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BASS Elite pro Ott DeFoe shares
exactly how Humminbird® 360 Imaging™ has given him a competitive edge
By Jim Edlund
Knoxville, Tennessee-based BASS
Elite Pro Ott DeFoe may have more hours on his Humminbird Bow 360 than any other angler on the planet. As such, DeFoe is
the perfect person to offer fellow fishermen true “insider” tips on getting the
most out of 360 Imaging.
“It’s changed the way I fish tournaments,”
says the recent 2013 Bassmaster Northern Open/Douglas Lake winner. “I have an 1199ci HD SI Combo on the bow
that’s always set to full-screen 360 Imaging. If my boat is on the water, that
360 screen is up.”
In the case of the recent
Bassmaster Northern Open on Douglas Lake, Tennessee, DeFoe says Bow 360 refined
what was already a strong game going into the event on his home waters.
Tip #1: Use 360 for ultra-precise boat and cast control.
“I’ve seen Douglas Lake down 45
feet, so I know every rock already—but the neat thing was being able to pull up
to those places and if the wind was blowing or my cast line-up was getting off—all
I had to do was look at the 360 screen, which I typically have set to 100 feet
in every direction, and I knew exactly where I needed to be.”
He says this newfound level of
precise boat control has been critical come tournament time when every second
counts and each cast needs to be the right one. “Being able to see what’s
underwater in front of the boat has completely changed my offensive game.”
Simply move the cursor over to the structure or fish and 360 Imaging tells you the bearing and distance, critical for ultra-precise boat control and casts.
Tip #2: Spot roving fish on structure. Watch for sentinel fish and the target species
that may roam with them.
DeFoe cites the Toyota Texas Big
Bass Classic, held this past May on Lake Fork, Texas, as another example of Bow
“On Lake Fork, I was lined up side-by-side
with another competitor’s boat who didn’t have Humminbird units, let alone 360.
We were both throwing worms onto an underwater ridge. Then, on my 360 screen I saw
a school of white bass with larger marks below it move in from off the point
and over the ridge 65 feet ahead of my boat. So, I grabbed my crankbait rod and
first cast, white bass; second cast, 7-pound bass. Had it not been for 360, I
probably would’ve just kept throwing a worm. That’s something you can’t do if
you’re only looking straight down with sonar.”
Note the two large groups of fish at 12:00 and 1:00 on the 360 screen, as well as isolated fish throughout the dial.
Tip #3: Follow
open-water fish in real time.
“It’s probably the biggest tool
yet for locating and catching schooling bass in deeper water. I’ve located bass
in some pretty random open water chasing schooling shad. With 360, you can
follow and stay on fish in real time. I can tell exactly how many feet and in
what direction that bait is and actually anticipate the busting bait and
feeding bass. With 360, it’s literally follow the bait, follow the fish.”
The 360 screen on the right shows a river channel from roughly the 1:00 position to the 7:00 position. Off to the left is a steep wall with a dark, scoured out hole. The Humminbird LakeMaster map on the left shows the tight contour lines and it's easy to see why they converge on the deep, dark hole.
Find hidden, shallow-water cover in front of the boat.
“Recently, while pre-fishing the
Elite Series event on Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas, I was fishing a flat with a
few visible logs in water less than 3 feet deep. I saw a couple pieces of wood but
knew there had to be more underwater. I saw something on 360, so I threw over
there, caught a 10 pounder, and thought, that was cool. Went back again, then
caught a 4 pounder. Turns out it was a big stump submerged underwater.”
The 360 screen reveals a surrounding river flat and sharp channel drop-off to the right (represented as the darker area).
Tip #5: Sight-fish in muddy or turbid waters.
“You can dial in the range to 30
or 40 feet and locate target areas like dock posts, pilings, brush, cinder
blocks, etc. in muddy waters. This is also a good way to find cover in the
spring that bass might spawn next to.”
The 360 screen on the left shows isolated rubble/rip-rap, which make ideal ambush points for various fish species.
Tip #6: Narrow your 360 sweep when crankin’ banks.
“When I’m fishing along a bank
and moving forward, I’ll narrow and offset the sweep from 360 degrees to just
in front of the boat and view that in full screen.”
The hook-shaped outline of the flat is shown by the black shadow where the shelf drops off, making targeted casts to the deep ledge easier to see.
Tip #7: Turn navigation on; watch waypoints appear on your 360 screen.
“A lot of times I’ll turn on
navigation mode, so my waypoints show up on the 360 screen. Once you put your
boat icon on that waypoint, you’re right there. I feel like it really helps me
get the exact cast that I need to get. It’s made all the difference in some
360 reveals a brush pile just off the drop-off at the 4:00 Position, a high-probability fish-holding location.
Tip #8: Keep 360 setting tweaks minimal.
With his Bow 360 set to a
100-foot range in the Amber color palette, DeFoe keeps the sweep speed at
standard, keeping settings changes minimal. “Most of the time the factory default
setting is right on. I may occasionally kick up the sensitivity and contrast a
notch or two, depending on the lake, but that’s it.“
In this 360 view, the boat is positioned right over a rock point extending into the river channel. Note the two distinct tapers at the 10:00 position. Great detail, which really helps an angler build a visual of what's going on down there. Also, there are a few fish (white streaks) holding in the current break of the rock drop-off.
Ott’s Complete Rig
(1)1199ci HD SI Combo – Three shortcut buttons set to full-screen
Side Imaging, Down Imaging and 2D Sonar; prefers brown palette for Side
Imaging, Sensitivity: 11 or 12; Contrast: 11. Range set to 100 or 110 feet.
(1)999ci HD SI Combo – Dedicated LakeMaster mapping
(1)1199ci HD SI Combo – Full-screen, dedicated 360 Imaging
(1)999ci HD SI Combo – Split-screen LakeMaster mapping/2D Sonar
*All Humminbird units networked
via Ethernet cable and Humminbird AS ETH
5PXG 5-Port Ethernet Switch
(2) Minn Kota 12-foot Talon Shallow Water Anchors
(1) Minn Kota Fortrex 112 Trolling Motor
Photo Courtesy of BASS
"A lot of times I'll turn on navigation mode, so my waypionts show up on the 360 screen. Once you put your boat icon on that waypoint, you're right there." - Ott DeFoe
Ott DeFoe typically has hiw Bow 360 set to view 100 feet in every direction around the boat.
Ott DeFoe dials in another fish with a system of Humminbird and Minn Kota technology he says has changed the way he fishes tournaments.
Photo Courtesy of Humminbird by Mark Hicks
Ott DeFoe says Humminbird 360 is a great way to dial in submerged shallow-water cover in muddy waters.
For more information, please visit Humminbird at www.humminbird.com. Requests for product specifications, customer support and general inquiries should be made through our Customer Service Department.
For media/editorial inquiries, please contact:
Heather Miller Gunpowder, Inc. Email Heather
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.