Oblivious to Obvious


Map showing contour lines, indicating underwater layout of the sea floor

Recently, Vicki gave me some advice to try and help me find fish while exploring new areas for Snapper, “Look for little fingers and drop offs and work around those areas”. Drop offs, yeah I understood that and was pretty confident I could identify them on the sounder. Fingers on the other hand, what does that even mean and how do you identify them on the sounder?
When I was out on the water, I found rapid changes in water depth, tick I found the drop offs. I’d then continue moving around trying to work out what these ‘fingers’ were. It wasn’t until I was heading in for the day and my sounder was on a layout showing the mapping did I realise exactly what Vicki meant – contour lines.

I understand how important contour lines are when navigating in the bush but on the water, I have never really given them much thought. Contour lines are lines on a map where every line indicates different elevations, or in this case depths underwater. The closer the lines are together the steeper the gradient, and if they are very close together, that’s where you’ll find a drop off. Now the fingers on the other hand will represent something similar to a point. Now I definitely don’t have the experience because I pieced all of this together when it was too late, but I think I can safely assume that if you combine these “fingers” with drop offs or steeper gradients, you will get the type of structure perfect for bait to hold and fish to school and ambush.

Now it seems so obvious but I’ll still concede that with the sounder technology we have such as standard sonar, side scan, down scan and the associated features, I never viewed the mapping functionality as another tool to assist in finding locations or structure.

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