That’s why C-MAP charts and Lowrance electronics are so valuable to Major League Fishing anglers in Cup and Select events, in which they get no practice time before competing on lakes they’ve often never been to – or even seen.
Unlike Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour tournaments, Major League Fishing Cup and Select competitions do not allow two-and-a-half days of on-the-water practice. Rather, Cup and Select contestants are given only 15 minutes to drive around the lake before their competition day begins.
(Blog post continues after video player below. Note: C-MAP Genesis charts were formerly known as “Insight Genesis” charts)
“We don’t have a long practice period at all,” says Lowrance Pro Scott Suggs. “So we have to look at the map and get an idea of how [the lake] fishes and how we feel it’s going to fish to our strengths.”
In MLF Cup and Select competition, anglers don’t know where they will be fishing until they get to the lake. They don’t even know what the lake looks like until they are allowed to study the C-MAP chart on their Lowrance sonar/GPS unit at the boat ramp, only minutes before launching.
“There’s not even a Navionics [map] for this lake,” says another Lowrance Pro before an Elimination Round contest in Maine.
Where to start?
With only 15 minutes of drive-around time allowed before an MLF Cup competition begins, a C-MAP chart gives Suggs a “great idea of where I want to be, and what I want to look at, and where I want to start.”
All boats in Major League Fishing Cup and Select competitions are outfitted with C-MAP Genesis charts loaded on Lowrance HDS units in the console and bow. C-MAP Genesis charts are exclusive to Lowrance, Simrad and B&G chartplotters.
“Basically, I’m using the mapping part of it to go into areas that I’m comfortable with, that look like the stuff I like to fish,” explains Suggs, one of six anglers who earned his way into MLF Cup-level events through Select competition. “It does give me a starting point.”
MLF’s 2015 General Tire Summit Cup was contested on several lakes in the Belgrade Chain of Lakes region. A big collection of lakes and ponds in the Kennebec and Moose River Valley regions of the state, the Belgrade Chain offers some of the best bass fishing in all of New England. That meant the 30 MLF pros had plenty of fish-catching options.
They could fish for smallmouth around the rocky points, islands, and underwater humps and features that dot these collections of moderately-size lakes. Or they could target the prolific aquatic vegetation that harbors shallow-water lurking largemouth.