Category Archives: Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing Information

Bad Clarks Hill Tournament

Last Saturday and Sunday, 13 members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club and one youth competitor fished our Clarks Hill April tournament. We weighed in 84 keeper bass weighing about 129 pounds. There were eight five-fish limits and no one zeroed.

Wayne Teal won with ten weighing 18.98 pounds and had big fish with a 4.18 pound largemouth, George Roberts was second with ten at 16.47 pounds, Raymond English placed third with ten at 14.47 pounds and Kwong Yu was fourth with eight weighing 12.94 pounds. Cooper Terry won the Youth Division with three weighing 6.02 pounds and had big fish with a largemouth weighing 3.06 pounds.

This has been a very frustrating spring for me and this tournament added to it. I fished Thursday and Friday trying to figure something out, and caught one bass, a big crappie and a gar in two days. I thought some fish would be in the shallow flooded grass where I caught some quality bass a month ago but could not get a bite around it.

That grass was rotting, and I decided it was using up the water oxygen and keeping the fish out of the shallows. I never saw even a bream swimming in it. So I tried to find fish on other cover. I definitely outsmarted myself since the tournament was won in that grass.

Saturday morning I went to a rocky point where I can usually catch some bass this time of year, but did not get a bite in the first hour. Back in a cove I did miss one fish on a weightless Trick worm and caught a small keeper and that should have told me something, but those were the only two bites, and they were both small, so that added to my thoughts of no oxygen in them.

On a rocky hump I caught a decent keeper but that was the only one there, a place where bass should be schooling up. I tried another shallow cove and as I went around it I saw some brush out in 20 feet of water on my 360 scan depthfinder. A cast to it produced a three pounder so that made me fish deeper for several hours, but not more bites.

In desperation I went back shallow and caught my fourth keeper on a whacky rigged worm under a dock, but that was my last bite for the day. My four that day put me in third place so I had some hope for Sunday.

Sunday morning, I got no bites on the rocky hump where I started, and nothing in the brush or around the docks. I decided to make a major change and ran to a bridge, but no bites there, either.

I thought about fishing a nearby point where I had caught fish before, but almost left without going to it. As I fished around it two rental jon boats rounded it, full of kids banging paddles against the side of the aluminum boat. Again I almost left, but a cast right behind those boats as they left produced a keeper.

I caught my second one a little later on that point, but that was it. I dropped to sixth place with my two little keepers.

April Lanier Tournament

Last Saturday the Potato Creek Bassmasters had our April tournament at Lanier. Dan Dupree won with 13 pounds and had big fish, Kwong Yu had 11 pounds for second, Lee Hancock was third with ten pounds and Niles Murray placed fourth with nine pounds.

I wanted to go up early, so I made reservation at Van Pugh Campground, the closest one to where we would take off with an open campsite, but about 20 miles away by road. I did not realize until I got there Thursday afternoon the gate stayed locked until 7:00 – 15 minutes after blast-off for the club.

Fortunately, a boat ramp is available in the campground. The first thing I did after launching the boat Thursday morning was to ride to Balus Creek ramp, where the tournament would be held. That left a track in my GPS I could follow in the dark Saturday morning. It took me about 15 minutes to make the trip at 30 miles per hour, about as fast as I would run in the dark, so it was seven to eight miles by water.

Friday, I spent a lot of time looking for bedding bass. The clear water at Lanier makes it easier to see them but even with the good conditions I could not find any. I just could not see them.

I did catch one three-pound spot under a dock on a whacky rigged worm. At a dock back in a creek I skipped a frog under a dock and watched a five to six pound largemouth come up and look at it. Then I saw one just as big right beside it. That excited me even though they did not hit.

Saturday morning the ride up was dark but no problem. I went to two of my favorite points but never got a bite. Then I went to the dock where I had caught the three pounder the day before and landed a spot just under three pounds on a swim bait. At another dock a little later I got another two pounder on the swim bait.

Then I went to the dock with the big fish and spent way too much time trying to find them, but never did. I caught two more keepers and several short fish on the whacky rig before time to quit. I ended up with four weighing just under eight pounds.

The ride back to the campground took a lot longer that afternoon due to the big waves from all the sail boats and off shore yachts that plough Lanier during pretty weather.

Flint River April Oconee Tournament

On Sunday, April 8, 11 members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our April tournament at Lake Sinclair. We landed 46 keepers weighing about 92 ponds. There were eight five fish limits and one fisherman zeroed.

New club member Bubba Siren won with five weighing 15.10 and had big fish with a 5.35 pound largemouth. Doug Acree was second with five at 14.02 pounds, my five at 10.65 pounds was third and Chuck Croft placed fourth with five at 10.05 pounds.

For me it was a tough day. At my first stop I was excited to see shad spawning in the grass and on a seawall, often a sign bass will be feeding. And I quickly got a hard hit on my spinnerbait, but it was a three-pound hybrid. Within a few minutes I landed two more that size.

My luck got much better when I cast a chatterbait behind a dock. The wind took my line over the post, and as I started reeling it up to the post to try to get it off a nice bass hit. I was able to pull the fish completely out of the water against the post, use my trolling motor to ease over and get it. I could not believe it did not come off.

Then it got tough. I fished several places for the next 90 minutes and caught a couple of small fish, but at 9:10 I cast the chatterbait to some boat house rails, got a good thump and caught my biggest bass, a 3.06 pounder.

It took over two more hours with a few more short fish before A nice two pounder hit my chatterbait in a ditch, the kind of place I expected them to be. For the next two hours I fished places like that without a bite.

At 1:00 I was fishing a seawall with a jig head worm and caught my smallest keeper. That gave me four. I decided to spend my last hour in a small cove I like, but when I got to it there was a boat fishing there so
I went to another cover where I have never caught a fish.

With ten minutes left to fish another two-pounder hit my chatterbait on a seawall, giving me my limit. That I why I never give up and cast right to the last minute in tournaments!

Potato Creek Bassmasters Club Classic

The last two days in March the Potato Creek Bassmasters had our end of the year “Classic” at Lake Martin in Alabama. Sixteen members of the club qualified for this tournament by fishing at least eight club tournaments last year.

We weighed in 152 keeper bass weighing 223 pounds. Almost everyone had a five-fish limit both days. Ryan Edge won with ten weighing 17.58 pounds, Kwong Yu was second with ten at 17.42 pounds, Raymond English placed third with ten weighing 17.16 pounds, my ten at 16.83 pounds was fourth, Tom Tanner was fifth with ten at 16.48 pounds and his 3.76 pounder was big fish.

It was close! As usual, I had one bad day and one good day. I got back from the Top Six at Clarks Hill Tuesday and went to Martin Wednesday for one practice day on Thursday. I went to some of my favorite places that day and caught some decent fish on a spinnerbait so I decided to fish that way Friday.

Friday morning started out frustrating. Everything I did seemed wrong, with many backlashes and no bites in the first two places I tried. I had heard the fish were biting pretty good until about 9:00 AM but very poorly after that, and I and not gotten a bite at 9:00!

I started dragging a worm around, not the best way to catch quality fish most of the time, way earlier than I wanted to, and did manage to catch six small keepers and several throw-backs. But at weigh-in my five weighed less than six pounds and I was not even in the top half of the club that day.

That night I decided to go for broke since this tournament is a one-shot deal. Most tournaments at Martin are won in Kowaliga Creek, far from where we start at Wind Creek, and I hate to make that long run. But I did, getting lost one time around some islands and thinking I was lost another time in the dim light.

I finally made it to a rocky point where I have caught some quality spotted bass at first light but caught only two small fish. At 8:30 I headed to another point but slowed down to idle between two islands. I was not sure how deep it was and did not want to run aground. I am glad I slowed down.

As I idled through the gap that turned out to be 18 feet deep I saw some fish on the bottom on my depthfinder. They were in a position that looked like they might be feeding, and wind blowing through the gap had created a slight current, always a good thing. There were also some brush piles and rocks in the gap.

As soon as I dropped a swim bait to the bottom a two-pound spot hit it. I stayed in that gap for over four hours, catching close to 20 keeper spots between two and 2.68 pounds. It was fun and they hit swimbaits, jig head worms, a jig and pig and a Carolina rigged worm. They were still biting when I left at 1:00 to try to find a kicker fish the last hour we fished.

I really messed up at that point. At some brush piles known for producing big fish I got a bite on my Carolina rig but when I set the hook I broke my line. I was in too big a hurry and had not checked my line for nicks in it. I have no idea how big the fish was and I will never know.

Lesson learned, again. Slow down and check your line!

Frustrating March Tournaments At Oconee

Caught in March tournament

I came home in time to fish the Potato Creek Bassmasters March tournament at Oconee on Saturday, then went right back to Oconee the next day to fish the March Sportsman Club tournament. My results seem to tell me I did not learn much at the Classic about catching bass.

On Saturday, in the Potato Creek Tournament, 23 fishermen weighed in 46 14-inch keeper largemouth weighing 95 pounds. There was one limit of five fish weighed in.

Frank Anderson won with three weighing 9.59 pounds, Lee Hancock had the only limit and his five weighed 7.82 for second, Kwong Yu with three at 7.46 pounds was third and his 4.53 pounder was big fish and Jamie Beasley placed fourth with four weighing 7.19 pounds.

On Sunday in the Spalding County Sportsman Club tournament 19 members and guests and one and youth fished our tournament for eight hours. We landed 31 keepers weighing about 71 pounds. There was one limit and four of us zeroed.

Javin English blew us all away with five weighing 15.42 pounds for first, Billy Roberts had four weighing 7.68 for second, third was Niles Murray with three at 7.04 pounds and Russell Prevatt’s grandson, Craig Zoellner, fishing as a guest, placed fourth with two weighing 6.99 pounds, including big fish weighing 5.72 pounds.

Javin brought his nephew Kaden English, to fish the youth division. All our tournaments are designated youth tournaments and youth can fish them with no entry fee. They do not compete against the adults but win prize packages. Kaden had two weighing 5.62 pounds to win the youth division. He would have placed sixth in the adult division with his catch!

Dan Dupree and I took off Saturday morning and went to the point where I had caught three keepers in the Flint River tournament the previous Sunday. I landed two keepers there on a crankbait. During the next few hours we caught some short fish but no keepers. At 1:00 I went to some deep brush piles and caught my third keeper on a Carolina Rig. That was it for us.

In the Sportsman Club tournament my day started wrong when I waited in Jackson for 15 minutes for a partner that did not show up. At blast off I ran to the point where I had been catching keepers but in over an hour of fishing it I landed only two short fish. One was 13.98 inches long – so close but no cigar.

I fished hard for the rest of the tournament and landed about ten more short fish, but no keepers. I guess I got all the goodie out of that point. It was very frustrating.

Caught in March tournament

Fishing Bartletts Ferry with Tyler Morgan

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon on Batletts Ferry Lake just north of Columbus with Tyler Morgan. Tyler is a young tournament fisherman from Columbus and is very good. In the past few years while fishing 33 FLW tournaments like the BFLs as a boater and non-boater, he has finished in the top ten 16 times, an incredible record.

Tyler was showing me how and where he fishes the lake, marking ten good spots for April fishing for the Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News Map of the Month articles. Bigger fish had been up in shallow water getting ready to spawn due to the unusually warm weather, but the cold fronts pushed them back out.

There were still a lot of smaller male bass feeding shallow, waiting on the weather to warm and bring the females in to them. They will start fanning beds to invite the females as soon as conditions are right. We caught 15 to 20 bass but the biggest was about 2.5 pounds.

Tyler impressed me with how he fishes. He covers a lot of water fast, running backs of coves with baits that will draw a strike from hungry bass. He could skip a frog or swim jig far back into cover like overhanging bushes and tree tops, places most fishermen, and I, never get a bait into.

He kept his trolling motor on a fast speed and went down the bank too fast for me to fish a slower moving bait like a jig and pig or shaky head. That is the way I fish. At my age I have to sit down, make a cast and slowly work the bait back out. None of that for him, although I did catch four or five bass that he accidently left for me.

Top Reasons To Visit the Bassmasters Classic

Top 15 Reasons To Attend The Bassmaster Classic

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Two weeks from now, thousands of fishing fans will be converging in Greenville and Anderson, S.C., to take part in the biggest event in sportfishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic.

What makes the Classic more than just a bass fishing tournament?

As fans from across the country have discovered, there’s so much to do on and off the water.

Of course, the main event is the crowning of the 2018 world champion of bass fishing — the angler among the 52-man field who catches the heaviest limits of bass from Lake Hartwell during the three competition days, March 16-18.

The attraction for many, though, is the Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods at the TD Convention Center (1 Exposition Drive in Greenville) — the largest of its kind. Many manufacturers will be introducing new products during the expo.

Expo hours are Friday, March 16, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, March 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All events are free to attend. To help schedule their day, visitors can use the online floor plan to find out which booths you want to visit and what new product introductions you don’t want to miss — available at Bassmaster.com/expoattend.

Here are more reasons you’ll not want to miss this year’s Super Bowl of Bass Fishing:

Killer Photo Ops. When you walk around the expo, you never know who or what you’ll see. Drop by the GEICO booth to take a selfie with the Gecko and the Miss GEICO racing boat. Swing over to the Carhartt booth for a shot with Jordan Lee’s Classic trophy from last year. Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro will be in the Skeeter booth on Friday, and the first 100 fans will get a signed baseball. Yamaha will give you the chance to be on the cover of Bassmaster Magazine! And fishing legends Bill Dance, Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston and Hank Parker will be booth jumping every day to shake hands with as many fans as possible!

Play To Win. There will be scads of opportunities to play fun games and win free fishing stuff. For example, the Toyota booth will feature the Highlander Cargo Challenge, where the fastest bass fans will win prizes. Plus, a spin of the Tundra prize wheel will make everyone a winner. If you can shoot a basketball, dribble over to the Humminbird/Minn Kota booth to play a quick game of “Triple Threat” to win prizes. Be sure to try your hand at Skeet Reese’s and Edwin Evers’ “Office Fishing Game” at the General Tire booth to reel in fun prizes. Oh, and enjoy the Carhartt experience in their booth … everybody wins something!

Learn From The Best.

Go There And Get The T-Shirt To Prove It! Memorializing your trip to the 2018 Classic is easy if you swing by the B.A.S.S. apparel booth, with exclusive Classic shirts and hats available. Some are even in green to cover you for St. Patrick’s Day. And HUK Performance Fishing clothing will be selling their newest offerings, including a new women’s clothing line.

Help Cheer On Your Favorite Competitor At Morning Takeoffs. Come to the world class Green Pond Landing and Event Center at Lake Hartwell (470 Green Pond Road) in Anderson at 7:30 a.m. ET each competition and help send off some of the world’s best bass anglers.

Get Into The Drama Of Daily Weigh-Ins. The doors of Bon Secours Wellness Arena (650 N. Academy Street) in Greenville will open each day at 3 p.m. for B.A.S.S. Life and Nation members and at 3:15 p.m. for the general public, Friday-Sunday. Find a seat, then sit back, relax and enjoy the slate of pre-weigh-in entertainment.

Get Hooked On Fishing.
Bring your kids to check out the Bassmaster Get Hooked On Fishing presented by Toyota and Shakespeare area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday to Sunday. Activities include casting lessons, a kid’s fishing pond, a long-jump dog competition, lure decorating, live animals and more. It’s free!

Experience LIVE Coverage. Watch the tournament leaders catch bass in real time on the exclusive Classic LIVE program on Bassmaster.com and on WatchESPN. Watch hosts Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona and Davy Hite as they provide insightful commentary and analysis of the competition as well. The program will also include LIVE cut-ins with Dave Mercer, Classic and Elite Series emcee, along with guest anglers from the GEICO Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

Get To Know A Pro. Come by the TD Convention Center on Thursday, March 15, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for Fan Appreciation Day. Anglers will be available for meet-and-greet and photo sessions.

Ride Like The Wind.
Want to know what it feels like to ride like the wind? Come to the takeoff site at Green Pond Landing to test out the latest boats and engines from Mercury, Nitro, Skeeter, Triton and Yamaha.

Fish With A Pro. The Abu Garcia booth will have a signup to win daily prizes and the winners from there will go on stage during Sunday’s weigh-in for a grand prize fishing trip with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Justin Lucas.

Crazy Sweeps. There are amazing sweepstakes opportunities at the expo this year. Toyota has the RAV4 Adventure Sweepstakes where bass fans can enter to win a prize package including an Ascend Kayak, Bass Pro Gift Card, and gear from Quantum and Carhartt. Humminbird and Minn Kota are offering a “Triple Threat Giveaway,” where one winner will receive a prize package consisting of a Humminbird SOLIX, Minn Kota Ultrex and Minn Kota Talon. The winner can then outfit their boat with the same technology that the pros use to find fish, get to fish, and stay on fish — a triple threat. Yamaha will be offering four grand prizes from their booth, including an all-expense-paid trip to fish with one of the following anglers: Jeff Kriet in his 47-foot Freeman offshore boat; a Texas lunker hunt with Justin Lucas; Guntersville with Jordan Lee; and Brandon Palaniuk on the St. Lawrence River. General Tire is giving you a chance to swap day jobs with Edwin Evers and Skeet Reese with their Reel Job Sweepstakes. Winners will spend a day “working” with the Elite Series pros.

Bring Your Reel For Free Fill-Ups. With 12 line-spooling stations in its booth, Berkley plans to spool approximately 1.5 million yards of line during the three days of the show. Any attendee can bring up to three reels to be spooled with the premium line of their choice across the Berkley, SpiderWire and Stren brands.

The Latest And Greatest.
Visit the Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors booth to see their new and current products that the pros are using on the Bassmaster Elite Series. They will also be selling their latest apparel, hats and accessories.

See The Rising Stars. See the fifth annual Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Classic Saturday, March 17, at nearby Lake Keowee, with the weigh-in at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. And don’t miss the ninth annual College Classic Sunday, March 18, at the same locations.

Participate In History.
B.A.S.S. was founded in 1968, forever changing the sport of bass fishing. Help celebrate the 50th birthday of B.A.S.S. throughout Classic Week.

2018 Bassmaster Classic Title Sponsor: GEICO

2018 Bassmaster Classic Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bassmaster Classic Premier Sponsors: Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk

2018 Bassmaster Classic Local Sponsor: Mountain Dew

January Club Tournament At Jackson

Sunday, January 7, only five Flint River Bass Club members braved the icy cold to fish our January tournament at Jackson. When we took off at 8:00 AM it was a brisk 24 degrees, the wind was blowing and the water temperature was 45 degrees. At the 3:30 PM weigh-in we had 12 keepers weighing about 23 pounds. There was one limit and one zero. I was surprised there were five largemouth, usually spots are about all that hit in water that cold.

I got lucky and made a good decision or two and landed five weighing 10.97 pounds for first and had a 3.64-pound spot for big fish. Jordan McDonald had three at 5.91 pounds for second, Niles Murray was third with three at 5.18 for third and Doug Acree placed fourth with one at 1.38.

Knowing how cold it was going to be, I decided to set up a “milk run” of rocky points near the ramp. I did not want to ride far in the cold and wind, and rocky points are a good place to fish this time of year. So at blast-off I idled to a point near the ramp and started casting.

On my second cast a keeper spot hit my crankbait and I was thrilled. I knew I would not zero! Then a few minutes later I caught a largemouth on the same crankbait. It weighed almost three pounds so I was really happy. At 8:15 I landed another keeper spot on a jerk bait. That was a really good start, but it got tough after that.

I idled to another point and tried to fish it but the wind was blowing on it and my hands started burning. I missed a bite on a jig head worm. I thought I felt a bite but ice in my rod guides made the line scrape as I reeled it in, and I was not sure.

I dipped my rod into the water to melt the ice and before I could get back in position the fish took off and spit the hook. That was disappointing. A few minutes later I landed a largemouth that was just shorter than the 12-inch line on my keeper board.

After trying to fish some brush on a point in the wind I gave up and went back into a small creek that was somewhat protected from the wind. I would cast out a crankbait, reel it a few feet then have to dip my rod into the water to melt the ice. I just kept working around the creek, casting and dipping, out of the wind.

At 11:00 I got my next bite, the big spot. It hit the crankbait on a shallow rocky point. Four in the livewell with two decent fish. I started hoping I might catch a limit.

At noon I cast a jig and pig to some brush near a dock, got a bite and missed the fish. Knowing sometimes you can get another bite on different bait I picked up my jig head worm and caught another keeper largemouth, filling my limit.

For the next three hours I cast my crankbait and other baits. It was finally warm enough that ice did not form in my guides. At 2:00 I caught a keeper spot on the crankbait that was slightly bigger than the one in the livewell so I culled.

At 3:00 I went back to the point where the big one hit. With ten minutes to weigh-in Niles and Zero rode by headed to the ramp. Then, as Jordan came by, I caught my last fish with five minutes left. It was a keeper spot that hit my crankbait and culled my smallest fish.

I never got my boat faster than idle speed all day. And it worked!

Two Cold Water Fishing Trips

Bass do bite in cold water this time of year, if you are at the right place at the right time, and have a bit of good luck. Two trips last week reinforced this idea to me. Last Sunday the Flint River Bass Club fished our January tournament at Jackson and I went to Lanier on Wednesday to get information for my February Georgia Outdoor News Map of the Month article.

The trip to Lanier accomplished two goals. I got my information for the article, but also got Jim “LJ” Harmon to work on the electronics in my boat. LJ is a Humminbird Electronics guru, using them to find deep bass at Lanier, but he also wires and sets up new units, and goes out on the water with folks to fine tune their units.

Last November LJ went out with me for an hour or so and had my units reading better than I had been able to do in a year of messing with the controls. This problem was with power. The two units on the front of my boat pull a lot of power. They were hooked up through the wiring harness for the boat and went dead sometimes when I cranked the motor.

Even worse, they picked up interference when the trolling motor was on, making it hard to read them. LJ ran new wires for them directly to the battery. He fussed at me, saying “you have more crap in this boat than a Jiffy John!” But he got it done, even in the messy weather.

While LJ worked on my boat I went out with Jim Farmer to fish. Jim hand paints crankbaits and is an expert on catching Lanier spots on them. The weather was messy but much warmer than it had been. And the places we fished are for February, so it is still early for them, but we caught some nice fish.

Bass Boats Have Come A Long Way In 44 Years

My first bass boat was a 1974 17-foot Arrowglass with a 70 horsepower two stroke Evinrude motor, foot controlled 12 volt trolling motor with about 40 pounds of thrust and a Lowrance flasher depthfinder on the console. It would run about 35 miles per hour top speed. It had an Anchormate on both ends, a winch that raised and lowered a ten-pound mushroom shaped anchor. There was on car battery that cranked the boat and ran everything on it.

The trailer was a single axle one with 12-inch tires. I carried a paper lake map with me that showed the basic outline of the lake. I did order a contour map of Clarks Hill, a 52-page book with pages two feet square, that showed depth contours in five-foot intervals. I put sections of it on the wall in my lake trailer.

The Arrowglass had a live well of sorts, that would fill about four inches deep with water to keep fish alive, but it did not work very well. The boat was top of the line at the time, and cost just under half my annual teacher’s salary when bought new.

When I joined the Sportsman Club that April I had the second biggest motor in the club, there was one 100 horsepower, and the second longest boat. Most boats were 14-foot Sing Fishers with 40 horsepower motors and stick steering.

Now I have a top of the line 2016 20-foot Skeeter with a 250 horsepower four stroke motor that will fly down the lake at over 75 miles per hour if I get in a hurry. The trolling motor is a foot controlled 36-volt 112 pound thrust one that will zip the boat along on high and hold it in any wind as long as the waves are not so high they lift the front of the boat get the motor out of the water. It requires four big deep cycle batteries to run everything.

There are two live wells that hold about 20 gallons of water. Pumps pull water from the lake to fill them and constantly put in fresh water. Other pumps recirculate the water, keeping it oxygenated, and with the pull of a valve will pump the water out of them to drain then faster than just opening the plug, which can be done remotely.

On the back are two Power Pole shallow water anchors. With a push of a button I can extend or retract poles that go down eight feet deep to hold the boat in one place. There are two Humminbird Helix 10 depthfinders on the front and two more on the console, each with 10-inch screens. The trailer is a dual axle with 14-inch tires. It cost almost 20 times as much as my first boat, even though I bought it used. Although my salary had gone up a bit before I retired, the used boat cost almost a full year’s pay.

The change in deptfinders is unreal. My old Lowrance had a light that spun around a dial marked in depth numbers and flashed when its sonar pulse hit something. Thats why they were called “flashers.” The bottom showed as a constant bright line and anything above the bottom, like a fish or brush, flashed at its depth.

My Helix 10s are like TV screens. Just the electronics on my new boat sell for more than three times the total cost of my first boat. They are networked together and can be divided into windows and all four will show everything that shows up on any of them. A GPS map shows bottom contours of the lake with great detail and I can highlight a depth.

If I want to fish from 5 to 10 feet deep I can highlight it in red and keep my boat just outside it to fish that depth consistently. I can also see shallow spots to avoid as I run down the lake and put in waypoints to exactly mark a brush pile or anything else I want to go back to.

The depthfinder part is an LCD that shows a moving picture of whatever is below the boat, in color. It will show in detail brush, stumps and fish. The down and side scan paint a picture that looks like a photo, with brush, stumps and rocks looking just like they would look if you were able to see them. Fish show up as small white dots.

Even more amazing on the front is a 360 Scan transducer. The image it produces looks like a radar screen with a line going around a circle picture. It scans all around the boat, showing rocks, brush and fish ahead, to the sides and even behind the boat. I have mine set on 60 feet, so I see everything within that distance of the boat.

My first boat was a tri hull that was stable while fishing but pounded through waves and jarred you if the water was rough. My new boat is stable while fishing but will cut through two to three-foot waves with little bouncing. It is three feet longer and much heavier, which helps a lot.

Do I need all the stuff I now have? No. Do I like having it? Yes. Do all the advancements help me catch more fish? Maybe. After all the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.