There’s old saying that “fishing is a jerk on one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other end.”
Sometimes I represent that remark. Last week, I got to take a little tour of Lake D’Arbonne via Nick Young of D’Arbonne Lake Guide Service and the new Garmin Livescope depth finder technology. If you aren’t familiar with Livescope, its the newest innovation in fish finders. Garmin is the only manufacturer with a unit like this on the market right now and they are so popular they have been on backorder. This thing not only finds the fish, it shows them swimming around. You can tell big ones from little ones and you can even see your fishing bait sinking down to where the fish are. There’s more.
Here’s where the jerk comes in.
Perhaps the coolest feature of LiveScope is its ability to show you structure and fish as far as 15-20 feet out in front of the boat. That allows you to present your bait better and keep from spooking the fish (it also allows you time to take a picture of the fish finder screen showing the fish you are about to try and catch — as shown above). Then, you can see your bait go down and stop it right in front of the fish. That, in turn, helps you catch them more better. There is no guessing. At least not most of the time.
Nick and I hadn’t gone far when the screen showed three nice crappie hanging out suspended about 4-5 feet deep right next to a tall submerged standing tree (otherwise known as a really tall stump) in about 15 feet of water. We got about 10 feet away and I subtly swung the jig out and watched it (on the screen) sink right by the fish. I got to watch the closest fish turn, swim over to the jig and my bait disappeared from the screen. Bam, I set the hook!
But there was a problem. Nick laughed. There was no fish on the end of the line.
“Mr. Kinny, you have to let him eat it first,” Nick said.
After another similar effort, I just started looking away from the screen when I saw a fish swim toward my bait. That way I felt him hit it BEFORE I set the hook. Amazing the difference in results.
Fish are in their summer transition move right now. The lake has been extremely high and the bite has suffered during the current and muddy conditions. But it is settling down now. If you plan on going the next couple of weeks, with or without a LiveScope, here are a couple of tips:
— Fish are scattered. They are mostly hanging out around trees and stumps and you have to fish slowly. Bigger baits seem to be working the best and it never hurts to tip them with a shiner. That pattern should continue for the next month until the water temps reach 92-93 and the fish become lethargic. Water surface temp this week in deeper water was around 80-82 degrees.
— At one spot we fished, several boats had been working the area pretty hard. We saw fish suspended, but it became obvious quickly that the fish didn’t like all the pressure. When we would present a jig to them, they would look at it a second, then just so no and swim away. I guess they had a headache. Note to self: even when they are hungry, fish aren’t stupid.
— Fish are probably shallower than you think. We saw (and caught) suspended fish as shallow as two feet. Many are at 4-5 feet deep even in 14-20 feet of water. Without the LiveScope, we would have gotten too close and spooked most of those fish with the trolling motor and never seen them.
— When discussing the new unit and watching it in action, one word keeps popping out of people’s mouths: Unbelievable.
**** Disclaimer: I don’t own stock in LiveScope. I don’t even own a Garmin cap. I’m just telling you what it is. And no, I don’t expect to receive a free one in the mail after writing this. Here’s one reason. The transducer, base units and assorted accessories cost between $3,500 and $5,000 depending on size of of the unit display screen.
PS – if you want to book a fishing trip and get an education on LiveScope, you can reach Nick on his D’Arbonne Lake Guide Service Facebook page or call 318-243-8646. You may have to leave him a message because he’s probably out on the lake watching crappie on TV….