How do you use your depthfinder while catfishing?

Discussion in 'Fishing Electronics Review' started by Shawn, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    Here's a thread for you gadget geeks out there...

    How do you use your fish-finder/electronics when catfishing - what exactly do you do (the more details the better)???

    ie are you using to identify cover/structure/bottom texture, find schools of baitfish, anyone using "sidefinder" to look under snags, GPS...

    I'm just learning to use mine, but I'll bet there's some real experts here who could share some great tips/ideas...

    BTW, Anyone know of any good books/videos on the subject?


    Shawn

    You know with all the articles I've seen about catfishing over the years, I've never seen a real good comprehensive piece on using fish finders in catfishing. Maybe someone should write one... :rolleyes:
     
  2. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Shawn,I don't want to sound discouraging but this subject has been hammered in the past so the library might be a good place to start.First I CAN recommend a good book on the subject.YOUR owners manual.It would surprise you how many people never read past "Turn it on".You don't say what type of unit you have so it will be hard to give you specific tips.Read the owners manual from cover to cover then read it about 10 more times.Did you mount the unit yourself?Transducer placement is extremely important.Adjusting it to the way your boat sits in the water is also very important.In my mind the Lowrance website is one of the best places to learn about fish finders,GPS etc.It has instructional tutorials and emulators that you can actually use right on your computer.There isn't anything specific to catfishing and fishfinders.You must know your fish and what they are doing seasonally to use the instrument to its maximium potential.The LEAST valuable feature of any instrument is its ability to "Find" fish.After all can you look at your unit and tell me what kind of fish the arch represents?Not hardly but that unit can show you a drop off on a river channel with brush on it that 'Might"hold flatheads.It can tell you if there are schools of bait on a piece of structure like an underwater hump in 22 ft of water,which "might" cause blues to be there also.Go to the Lowrance website and study how a transducer works,what cone angles mean,how boat speed effects the fish arch etc etc etc.Know what your unit can do and how it does it and you will "Find"more fish.Many good articles have been written in boating and fish magazines over the years about all this.80% of all fishermen that own fishfinders do not clearly understand the principles by which they work nor understand what they are seeing when they look at them.Don't make that mistake.:)
     

  3. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

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    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Thanks for the information!
     
  4. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    If you can find a place with clear water,where you can see the bottom,you will be able to relate what you see on your unit to what you can see looking down.You can learn to relate to and learn to adjust your unit.peewee williams
     
  5. three_rivers

    three_rivers New Member

    Messages:
    688
    State:
    Tupelo Ar
    Jim gave some good advice! You'll have to play with it alot and learn and use it as a learning tool. The owners manual is enough to get you started. All the settings are something you'll have to tweak and get a good grasp. A depthfinder will show arches a bigger arch doesn't exactly mean a bigger fish. If your depthfinder is constantly adjusting depth, for instance it shows a big arch at 30 feet and drops off on a hole to 60 feet and shows a smaller arch. That change in depth drops the arch size 50 percent. To have it set on a constant depth or understand the changes when they occur are key. Now with all that said you can crank up the sensitivity on it and make a 2 pounder(arch) look like a big arch. They say on a finely tuned depthfinder you can see your rig if you drop it beneath the sonar. After cranking up the scrolling speed on mine i could finally see if i dropped a rig off the back of the boat. After seeing it first hand i took stock in my equipment. My advice is do alot of reading up on the subject and use it firsthand on yours. Last year was my first year paying attention to it and i learn something new everytime i go out still. Trust your equipment it won't let you down.
     
  6. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    I was expecting a few responses like "read the old posts", but that was quick.

    I've read my owner's manual a few times, but it's not real good. (older Raytheon unit) Since the display on mine has pretty low resolution, i've considered replacing it, but thought maybe I could get more out of it first. I guess the best thing is to just keep working with it.

    I agree with you guys on the Lowrance website... i've gotten some good info from there in the past.

    Shawn
     
  7. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    i just use mine to show structure. stuff like humps,rocks,logs,channel edges,and depth=(like the front and tail end of holes). i dont have a gps yet but will soon.
     
  8. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Mine is hard to read, if i see a tree it looks like a tree. If I see a rock its a rock. Car looks just like a car.
    Even seen a big ball of bait fish today and could see the fish around it.
    Pete
     
  9. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Shawn another tip is to check your unit to see if it has a sensitivity adjustment.If it does turn it up until you get visible interference then back off until it just clears.Lowrance units have a bar graph to show sensitivity so that makes it easy.A lot of units have an "Auto" setting for sens.but that rarely is the best setting to use.Adjust each time on the water because turbidity,algae etc effect sens.Best advice I can give you IMHO is get a Lowrance.;) :)