February is the month for boat shows in Central and Western Montana. With boat shows in Helena, Missoula, and in Kalispell there won’t be any shortage of boats to admire. Dealers across the region are displaying what is new and exciting on many makes and models of fishing boats. These boat shows coincide with the release of fishing tournament information as anglers begin to look ahead and plan their tournament circuit. As you attend these shows and take in what the dealers have to offer to make your spring and summer more enjoyable on the water in a new watercraft check out the technology improvements that you can add to help you catch more fish.
Experienced and successful tournament anglers like Kris Keller from Wolf Point Montana rely on his Hummingbird sonar electronics to locate fish. “I trust what I see on my Hummingbird, when it tells me there is fish under my boat then it is my job to find out what will make them bite”, he said. Keller who has won numerous walleye contest on Fort Peck Reservoir isn’t the only angler that depends on his electronics. Jim Muzynoski from Bozeman who is a guide on Fort Peck and Canyon Ferry says electronics give him an edge when fishing, “I look for fish but also electronics will give you an idea on what kind of structure is under the water”. If you are walleye fishing for example this is important because walleyes will hang on drop offs located off points on a reservoir or lake. Dale Gilbert from Ulm, Montana which is located south of Great Falls has been teaching seminars on behalf of Lowrance Electronics for the past few years and is a strong proponent of mappings systems that are offered by companies for different bodies of water in Montana. This information will give you a much better understanding on what to expect when you are fishing from a boat, “anglers are able to better understand depth contours, bottom composition and structure location, plus how fish relate to this environment,” according to the Lowrance web site.
Once you locate fish boat control is important. This can be accomplished by installing an electric trolling motor on the bow of your boat. Electric trolling motors much like electronic fish sonars have come a long way in the past few years. Minn Kota probably the most popular brand of trolling motors used by anglers who fish tournaments has added features that give anglers an almost unfair advantage over the fish they are trying to catch. Technology like the Auto Pilot have made it easier for anglers to keep their boat trolling in the direction they want without constant manual adjustment. They also come with a built in transducer that will connect with most electronic sonar units, which makes it easier to navigate and view structure when you are fishing from the bow of the boat. One of the neat features in my opinion on their I-Pilot motor is the ability to push a button on its remote control to anchor your boat without actually throwing a real anchor overboard that is connected to a rope. This feature comes in real handy when fishing in depths of 80-250 feet of water, as the anglers do when competing in the Spring Mack days on Flathead Lake. In today’s world of fishing, whether you do it for simple pleasure or you are trying to win a tournament, finding the right boat and adding the right electronics might mean the difference between catching fish or coming in after a day on the water empty handed.
(Written by the Captain)