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South Williamsport, PA
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The “Electronics” of Catching Late Summer Crappies

Bruce, me and Dan after a successful day on the lake. What on Earth do electronics have to do with catching crappies or any other fish for that matter? Well, actually, electronic devices and equipment can play a significant role in fishing success. Don’t misunderstand; you still must know what you are doing; you must

Bruce, me and Dan after a successful day on the lake.

What on Earth do electronics have to do with catching crappies or any other fish for that matter? Well, actually, electronic devices and equipment can play a significant role in fishing success. Don’t misunderstand; you still must know what you are doing; you must know and understand the fish you are after, and selecting the proper equipment and presentations are important if you want to put a frequent bend in your rod. Still, there are some battery-operated pieces of equipment that can add to that success.

Let me back up for a minute; last week, I attended my fifty-sixth high school class reunion. While this may be hard to believe, but some of my buddies and I got talking a little “fishin’,” and the following week, the three of us found ourselves drifting in my boat in the middle of a central Pennsylvania lake. Trust me, the action in the boat that day was steady, but it was nowhere near as intense as when the three of us used to battle each other on the DuBois High School wrestling mats in the mid 60s. I knew my buddies Dan Kohlhepp and Bruce Fye were pretty accomplished fishermen, and I felt confident we could have a successful outing that day. I also knew that my electric trolling motor and my two battery-operated sonar units would also add to our success.

I’m a great believer in sonar units, be they flasher or graph type units, since they reveal important information that can greatly increase hookups. First off, I want to know what depth I’m in since this can be critical to finding fish, especially in the late season when many species have moved to deeper water and are often suspended. Here again, the sonar unit will tell you what depth you are at and where in the water column the fish can be found. As Bruce, Dan, and I drifted out in the main lake, we would come across schools of crappies suspended at different depths, and if we were able to get our presentations down to that depth, the rods began to bend. This same scenario has occurred many times over the years, and my sonar units are now part of my regular fishing arsenal. Don’t misunderstand; you certainly can find and catch fish without sonar, but the sonar makes that task much easier, faster, and more consistent.

I suspect we don’t often think about it this way, but an electric trolling motor is also a great asset when fishing, not just for schooled crappies but other species as well. Sure, that gas motor will get us to the general spot we want to fish in a hurry, but once on location, it’s nice to shut that noisy motor down and begin a more slow and deliberate pursuit. The trolling motor is much less likely to spook fish, and when operated with a foot pedal, both hands are free for casting and working your lures. The battery-operated trolling motor is also an excellent way to troll; there’s very little disturbance, and very slow to faster speeds can be utilized. By the way, trolling can also be used to locate schooled fish. A few weeks ago, my wife and I were fishing from our boat on a nearby lake, and as we slow trolled our one-eighth ounce jigs on our way back to the dock, I had to stop the motor frequently to reel in crappies; sometimes, we both had fish on at the same time.

Generally speaking, I know electricity and water don’t make a good mix, but battery-operated trolling motors and sonar units certainly are an exception to the rule when it comes to finding fish on a lake.

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