Using Electronics to Fishing a Weed Line
2015 May 16
Top water fishing along a weed line has to be one of the most exciting techniques when it comes to bass fishing. These weed lines are usually shallow, but when you have very clean water the submerged weeds can go out quite far because of the light penetration keeping them alive (photosynthesis).
Randomly casting to weeds or any shoreline for that matter, can be compared to walking into a casino with a pocket full of coins, going from slot machine to slot machine hoping for the big jackpot. The more seasoned angler will know that channels and pockets in the submerged weeds are the key to increasing your success, but to identify these, you need to see them. In calm clean conditions using Polaroid glasses, these key spots in the weeds are easy to spot. The down side however is that being that close you are just as visible to the fish as they are to you. Ever heard anglers saying “I could see them but they just wouldn’t bite”?
Not to mention those days when the conditions are not perfect, often like weekends and tournament days, making not only channels and pockets hard to spot, but the actual submerged weed lines themselves.
The solution to being more successful when fishing weeds is to make use of your electronics. Some of the newer 360° type sonar such as SpotlightScan is one way, but requires perfect conditions and the range is limited. For increased range and HD quality imaging, you need StructureMap.
For this, you will need a newer model Lowrance unit with StructureScan using the SideScan sonar.
Use a frequency of 455kHz, set range to between 80ft (LSS-1) and 140ft (LSS-2) and make sure the shoreline is on the same side of the boat as the LSS transducer. This is to prevent any ‘shadowing’ from the hull or motor leg.
Start idling parallel to the shoreline edging in closer and closer until the weed line becomes visible, then start logging, making sure that ‘all channels is selected’. At the end of the run select Logging, and stop logging.
From files, under sonar logs, choose the file and convert to StructureMap making sure HD is selected for high definition, and save.
On your chart page, go to Overlay and change from Off, to Structure. A Structure Option will appear, scroll all the way to the bottom and change ‘Live’ to ‘Saved’. Your log should now appear on your chart plotter and if you are using HDS Gen2 or later on both console and bow, these maps should now appear on the front chart plotter as well.
If a pair of HDS’s are not within your budget, you can log with whatever side sonar unit you currently have at the console, and using SonarTRX and the Lowrance Insight Map Creator, customize and generate a chart to view on any of the new Lowrance Elite units such as the Elite9 seen here. The Elite9 is the perfect bow unit giving you a large display but at the cost of a 7” HDS.
Once you have these high definition charts on your chart plotter, you will not only see the exact formation of the weeds, but other key structure and cover around you, now giving you a full 360° target area. Have a look at these feeder channels leading to the weed line, often missed by the average angler, definitely worth stopping for an extra few casts