Modern Day Mapping
No matter what body of water you are on, if you find humps, bumps, and sharp contour breaks, you are bound to find hungry walleyes. Understanding this simple principle is what allows us tournament professionals to compete on new bodies of water at the highest level. So how do we find these key pieces of structure? Modern mapping is the key.
A program called Insight Genesis allows me to record sonar on my Lowrance chartplotter and create maps based off these recordings. The maps you create enable you to see precise one-foot contours, bottom composition, and vegetation. When you upload your sonar recording to the programs, it allows you to select ‘private’ or ‘public.’ The public files are complied together into a social map that anyone is capable of using. This is where I think Insight Genesis really shines. Let’s face it, it’s hard to go out and map the entire Lake Erie or Detroit River, but when you have lots of people doing it on a daily basis, and willing to share their info, you end up with a huge amount of data. That’s what social map is. It shows precise mapping of areas that many anglers have keyed in on. Of course if you have secret spots on un-mapped or poorly mapped lakes, you can select those as private and keep it to yourself.
Once you find a target depth that the walleyes seem to be relating to, you can use custom shading to highlight that depth range on your chartplotter. This cuts the searching down tremendously. Humps, bumps, and ledges pop off the screen. Next I’ll start scanning these areas for fish with my sonar. If I’m marking fish, it’s time to fish.
A lot of the tactics we use required precise depth control of our baits. Let’s take trolling spinners with inline weights for example. If I am fishing a hump that comes up to 12 feet of water from 18 feet, I may set up with a 1oz weight and 30 feet of line out at a 1mph trolling speed. I know at this speed, that puts my bait down 15 feet. As I am trolling up to the hump in 12 feet of water, I will speed up a touch. The increase water resistance on my bait will pull it up in the water column, and barely skim it over the top of the hump without snagging. It’s here and along the break that those walleyes are feeding. Now let’s say I don’t have Insight Genesis and I don’t know where this hump is. First off, I may never have found this spot or the fish. Second, with this kind of precise spot-on-spot fishing, I may end up snagged, or more importantly, I may have missed the key strike zone on this piece of structure.
Regardless of what kind of electronics you have, I encourage you to research what the latest and greatest mapping options are for you. With Lowrance and Simrad products, I highly recommend Insight Genesis.
– Ryan Buddie