Shamrocks, Hoops and Home Improvement
- March 15, 2023
It’s probably no secret that I am not on the cutting edge of today’s technology; after all, I still think “tweeting” is something a bird does when it’s happy. I have graduated from a flip phone to a “smartphone” although I get the impression that my phone is not as smart as some of the
It’s probably no secret that I am not on the cutting edge of today’s technology; after all, I still think “tweeting” is something a bird does when it’s happy. I have graduated from a flip phone to a “smartphone” although I get the impression that my phone is not as smart as some of the newer smartphones on the market today. That being said, however, I do make an exception when it comes to the newest technology that has invaded the fishing world — more specifically I’m referring to the sonar equipment that has changed the world of fishing.
When I go fishing, I like to catch fish. Yea, I know, a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work, but it’s a whole lot better day if you also have success catching plenty of fish. There are a number of factors that contribute to success on any given day, but clearly one of those factors is finding where the fish are at any given time.
I remember well my early days of ice fishing in the 60s — we would go out on the lake and chop or drill a whole with our hand auger and then sound the hole with a weight to get some idea of how deep we were. We then baited our ice fishing rod and dropped it to the bottom. If we didn’t get a strike, we began moving the lure up a couple of feet at a time until we hit active fish. We caught fish, and sometimes even quite a few fish, but it took a lot of effort and lost time finding active fish.
Well, guess what? Like everything else in our rapidly changing society, technology has entered into the fishing world as well. Actually, it has been a part of the fishing and boating world for a long time, but it is also firmly entrenched in the hard water anglers’ world. Sonar units have become as much a fixture on the ice as a jigging rod or a tip-up. It’s a common sight today to see groups of anglers spread all over the ice each staring at a sonar unit while working a jigging rod in the hole next to it.
The sonar unit simply bounces a cone-shaped signal off the bottom and to a screen on the unit — this tells you the depth, shows weeds or other structure and if any fish are in the cone, their location is marked on the screen as well. This method of finding fish beats the pants off the old-fashioned way of drilling hole after hole and looking for fish with nothing more than a jigging rod. Be forewarned, however, that marking fish on the screen does not necessarily mean those fish are ready to take your bait — sometimes they simply refuse your offerings.
An added bonus to using sonar equipment is that if properly set up you can also track your own lure on the screen as well. That’s right; you can see your lure show up on the screen as a mark or colored slash on a flasher type screen. Many a time I have been working my jig and wax worm right near the bottom only to have a school of fish move across the screen at mid-depth ten feet above my lure. By quickly moving the lure up to that depth I have often hooked up with the fish in that suspended school. Being able to move your presentation up and down to match up with passing schools of fish is vital and provides opportunities that may have been missed otherwise.
If you are serious about entering the technological age of ice fishing, you may want to add this piece of equipment. There are a bunch of different manufacturers putting out sonar units these days, and you can get into the business for as little as a couple of hundred dollars. My son recently purchased a small, very portable unit that works through his smart phone for around $200. Does it work? You bet it does; he finds himself cleaning as many fish these days as me.
Now, if I could just figure out what “swiping on a phone” means.
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