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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys,
A few years ago I read an article written by Ken Penrod. He said that fishing is the toughest sport of all because it is the only sport where you don't see your opponent. This is true and it really made me think. One thing I always do when fishing is try to make as certain as possible I know what's going on down there.

A perfect case in point was when we were just at the CBBT. The tide was not going very strong but every time I got on the back side of an island, I started seeing a lot of what looked like turbulence in the water on my meter. My meter looked similar to when I fish at Calvert Cliffs and the water is rushing by, or when I cross behind a freighter and I mark his massive prop wash.

A few minutes later a massive school of silversides surfaced. It made me realize, I was seeing silversides on the meter not turbulence. It solved the mystery that I was marking turbulence with little moving water. Earlier, I was thinking about adjusting he sensitivity of my meter, but I am glad I didn't after all. Also, with all that live bait around, and no swirld from predators, I was pretty sure I should keep moving on to find fish.

So, there are a few things I have done which have really helped me see whats going on down at the bottom. One is a tactic to learn your meter. Take a 12" stretch of pipe with a 4" or more diameter, weight it, (or use a metal pipe) and tie a chain to it. Drag the bottom for a short time and then pull it up and look at what you have picked up. Sand, mud, grass, or nothing. Then carefully study you meter. You will learn to pick out different types of bottoms.

Now, even with my ten year old meter, I can still pick out whats hard, grassy, or muddy pretty easily. And, I know exactly what the bottom is anyway, because I have pulled some of it up in my pipe at almost every spot that I fish.

Another thing I do a lot is use a lure called a silver buddy. It's called a blade bait and is basically a thin strip of metal with two treble hooks hanging of the bottom. When I see marks on my meter that look like fish and I can't catch them I almost always drop down a silver buddy. Not only does it catch a wide range of fish both large and small, it has two treble hooks which snag everything.

In this way I have found out I was on schools of alwive when I thought I was on rock, or that I was on catfish when I though I was on perch, or that I was on mud shad instead of perch. Although snagging fish may not be the most sporting way to catch them at least you know what you are looking at.

I am open to more tips. I know a lot of guys use little tricks like these.
 

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Those silver buddies are great if you can find them anymore. Thats the bait that caught the state record large mouth last winter in the Potomac River. Nice post.
 

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Actually the bait that caught that LM was not a silver buddy but the newer Cicada, which is basically the same thing and readily available at dicks.

I never really got used to using them because whenever I did, I'd snag bottom with one.
 

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Nice tips, Francis. Funny, I always carry a few blade baits in my box as well, for the same reason.

I also agree with your theory about seeing unmolested bait. Sometimes there's fish under them, but when they're just merrily swimming along, usually time to go. Same theory applies when I catch a spot around the bridge pilings. If that spot feels safe enough to be there, no rockfish around!
 

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Good stuff, Francis. :thumbup:
 

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Thanks Francis for sharing your knowledge. Depth finders take time time and practice! We are all lost without them.
Les
 

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francis, on a 2d finder a thick red line is typically a soft bottom, a thinner line is usually hard. rocks and grass, stumps, sunken boats show up well on my side scan machine. they are deadly when fishing pilings. i can shoot the signal out to 200+ feet and fish show up as a white line, the bigger the line the bigger the fish. i can also move my cursor to that "big white" line and it gives the gps position of that fish...pretty amazing. brandon calls it cheating at the cbbt. problem is all i do is stare at my ray c-80 and my side scan. when i have room i use my autopilot and just run parallel to the pilings or up the middle of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
John,
That's pretty slick. I don't even have color! Maybe some day I'll start booking Annapolis eye candy tours myself so I can afford a C80. :D
 

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Couple years ago I bought a few large SBs at the Sykesville fishin flea market for a couple buck each. They are 2 and 4 OUNCES! I have never caught anything on them but plan to try them this winter..
 
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