Fish Finders How do they Catch Fish

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by DeerHunter01, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    State:
    Kentucky
    Fish Finders How do they Catch Fish

    This is a question that has been asked a lot of times while looking for that right fish finder out there on the market. When I started fishing from a boat, I started out with a Eagle Fish Mark 320 it was the best buy for me at the time and worked great for a long time. It is only 1500 Watts peak to peak of power, and is only 320 X 320 pixels of resolution

    Why do I need a fish finder though?

    I have caught lots of fish, before I ever had a fish finder. All as I did was go to the river bank and cast out my line with a blown up night crawler or a dead bluegill, and catch fish, maybe not always catch fish, but most of the time I did. The fish ranged in size from 1 lb up to 25 pounds off the bank, with one exception of my son catching a 50 Pound flathead one night off the bank using a live bluegill about 9 inches long.

    So back to the question, why do I need a fish finder? They don’t catch your fish for you !

    Well I guess I will start somewhere in the beginning, like I said above my first fish finder was a Eagle fish finder it cost me somewhere in the range of $170.00, I spent day after day trying to learn this unit, and find fish. One night me and my son was fishing the end of an Island on the Ohio River, we came over a 34 foot drop off next to a 6 foot sand bar, laying on the bottom of the river was one fish arch, I told my son lets see if we can get this fish to hit our lines, it was 6:30 in the evening and we had two hours before dark.

    We anchored the boat in 6 foot of water and let the anchor line out and drifted back right where the drop off started, I think we were sitting in 16 foot of water, We both put on bluegills and casted back to where we figured this fish was laying, we were not even sure it was a catfish, All I knew it was a fish showing on this fish finder, about 10 minutes my line picked up and started traveling off to the left side of the boat taking out line, I had my clicker set to where it was taking line off my reel, after it had gone about 30 feet, I reached down and grabbed my pole and locked the reel, as it got tight and started to load the pole, I reefed back setting the hook, and then the fight was on a 32 pound flathead was brought into the boat. After we got the fish in and released it we picked up anchor and went all over that location and could not find that fish sitting where we had seen it before.

    What did we just do? The more I thought that evening the more I felt we could target Flathead catfish on the Ohio River. If I did it once why not do it again.

    At that point is when our fishing improved 10 fold, we went up to the 50 pound fish with in the next few weeks, instead of 1 pound up to 25 pounds, did this fish finder help us, I would bet you my last penny it did, it made us even more aware of what’s out there in the river.

    After a couple of years I decided to go on a spending spree at tax time, I managed to talk my wife into me getting a fish finder the X-135, Wow what a difference from the Eagle fish finder, now arches looked even better tree’s looked real and things started happening that I never dreamed of. I could target one fish and catch it. That is like me hunting for one buck but the chance of killing it is not very good, but with this unit there’s the fish, and drop your bait with in feet of the fish, and most of the time , Wham your pole goes down.

    We moved to Kentucky on the Ohio River to be where the blue cats are at, once we got here it was like a new world, the river is bigger and a lot more room to move around in, I was lost. After getting out on the river and using the X-135 Fish Finder, I started finding fish and catching them, in one month I managed to get a 75# bluecat a 65# bluecat and several in the 50s. And each of these fish I targeted in February & March.

    Using this fish finder made me aware that I could drift down a river, watch my baits on the screen and watch a Bluecat come off the bottom of the river and nail the bait, as you turn to look at your rod it is buried down under your boat. There is nothing like it, the excitement is unreal and getting a 50 to 60 pound fish makes it 10 times better. You are now traveling over water you use to ride threw and never fish and fish are coming from everywhere slamming your poles. It will change your fishing for ever.

    Then 2007 came along and there is a lot out there I was not aware of, getting to be the co-host of the Catfishing America show was going to put me in twenty states, in water I only dreamed about fishing and fishing with people that I use to just read about and get to be best friends with a lot of them. The Catfish America boat got its first Humminbird 997 Csi unit.
    Don Sweet brought the boat to me two to three weeks before the show started and wanted me to fish every day to learn the Humminbird fish finder, I was on the phone with Pete Kildow every day and Greg Walters from Humminbird trying to learn this system, These two guys know this unit, and spent a lot of time with me, to get where I could say here is a fish lets target it. I owe them both a lot for the success of the Catfishing America TV show this year.

    After a few weeks of fishing with this unit I was ready to tackle the rest of the water out there, after seeing what this unit can do its unreal its even allowed in fishing tournaments, I figure some day they might outlaw that unit..(lol) for all tournaments.

    Using the new Humminbird was a chore in its self, you need to go out and leave your fishing rods at home or you will find yourself fishing every fish you think you find. My suggestion is take the owners manual and leave the rods at home and go out and spend a good 8 hours learning your unit. This fish finder like a lot of higher end cost ones, will give you about everything you need to catch a fish or find your way back to the ramp in a big fog.

    Does the Humminbird catch your fish for you ? No ! but if you learn how to read it and understand the fish you see, you can mark a fish and back right over top of this fish and drop a line on top of it and catch it.
    The GPS system will put you right on the fish you just marked laying next to that log, over against the bank, or out in the middle of the river on a drop off.

    Would I ever fish with out a fish finder, Not no more, I am to use to it, some guys have called it cheating by using this system, but I call it going golfing with the 3 wood, you need to use all the tools that your given to improve your fishing tactics and one thing, I will use this fish finder ever time I go out on the water.

    Every time I have someone with me they are just stunned over what this fish finder can do, and the pictures it shows on the bottom of these rivers or lakes, things you would never know that was there with a regular fish finder with the sonar on.

    Try to explain this unit some and how it works when looking for fish,

    I have a couple of photos that I will add to this, to show you what a rock mound looks like under water with a fish sitting on it. This fish was targeted and caught it was in the 40 lb class, If I remember right I think it hit 42 # but the fish was caught. Looking at the picture off to the left a little bit and up some you will see a white spot, beside it to the left is a shadow this is the fishes shadow, this fish is off the bottom but not too far or the shadow would be a lot further away from the fish, My guess this fish is sitting in a depression of a rock mound and its laying right on the current break that the rock mound is making, waiting for the bait to drift over top of him in the current, and then he feeds, On this set up, I marked the fish and dropped anchor and drifted back till I was around 15 feet away from the fish and dropped straight down with the line with the current speed it drifted back making it almost 15 foot from the boat, I think it took close to 1 Minute for the fish to hammer the bait.


    [​IMG]

    So I guess you can say that fish finders do make a difference to your fishing, I hope this little post will help some of you out there fishing in making the right choice in what you need to catch a fish.

    As always if you can not afford a high end fish finder make sure if your cat fishing you want at least 4000 Watts and 480 X 480 Pixel to get the job done, at least you will be able to see your fishing lines and if any fish come off the bottom to attack your bait. One more picture of a bluecat taking a Skipjack , I had four lines out and the fish came off the bottom and hit the skipjack and you can see where I am reeling it in, you can also see another fish beside it following it up.



    [​IMG]


    I hope this answer's some questions that have been ask of me here this past few weeks.
    Thanks
    D/H
     
  2. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    As much as it pains me to do this, "I have to agree with DH on this one". If you ever get the oppertunity to see one of these in action, it is plain uncanny how they work.
     

  3. Plowboy411

    Plowboy411 New Member

    Messages:
    918
    State:
    Georgia
    the last two years we haven't needed a fish/depth finder here on the Altamaha river,,,,you know when you've found the fish and the deep holes....??? that's when you stop pushing your boat and start swimming,.LOL:wink:
     
  4. catfeveriowa

    catfeveriowa New Member

    Messages:
    185
    State:
    Council Bluffs Iowa
    U made me laugh James, but I'am sorry to here about two years of low water, :sad2: hope it improves this spring.
     
  5. catfeveriowa

    catfeveriowa New Member

    Messages:
    185
    State:
    Council Bluffs Iowa
    I have the 797si unit but only got to use it 3 times, waiting on warmer weather now. U can go to the UnOfficial Humminbird Side Imaging Group and see snapshots that other people have taken, will help u learn what u are looking at. Several guys that developed these units are on the site and help answer questions. Cuz u might want to look at the little sunken plane just a friendly reminder to keep yours in the air :embarassed:.
     
  6. TNVOLCAT

    TNVOLCAT New Member

    Messages:
    946
    State:
    Tennessee
    I need some suggestions/opinions. Back in July, my Dad and I got a newer, bigger boat, an 03 Tracker Grizzly 2072 w/ 90 hp Merc. We've just now got it rigged how we want it. Like our anchoring setup, rod holder setup and upgraded to a larger trolling motor.We're now looking to upgrade to a nicer locator. We want one w/ an 8" screen and GPS. That pretty much narrows it down to the H'BIRD 997 or a LOWRANCE LCX38 HD. I've found the best deal for both on EBAY w/ the 997 being about $300 more than the LCX38 HD. When you get up in the price range of those units, the $300 difference is not much considering you get the side imaging w/ the 997. OK, here's my dilema. My Dad is pretty much illiterate to todays technology. There will be times when he will go fishing without me. I'm afraid he's going to get frustrated trying to learn how to use either of these, especially the 997 SI. He's going to rely strictly on me to learn the unit and then try to explain it to him and he just doesn't have the patience for it. I've always liked LOWRANCE better, but it's going to be hard to pass up a 997 knowing how it will help learn my local waters like I never knew them. Sorry for the long post, any info,suggestions, or thoughts appreciated! Thanks, TNVOLCAT
     
  7. tncatfishing

    tncatfishing New Member

    Messages:
    916
    State:
    clk. tn
    Very imformative great post.
     
  8. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    great post, just awesome.

    Even if you can't afford a top of the line unit, they still help you by giving you more information about what's down there. A lot of guys just use them to find bottom structure and to navigate.

    Shawm
     
  9. tbull

    tbull New Member

    Messages:
    3,318
    State:
    SW Ohio
    Awesome post, I have a eagle fish mark 320, and about the time I got it my boat broke down so it is just sitting in the garage..LOL...I think something like that will be out of my price range for a while, but I definatley plan on getting one when ever I do find a boat. Thanks for the info.
     
  10. olddriller

    olddriller New Member

    Messages:
    260
    State:
    Missouri
    DH,
    Thanks for this great post and all the good information. I just retired last year,and bought a new boat,Etc. and new Lowrance ( about $650.00 price range) I doin't have any knowledge of computers or electronics. The finder has GPS but I doin't know how to use it. I doint see any fish or fishing line in your second photo? I quess I doint know what I am looking for. I only use the computers pictures of fish when using my Lowrance Is this the wrong aproach to useing it properly? Thanks for any help anyone has time to give .
    Great Post DH.
     
  11. splitshot

    splitshot New Member

    Messages:
    2,827
    State:
    Coxsakie,N.Y.
    Great post Eric, can i borrow yer boat??????:still_dreaming:
     
  12. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    State:
    Kentucky
    Guys I will try and answer some of these questions here as I go, give me a few minutes and I will upload a few photos that show your fishing lines and information on all these unit's. Just remember all these fish finders do help to improve your fishing. You just need to spend time with them to complete the entire story.

    I feel its like reading a book, if you only look at the pictures in the book you will never know the true story of it. This is where we need to read the entire book and understand it.

    Back when I got my Eagle fish finder, I use to talk to Doc Lange at least three times a week trying to understand what I was doing with it, after several weeks working with me on the phone, I am sure he wanted to kill me, but with the knowledge he has with Lowrance fish finders he was the main person to talk to to walk you thru the steps if you didn't understand something.

    I got to where I was confident in my fish finder on targeting fish, and as alot feel is not able to do is tell if a fish had a hard shell on it (Scales) or (no Scales) So I targeted the no scale fish, In the Ohio River up by WV and PA & Ohio we didn't have blue cats or Spoonbill so I had it narrowed down to either a Flathead or Channel catfish most of the time. Let me load a few photos that I can put arrows on and show you fishing lines and so on for this unit.

    Good luck
    D/H
     
  13. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,507
    State:
    Napoleon, Mo.
    Some good info. Thanks.
     
  14. spoonfish

    spoonfish New Member

    Messages:
    3,780
    State:
    Warsaw, Mo.
    Paul, turn the fish symbols off. You will be able to tell a lot more with archs.
    Heres something you might want to try.
    When setting up your Lowrance or any other of the higher-end sonars from Lowrance you want to do the following when using the sonar:

    1. Turn the Noise Rejection to OFF. This will allow you to see fish hanging close to the bottom and fish hanging in the trees more clearly.
    2. Turn Surface Clarity to OFF or LOW. Most would think that this only affect the top 10 feet of your water column that you see, but we have noticed it affects the whole picture.
    3. Turn the Sensitivity on as high as you can and still see some background color. Some people keep this too low because it paints a prettier picture. We keep ours around 95-100%
    4. Keep the Colorline around 63-65% for everyday use. If you need to adjust it for bottom-searching then that is fine.

    The sonars will pick up many random targets and it will appear to be fish on the screen. Our rule of thumb is: It is a fish if
    1. It has a perfect HAIRLINE arch that is long on each side.
    2. It has a good amount of color in the body of the target.
    Sometimes in dirty or trashy water you will see many targets that resemble fish, but if they do not have the above two requisites, then it may not be a fish. This is true in the fall season when leaves are sinking in the water column.
     
  15. spoonfish

    spoonfish New Member

    Messages:
    3,780
    State:
    Warsaw, Mo.
    Echos from the arch, are considered to be scaled fish by many catfishermen I might add.
     
  16. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    State:
    Kentucky
    Well lets see if I can make this work for most of you, this was done pretty quick, so I hope this explains it some for you.


    Picture # 1

    Fish on gravel bar. That I caught I think it was 42 #s Here is a picture of it blown up some and pointed out to you better:

    [​IMG]


    Picture # 2

    This Picture was taken off the Green River here in Kentucky, this shows structure of trees and big fish laying in them, on this set up we lost two good fish that got us tangled up in the standing tree's and broke us off.

    [​IMG]


    Picture # 3

    This Picture shows a bluecat fish come right off the bottom of the river and strikes the bait and as you can see we got him as the fish comes to the top of the water fighting me.

    [​IMG]

    Picture # 4

    This picture was almost perfect for me, this fish was laying on the bottom as you can see with the arch, then the fish comes up and nails the bait, not much clutter on the screen when this happened.

    [​IMG]


    Picture # 5

    This Picture shows a large school of fish ( Bass ) Feeding on bait fish by the thousands, the bait fish was baby skipjacks in the 2-3 inch range, but to show a school of fish, this was unreal, they were sitting behind a blown up dam.

    [​IMG]


    Picture # 6

    This was in good deep water, showing two trees with there root balls on them with smaller bait fish all around the tree limbs if you look close you will see bigger fish sitting in the tree's. I think they got fat this evening. (lol)

    [​IMG]

    Picture # 7

    This is back to the main question about the fishing lines not seeing them I hope this helps show our fishing lines dragging just off the bottom of the river and show how the fish came up and nailed the bait.

    [​IMG]

    If you have any questions about these pictures please ask I will be more then willing to assist you if I can, I am sure Doc could answer a lot of the questions on these other fish finders and Pete Kildow could chime in here he taught me a lot about the Humminbird. we have a lot of members here that have good information, we just need to assert it some in these threads, I had a lot of questions when I started and I know some of these guys wanted to shoot me, but they stuck it out and helped me a lot.


    Thanks
    D/H
     
  17. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    State:
    Kentucky
    Spoonfish very good information and you sir are correct, thanks alot for the help on that question.

    See I knew you guys can pull this off, what a great learning tool we all have we just need to share it with the others.

    Thanks
    D/H
     
  18. DeerHunter01

    DeerHunter01 New Member

    Messages:
    2,113
    State:
    Kentucky
    Brandon :

    Anytime you want to go out fishing and see this unit please give me a call and I would be more the willing to take you out and show you how it works. I understand what your saying about some people not understanding how it works and you will have to be the one to teach them, before I got my unit and before the one we got for Catfish America TV show , I went and looked at these fish finders and studied them.

    The problem is you can go to the store and look at them and even if they have one on display, where you can play with it, Its not even the same as you out on the water seeing one in action. If used right, they will bring big fish into that boat. I have no doubt about that.

    When Don Sweet and Me got to the James River the first night Hugh had a client out in his boat, we could not fish with him, but using this unit we found 5 fish sitting on a rock pile in the river, we knew a couple of them was hawgs, so we pulled above them and marked the rock pile and drifted back to where we were right over top of the fish. Don used a 14 inch live Shad and it was not long we had the second biggest catfish on the James River in the boat. (85 Lbs) And then I caught a 30 Lber right after that.

    Would we of caught them fish without the fish finder, I doubt it very much, cause when I seen the fish sitting on the rock pile and then showing them to Don, he was all in for trying to target them fish, and we did it. I will never forget that evening, I had never been on that river system and for us to nail a 85 # fish by ourselves was just unreal.

    D/H
     
  19. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,463
    State:
    IN
    Name:
    Winston
    Brandon,
    If you yourself feel you would be comfortable using the unit go ahead and get it. You will easily be able to teach your dad the basics of it even if he doesn't grasp all of the capabilities. He may not understand the side imaging or the GPS but you can show him how to turn it on and just use the 2D sonar which will show him depth, ledges, trees, fish etc.
    I was very leery about getting one as I'm not the most computer savvy person but they are in fact very easy to operate. I got the 997 and read the manual over and over. Then, when I had installed the unit in the boat I played with it in simulator mode until I had at least the basics down. Then, as Eric mentioned it was off to the water and put some time into learning it on the water. It is a very user friendly unit but it does take some time to learn as does any sonar unit...W
     
  20. stephens

    stephens New Member

    Messages:
    235
    State:
    clarksville tn
    thanks for a good post eric and spoonfish i think that will help anyone with any depth finder. brandon if you want to see how the 38 c hd works i have one in my boat and i like it a lot. i think if a person takes his time and and study with his depth finder you will be pleased with it.