How to fish deep

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Chris Zaldain
Steve Bowman
Chris Zaldain

I had a heck of a good tournament at the 2019 Toyota Bassmaster Elite at Lake Lanier, and I did it fishing deep. Here’s how I did it, and why knowing what I did will help you the next time you need to go deep. 

Lanier is full of spotted bass. They’re big. The issue we were faced in the tournament was that the winning fish were deep. And when I say deep, I mean really deep. I caught most of mine at around 45 feet, but several were in the 55 to 60 foot range.

Almost all of them came from deep, underwater points that stretched off the bank but, at the same time, those same points needed to run all the way out to the main river channel. Those kinds of places aren’t easy to find, especially when you need enough of them to last four days.

That’s where my electronics — especially my map — came into play. After several days of fishing I knew exactly what I wanted. I was able to find the submerged points I wanted to fish without actually running over them at idle, and then not fishing half of the ones I found. 

All I did was zoom in and out on my map and adjust some of the settings. It didn’t matter where I was on the water. Once I found what I wanted I’d go there, sometimes traveling a much as three miles. I was able to start fishing as soon as I arrived. It was all about shapes, depth and the channel.  

The importance of that kind of accuracy and knowledge can’t be overstated. The less time you spend looking and searching the more time you can spend fishing and catching. 

That’s why I want to say straight up that good maps and good electronics are critical if you want to be successful at any level. There are several good ones around. Make sure the one you’re using is one of them. I used a LakeMaster Electronic Charts chip in my Humminbird units, and it’s the one I’ll be using in the future.

Regardless of what brand of mapping electronics you use or how accurate they are, however, it’s critical that you know how to use them. That isn’t all that hard. Most of them are pretty intuitive. But still, knowing what they’ll do and how to get the best out of them is important. That takes practice. The time you spend learning about them will pay huge dividends in the future.

Something else I want to mention about the Lake Lanier tournament is the support I received from the other anglers. It shows a real camaraderie among the guys. I’ve been near the top before, but I’ve never had so many guys come up to me on the third and fourth day to wish me luck. That was really gratifying. It shows what Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments are all about. 

Lake Lanier is in the past, though. It’s now time to get ready for the 2019 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. This will be my fourth Classic. You’d think a guy would get used to it, but that doesn’t happen. Every Classic is as exciting as your first. I can’t wait.