FishSens Pro Jeff Elliott with his SondeCAM underwater camera. (Courtesy of Jeff Elliott)
Have you ever wondered exactly what those baitfish that are showing up on your electronics really are? They could be so many different things, especially here in the North where we have complex forage bases.
There are loads of possibilities: alewives, shad, shiners, perch and bluegills. Not to mention all those species of fish come in different sizes and have different profiles. Electronics can reveal a lot, but they can’t provide a picture of what is actually going on down there like an underwater fishing camera.
Knowing what the fish are keyed in on and the predominant forage around can be so important for getting more bites. It gives you a starting point for what profiles, colors and sizes of baits to try and it just may clue you into something subtle that makes all the difference. It also can help identify some patterns on where you are more likely to find a specific type of baitfish and how they behave.
Let’s not forget there is more than fish up in the water column. What about gobies and crayfish hanging tight to the bottom. Those are some of a bass’ favorite treats. Gobies are easily spotted scooting away or sometimes toward the underwater fishing camera as you drift across a likely area.
Goby colors can be different on each fishery or at certain times of year. So it can make it easy to pick up if they are light or dark colored. Also, if you notice a lot of really dark, almost black, gobies around, those are spawning males. It can make black a great color on a fishery that doesn’t typically seem suited for it.
Crayfish are a little tougher to spot, but I’ll share an experience with the SondeCAM underwater fishing camera that really opened my eyes to what was going on down there. I was drifting across a flat with some perch grass on it, seeing what I assumed were perch on the depth finder. I dropped the SondeCAM to find out for sure though. Not only did I see perch, but there were crayfish crawling around too. It definitely clued me into something I otherwise would not have known was going on and with very little effort.
We all know how important it can be to “match the hatch,” especially in clear water. A simple drop of the fishing camera can take all the guess work out of that and help you be on your way to more bites in no time.
Top image: FishSens Pro Jeff Elliott with his SondeCAM underwater camera. (Courtesy of Jeff Elliott)