Editor’s Note: Thirty-five-year-old Brandon Palaniuk of Hayden, Idaho, has been a bass pro for 11 years and the Angler-of-the-Year and has earned $1.7+ million fishing. To learn more about Brandon, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/brandonpalaniuk/.
I’ve made over $1.7 million competing in bass-fishing tournaments. Growing up, I’ve seen the evolution of the depth finder, which is one of the most-significant changes in bass fishing in recent history. Today, depth finders make a huge difference in an angler’s ability to find and catch bass quickly. Depth finders aren’t required in tournament bass fishing, but if you’re striving to compete at the very-highest level, they’re a must. There’s a real war going on in the depth-finder industry to consistently improve the features and clarity of what you see underwater. Each year more and more things are available for a bass fisherman to learn from his depth finder to make him more efficient at finding and catching bass.
Depth finders have streamlined our practice days. We can find and mark locations where we see or expect to catch bass in less than half the time that we could three or four years ago. When I first started fishing competitively more than a decade ago, I was using a small black-and-white Lowrance (https://www.lowrance.com/) unit. Today, I have four Humminbird Solix 12s (https://www.humminbird.com/learn/fish-finder-series/solix) on my boat. That first Lowrance unit had two basic features: 2D sonar and mapping. My Humminbird units have tons of screens and features that allow me to learn just about everything I want to know about the bass and the lake I’m fishing. Most of the professional fishermen today will have four or five depth finders on their boats, showing how critical depth finders are to the bass-fishing industry. You need four to five depth finders on your boat because the bigger the screen on your depth finder, the more clarity you can get from the function you’re using.
I like to have four depth finders: two Humminbird Solix 12s up front on the casting deck and two on the console of my boat. I have a mapping screen and 2D sonar on the depth finder on the left side of my console and a Mega side/down imaging screen on the right side. This way, I have the best views to find structure, see the bass and know exactly where they are on the lake. I use my 2D sonar when I’m driving my boat on-plane and do the same thing when I’m idling, except I also use the side scan to get a closer look at the underwater structure and the fish. Another thing that I like to do is split the screen on each of my depth finders to give me two different views of where I’m fishing. I also can split the screen into four sections, but I seldom do that, since the images aren’t as clear. The bigger screen I can look at, the more detail I can get.
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To learn more about catching bass, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Bass Pros: Season by Season Tactics,” available in Kindle, Audible and print versions at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1987482832/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p7_i4
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Tomorrow: More Depth Finder Essentials for Bass