Electronic fishing aids can be very confusing to a lot of people, but the key to using your depth finder is to start out slow and work your way up.
Over the years I have owned many a piece of electronics but still to this day I really don’t have a favorite brand.
At the moment I have a Hummingbird on my kayak and a Lowrance on my boat. I like both just fine, but they are designed for different purposes and they each do their job.
When picking out a depth finder, look at a few details that could sway your decision. The first, of course, is money. In this economy you have to get as much bang for your buck as you can so look first at price, then narrow down your choices.
Let’s say you have a budget of around $250. Now take into consideration what kind of boat you want it on and where you want to go.
Remember you may have your boat for years to come so if you can pick out a better model you will not have to buy a second one a couple years down the road.
So we have a budget now and we are perhaps putting the unit on a 21-foot center console.
Because of the size of the boat you know you probably won’t be going offshore anytime in the near future but a GPS will help you get back from the sound if you get confused or the weather turns bad or you just ran out of daylight.
A good unit with GPS is still in your price range but you may have to shop around. When you are shopping you will run into a lot of the same decisions that you do when buying a television. The size of the screen, brand name, pixels — which is similar to the resolution on a television — and other factors come into play. After those are decided, it is just a matter of picking which one you want.
Listen to the sales rep. but don’t take his word for gospel because not all of them are as skilled as others. Go home and research it some more on the internet and find out which one gives you the most bang for your buck.
Now that you have your new unit, you will have to do some minor work on your boat. Wheter it is a johnboat or a yacht there is still some work to do.
You have to snake the wires to your power supply and fish the transducer wires to the proper location. This is all explained in the owner’s manual, which if you are like me you hate to read, so just do it when none of your buddies are looking.
You will need some power tools like a drill and a screw driver but it is not a difficult thing to do. When you get out on the water there may be a few more minor adjustments that are needed but it pretty much runs itself.
Depending on the unit involved, there are a thousand little adjustments that you can make like bottom alarms, fish alarm and sensitivity.
Most of the time you will pick your favorite screen and keep it there, but if ever have any questions on what the unit will do then just go back to the manual for the answer.
There are qualified people at every boat dealer who will be happy to install the unit for a price, but it is not rocket science so try it first before you give up and pay someone.
What’s biting, where ...
The offshore report this week was basically summed up with one word: Wind. We had 15-to-20 foot seas all week and the fleet stayed home and waited it out. There is some nice weather coming up the next few days and the fishing should improve.
The bluefin tuna bite has been pretty good up until the wind arrived and it should only get better after.
The surf report is still skates and dogfish, but spring is just around the corner so hang on and stay tuned. On the local scene, some stripers have been reported at the mouth of the Roanoke River on the power lines and up in the stump fields if you dare.
Rattle Traps and small jerk baits are the ticket but don’t forget to throw a swim bait or two in the mix.
The largemouth bite is picking up in the ponds with these warm days heating them up first. I caught a nice fish on a spinner bait just off the ledge before a spawning flat so they are beginning to stage.
There is a catfish tournament Saturday in Moyock at 1407 Tulls Creek road. It starts at 7am. If you want more details call Kris at 252-619-0500 or go by and see the guys at the Bait Barn to set you up with the right bait and gear.
Send me a report to email@example.com or hit me up on my face book page Fishing With Mike.
Mike Sweeney is a fisherman and a resident of Elizabeth City