For those of us that know better than to winterize our boats, the best brush pile fishing of the entire year is finally upon us. As the water temps get on down into the thirties, the Crappie are really going to start stacking up thick along the channel ledges and breaks. It isn't uncommon this time of year to see double, and even triple limits come out of a single brush pile.
One of the tricks to that is what is referred to as "video game fishing ",
I can tell you it is by far the most fun you can have while fishing. Nothing is better than seeing a fish moving up to your jig on a sonar screen and anticipating the thump. It is basically the same thing ice fisherman do while hovering over that tiny hole in the ice staring at a 2D sonar screen watching the fish come up and smack a jig or spoon, except we are doing it out of our boats just before it all ices over, and in the Spring just after the ice melts, but before they start moving to stage for the spawn.
With all the different options out there as sonar technology advances, nothing beats having a good, regular 2D unit on board. With that being said, there are a few things you need to know and fully understand such as the different beams and frequencies, as well as how that translates into bottom coverage so that you can not only properly use your electronics, but effectively employ them as well.
Seriously folks, study the illustrations below and learn the math, It's not just for rocket scientists anymore. It can drastically improve an anglers success rate.
Knowing how the two different beams work and what the bottom coverage is in relation to water depth will help you pinpoint where fish are in relation to the boat, your jig, as well as cover. If you see fish coming up to your bait but not hitting, It can help you make decisions on bait colors, styles, and presentations as well.
This picture is from last Winter while guiding some clients out on Perry. My Humminbird 1199 is mounted on the bow and shows fish moving around a brush pile we were sitting on. The solid marks are fish that are directly in the sonar beam, and the faint mark above the pile was a fish that was on the outer edges of your beam. Using the math above,..how far away from the center of my transducer beam was that fish ?
Knowing how to figure things like that out can tell you how close or far away to hang that rod tip from the boat so that your jig is right in front of his face, things like that is what will drastically improve catch rates.
Fully understanding how your equipment works enables you to use it more effectively , which will enable you to fish more efficiently. After all, why sit out in the cold if your not able to go home to a plate full of steaming hot Crappie fresh out of a grease bath. Fishing time is far to hard to come by to let it just be wasted by not knowing how to maximize the use of your equipment.