The Electronic Angler/ Part four "Interpreting What you see on your fish finder"

Part four "Interpreting What you see on your fish finder"

You have your unit installed now and are ready to start watching "Fish TV". The only problem is you do not understand what you are seeing. This is a common problem for everybody who started using a fish finder for the first time. In this segment I am going to show you some screen shots to help you better understand what different things look like on your screen.


You will notice on this screen shot, there is an irregular bottom with several trees or brush piles sticking up there is most certainly bait fish hanging around the two features. You will also notice from 0 to 10 feet deep there is noise, if you were to decrease your sensitivity some this noise would disappear but you would not see a lot of the fish returns that you see right now. Notice that the fish returns are fairly tight arches, that means that these fish entered into the signal area then passed through and out of the beam fairly quickly. This is because this screen shot was taken while craft was in motion and passed over the area fairly quickly.


Here is a shot of a "Bait Cloud" just off the bottom. I have seen these so thick that they fooled the sonar into thinking that they were the bottom.


Another shot of a brush pile, with a couple of weaker fish returns.


Now this shot has a lot of information on it. First you will notice the bait school from 0 to 20 feet deep, they are running from the fish actively eating them from 20 to 55 feet deep. You will notice that there no arches... This is because these fish are remaining in the beam area and are going up and down chasing the bait. Fish remaining in the beam area will leave a horizontal line across the screen when suspended then that line moves up and down as the fish do. You will also notice that from 40 to 55 feet deep there is trees with a few fish suspended at 46 to 53 feet deep and a couple diving into and out of this cover. Chances are that the reason these fish stopped at 20 feet deep is that is the thermocline and the water above that line is low in Oxygen.


Here is another shot of feeding fish rising out of the cover of the tree tops to feed. One thing in particular that I would like you to observe here is all the lighter broken black returns around the heavier returns. There is actually a lot of feeding fish here, the thin broken returns are just fish in the weaker outside edge of my signal. 


I'm just showing off here, but this is the largest school of Striped Bass I have ever seen on Lake Lanier in one spot. There may be hundreds here the bad news is they weren't interested in eating, threw the proverbial kitchen sink at them and they wanted no part of it. I think that's the worst part about using electronics is knowing they are there then not being able to catch any. lol.


More feeding fish


In this screen shot You are actually able to see the thermocline around 30 feet, the reason this is important is that in most cases the fish will be caught below this depth. Some more feeding fish, a tree line and fish in the trees.


And Last but not least you see longer stretched out arches here, This is because the fish passed in and back out of the signal beam but slower than the other arches on previous screen shots.

I hope this gives you a rudimentary idea of what to expect on your screen. A lot of people will swear that their electronics is not working right and I will say that "its not the electronics it is the location." Don't expect to start seeing fish if you are looking for the 95% of the fish that will only be in 10% of the water in the wrong places. Keep looking and fishing. Good luck!

If this helped you any at all please leave feed back in the comments area.

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