Utilize your electronics today

As we get later into the season, many of the fish that spend the majority of the summer in shallow water begin to make a move to deeper water as temperatures start to drop, bass especially.
As fish move to deeper water, they become much easier for anglers to locate on their electronics.
This week, I’m going to share some tips on how to get the most out of your sonar units.
Electronics nowadays are so good that anglers don’t even need to drop a line until they see what they’re looking for on the screen. In fact, a lot of times I won’t even put my bait in the water until I see fish on the screen.
Sometimes that could be walleyes hovering close to bottom on a main lake hump or a school of suspended baitfish that smallmouth bass have pushed up against a bluff wall.
If I see either of these things, and I have to ability to every time I go fishing, I know I’m going to load the boat.
The big thing people need to understand is that their sonar units are not nearly as valuable in less than 10 feet of water. Once we move to water deeper than 10 feet, however, your sonar becomes your eyes in the water.
The first mistake I see when I jump into other anglers’ boats and look at their sonar units is they don’t have them set up to where they can take full advantage of the technology available.
Many people just use these machines to show them the depth and that’s it, but they can do so much more.
The very first thing everyone should do is turn off the fish I.D. If you are seeing fish symbols when you turn on your sonar unit, then the fish I.D. is turned on. You are pretty much looking at a video game.
Turn it off, and you will see arcs and lines that represent fish below the boat. This is a more accurate reading.
The next step is to fine-tune the sensitivity (this controls the power at which sonar signals are delivered from the unit’s transducer). I like to manually set the sensitivity so that I’m not getting a lot of “clutter” on the screen, yet high enough that I still can see small things like my lure on the screen.
On most units, this means setting the sensitivity somewhere between 75-90 percent.
A couple of other settings I like to adjust are the ping speed and scroll speed, which should be set on “high.” These will make for the clearest image possible on your screen.
Finally, I would highly recommend the new colour units available to anglers for many reasons. They offer an easier to view, clearer picture, and they are very good at distinguishing between different types of bottom.
On these colour units, like the Humminbird machine I use, hard bottom like rock shows up as red. Soft bottoms like mud and clay will show up as a soft blue or green.
Since fish like to hang out around rocks, this becomes a pretty useful tool.
There still are a few tournaments left on the slate this weekend, and it looks like the nice weather will hold for a bass event at Shoal Lake and the walleye tournament in Rainy River.
Look for the bass report next week.

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