Look for beans on your sonar screen

If there’s one topic in bass fishing that always generates questions, especially as the technology constantly evolves and changes, it would be how to use, and see fish, on your sonar screen.

So I thought this month I’d offer a few basic hints on how I look for “beans” on my “fish finder” – especially when bass make their way to that magical 15 to 25 feet deep range as water temps warm in summer.

Yep, I call them “beans” because bass appear as little bean-shaped blobs on the screens of more recently manufactured sonar machines like the Hummindbird HELIX 10 I use.

Down Scan and Side Scan

Until a few years ago, most sonar units only pointed a sonar cone from the transducer in a downward direction from the boat. However with the advent of side-scan or side-imaging, the sonar cone actually points more outward to the sides of the boat. Personally, I use both and study both on my screen at the same time.

I tend to idle along at 3.5 mph, looking mostly at down scan on the left side of my screen, and if I see a small school of “beans” next to a brushpile or stump, then I’ll study the side scan to gain a broader understanding of what all is there. I generally set the side imaging to read out 42-feet on each side of the boat.

Two examples of what you’re looking for

If you’ll look closely at the image with the ink pen, you’ll see a white “bean” in the middle of that brushpile sitting in 10.7 feet of water on my traditional down scan. The bass is right there on the left of the ink pen tip.