Goin ‘vertical with angling electronics
One of the first things most of us who become proficient anglers learn to cast, the further the better. The longer the cast, the more water you cover and, in theory, the more fish you catch.
But nowadays, a method that appeared at least 40 years ago is again gaining popularity, mainly thanks to the rapid increase in power and capabilities of modern fishing electronics, and it does not use any casting.
While early versions of recreational sonar could barely manage to sketch an outline of the bottom, today’s units are steps away from underwater cameras showing every move of each fish and the bait they hunt, while giving a detailed image of the background.
The units not only look down, as with traditional sonar, but to the side hundreds of feet away, and more recently, the front tilt units allow anglers to sweep the blanket forward and out. locate any fish that may be hiding there.
The end result is that long blind casts are no longer necessary – you see the fish before you cast, in many cases. And when the fish are in deep water, you can drop your lure down – go vertical – and load the boat. The units not only allow you to spot fish, but you can also see most of the lures on the screen and see the fish’s reaction to them. If they don’t catch, you try another lure, another color, or a different presentation, that’s video game fishing.
A number of anglers who finished well in the recent Bassmaster Open at Lewis Smith have used this tactic, including winner Jacob Powroznik.
We’re going to bypass the elephant in the room, the stratospheric cost of those big screen units, for this time around. But it’s worth noting that serious tournament contenders are now spending over $ 20,000 on their electronics, with two giant monitors on the console, two more on the bow. The added cost to a workable boat and speedboat is way beyond what the weekend can afford, totally rocking the playing field.
That aside, vertical fishing is possible with more basic electronics, some of which can be purchased for under $ 1,000.
As long as the device is sensitive enough to sketch out the bait, fish, and falling lure – which often appears as a dark streak on the screen on the way down – it can be used for successful vertical fishing.
And for species like spotted bass and stripers, which spend most of their time well offshore except during spawning, vertical fishing is an exceptionally efficient way to get them in the boat.
When vertical fishing began in freshwater, most anglers used jigging spoons like the Hopkins Shorty, a heavy little chrome-plated steel plate, to sink in quickly and mimic a dying baitfish.
Today there are dozens of lures specifically designed for vertical play, some developed by ice fishermen, others by Japanese bass fishermen, and others by innovative American tournament fishermen.
Most of the best are some form of jig, with the line clip on top of the lead head rather than on the nose. When coupled to a soft plastic floating tail, these lures hang horizontally when suspended under the boat.
Powroznik’s pick for victory at Smith Lake was the V&M Vertical Shad, but there are plenty of other picks including some made from TPE plastic, a super tough compound that also floats, adding even more action when the lure is stirred. or agitated.
In clear waters where fish can easily see the lure, some fishermen simply shake the rod to pull the shots. In other cases, when the fish is near the bottom or a woody structure, repeatedly dropping it directly on it can cause the bite. But with the benefit of being able to see the reaction of each fish, anglers can vary the lure and presentation until they score.
Ultimately, vertical fishing in the right conditions can be very effective, whether you’re a weekend angler with your grandkids or a die-hard tournament angler with $ 100,000 at stake. enable electronics, ie.