Not all bottom structure is “created equal,” says 2013 Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace. Schools of bass feed where they do for a reason. So one key to winning big tournaments is eliminating dead water and making every cast count fishing on the right structure.
“Typically, anything that’s different on the bottom has got potential,” says Pace, the 2013 Bassmaster Classic Champion. “Unique features” on bottom structure, he says, “are really what people consider to be the sweet spots.”
Pace has an innovative tool in his arsenal to find such sweet spots – Insight Genesis mapping. An innovative, GoFree Cloud-powered service, Insight Genesis enables anglers to create custom contour maps of un-mapped bodies of water, improve contour detail on previously mapped waters, and precisely dissect spot-on-the-spot areas on fish-holding bottom structure. Insight Genesis maps are exclusive to Lowrance, Simrad and B&G chartplotters.
All Lowrance Pro Team anglers competing in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic were provided an SD card loaded with an Insight Genesis contour map of Lake Hartwell, where Pace finished runner-up in the 2008 Classic. The winner of that Classic, Alton Jones, explained in TV coverage of the event that he caught some of his best fish on a “very specific” sweet spot where “clay turns to sand … right down the center of [a] ditch.”
The ability to locate a sweet spot like that is what makes Insight Genesis so valuable to tournament fishermen and recreational anglers alike.
Listen to Cliff Pace preview the 2015 Bassmaster Classic in this “Fantasy Fishing Insider” podcast:
Whether your favorite fishery is a 300-acre pond or a 30,000-acre reservoir, Insight Genesis mapping is a game-changer. No other maps are better at helping you find and fish sweet spots that don’t appear on other maps – spots like off-shore humps and ledges, shellbeds, ditches and drains, and hard-to-soft-bottom transitions.
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“Transitions can be very beneficial,” Pace says. “From clay to rock or from sand to rock, fish really like edges. I don’t necessarily know why, but they do seem to always use edges of any form that they can find. On lakes where you have a lot of clay, or silt – which is very common in the southeast part of the United States – finding something that is hard is definitely a key deal.”
Bottom-hardness transition map
Graphing a spot while also mapping it with Insight Genesis gives you the additional fish-finding tool of a bottom-hardness map layer onto which you can overlay one-foot contour lines and waypoints. This makes it much easier to find and catch fish off of bottom-hardness transition areas.
“What it does is just lets you be more effective on the water,” Pace explains. “It basically helps you eliminate things that don’t have really any potential without having to spend a tremendous amount of time fishing them.”
Before Insight Genesis, the best way to find hard spots – and the transition lines between them and softer-bottom areas – was to keep an eye on your sonar screen, watching for a thick, yellow band (indicator of a hard bottom) giving way to a thinner yellow band with more red and blue below it (as shown in the image to the right). And while that method provides a snapshot of the area under and around the boat, it gives few clues to the transition zone’s size or shape.
Insight Genesis, however, creates a map layer that shows you the exact size and shape of hard-bottom and soft-bottom areas (see the image to the right) – dark orange is the hardest bottom; tan is the next hardest bottom; pale yellow is a softer bottom; and where there is no colored area and the blue-scale base map shows, those are the softest-bottom areas. Not only do Insight Genesis maps show you where those potential sweet spots are located – so you can speed directly to them, rather than slowly idling around searching for them – they also show your boat’s position on the map in relation to those bottom-hardness transition zones, so you can make repeated, pinpoint casts into the strike zone, the sweet spot most likely to hold fish.
More accurate contour lines
Whether your favorite fishery is a 300-acre pond or a 30,000-acre reservoir, and whether you fish for tournament trophies or just for fun braggin’ rights, Insight Genesis mapping is a game-changer. Because they were created by actual sonar data from a boat on the water, one-foot contour lines on custom Insight Genesis maps are much more accurate than computer-estimated contour lines that are on some chart chips and map apps. Contour lines of a point or ditch, for example, are much more valuable to anglers when they show that structure’s irregularities, which are more likely to hold fish.
“What you’re looking for is … some key feature of any individual point or drain or a ditch,” Pace explains. “They’re not all created equal. … If it’s a unique piece and it’s in the right depth for that particular time of year, typically the fish will be using it.”
Indeed, that was the case when Alton Jones won the 2008 Bassmaster Classic on just such a spot on Lake Hartwell.
“It’s real very specific here — you can be 10 foot left, or 10 foot right, and you’re not going to get a bite,” Jones explained at the 22:50 mark in the TV coverage of the 2008 Classic. “You have to be right down the center of the ditch, where the clay turns to sand. … I’m fishing right along that break, right at the base, where the two meet.”
If Cliff Pace or another Lowrance Pro Team angler armed with Insight Genesis mapping finds a spot like that, watch out! He could be the one hoisting the Classic trophy above his head after the last bass is weighed.
*Map cards were distributed prior to the Classic’s no-information deadline.
In the video below, 2009 and 2014 Bassmaster Classic champions Skeet Reese and Randy Howell discuss the benefits of Insight Genesis mapping.