Fish/depth finders

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by shadguts, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. shadguts

    shadguts New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    Tennessee
    I would appreciate any advice on how you all use your sonar to find structure and fish. I have two on the boat that I use. One is an Eagle ? the other is a Humminbird 565. I have fished areas that show fish with no bites and I have caught several from directly under the boat and they never showed up on the finder one was 32lbs. I have read and reread the manuals and am sure that they are installed correctly. What am I doing wrong?
     
  2. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Using a Hummingbird!!!!:lol: How do you use them on 2 different frequencies.Somebody just posted in the last 4-5 days a Lowrance site that is the BEST I have seen for explaining what you are seeing and the relationships of the cones to where it is in the signal.Soory I can t recall it but maybe someone will help us out.:smile2:
     

  3. Terry Day

    Terry Day New Member

    Messages:
    298
    State:
    Parkville, Missouri
    I'm thinking about purchasing a Lowrance 332. Is there anything better for the $$$$? I currently use Raytheons, bow and stern (they were on the boat when purchased). I have not been real happy with them. Any thoughts?

    Thanks
     
  4. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    Does everyone actually see fish on the screen and fish em. I strickly look for structure and depth. I see stuff all the time but never went after so called fish that I see on the screen. I did't think they were that good to tell the difference between a school of dots and a big long log looking object thats on the screen.If you guys see a longer object or two on the bottom do you asume it is a fish or just current?
     
  5. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Chris, and Chris, take a look at this site, for one. http://www.hightechfishing.com/lowrancetutorial.html
    If you have your sonar set up properly, you will be able to tell the difference between fish and structure most of the time. To use the arches properly (vs fish symbols), the boat should be moving at a slow speed (3-7mph) with the transducer level with the surface, and in water about 20' or deeper, in my opinion. In fact most of the owners manuals that I've seen describe how to do this.
    The lowrance website has a tutorial: http://www.lowrance.com/tutorials/sonar/sonar_tutorial_01.asp
    that also explains many aspects of using the sonar (not fishfinder!) properly. They can be used to locate fish as well as structure. Most folks use them to find either structure, or baitfish, and the target will be nearby.
    Sometimes, fish can be targeted and caught, but since the sonar only covers a relatively small area of the bottom, it may better to try for structure primarily.:smile2:
     
  6. shadguts

    shadguts New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    Tennessee
    I dont really know about the two frequencies. One is on the transom the other is on the trolling motor. Thanks I will check into that.
     
  7. shadguts

    shadguts New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    Tennessee
    Thanks Chris great question. I have fished in a couple of Cabelas King Kat tournaments and one Big Cat Quest and watched the pros during those tournament. It looks like they find something on the bottom while moving with the outboard then immediatly drop trolling motor and several hooks then one guy runs the trolling motor and the other watches the rods in rod holders. A couple of the pros have been quoted saying that they dont look for fish either only structure and depth. My problem is at one of the tournament the team that won fished the exact same place my prtner and I did. After going back the next day I could not find whatever they found using my sonar. My partner and I placed 11 in that tournament but no where near the weight of the winners.
     
  8. shadguts

    shadguts New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    Tennessee
    Thanks for the imfo and the reply I will look into it.
     
  9. Willy

    Willy New Member

    Messages:
    242
    State:
    Missouri
    It might have been the presentation they were using was a little different than what you were doing. Sometimes the little things add up to big weights.:wink:
     
  10. shadguts

    shadguts New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    Tennessee
    I agree compltely. I was really impressed at their results. I am seriously considering hiring a guide maybe I'll learm more.
     
  11. BigCatDreaming

    BigCatDreaming New Member

    Messages:
    263
    State:
    Illinois
    I was going to get a Humminbird 535 for my boat, but is that going to be the wrong way to go? It got some good reviews and claims you can see a jig dropped into the water on the screen at a 40 foot depth. I dont think I'd mind if it didnt show single fish on the bottom just as long as it shows structure and schools of bait fish. What do you guys think?
     
  12. shadguts

    shadguts New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    Tennessee
    I am sure that the unit is probably a good one just the user needs help.:cool2:
     
  13. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    BigCat, I really don't have a lot of experience with HB, and I hate to say much, or I'll sound like I'm bashing. I've looked at all the different units on display at basspro, and it seems like the lowrance or eagle units have the clearest displays, but they are also the units I'm used to. The newer HB's have definitely come a long way over the years, and I don't see anything wrong with them. It's kinda like a Ford/Chevy thing, I guess. The main thing is to learn to use it to its full potential. HB may have some tutorials on their website, or you can look in the electronics review section on this forum. Good luck, :smile2:
     
  14. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,160
    State:
    NC
    "... I have fished areas that show fish with no bites and I have caught several from directly under the boat and they never showed up on the finder..."

    Depending on the depth of the water you may never see them because the surface area on the bottom you are seeing may only be 2-3 feet in diameter. It also depends if your transducer is perfectly set up to show what is directly beneath the boat. Improper set-up means you are not looking right under the boat but off to the side at an angle.
     
  15. kylekutta

    kylekutta New Member

    Messages:
    59
    State:
    NC
    A depth finder sends a signal that looks like a traffic cone.The taller the cone the bigger around the base is,the deeper the water the larger the cone it will produce.The result is more area on the bottom it can read.
     
  16. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Let me recommend to anyone with a fishfinder/sonar.GO to the site Tommy mentions and read it.I PROMISE unless you are DH you will learn things you didn't know.LIKE sonars present a 2D picture of a 3D world and unless you can use your mind to fill in the blanks you aren't seeing what you think you are.If you get a fish signal at 32 ft,you think it is at 32 ft deep but in truth it is 32 ft from the transducer and can be away from under the boat!!!!!!!The sonar cant show that so we "see" the fish as under the boat at 32 ft.In my ops center here at Camp Lejeune I have 42 in flat panels that show geographic pictures of the base and our ranges.When a range goes hot its footprint changes to red.That shows the ground picture but not the Airspace above it.With a mouse click I can activate the airspaces in 3D and by feeding my radar dispay into the operating database show the aircraft in the 3d representation.REALLY COOL because now I see in 3d or where they aircraft really are in relation to everything not just a blip going across a flat map..Within 5 years sonars will also do this.We will see the fish where they are in relation to the boat , transducer and the STRUCTURE they are oriented on.Trust me this is already available just not to the public.:wink: :big_smile: In the meantime go to this site and find out why CONE isnt really a scientific truth.You wont regret it.:smile2: :big_smile: :cool2:
     
  17. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    You'll learn more in a single day of fishing with a *good* fishing guide than you will in years of stumbling around on your own.

    The trick, though, is to find a guide who's willing to teach what he knows, not just put you on fish and tell you when to grab the rod.
     
  18. cumberlandcat

    cumberlandcat New Member

    Messages:
    1,161
    State:
    Tennessee
    That sight is great I learned alot in just 20 min, I would have never known.
     
  19. shadguts

    shadguts New Member

    Messages:
    564
    State:
    Tennessee
    I knew there'd be a trick somehow:big_smile: I could just act like I'm 4 and keep asking "Why do you do that" Just kidding I consider myself to be a perceptive guy I am sure to learn something even if I have to go back to the same spots with my own boat and learn a little more of what to look for on the sonar. Even if they dont teach me at this point I'd just be glad to be on the fish.
     
  20. Tiny

    Tiny New Member

    Messages:
    118
    State:
    Oklahoma
    I depend on my fish finder to locate fish by how the shad appear on my fish finder. I think I've already posted this info on another post but I'll explain it again here. when you see 5 to 10 cormorants diving under the water in an area head towards where you see them ... they actually fly underwater using their wings and they can scoot ... they catch fish like this and when they're after shad you want to go over the area at idling speed and pay attention to your fish finder. the cheap ones won't be able to see the shad properly. you need one that sends back raw data and not fish symbols on the screen. you want to idle over the area that the cormorants are working and go through there at about 3 to 4mph and pay close attention to what the shad look like on the screen because when you see this same pattern, e.g. scattered or broken up but fairly thick, where there's not any cormorants around then there's most likely fish harassing the shad. bluecat storm through shad schools and bust them up and you'll see gaps and scattered shad where fish are actively working. I depend on seeing this and the ideal way to see this is when you see gulls divng on an area and you idle through there where the gulls are working and you see the broken up shad then anchor and broadcast several poles using bottom float rigs. a bottom float rig is a 4 to 6 oz sinker on bottom with a hook tied on about 2 to 2.5 ft above the sinker using a dropper loop to attach the hook to the line. then attach a crappie float or small balloon above the hook ... bait the hook with fresh cut shad that you've cut from liveshad and then throw out as far as you can and then reel it back about 1/5th of the way back to the boat real slow after it hits bottom .. this will leave a little scent trail in the water that if a fish crosses the path of that scent trail he'll track the freshly baited hook down. broadcast poles in all directions like this and catch as many as you can ... when you don't get a bite for about 30 minutes then reel all your rods in and locate more fish ... when blues are feeding in open water like this they're almost always on the move following the shad or finding other schools of shad to storm through. so you have to be mobile when fishing like this ... here's no need to sit any longer than 30 minutes without a bite when the fish are feeding out in open water. also watch the gulls ... they'll give you a clue as to what direction the fish are headed. you can also get in front of them by going way around and stop in the path of where the birds are gradually headed a lot of times you'll be in catfish heaven if you head them off just right.

    if you see gulls working over where cormorants are then there's probably not any fish there because it's the cormorants that are making the shad vulnerable to the gulls ... just be sure to run through the cormorants to see what the shad look like on the fish finder because it's identical to how they look when fish are after them.

    A garmin 240 was what I used for years to do this but now I have a Lowrance 334 igps that I like a lot better. I've owned several humminbirds that were pretty much useless ... the latest one was a matrix47 3D fish finder and you couldn't see catfish on it ... it wouldn't pick them up even with the sensitivity turned all the way up ... I had it for about a year and sold it on ebay at a big loss.

    if you see gulls working over an area and go through there and there's just a lot of shad there and your fish finder is blacked out from top to bottom with shad or big uniform bait balls then there's no fish there ... just a lot of shad so you don't even need to stop when there's just a lot of shad because when fish are after them they won't be that thick. Hope this helps ya some.