My new fish finder has been a source of frustration which has turned into a mystery. For the last few weeks I’ve noticed that the lake is chock full of fish which are hovering between 7 and 9′ down. The frustrating part is that I have no idea what kind of fish they are or how to catch them. They are about 100′ from shore and nominally consistent anywhere in the lake – an occasional gap – but more or less a continuous level of fish. The fishfinder reports fish in 3 sizes and also indicates schools of minnows in a speckled, cloud looking display. It also determines and displays whether the fish is directly below the boat or off to a side. The symbology tells you how deep the fish, the size, and the horizontal location – right or left of the sensor. These fish that are hovering are mostly small with an occasional medium and, an even less frequent, large. Probably a normal distribution. At first I thought the fish were Spec’s so I started trolling spec lures – little jigs, feathers, spinners or vibrating swimmer style. Nothing. I tried varying the speed which has the effect of varying the lure depth since it’s hard to say exactly how deep your lure is. Nothing. Maybe small bass or bluegill? Tried conventional bass and bluegill stuff such as the beetle spin. Nothing. Several colors, several speeds, nothing. I’m still thinking that somehow it has to do with placing the bait exactly at the right depth so this weekend Simon and I tried drifting over the fish using small jigs and floats set exactly to the right depth. Nada. We concluded that the only kind of fish they could be are shiners. That tracks because shiners simply can’t stand warm water so it would make sense that they would be at the shallowest place where they could find comfortable temperatures. So I went out this morning and within 2 minutes was on the fish. I used the regular fish food bait and dropped it down exactly 7′, right into the midst of them. I also dropped a rubber jig down on another rod to the same depth. Nada. They still could be shiners but I learned nothing from that trial and I kind of think shiners, being basically dumb, would have attacked the bait. I did learn one more characteristic though. They are definitely more prominent in the morning. Simon and I saw a grundle in the morning as usual but when we went out in the afternoon, they were more difficult to find. There may be a clue there but not sure.
I tried to talk simon into diving down and opening his eyes but wasn’t able to sell that. The best I could do was get him to dive under the fishfinder to see if he showed up as a big bass or what. But, that’s where I am. We discussed dropping down an underwater video camera and some high intensity lights but that seemed to be a pocketbook challenge for so small a problem. So next weekend if the kids come up, or the kids parents, or the kids uncles, bring a pair of goggles and get mentally set for some Jacque Cousteau exploration moments. We have to solve this mystery.
I’d post a picture but nothing to show until the mystery is solved.