February 13, 2013 by Jonathan Newton
Fishing electronics have really come a long way. There was a time when you couldn't be sure what kind of fish were under your boat. But with the electronics we've got now, you can just about see their scales.
Sometimes you can tell what they are by how they're positioned relative to each other and the bottom. For instance, crappies will stack up close together in a shape like a Christmas tree, or sometimes like an inverted Christmas tree. Bass might be stacked up, but seldom more than two deep and they'll be more scattered out - especially spots.
You can also tell a lot about their disposition by where bass are in the water column. Presuming you can even see the fish hugging the bottom, those fish are probably loafing. That's not to say you can't catch them - especially if you can get the first one to bite - but they're not as easy as the fish you see up in the water around cover or structure. Those fish are active and waiting to grab something.
It's been said that suspended fish holding way off the bottom are hard to catch, and while that's generally true, you can't tell just by looking. I've gone over fish suspended 5 to 8 feet in water more than 20 feet deep, and come back later and caught them. A lot of times those suspended fish won't bite right away because your boat disturbed them, but you can waypoint them and get them later with a swimbait or crankbait.
By using electronics, it doesn't take long for a fisherman to figure out whether he's looking at bass (or some other species) as well as what kind of mood they are in. And that's the big advantage. If you know those fish are bass, you're more likely to stick with them and try more things to catch them than you would if you weren't sure. It's another way modern electronics can really boost your confidence.
---- Twix pro Jonathan Newton, Rogersville, Ala.