As we try to navigate through this Covid-19 virus crisis – which is not convenient for anybody, and deadly for some – fishing remains an activity that many of us can still partake in, while safely avoiding contact with others. I think it is important for everyone to work together to put an end to the spread of this monster. That is the only way we’re going to shut it down and get back to fishing. I can’t wait to resume our Bassmaster Elite Series season. Hopefully at some point, somebody smart figures out a vaccine, and we can get back to some kind of normality.
If you are able to still going fishing wherever you are, I urge you to at least stay close to home. Where I live on the north end of Lake of the Woods, in Ontario, we are blessed with countless lakes and great fishing so I’ve been having fun with that. We’re still ice fishing up north, but we’ll be able to put the boats in the water soon. So while I wait for the ice to go, I’m making a list of some of the smaller bodies of water close to home that I have not spent much time fishing in the past. There are several within only a few miles of my house that I have never fished.
We all have those lakes around home that we may have never fished before but have always wondered “what lives in there?" It’s the perfect time to explore some of these lakes where you’re never going to fish a tournament but you may be able to catch a bunch of fish. Maybe chasing a different species close to home is the ticket for fun.
For many of us that fish tournaments, our purpose on most outings is to spend most of our free time on waters where we will fish tournaments in the future, or working on techniques to catch big fish on specific bodies of water. We don’t explore smaller waters or fish for other species all that much. Now is the perfect time. Where I live in Northwest Ontario we have some of the best fishing in the world for walleye, crappie, pike, musky and lake trout, just to name a few. As long as something is pulling on the end of my line, I’m happy.
While some of the smaller lakes across North America might not have the top-notch Lakemaster mapping that most of the bigger waters do, thankfully our Humminbird units have the Auto-Chart Live function that allows us to make our own maps of any water. Since I have access to Lakemaster mapping for most of the places where I fish, I am not an expert on using Auto-Chart Live, but it is easy to run. It uses the sonar and Side-Imaging technology of the unit to draw maps for you and then saves the data to an SD card. If you’re visiting a new water without mapping, simply turn it on when you launch your boat and let it roll while you’re idiling around … you will start building a map.
I am a big fan of the Side-Imaging and Down-Imaging functions on my Humminbird Helix 10 machines wherever I fish so if I get on some new water you can bet I’m going to rely on my sonar to show my what’s under my boat. Depending on which species of fish you’re after, knowing the general area of the lake to look for them is important, then you can start utilizing your Humminbird units to help you find fish fast. You may be able to see fish on the units or maybe the cover that they’re relating to. Find the fish or the cover, drop a waypoint and start fishing. The combination of the mapping, the sonar functions and the accuracy of the GPS make these machines vital to my fishing success.
Stay safe out there, and if you are able to get out on the water, do it in a safe manner. Spend some time learning to get more out of your electronics and down the road the extra time will help you out at some point.