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Old 03-06-2018, 12:02 PM   #1
Mr. NiceGuy
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Fishfinder Tips For Halibut

My eyes are often obsessively glued to my Lowrance Elite-5 Chirp, trying to understand the ways of the world.

OK, I admit it, I'm an illiterate FF nincompoop. After diligently charging and staring at this sucker for 3 years, I still feel functionally illiterate for using fish finders in effective ways.

- I watch depths and follow contours
- I feel my way along the edge of shelves and drop-offs
- I watch for underwater kelp clumps and boundaries of thicker kelp beds
- I watch water temperatures and travel speed for general planning
- It helps with dead reckoning. There's a lot of water out there.

To this extent, my FF has been useful.

When I see lots of sonic image hits, I'm still trying to distinguish between bait balls, swarms of red crabs, salad debris, equipment failure, etc. It kind of gives me a headache when I would rather be focused on fishing.

What appears to be significant fish marks haven't really helped me much either. When I see marks, that doesn't mean I catch anything more or less, relative to the marks. When I hookup, I can't say I ever saw relevant marks in the first place.

Can't say my FF helps filling my bait tank either, compared to simply dragging a sabiki and light iron behind me as I head out for my favorite target fishing areas.

After 3 years, trying to interpret the scrolling image data that passes across my FF is still elusive to me.

I haven't yet figured out how to turn on my charting function. I know I have some memory cards on my desk somewhere, but for now my fish finder memory slot is still empty. I suppose this is important for laying out my fishing routes and destinations based on home study of target zones and depth contours before I go out, but I'm not sure if this FF is better than the iPhone apps I use for the same ideas (Navionics Boating, Tide Chart, FishAlerts).

In addition to my iPhone apps, I also like the local fishing charts published by Baja Directions, Inc. www.bajadirections.com
Another good fishing chart that is usually in my vest pocket is published by Fish-n-Map Company www.fishnmap.com

I think my FF might be useful to quickly mark a GPS location when I hook up, both so I can drift back through it, and over time to accumulate information for my favorite places logbook. I've heard of people who have been able to retrieve valuable equipment that accidentally drops to the bottom by a location mark.

So, my dear friends and kindred spirits, please help me find my way out of my FF Fog and ignorance.

What are your favorite effective ways you use your FF that actually helps you catch fish? I know there are many good answers here. I want effective fishing hacks for using a fish finder for fishing productivity.

Please help!

Last edited by Mr. NiceGuy; 03-06-2018 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:32 PM   #2
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Well first off you really need to figure out the charting function now. How could you spend 3 years looking at that fish finder and not at least try the charting function?

Try this: Press pages, scroll to chart press enter. There should be an option that will give you a split screen, chart on left, fish finder on right.

Using the chart to find fish and or structure, and then being able to find them again is absolutely critical. Using the chart, you will be able to see where the structure that you marked is and how your kayak relates to it. It will also, using the tracking feature show you, in which direction you are traveling and or drifting. Also where you caught fish before again, CRITICAL. So learn how to use your charting function, and it will open up a whole new world to you, as far as far as usefulness of your fish finder and your effectiveness with it.

Another thing you might want to try is, switching to the lower frequency on your unit, most likely your using high chirp. Try switching over to medium chirp. What this setting does is, it widens your view of what's underneath you, but it also reduces the resolution. The advantage is that you will be able to see further out in front, to the back and the sides of you. What that translates into is, you will be able to see fish and or bait fish sooner or you will be able to see things you would have missed if not on medium chirp. This is very helpful, especially when your trying to track your gear down to the bottom, or your trying to drop your gear to the level of a marked fish. Now if you can't see your gear on your fish finder then you need to adjust the sensitivity higher so you are able to see it without cluttering up the screen. Another thing to note is that fish and objects will appear to look bigger on the lower frequency so you need to take mental note of that. Also the appearance will change with varying depth. Example: In shallow water a mark might appear to be gigantic, the same size fish and mark in deeper water might look average.

So try that!
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Old 03-06-2018, 04:24 PM   #3
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^^^^ The fog is starting to burn off already. Excellent response. Thanks ful-rac.

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How could you spend 3 years looking at that fish finder and not at least try the charting function?
I've tried to fire me, but the next morning I'm still here.

Last edited by Mr. NiceGuy; 03-06-2018 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 03-08-2018, 07:08 AM   #4
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At the Hall shows the bigger electronic companies usually put on class room style tutorials. They'll run you thru features, settings, and demos on FF screens.

Some times this will give you interference, but if you run along with a buddy that has there unit dialed in they can tell you what they are seeing and you can he an idea of how it looks on yours.

Also there are likely 100's of vids on YouTube that will help.

FF's can be fantastic or frustrating time wasters.
I've seen guys so focussed on their FF's that they paddled right passed birds, bait, and fish.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by taggermike View Post
At the Hall shows the bigger electronic companies usually put on class room style tutorials. They'll run you thru features, settings, and demos on FF screens.

Some times this will give you interference, but if you run along with a buddy that has there unit dialed in they can tell you what they are seeing and you can he an idea of how it looks on yours.

Also there are likely 100's of vids on YouTube that will help.

FF's can be fantastic or frustrating time wasters.
I've seen guys so focussed on their FF's that they paddled right passed birds, bait, and fish.
All good points. Fred Hall show comes to San Diego (Del Mar) on Mar 22-25.
http://www.fredhall.com/san-diego/
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:12 AM   #6
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When fishing halibut I mark every fish I hook on my GPS, and over time you will see patterns. That is the biggest aid for me. As to the finder, I've caught them under bait and on dry sand. I like to fish around the edges of stricture like rocks or debris. Off Venice sometimes you will find holes or dips in the sand that they like to lay around. Fish it all, structure bait etc.. Any anomaly on the bottom is worth investigating. They do not use structure like bass or yellows but they do like to lie down current of junk and ambush things that come by.

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Old 03-08-2018, 04:23 PM   #7
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Yer the last guy I would take any advice from!!Ive seen you flail wildly with the gaff and knock off a 20 lber in La jolla! you should just write all this stuff and send it to yourself, cause you dont know what the hell yer doin, there might be 2 or 3 newbs that will buy in to all your bs, but send it to yourself
Dude!!! I heard you were dead!! Hope you are still fishing.

So I gather you missed me. I've been busy..... but I am back.

My dedicated female friend really likes fish, particularly halibut, and she's been kind of been insisting I get back into kayak fishing. What can I say I'm a very lucky man. I really adore her and she wants me to fish more not less. She's too cool!! Let's just say I find it awfully hard to tell her No!!

So I kid you not.... someone told me you had a heart attack. I'm not joking or being sarcastic here. When I heard that it actually made me sad, and I'm honestly glad to see you are still around.

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Old 03-08-2018, 09:27 PM   #8
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Ahhh This is the BWE I remember!



Next thing you know yakjoe’ll chime in and school everybody....

Id have to say that was pretty amazing...jim posts for the first time in several years and it takes .2 seconds for him to get kicked in the nuts...

Maybe BWE will be more entertaining once again!

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Old 03-09-2018, 07:19 AM   #9
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"...Id have to say that was pretty amazing...jim posts for the first time in several years and it takes .2 seconds for him to get kicked in the nuts....."

I'm not surprised. I think most people have a few big things in their life, some only one. We all know who that guy is.... He's rightful King of the North Los Angeles kayak scene, has the blood of the first kayak fishing men, Lord of the seven launches in Malibu, and protector of said realm.

Over a decade ago I posted a small post here about launching at Esco and fishing at Point Dume. I caught a few Sand Bass, and a cool looking tree fish. I posted the pics, handed out what little I did know (since I knew nothing about Malibu at the time) and that started a war that evidently never ended. I'm sure he thinks he drove me off this site in disgrace but the truth is I upgraded my skiff to a newer four stroke and increased it's fuel efficiency, gas prices went down and I started fishing offshore again. Then I got into motorcycle modification and hooked up with a killer artist poet writer musician (by far the coolest woman I have ever met). That did not leave me much time for the battles of BWE, struggles for the plastic kayak throne, or control of the North.

The Mad Kings rantings aside: I don't have a dog in this hunt. I quit fishing Malibu from shore the last time he/they vandalized my truck, and it's not like I'm going to run into him kayaking the back side of Cat, or out at SBI. I'm glad he's not dead, I don't mind a little cyber-adversity, I missed the board, and I've got a pretty good reason to start fishing inshore halibut again.

Sorry for the thread jack... Like I said: When fishing halibut I mark every fish I hook on my GPS, and over time that will give you a ton of info to work with. It is by far the biggest aid for me. Investigate around structure bait etc.. but mark your fish and that will really up your game.

Well I got a boat to prep since I'm hooping tonight.
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:55 AM   #10
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somebody may need a time out helping out the "noobs" is a big part of this forum.
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:00 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Fiskadoro View Post
"...Id have to say that was pretty amazing...jim posts for the first time in several years and it takes .2 seconds for him to get kicked in the nuts....."

I'm not surprised. I think most people have a few big things in their life, some only one. We all know who that guy is.... He's rightful King of the North Los Angeles kayak scene, has the blood of the first kayak fishing men, Lord of the seven launches in Malibu, and protector of said realm.

Over a decade ago I posted a small post here about launching at Esco and fishing at Point Dume. I caught a few Sand Bass, and a cool looking tree fish. I posted the pics, handed out what little I did know (since I knew nothing about Malibu at the time) and that started a war that evidently never ended. I'm sure he thinks he drove me off this site in disgrace but the truth is I upgraded my skiff to a newer four stroke and increased it's fuel efficiency, gas prices went down and I started fishing offshore again. Then I got into motorcycle modification and hooked up with a killer artist poet writer musician (by far the coolest woman I have ever met). That did not leave me much time for the battles of BWE, struggles for the plastic kayak throne, or control of the North.

The Mad Kings rantings aside: I don't have a dog in this hunt. I quit fishing Malibu from shore the last time he/they vandalized my truck, and it's not like I'm going to run into him kayaking the back side of Cat, or out at SBI. I'm glad he's not dead, I don't mind a little cyber-adversity, I missed the board, and I've got a pretty good reason to start fishing inshore halibut again.

Sorry for the thread jack... Like I said: When fishing halibut I mark every fish I hook on my GPS, and over time that will give you a ton of info to work with. It is by far the biggest aid for me. Investigate around structure bait etc.. but mark your fish and that will really up your game.

Well I got a boat to prep since I'm hooping tonight.
What ever happened with the kayak you were modifying to fit a Hobie Outdrive??
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Old 03-09-2018, 11:40 PM   #12
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What ever happened with the kayak you were modifying to fit a Hobie Outdrive??
Funny that you should mention it. It still needs some work, just got some materials for it today.
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Old 03-11-2018, 01:57 AM   #13
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What appears to be significant fish marks haven't really helped me much either. When I see marks, that doesn't mean I catch anything more or less, relative to the marks. When I hookup, I can't say I ever saw relevant marks in the first place.
I wanted to come back to this one. When I travel from spot to spot gear up I watch the finder and if I see a decent fish mark I drop small Iron on them. I keep a rod rigged with a four once mega bait right in front of me just for this purpose.

This is actually an old tuna trick of mine. When paddy fishing offshore I watch the meter and if I see a good single fish mark swim through deep I'll drop Iron on them.

I use spinning tackle for this so I do not have to mind the rod. I just open the bail with the rod in the holder and let the iron fall. I then watch the meter and watch it sink. If the fish mark moves up before it gets to it I pick up the rod throw the bail and start reeling towards the surface as fast as I can. If the mega stops sinking I flip the bail and reel into the fish with the rod on the holder to hook up, if it passes the mark unmolested I stop it, then reel up to the level of the mark and jig it around a few times.

Offshore I've caught a lot of tuna doing this and even pulled up whole schools of them to the surface with that fast crank up. It's a good trick.

Inshore I've caught a lot of fish doing it mostly bass, a few smallish white seabass, but I once got a big halibut doing this in the northern portion of SMB. That last one is a funny story. I dropped the mega on a mark that was probably just a bass, it was a no go, but while I was jigging it around a larger mark came up off the bottom and hit it, and that was the Halibut. Hungry fish, I couldn't of missed it as it swallowed it all the way down it's throat. 26, 28 pounds, I forget the exact weight but a substantial fish. I must of gone back and intentionally jigged that exact spot a dozen times, but never hooked another fish there, just an anomaly.

I also do a version of this freshwater when fishing for larger stripers with big plastic trout in lakes like Castiac. I prefer the heavy Huddelston 8" trout because it sinks fast. It's crazy but you often will see very large single marks suspended off the bottom in relatively deep water. When you drop the Hudd down they definitely see it and sometimes will rise up twenty or more feet to check it out. I've had them follow the baits almost all the way to the surface from a over hundred feet of water but other then a few light bumps no takers. Not one!! I swear every time I almost have a heart attack, it's just so exciting, but I have yet to hook a fish doing it. I have no idea if the are big stripers, or just huge largemouth. One of these days though I'm going to hook one and it will be epic.

The trick only works in clean open water, like over sand or in open water offshore. You have to run high gain to see those individual fish, and in areas like La Jolla where you have lots of stuff in the water you just can't see them for all the marks on the screen. It's not the most epic strategy but I have had days where the only fish I caught we hooked this way, and it breaks up the boredom when traveling long distances over flat sand moving from drop to drop.

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Old 03-11-2018, 06:06 AM   #14
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It helps to be in a fishy area to begin with

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^^^^ The fog is starting to burn off already. Excellent response. Thanks ful-rac.



I've tried to fire me, but the next morning I'm still here.
Like Baja compared to la Jolla.
My first trip to Asuncion I paddle to the south tip of the island was told the yellows were in 120ft of water range got one fish and calicos.But most important I had a track to work with.The next morning out the fog was in so I was forced to look up my tracking. It looked like an etch a sketch, around the island I could tell where the south tip of the island was and where I launched, so no worries about getting lost in fog.i was planning on going back to the south tip, when I saw Jim in his boat to my left, him and Rossman caught 11yts the day before. So I thought to my self paddle out there and mark that spot. With a split screen on nav/bottom I headed over to Jim when I got there I asked if he could move his boat right on top of the rock pile so I could mark it by pushing enter 2or3 times on the hook5 a little triangle poped up on the nav/track it was right on the edge of 90 to 120 with structure and fish.i had an imprint of the bottom in my head as I drifted off Jim left I thanked him.i caught three yellow tail off the bottom. It was the first time I really got to use nav and bottom screen together for great success, every time I drifted away I just headed back to the little triangle on my screen my fish count there was 3yt a day for 3days not in a row.Nothing better in fishing when your equipment is working for you and your catching fish.
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Old 03-11-2018, 06:28 AM   #15
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Not only that the satellite maping on Google is amazing.

You can Google a new area on your cellphone like an island some where and see the bottom contour if the waters clear and study the drop offs and shelfs, you can tell where the good areas are from space it is so clear you zoom it you can tell what type a roof a building has and the color. I new what the continental shelf looked like in Asuncion before I got there.
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Old 03-11-2018, 06:37 AM   #16
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I like to keep my cover on when im paddling

To keep salt spray off screen, then take it off when im in the zone
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:27 AM   #17
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That's what pisses me off...











that damn smeary salty screen,
and my glasses.


P
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:11 PM   #18
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I have one and love it:

https://www.berleypro.com
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:30 PM   #19
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That's what pisses me off...
that damn smeary salty screen,
and my glasses.
P
I hear that. I used to have a optically clear plastic bag that fit over mine for the x-13.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:36 PM   #20
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I just carry a sample size spray bottle with distilled water in it and a rag. Cheap and easy.
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