Fishing tips: make adjustments to get the most out of your fishing electronics

Most open water sonar units have an auto setting. For your average fisherman just looking to find the depth where they feel the fish are located, this works fine. If you want to step it up and start examining why fish are located in certain areas at certain times, however, then you have to learn your setup and understand how to read your electronics.

When it comes to ice fishing, you are adjusting your sensitivity all the time depending on depth, size of lure, type of bottom, and so on. But then when it comes to open-water fishing, so many fisherman just leave their locators in auto mode.

Start by turning off the auto setting and adjusting the sensitivity. Sometimes you want it strong so you pick up everything in the water column below your boat. Other times you will want to reduce the sensitivity so you can locate fish hiding in the weeds or hugging the bottom.

There are many details to monitor when you are fishing, and your mapping and sonar units really shine here.

  • Water temperature
  • Depth
  • Bottom type
  • Weed growth
  • Transition points in depth or bottom content
  • Fish location
  • Pods of baitfish or plankton
  • Thermocline

If you adjust the settings on your sonar units, you can see all of the above, but not simultaneously. For things like thermocline and baitfish and plankton, you need your sensitivity cranked up pretty high, but to locate transitions in bottom, or fish hiding in the weeds or hugging the bottom you will have to really reduce the sensitivity for details. Yes, reducing sensitivity can help you actually see more.

Think of how you use your ice fishing electronics. If you have the gain cranked up too high, all you see is big blobs of color with very little definition. Same goes for open water electronics. Some have better auto settings than others, but you can always tweak it slightly to improve it.

Often when I am vertical jigging I will set the sensitivity high enough to see my hook, just as I would in the winter. By seeing your jig, you’ll know when a fish is near your lure and about to strike. But – just as like ice fishing – they don’t always commit. By seeing how fish are responding to your lure or jigging action you can adjust slightly to see what they want.

Good luck fishing and be safe!


Click HERE to read more fishing tips and tactics by Jason Revermann.



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