Reading your mapping

While today’s mapping has improved drastically (everything from coloring to contours to self-recorded detail are available),  you still must understand what you’re seeing on your screens. That, for many, can be a challenge, so let me offer a little detail and hopefully give you some confidence that what you’re seeing is reality.  
All mapping for your electronics is not created equal. Maybe, at the time the map was originally recorded your detail was correct but all bottom structure changes with time from current and the natural silting and erosion process that changes the bottom over time. You must be able to improve your own mapping either with personal recording or enhanced mapping that is constantly being updated, and not all mapping has that option.  
Today’s mapping software has many options. One is coloring which allows you to set change of depths by color. Options may include red to blue to yellow or whatever color you desire. There are many color choices as you progress down the depths. Some have contours that are visible along with shading to see depth change. I use a combination of both to read my maps and use features of coloring and contour lines to determine where I want to fish. Contours, if you’re not aware, are many times, showing one foot apart allowing you to see sudden drops or gradual drops approaching your position. The closer the contours the more sudden the drop, and the further apart they are the more gradual the drop. Coloring doesn’t give you this detail alone, so that is why I combine contours and coloring on my screens to see how the bottom is set up. It’s also true that some new features of trolling motors are designed to follow contours from your mapping screens and the actual depth allowing you to keep in a consistent depth with the touch of a button with the newest feature called spot-lock.  
When you combine your mapping with trolling motor feature (spot-lock) you could really stay on a consistent pattern that can offer some great fishing as bass progress through the seasons. Understanding where you are on your map, the depth you’re in and combining it with good bottom view can really make a difference in your catching!
Captain Mike

Dunham's Sports

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