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interpreting a fishfinder

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I just bouth a fishfinder for my kayak. I've paddled around with it and seen that it works, but i'm not exactly sure how to make it useful. I've used it with the fish i.d. on to beep when it sees even a small fish. How reliable is the fish id? When you see structure, or a dropoff, but no fish signals, do you keep scanning the immediate area for the presence of fish? Are there times to fish an area regardless of fish signals?
post #2 of 11
Hi there,

I have a Hummingbird 383. It is a nice unit. I tend to keep the fish finder alarm off. I find it is better to have it off and not go crazy eveytime it goes off. I use it to see the structure and mark where I either see fish or have had fish on. I have hit fish when the FF shows nothing and of course have had zero bumps when the fish appear to be stacked up.

From my experience the FF does not replace your skills, it just adds to your fishing arsenal.

Thanks
B
post #3 of 11
Good point, B.

Don't chase ghosts (i.e., the little fish icons on the screen). Yea, you may run into a pod of fish and drop your offering for a quick tally (its happened to just about everyone at one time or the other). But in most cases - a vast majority of them - I use my fishfinder to find structure. When you spot fish/bait ball on structure, mark that spot as this potentially represents a "fish holding" area. A nondescript location with little to no structure (with the exception of some of the well known flats) will typically NOT be a fishholding location and most likely a gateway (travel path) to areas with structure.

Find the structure and most likely, you'll find the fish.
post #4 of 11
It's always nice to mark fish but it is not needed. Fish an area and call it your home waters and get to know it. You'll know where the fish are hanging after a while. It will become routine....and then on the most perfect night, big tides with new moon, just the right wind, the routine will change and it goes out the window. Back to square 1.
post #5 of 11
Use your finder to learn the bottom contour in the area in which you are fishing. Mark spots that you know will hold fish even if no fish are present on your screen. I fish the lower DE bay and Ocean and the fishfinder has been invaluable in allowing me to learn where the dropoffs are. I have found spots at cape henlopen where it can go from 10ft to 50 ft in a few boat lengths. Once I find these dropoffs I focus on these spots on return trips.
post #6 of 11
some fishfinders will show hard or soft bottoms. sand or mud, rock or oyster reefs will display differently and are handy to find.

play with the sensitivity and find what settings work best for your unit. drop an anchor near the ducer, and see how it shows up on the screen. move the anchor around, keeping it off the bottom will help you reference what is down there and what shows up on the screen.

good luck
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishforever View Post
Use your finder to learn the bottom contour in the area in which you are fishing. Mark spots that you know will hold fish even if no fish are present on your screen. I fish the lower DE bay and Ocean and the fishfinder has been invaluable in allowing me to learn where the dropoffs are. I have found spots at cape henlopen where it can go from 10ft to 50 ft in a few boat lengths. Once I find these dropoffs I focus on these spots on return trips.



The 10 to 50 foot dropoff is something I actually just found right past a bridge in my home waters. I did make a mental note of it, pastly because I saw some guys pulling in a pretty large striper as a paddled frantically past them in a sudden rain squall. Is this exactly the kind of structure thing I'm lookin for that i've been ignoring all summer without knowing the bottom contor???
post #8 of 11
Never could figure those things out.
post #9 of 11
(edit******wow, first post and I'm bringing up a 3 month old thread.......sorry, but thought it useful.)











First thing, turn off the fish ID feature and turn down the sensitivity some. You want it so your screen has a couple little dots on it once in a while. usually have mine (Lowrance or Eagle units) between 75 and 85% depending on depths, water temps, and water cleanliness. Almost every variable affects how the sound waves move through the water. Colder, dirtier, and shallower water lean me toward lower sensitivity since the water is more dense (colder) or has more particles (dirtier) so the screen will show more clutter on it. really shallow water, 5 ft or less, the sound will sometimes bounce off the bottom, then the surface, then the bottom again before the transducer picks it up, resulting in doubled depth readings. Turning down sensitivity helps with this sometimes.







If it's set up right, and most of the time there's nothing on the screen, when you see stuff marked on the screen, like lines, arches, or just blobs, trust that there's something there. Might be fish, bait, or grass floating, but there's usually something there if a unit that's set up right says it's there.







The FF can't show you where in the sonar cone a mark is, only how close to the transducer it came, and how long ago it went through the cone. Try to think of it as how far away from the transducer it is more than how deep it is. You might pass over something that's 15 ft to your side and it'll show on the cone as a blob or line. If it goes right under you, you get an arch.







Things to the left of the screen happened first, to the right is more recent.























School of bunker with bass under them. You can see how the bass marks under the bunker are slanted upward. That's fish that are moving up. If they slanted downward it's fish moving down. Remember that the right side is more recent.











Also, if you see some structure that looks like it should hold fish, just cause you don't get any marks doesn't mean there's no fish there. it only means your sonar cone didn't go over them or they're too tight to the bottom to see.







In this one, the red line is my lure. There's a school of crappie on the bottom. You can see on the left how the lure's at one depth, I lower it a little, then bring it up and down a couple times. The blue line is moving up, that's a fish coming to look at my bait. Where the line goes almost straight up is where I set the hook and raise the fish up, then he goes back down for a minute then leaves the cone.







post #10 of 11
clamboni... thanks for taking the time with this excellent write-up, I found it very useful... welcome to the site...
post #11 of 11
BUMP

I just bought a fish finder and found this very helpful since i have only brief experience with a FF.
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