2013 Elite Series Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River
St. Lawrence River - Waddington, NY, Aug 8 - 11, 2013

It’s about electronics

The St. Lawrence River is a tournament that’s all about electronics and what they do for bass anglers. There’s an island everywhere up here. In fact, there are so many of them that picking one out to fish is a real challenge. Most of them look fishy, at least at first glance. The only real way to cull some of them out of the mix is to check them out with your electronics.

The problem is made more complex by this river. In some places, the St. Lawrence is a true river system. It’s fairly narrow and has a moderate to strong current. In other places, however, it’s several miles wide and is more like a lake. That makes for two very different approaches.

When everything looks like it ought to hold fish — river-like or lake-like — the only way to sort out the great locations from the good or ordinary locations is with your electronics. There are several good units around. I won’t pick one to highlight in this column over any other. But, just in case you’re wondering, I prefer the better Lowrance units. (Yes, they are a sponsor.)

I’m usually looking for something that sets one island or structure area apart from another. It might be a rock shoal on one side; it might be a steep drop on one side; it might be a twist or, it might be something else that’s out of the ordinary, something different from its surroundings.

No matter what you’re looking for, or what you find, you’ll need your electronics. It’s the only way to find what you’re looking for. That’s why you hear so much about learning how to use them.

I suspect that a lot of readers think all we do is fish, that we go out every morning looking for the best spots and trying to figure out what’s the best lure. We do that. I’ll admit it.

But you might be surprised to find out that we also spend a lot of time practicing with our equipment — boat, big motor, electric motor, electronics. We want to know what they’ll do, and what they won’t do under certain conditions.

Electronics present a special challenge. Every professional angler I know spends hours and hours learning how they work. This stuff may be user friendly on one level but that doesn’t mean you can use it efficiently out of the box.

Spend some time practicing. Leave your rod and reels in their storage compartment.

Another thing about the new electronic equipment is that it’ll do a lot more than just show you the bottom. The maps that are available nowadays are really good. They may not show every tiny detail but they’ll sure get you started.

And the GPS in them is something to behold. Mark a waypoint and you can return to the same exact spot next year, or 10 years from now. It’ll also help solve the hidden secret among us all—getting lost. I’m not saying it’s to me, but I will tell you it’s happened to a friend of mine a time or two.

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