,, alot of the guess work is being taken out of it. Side imaging and the new Humminbird "photo" view actually show shapes that give away what fish are down there! So the days of paper graph and color sounders (which echo sounders are still available as dedicated units and as options on new technology units) are pretty much gone. New digital technology has taken alot of the guess work out.

Then again, most sonars can automatically determine if the sonar return is a fish and what size and at what depth,, just wont tell you what kind of fish when you set the sonar in a automatic or "show fishy symbols" mode/menu. If your a savy fisherman,, dont let yer buddies see ya usin them "fishy" symbols! :) ha ha ha hah....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,748 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,535 Posts
Dave
That's the kind of how-to-interpret info I was hoping to see... Thanks for the info -- I'll have to read it more closely sometime when I'm not supposed to be workin'.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dave B.

·
Red X Angler
Joined
·
13,664 Posts
man this is good stuff!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,535 Posts
Dave
Thanks for the details -- very helpful. I haven't read through the offsite references yet, but I'd like to keep following up... The stuff you said was pretty much in line with what I'd have guessed, but I appreciate the confirmation. (Helps to have a second opinion to confirm I'm not way off in left field.)

One thing I'd like to find a way to learn more about is how to discern the nature of the bottom using my Pihranamax 20. Part of it I know is experience -- I've only had it out a few times -- I'm still kinda dazzled by the novelty of knowing whether it's 5, 15, or 35 feet down... and trying to figure out how to efficiently "map" the bottom without zigzagging the lake... I'm told it's important to know whether the bottom is hard or soft -- I'm told one way to tell is to throw a bottom-scraping lure and see what kind of trash it brings up (grass, mud, sand...) Sounds like it's right up my alley!
 
1 - 20 of 61 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top