Use Your Fish Finders to Locate Where They Live

Fish finders are the most important aide in locating fish. If you can learn to use them properly by identifying all the elements that hold bass i.e. structure, depth, forage, etc. you'll increase your catch rate. Too many people use fish finders to spot fish, hooks, pixels etc. on their screen and not looking for the fish holding elements. As a general rule, if you can see a bass on your screen, he's probably not catchable. Once you have located where they are then you can mark the spot with your GPS. As a guide I have to locate fish for my customers day after day. I rely heavily on my fish finders in combination with the techniques described on the bass fishing techniques pages.

My first bass boat was a Monarch Super Sport. The first thing I did was rig it with a Tom Mann's Humminbird Super Sixty depth finder. The only thing I could truly understand, about the operation, was the zero line and the bottom depth. All those lines in between meant nothing to me, because if I dropped a line down to them, nothing would bite.

In 1984 I took a job with Techsonic Industries, Inc. or Humminbird. My office was in the Mann's Bait Co. building, since Techsonic owned both Humminbird and Mann's. Just a few steps away from my office was Tom Mann's office...I was in "Seventh Heaven".

As part of my indoctrination, I was to work in each dept. from assembling depth finders to painting eyes on jig heads. The first thing they had me do was go out on the lake (Lake Eufaula) with an engineering tech. to look at their new product line. It was a LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) mounted on a bread board with all the supporting electronics around it. What I was looking at was the LCR (Liquid Crystal Recorder), the LCR 1000 in its infancy. It wasn't until a year and a half later that I would realize the impact this would have on the marine electronics market. Our sales surpassed budget by 1 and a half times in the first year and quadrupled the next. I would go to consumer outdoor shows and people would be standing 5 and 6 deep, in front of our booth, to get a look at this new revolutionary depth finder and to get their questions answered.

During my early days with Humminbird, I learned the story behind the name. Tom Mann's first depth finders were built from Heath Kits. Later he hired an engineer to design and build the first Super Sixty. When he took it out on the lake and ran his boat at high speed, he found that the unit was fast enough to keep up with the speed of the boat and never lost a bottom reading. He said “the only thing I know of that's that fast is a "hummingbird". That’s how the name Humminbird was given to the Tom Mann line of fish finders. The only problem was Tom did not know how to spell hummingbird. So when he named it he spelled it just the way he pronounced it, without the "g". To this day I see major retailers on the internet, magazine ads and news papers misspell the registered trademark, Humminbird, by putting the "g" in it.

There are six basic types of depth finders/fish finders:

  1. Digital Depth Finder-simple digital display that shows only the depth reading
  2. Flasher-dial type display
  3. Paper Graph, LPG, LCR, CRT-these all fall in the same group displaying information with a 2 or 3 dimensional screen

Before heading to the lake with your new fish finder, be sure to read the instruction book thoroughly and take it to the lake for the first couple of trips. Like my daddy always said,"if all else fails, read the instructions". Although the basic operations are all the same, how you call up the different functions differ from model to model and from one manufacturer to the next. For example, my GPS has a full key pad making it easy for me to input waypoints and descriptions. I still have problems using the round dial touch pad that most new units incorporate.

Also visit:

Fish Finder or Structure Finder?


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