From Dylan Nussbaum, who loves to “bass fishing for walleyes” like myself. The full Q&A on Z-Man’s site has a bunch more, but a few snippets below:
How to use it
> “A walleye or a bass tends to paint a pretty solid image. But a carp or a muskie, for example, can look a little grainy on the screen.
> “If I’m out hunting fish on open flats, I’ll set the unit to scan out to 100′ from the boat. Crank the sensitivity or gain (Lowrance calls it contrast) up to +10, especially for places like Lake Erie – or anywhere fish spook easily.
> “If I’m around rock or stumps or vegetation, I’ll dial back to 4 or 5, and if I’m working smaller structures, I reduce range to about 60′.
> “If I’m in giant boulders or trees or weeds, I might go with 40′ to zoom in and get a more accurate picture, especially to separate fish from objects or bottom.
> “I find that a good high-contrast color palette, such as Lowrance’s #6, a dark amber hue, really helps fish and your lure stick out on screen.
> “If I can find a school of 5 or 6 walleyes, that’s ideal. I won’t often cast at a single fish or 2 unless it’s a big walleye. With a big fish, I might spend 5 minutes trying to trigger a reaction. A bigger fish moves differently than a smaller one. Larger walleyes often just tilt up to look at the bait, moving slowly and deliberately. But when they decide to bite, they swim fast and with lethal intent.
> “On my home lake, Kinzua Reservoir (PA), I’ve learned to differentiate between a 15-17 incher and a 22-incher. Just by seeing fish on screen and then catching them, you learn the subtle differences in fish movement, body size and shape.
> “Forward-facing sonar really saves a lot of time by keeping you from working a lure through fishless water.”
Finding new groups of fish
> “Found scattered small pods of big walleyes suspended 15′ down over 40′ of water. I pitched a 3/8-oz jig and Jerk ShadZ and watched fish shoot up 10-15′ and just crush the lure. What’s interesting is that I’ve found this same pattern happening on every lake I’ve been to since. You might see smaller walleyes near bottom, but the suspended fish are always bigger – like 5, 6 and 7-lbers.
> “Fished a similar scenario…at Lake Erie this year. Cruising along at a 1/2 mph, I’d make wide sonar scans and eventually reveal these mega schools of 20-30 fish, all suspended 60′ down over 80′ of water. You’d get 1 or 2 casts on ’em – and usually catch a fish on both casts – before the whole school would spook and vanish.”
Whether fish shy away from FFS
> “Especially with fish within 50′ of the boat, you often get just 1 – maybe 2 – casts at them before they vanish. Other times, catching a single fish from a school makes them scatter. At Green Bay in the spring, for instance, I’ve found that FFS is almost useless because you simply can’t get within 60′ of walleyes without disturbing them. Hard to say whether they’re spooking from the boat’s shadow, sonar pulses or other sounds.”
Some key presentation adjustments since FFS
> “At times, it’s made me get more aggressive when pitching plastics. I’ll start most days with a 3/8- or 1/2-oz jig and Jerk Shad – that new ‘pro yellow perch’ pattern has been deadly. Really ripping it fast and violently. If walleyes react with fast following moves, I know I’m on the right track and will usually crack a couple fish right off. But if the fish seem to move and react reluctantly, I’ll slow way down, maybe go with a lighter jighead, or tweak my color choice.
> “I’ve also become a fan of a dropshot or a Tokyo rig for less aggressive fish. The buoyancy of ElaZtech baits like the Trick ShotZ and Finesse ShadZ make them hover naturally on these rigs. They’re super soft, too, so the little tails shake and kick with the slightest rod tip movement.
> “…I used to make these super long casts and work the bait all the way back to the boat. I still do this sometimes. But way more often, I’m making shorter 60′ pitches to keep the lure in the sonar’s line of sight. If I’m not seeing fish, I won’t work the bait all the way back. Might just retrieve it 10-20′ and burn it right back to the boat. FFS really saves a lot of time by keeping you from working a lure thru fishless water. And when you’ve got an interested fish on the screen and you’re playing cat-and-mouse with your lure, that’s exciting. When you get everything right and they crush it, man, it’s a rush.”
Full scoop here.