How to Use a Fishfinder to Catch Bass

How to Use a Fishfinder to Catch Bass
With the naked eye, fishermen can see only a few feet into the water. With a fishfinder, fishermen can see items they otherwise could not. Fishfinders do not give anglers a full picture of what's going on beneath the surface of the water, but they do help anglers find structure, cover and other elements that can make the bass-fishing game more successful. To get the most out of fishfinders, anglers need to have an understanding of how they work and what they're showing.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing boat
Step 1
Search for warm, shallow water. Many fishfinders have built-in temperature gauges that you can use to search out the warmest water you can find, especially in the spring.
Step 2
Pay close attention to your fishfinder as you slowly drive away from the shoreline. Try to find drop-offs or weedlines. As you drive over a drop-off, the fishfinder will show the bottom sloping from shallow to deep. Fishfinders show vegetation as clumps that extend from the bottom. To find a weedline, look for the spot where those clumps stop appearing.
Step 3
Focus on finding irregularities, such as points, turns and other changes in the terrain. These areas attract and are populated by bass. Watch the line on your fishfinder that denotes the bottom. When you drive over a point, the line will go from deep to shallow and back to deep. When you drive over a turn, it will go from shallow to deep. To follow a point or turn, drive along the edge where the shallow water meets deep water, but keep the boat on the shallow side.
Step 4
Look for fish activity. Any time you find an irregularity in a weedline or a drop-off, check your fishfinder for hints of fish activity, such as individual fish or "clouds" of baitfish. Begin fishing once you are sure there are fish in the area, even if you are not sure they are bass. Quick-moving lures, such as deep-diving crankbaits, will help you determine whether fish are in the area and are willing to bite.
Step 5
Search for humps and reefs that are surrounded on all sides by deep water. It might take some time to locate these areas without a map, but it is worth it because they often hold bass that receive less pressure than bass that reside in shallow areas. When you find a hump or reef, the bottom -- as shown on your fishfinder -- will go from deep to shallow. How long it stays shallow depends on how expansive the reef or hump is. When you find a shallow spot, drive along the edge of it -- staying on the shallow side of the edge -- and watch your fishfinder for evidence of fish activity.
Step 6
Examine your fishfinder as you drive over pieces of structure, looking for "structure on the structure." This means trying to find small differences in the bottom that will attract bass. To locate these areas, which may include rocks or vegetation, drive over the structure in a zigzag pattern as you watch your fishfinder. Make note of anything that extends off the bottom.

Article Written By Larry Anderson

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

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