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Thread: Chart Study: Do you look before you leap?

  1. #1
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    Default Chart Study: Do you look before you leap?

    Ok, I know most of you fell asleep right after the word "study" but for those that are as deeply addicted to as I...


    Can you get your "fix" (pardon the pun) from your chart plotter or do you use another platform to study charts?


    Personally, if i'm hitting a piece of water for the first time, I'm looking at charts on my phone and/or iPad well in advance. That effort is partially driven out of curiosity but I'm also looking for features & structure that I recognize from other productive areas that I've had success.


    I run a Navionics Platinum+ chip in my Simrad and the Ap on my phone and iPad so I'm looking at the same cartography across all my devices.


    It's a nice feeling when you get to the grounds and while looking at your plotter you recognize what you've studied. That's where confidence comes from and confidence produces fish.


    So, do you study? The fish are writing the test even as we speak....

  2. #2
    Member bkbaker's Avatar
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    Looking at bathymetrics all the time. Plotting and scheming


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3

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    I need to see The Big Picture on any new water. And the screens on my tronics are small. By the time you shrink a chart down to fit the screen, you can't tell spots of tobacco juice from rocks. Tronics also go TU.

    Any time I'm on new water I get the paper charts and put in some time looking for nav issues as well as potential fishing hot spots. Then I fold it with the important parts visible just small enough to fit in a gallon size ziploc. That goes into the boat and lives there. Even when the tronics are humming and I know where I am, I'm pulling out that chart to look at near and far details any time I want to make a move in search of better fishing.

    Other thing, I just haven't found a pen or pencil that writes well on tronic screens and move as the chart scrolls. My paper charts have marks all over them, some dating back for decades. Priceless as fish move around from year to year. And MOST DEFINITELY NO, you can't look at them.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  4. #4

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    I am new to the salt game this year and I have studied the NOAA and Lowarance insight (card that was in the unit when I bought the boat) charts for “structure” more times than I can count. The few times we have been out that has seemed to work OK and although I am trying to key in on halibut spots and haven’t found any real consistent spots outside of chicken holes, I have found a great spot for lings come July first and have another spot that we have pulled more than a couple really nice yellow-eye from.
    What other sources are there for marine charts/what is your go to source for obtaining charts to look at? I come from a hiking/mountain hunting background so any with more precise contour lines (outside of 10, 50, 100 fathom contours) would be of great interest to me as they seem to work well for my simple mind! Any guidance would be appreciated!

  5. #5

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    We can still buy them locally in marine stores, but for distant waters I buy them from Nautical Charts Online. I get the smallest detail I can get, and if available for specific areas, the bathy charts.

    Just know that the shallower you get and the further from established navigation routes, the more "wishy washy" the details. They collect a lot less data for the charts in such places, so there's a whole lot of "averaging" going on between data points. That's why I especially like the paper charts. Mine look dirty, they've got so many added pencil marks in the nearshore waters I frequent. Lotta those points have been added to the Navionic charts on my GPS, but that clutters the screen so fast I've been going back and removing marks, leaving only the most important. As in DO NOT DRIVE THE BOAT UP ON THIS ROCK. EVER AGAIN!!!! The fishing details are shifting back to the paper so I can see those hazard marks a lot easier. One addition to the paper charts is a depth indicator on those same rocks so I know when they're no longer shallow enough to be a hazard. No way to add that kind of info on the electronic marks that I can find, but invaluable when you're playing bumper cars with rocks and king salmon. More than one guy has tried to follow me back into the places I navigate, but I don't recall anyone ever doing it twice. That's all due to the mix of paper charts, electronics charts, and 40 years sorting out the same tight spaces.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  6. #6
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    That's all due to the mix of paper charts, electronics charts, and 40 years sorting out the same tight spaces.[/QUOTE]

    Cant buy experience.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fc8464 View Post
    Cant buy experience.
    Yeah. On new waters you have to play it pretty conservative. With a steering wheel in your hand and full gas tanks, the impulse is to cover lots and lots of water. The opposite needs to be in the mix, too. By that I mean sure, put on the miles and cover the big area. But also pick a smaller area and start getting to know it really, really well. Over the years you can expand the area you know well, but only if you make it a point to keep refining what you know in small spaces while also covering the big water.

    On the advice of a venerable old timer long ago, I go to know a particular 2 mile stretch of shoreline like my back yard. Caught a lot of kings, more and more as I got better and better acquainted.

    Next year I continued to use that stretch a lot, but added another spot and got to know that well, too.

    After forty years of adding new shoreline I think I've about reached my memory limits, even with the charts. I have 15-20 miles of shoreline I know well, but if I don't fish it all every year, I forget more details than I like. No sense adding more miles, even as I need to make it a point to return to some spots a little more often.

    Bottom line, the water, fish, bait and kelp change every year, with the hot spots in my 20 miles different almost every year. Gotta start the fish search from scratch each year, but I usually find fish. At least I know the waters well enough to let me do the detailed searching.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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