For a portion of the angling inhabitants, the great thing about fishing lies in its simplicity—a hook, a bobber, and a heat summer time’s day by a lake is about as difficult because it ever must get. Then there are the remainder of us. We need to be taught fish secrets and techniques—all of them.
We gearheads additionally dream, principally of fish-finder-screen fireworks. And that’s exactly what we have been watching whereas fishing Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay final summer time. Our sounder was so loaded with arcs that I assumed I had mistakenly hit simulator mode.
I wasn’t shocked when Jim Kalkofen hooked a giant smallmouth on his first forged. However I used to be stumped when 20 minutes handed with out one other chunk.
“I’m baffled,” Kalkofen mentioned from the rear casting deck. “They’re so thick I assumed we have been going to smoke ’em.”
“I’ll drop a digicam down and see what we’re up in opposition to,” I mentioned.
As quickly because the digicam neared backside, we noticed the rock and gravel we anticipated to see, however the critters finning across the boulders weren’t smallmouth bass. They have been longnose suckers, and there have been a whole bunch of them.
“That explains it,” mentioned Jim. “The place to subsequent?”
What Lies Beneath?
Underwater cameras? I can already hear the protestations. What’s fishing coming to? Though latest high-tech advances in fish-finding know-how have resulted in quick and correct sonar readings with tack-sharp decision, an growing variety of anglers are taking a web page from the icefishing handbook and counting on underwater cameras to additional assist them catch fish in open water.
The units, which price from about $250 to $1,000 or extra, work nicely in waters with first rate readability, and at the moment’s shows are straightforward to view, even in direct daylight. I exploit Aqua-Vu’s Multi-Vu HD underwater digicam. It plugs instantly into my sonar unit by way of the video-in port. Utilizing the system is straightforward—drop the digicam overboard, name it up on the sonar, and see what’s beneath the boat.
The Search Course of
High anglers like Elite bass professional Ott DeFoe now think about underwater cameras crucial fishing instruments. DeFoe, who has received $1.5 million catching bass, makes use of an underwater digicam usually when fishing for money.
“Sonar is my fundamental search instrument as a result of it’s straightforward to cowl water quick,” he says. “However the digicam solutions vital questions that I can’t get answered every other method. For instance, after I discover fish on a degree however don’t discover them on others that look basically the identical, I’ll return to the one holding fish to see what’s down there. I have a look at grass, backside colour, and backside content material—mainly something that may clarify why the fish are there. Then I search for these traits in different areas.”
Backside transitions and composition are extra vital than many anglers understand. Clay and gravel each present up on sonar as arduous backside and are almost unimaginable to differentiate with out an underwater digicam. The identical is true with weeds. Stringy junk weeds have taken over many waters, usually pushing out native species that fish often favor. In northern waters, for instance, bass, walleyes, bluegills, and crappies love cabbage. The problem is discovering these remoted stands of cabbage in waters now dominated by Eurasian milfoil or curlyleaf pondweed. A digicam makes the search simpler. I often deploy the digicam and troll slowly alongside breaklines or over giant flats till I find cabbage beds, or key vegetation transitions. Then I drop a marker buoy or hit the waypoint button in order that I can fish these locations later.
Underwater video can finish the guessing recreation and supply anglers with one other efficient fish-catching instrument. Bear in mind, although, that discovering fish can usually be a far cry from making them chunk.