Here is a call to action for you to try with your fish finder. The next time you go out fishing, take a little time to learn how to use your fish finder’s sonar in manual mode instead of auto mode. A fish finder’s sonar is a powerful tool that gives you a wealth of information. Most of it is up to you, to be able to interpret what you see.
In auto mode, your fish finder will probably show little fish icons instead of arches, and automatically adjust your depth scale as you move over deep and shallow areas. This reduces your ability to see the small and subtle differences below you. If you aren’t interested in catching fish, then maybe you should quit reading this right now. If you want to catch more fish, read on.
Learning to use your fish finder’s manual mode isn’t difficult. With a little time and patience you will see the benefits. Simply by changing those little fish icons, that look so cute, to arches, you can really start determining
To help target separation even more, turn auto depth off, and keep the manual depth to show the area of the fish you are marking on your screen. When you are zoomed in to the depth of the fish, the target separation will be greater, allowing you to identify multiple fish, instead of a blob of fish. With enough experience, and double-checking with a second set of eyes (underwater camera), you might learn to be able to confirm different species of fish on your sonar.
Check out Keith Kavajecz from The Next Bite in this clip. If you look closely, you will be able to see he has his depth to look at the bottom half of the water column:
Using the manual mode isn’t always better though. While cruising the boat around, looking at the fish finder, if depths are changing significantly and often, set the sonar to auto depth. Once you’ve located fish and you plan on driving over the spot again, turn to manual mode for a closer look.
Take screenshots if you can or share your stories in the forums with other fisherman to see what’s new out there.