Elite pros Matt Herren and Jonathon VanDam talk bites and benfits of 360 technology
Grand Lake, Oklahoma (02/21/2013) – This time last year Humminbird blew the roof off the 2012 Bassmaster Classic with the launch of 360 Imaging, a technological first that promised anglers unprecedented 360-degree underwater search capabilities. Among those impressed, KVD stood behind the podium and declared it the fishing equivalent of “Superman x-ray vision.”
Now, a year later, 360 is once again the talk of the Classic. But rather than product launch hoopla, 360 is now affixed to boat transoms and is cutting Grand Lake into digital swaths of fish-finding data.
Two commanders of the new tech willing to go on record are Matt Herren and Jonathon VanDam, who’ve relied on 360 Imaging during pre-fishing to pick apart Grand Lake’s myriad structural elements and cover, and key in on the where, when and how of the big money bite.
Picking Out Fish
Much like the bird of the same name (albeit different spelling), Alabama’s Matt Herren says being able to pick out fish from Grand’s cover with 360 gives him an edge in this year’s event. “Last week I fished Friday, Saturday and Sunday and 360 definitely helped me locate fish,” says Herren. “But given the weather—the cold, wind, rain and snow—whether those fish will still be there is anyone’s guess, but with 360 I’ll be able to find them.”
Herren says his system involves watching the screen of his Humminbird 1198 set to split screen GPS and Side Imaging views as he idles along breaks and contours. He then deploys the 360 transducer to go over promising cover with a “fine-tooth comb,” picking out his potential prey, casting to exactly where the fish are.
“Even though there’s a moderate stain to the water on Grand right now, 360 shows the fish in cover with a lot of detail,” says Herren.
Herren points to the 360’s new GPS antenna “puck” as one of the most important parts of the 360 Imaging system. “With its built-in compass, 360 Imaging has the power to pinpoint exactly where in a piece of cover the fish are. Plus, with the new puck, the front of the boat is always the front of the boat!”
Herren also mentions that given the depth of the fully deployed transducer, you just get a better, more detailed picture of fish in deep or heavy cover. “Then it’s simply a matter of lining up my casts,” says Herren.
What kind of cover? Herren speaks forthright when he says he thinks the dominant bite may come from 8- to 15-feet of water in a combination of rock and brush, and will probably involve multiple baits. “I think you’ll see a lot of switching between jigs, jerkbaits, cranks and swimbaits,” says Herren.
See The Angles Ahead, Spot and Stalk
First-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, Michigan’s Jonathon VanDam, has also been using 360 to help him unlock Grand’s structural secrets.
“The biggest thing that 360 has allowed me to do is see what’s ahead of the boat – channel swings, rock piles, brush, whatever – and give me time to use proper boat control to graph that structure with Side Imaging and 2-D sonar, which I run in split screen,” says JVD. “Then, when I get close, it’s all in the detail with 360.”
JVD says it’s also had a huge impact on his deep-water fishing game, allowing him the ability to sight-fish in deep or stained waters, much like spot & stalk hunting. “For offshore rock piles and current areas, it clues me into cover I might have missed, and allows me to cast to where the fish are on that structure, getting all the angles correct,” says JVD. “Like on the tip of a point, where I can see exactly where the fish are, how far away, and at exactly what angle.”
Along the same lines, JVD says the other big advantage of 360 is being able to “find and follow” bait and bass over submerged creek beds as well as deep, open-water flats.
Taking a break from the Indiana vs. Michigan State basketball game he was watching – and perhaps feeling a little home state pride – JVD says he’s amped to get back to his home waters this spring, where he’s convinced 360 will revolutionize bronzeback hunting on the Great Lakes.
“Being able to locate and chase schools of baitfish and big smallmouth bass on the Great Lakes is going to be huge,” says JVD.
“But back to the Classic, I’m going to have a fun time fishing with 360 and have a lot of confidence in the technology …despite the weather.”
About Johnson Outdoors, Inc.
Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc. consists of the Humminbird, LakeMaster, Minn Kota and Cannon brands. Humminbird® is a leading innovator and manufacturer of fishfinders, fishfinder/GPS combo units, ice flashers and digital depth gauges. LakeMaster® is the premier brand of high-definition electronic fishing charts. Minn Kota® is the world’s leading manufacturer of electric trolling motors, as well as offers a complete line of shallow water anchors, battery chargers and marine accessories. Cannon® is the leader in controlled-depth fishing and includes a full line of downrigger products and accessories.