Navionics Charts- Navionics+
Navionics cards have been staples in tournament bass fishing arsenals for years, and pre-loaded regional cards have been the norm. Now, for those anglers that travel the country and don't want to have to buy a card for each region Navionics has created Navionics +.
Navionics + is a new card where the traveling angler can download any maps within the US and Canada (and much more) up to the card's capacity. Navionics + also includes great features like SonarCharts, Freshest Data (free updates) for 12 months, updated Nautical Charts and Community Edits.
As a self-proclaimed shallow water fishing fanatic, I have spent countless days chasing skinny water bass. During that time, I have made my fair share of mistakes that at one time or another have kept me from reaching my full catching potential.
Here are some shallow water fails that I believe make a huge difference when targeting bass in the shallows:
Silent..... Like Hunter
For some reason, anglers tend to underestimate the value of the element of surprise. For hunters (many of which also are fishermen) the concept of the element of surprise is considered essential to success. For whatever reason, many fisherman don't approach fishing the same they would hunting.
In shallow water situations, the element of surprise is especially important as you are much closer to your prey. One of the biggest things that anglers do that gives away their presence is making too much noise in the boat. Everything from slamming locker lids, to slapping your lure on the water to free grass from the hooks, is chipping away at the element of surprise that can help you catch more fish.
Some other things I try to avoid are:
-Trolling motor related noises (try avoiding as much cover as possible)
-Unnecessary use of sonar (try putting your Lowrance on "stand by" mode)
-Stepping loudly around the deck.
-Dropping pliers, or anything else on the deck.
Once again, taking away from a hunter's playbook, you always want to be aware of anything that might give away your presence. A fisherman's shadow is one such give-away, and something that you never want to be cast over the fish you are trying to catch.
When I am fishing any shallow cover, one of the most important things I take into consideration (especially in the morning hours) is where my shadow is. I always try to keep the sun in front of me, and I certainly always try to avoid letting my shadow fall over cover I haven't fished yet.
Nobody Likes Backwash
I see it time and time again- an angler is fishing fairly fast through shallow targets, and then gets to a prime piece of cover, but the boat is moving too fast and he needs to turn the trolling motor around and backwash the cover to slow the boat's momentum. Some guys will actually think they can catch a fish after such a blunder, but in my opinion, the odds are slim.
One of the keys to fishing shallow cover is to constantly be looking forward of the boat and planning your boat positioning strategy at all times. I always like to make sure I have identified what is likely the most productive cover in an area, and approach the area with that piece of cover in mind. I never want to get to a productive piece of cover and be going too fast, causing me to use the trolling motor to avoid a target.
Using my Power Pole's to slow down my drift as well as anchor the boat while I am fishing a key piece of cover is also another approach when it is possible.
Overall, these three fails revolve around being a hunter on the water. If you are doing something that a hunter in the woods wouldn't do, than you probably are missing out on reaching your full potential while fishing shallow water.
I’ve never been a big fan of sight fishing for bedding bass.
Sure, there is the moral dilemma of catching a fish that is trying to spawn- which I tend to avoid at all costs during fun fishing- but in a tournament perspective, I would say my distaste for the tactic is more deeply rooted in the fact that I am an impatient person, and I don’t like putting time into catching a single fish, when I could be covering water in search of more aggressive fish.
With this in mind, I am also aware than during the spring it is often a necessity to target fish in some phase of the spawn, and thus I have formulated a strategy for catching spawning fish without sight fishing for them.
This is going to be a good year. In recent memory, I cannot recall feeling so enthusiastic, hopeful and confident in my fishing and career aspirations to begin a season.
The reason for this optimism is primarily due to moving back to Florida, where I'm able to resume my regular fishing regimen. That was something I was unable to maintain while living in California.
So far this year has seen a more consistent fishing schedule than I have experienced in a couple years, and I feel my fishing has already started to improve. With that being said, there are still some aspects of my game that the recent Bassmaster Southern Open on the Harris Chain revealed need some work.
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Miles "Sonar" Burghoff has always been passionate about the sport of fishing. At an early age he began pursuing a career in competitive bass fishing and has never looked back. His young career includes highlights such as winning the 2011 ACA National Championship, an All-American berth and multiple regional wins. He is also co-host of Sweetwater TV, shown on NBC Sports, Sportsman Channel and Destination America. > full bio
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