In our last few blogs featuring Radioworld Pro-Staff Danny Dunn we heard how his electronics helped him take a win and a top 3 finish in his recent bass tournaments. Well, even while enjoying a relaxing day on the water with is daughter Sarah, he still relies on his electronics to make his day a successful one. The following are Danny’s words on his weekend of fishing.
“Sarah and I took advantage of the low winds and ventured out to Lake Ontario Saturday. I was especially looking for new water this trip and used Navplanner with my high def (1-foot contours) Hotmaps chip to find shallow flats with tight contours that had access to deep water, deep meaning in the 25-30 foot range.
I believed the fish would be deeper and with the warming afternoon coming the fish would head shallow to feed. The shallow water was key! It had to have sand and chunk rock but not miles of it, sporadic was the key. Basically they were areas I thought the fish would use in the spring to spawn in.
The tight contours meant the fish would have almost immediate access to the shallow/deep water and it would be a key point to intersect fish moving up or down the break. I didn’t believe the fish would travel 100-200 yards to transition from 30 feet to 8-10 feet I believe the sharper and quicker the drop, the better!
When I arrived in the morning and put the Hotmaps chip in my HDS8 I zoomed it out to 4 miles and that allowed the tight contours to jump out right in plain sight. I then placed a waypoint at each end of the contour line as a start and finish point.
My plan was to use the front graph (another HDS8 networked to the dash unit with StructureScan) and stay on the break moving along the deep break looking for fish. I ran the unit in split screen. Chart mode on one side and sonar mode on the other, alternating back and forth between down scan so I could really see bottom composition (ex. sand/rock/gravel). When I saw a fish on the graph I would literally drop my bait down to the fish. Sarah and I went 12 for 16 on fish we saw on the graph.
I ran 3 spots before I found fish on the break. If I didn’t see fish on the graph I didn’t fish it. One of the keys for this day was running the Minnkota at 30% and keeping my eyes on the graph. Now as a note; speed is totally dependent on wind direction and speed. I found that if I was moving too fast on the trolling motor I couldn’t get my bait down to the fish in time, remember we where fishing as deep as 30 feet of water. Scroll speed was also important to ensure the data I was seeing on the graph was current and right below the boat not 20-feet behind.
For baits we used a dropshot with a ½ oz Tungsten cylinder weight. Reason for this set up is the cylinder drops fast than a round weight and Tungsten is significantly smaller in size for the same weight again effecting the drop rate. Once on the bottom we just kept a tight line and waited for the fish to grab it. No shaking it or movement at all. As for the bait it was a Xzone Slammer all the way….as for color…sorry dude….none of your bees wax!…lol.
Line was 10lb braid, again, thinner line diameter fast drop rate and a 12 lb fluorocarbon leader of about 10 feet. The reason for the longer leader is that if I’m fighting a fish at the side of the boat I want the knot on the reel and no weak points. For rod we used a 7 ½ medium heavy rod. The longer rod helps pick up the line in deep water.
One last thing, we set the hook! No sweep sets in 30 feet of water. These fish have hard mouths and we needed to drive the hook home, sometimes I would set the hook once or twice more to ensure I was driving it home.
Later in the afternoon we slowly moved in the shallows looking for cruising fish, you couldn‘t miss them. We could see down 18 feet as the water is gin clear so in the shallow 2-4 feet it was like you could just reach out and touch them! The fish were up there to feed and not shy at all. We could have caught them on top water lures which would have been fun, but I don’t like the hook up ratio so we stuck to Tubes and Drop shot. It was a blast!
In a nut shell between the HDS units and the Navionics mapping I never would have been able to condense my efforts on specific areas. Its cut my searching time but at least 80%. Even though I was just fun fishing I ALWAYS like to catch fish and to share that with my Sarah just completed the circle.” – Danny Dunn
Thanks for sharing your story with us Danny! There is some great insight there on how to take full advantage of your electronics! Fall is one of the best times to get out for bass and with the cooler weather here and the water temps dropping this puts the fish into feed mode. Put the tips Danny shared to use and you too will have a successful outing.