Have you ever wondered how the old timers found fish and caught them before the electronic age? Over the years I have talked to a bunch of fishermen who never used a fish finder (sonar) and the only fishing equipment they had was a cane pole rig or one of them fancy Zepco 33's. Yet they caught enough fish at times to have large fish fries or had enough to load up freezer. I will now share with you some of their secrets. If they were going to fish a farm pond, lake or river, they would spend some time walking around the shoreline and paying attention to the tree growth along the banks, the large rocks or boulders in the water, down trees lying in the water, brush or log piles. Why you might ask would they look at the tree growth along the waters edge, well, they knew that the oak or hardwood trees grew on the deep side of the body of water that they were surveying and that the pines and other softwood tree grew on the shallow side. Of course, we all know that fish are going to be around brush from fishing for crappie or sunfish, but they also knew that the big cats would be around the log jams and isolated down trees along with bait fish. They paid close attention to diving birds, such as the gulls, loons and cormorants, plus the wadding birds (Blue Heroins, etc.), for they knew that these birds depended on bait fish to survive. So, if the birds were there, then the bait fish was there and of course the larger fish that fed off of the bait fish would also be there. Sometimes when they would catch a crappie or catfish, they would rig them up a piece of line with a hook on one end and a small float of some sort on the other end and attach it to the fish they just caught and release it back into the water. The theory was that the fish would go back to the school of fish it was with prior to them catching it. Some times it worked and sometimes it did not. They also knew that if the animals along the shoreline were not feeding, it most likely would be a waste of their time to fish. As you can see from the foregoing, the old timers used what mother nature was offering them as signs of where to fish, what to fish for or whether to fish or not. Now we have high power motorized boat, the finest fishing gear we can afford, sonar along with topo maps, cyber outlets such as the BOC with it's membership giving fishing reports all over the good old US or A and are we doing better at catching fish than the old timers, some are and most are not. If you are one of those that is not getting his or her fair share of fish, would you like to change that situation? Sure you would or you would not be out there fishing or reading this thread. First thing I would suggest to you is to slow down, look at what nature is showing you on your lake, pond, reservoir or river. Then use your electronics to scout the area using your way points to mark areas that you would like to fish later, same for schools of bait fish that you cross and under water brush. If your electronics is set on fish ID, cut it off and use the one that shows arches and pods of bait fish. After you have decided where you are going to fish at and you get setup to fish and then catch a fish, be it a cat, crappie or bass, do this. Leave it on your line and lower it at the back of the boat in close proximity to your transducer and see what that fish looks like on your sonar screen at different depths. If you have a digital camera, take a photo of the sonar screen and make a note of what kind of fish and size, so next time you see this same marking (arch) on your sonar, you will have a general idea of what kind of fish it is and it's approximate size. For additional information on a lot of subjects relating to fishing, I invite you to scan other topics prepared for 'Mac Byrum's Catfish University' to assist you in having a more enjoyable fishing experience. As always, if you have a question about this subject or others that I have covered, just send me a PM and I will get back to you as soon as possible or post your question on the Carolina Catfish Club section and I or one of the CCC members will respond.