Time Travel To Catch More Fish – Using Sonar History

Time Travel To Catch More Fish – Using Sonar History

I wish I could go back in time to fish some of my old spots, but I want to take an incredible feature of modern marine electronics with me when I do.  I would take the ability to pause my boat’s sounder and scroll it back in recent times to find and mark points I had previously passed over.

Let me paint a picture of a scenario from my younger charter days.  I did a lot of bottom fishing out of Central Florida and finding new pieces of structure was of paramount importance.  I spent most of my sounder’s efforts zoomed in on the bottom 20-feet of water to maximize my ability to find any little rock or crack I ran over between spots or while trolling.  But of course, one cannot just stare down at the screen continuously all day, so there were plenty of times when you would look down just in time to see the final signs of a mystery mark exiting the screen.  We would spin the boat around and try to run back the track or follow your own bubble trail accounting for current and such, but 9 times out of 10, it would never mark again.  Now some of them I’m sure were just schools of bait that kept on moving, but some small portion were “honey holes” that we never found.

Now, most modern sounders and MFD’s offer a feature that allows you to scroll back in time and look at what you’ve passed over.  If there was an enticing mark, you can touch the screen and create a waypoint for that spot back in time.  The waypoint will then show up on your plotter and you can navigate back to it for a closer look and then to drop a bait and hold on tight.

This ability to go back in time and retrieve missed opportunities is HUGE!

I recall a time when we did find a small ledge between spots.  We turned around and the screen lit back up even more than our first pass because we were now moving slower.  Everyone was scrambling to the livewell for a fresh bait when I gave the signal to drop; Ding Ding!  Moments later, the guys around me were thumped and off to battle.  Some were taken to the rail and cut off, others were able to persuade by force, the gag groupers that intercepted the baits as they neared the bottom.  I named that spot the “Lucky Seven” because that’s how many “greys” we managed to pull off it before the bite shut down.  We were seconds from never knowing we had passed over that spot.

This technology is not brand new, but I can’t wait to get back out there and put it to good use.  Imagine all of the fish we’ve all run past and never knew.

Capt. Scott Goodwin
Capt. Scott Goodwin started fishing in the lakes of Kentucky where he grew up. A move to Florida, however, brought him into a whole new realm of fishing. After receiving a bachelor's degree in biology from Eckerd College, he decided that he liked catching fish more than studying them and thus began ...