As you are probably aware, the device we are talking about is not a fish locator but, rather, a depth locator. Most fisherman use a fish locator but most fisherman does not use it properly and can not interpret what they are seeing on the screen.
Most bass boats utilize two fish locators: One mounted in the dash, typically a flasher unit, and another mounted on the trolling motor. The majority of us fishermen utilize the flasher when running new water or low water conditions on a known lake. If this sounds familiar, well you are missing out on a lot of information. I did not learn this trick until a few years ago. If you turn your flasher unit on while you are running to your favorite fishing hole, you may be in for a surprise. If you are comfortable setting the sensitivity on your unit, you can get a real time view of the bottom, find humps and submerged moss beds you did not know exhausted. If you have a high speed flasher unit and get the sensitivity adjusted right, you can also see what depth the major of the fish are located. This little trick has allowed me to find several humps I had not known implemented on Lake Ouachita and give me more possible places to fish.
TIP: If you find a new hump, you can, if you are financially challenged and can not afford a GPS Plotter, take a hand-held GPS unit and get the coordinates and record the coordinates on your lake map. This way you can take the hand-held unit and find the hump any time.
It all starts with proper installation of your unit (s). If you have an in-dash flasher unit, it was probably installed by the boat manufacturer or the boat dealer. That installation should be OK. If you bought a LCD unit to install on your trolling motor, that is the unit we will discuss.
Let us start with a quick check-up of your existing unit. If you have an in-dash unit installed, the first thing to check is the installation. Where is your transducer located? Is it in the bilge area and shooting through the hull? Is it mounted on the transom? Check the transducer to see if the mounting is still tight and your cable is still in good shape. No nicks, scrapes or rubbing on any metal which could fray or sever the wire over a period of time. Is the transducer still tightly glued to the floor of the boat for through hull installations? For a transducer on the outside of the boat on the transom, check the mount for loose screws, missing screws, is it perpendicular to the hull. It is very important to have the transducer perfectly straight up and down or your signals will not be accurate. The preference for this type of installation is a puck type transducer for through-hull units and a bullet transducer for transom mounts.
TIP: If the transducer mounted on the transom is a gimble type mount, after each trip the transducer to make sure it is pointed straight up and down. These type of mounts are designed to "kick up" if you hit or run something.
A puck style transducer is the most used for trolling motor applications. It has a slim size and is easily mounted with a large hose clamp. The advantage to this transducer is the small size puts the transducer behind the skag on the trolling motor that protecting it from contact with underwater objects. The most important thing in mounting this transducer is to make sure it is perpendicular to the centerline of the trolling motor body. Once you have the transducer mounted, it is simple to take some wire ties and attach the cable to the steering cable encasement into the boat. This prevails the transducer cable from being entangled in vegetation or ripped loose by limbs or stems. Try to mount your locator and cable hook-ups as far away from trolling motor battery wires or outboard engine wires as possible to minimize electronic / electrical interference with the locator. Some interference is inevitable but in a good setup it is minimized. In-line fuses will also minimize interference.
TIP: Remember to add the distance from the surface to the transducer to your locator readings to have accurate depth readings.
When you have installed your locators, the first thing you need to do is READ the instruction manual. This will familiarize you with the various features and buttons on the locator. Pay particular attention to the sensitivity, menu, auto, and zoom buttons. Learn how to adjust and turn these features on and off. Become familiar with the examples shown in the instruction manual. Once you have become familiar with the features and operation of your locator, it is time to try it out.
In Part 2 of this article, we will discuss the settings of the locator to properly interpret what you are seeing on the screen.
Source by Carlton Holliday