All he needed to do was jump-start a dead boat battery, and then we could cast off the lines and head out for the day of fishing we had planned. It should have been simple.
“Red goes on negative, right?” he asked. Before I figured out that it was a serious question as opposed to a joke, a shower of sparks erupted from the bilge. When he looked up, his eyebrows were gone. But we weren't about to give up on eight hours of fishing that easily. I pulled the battery out of my truck, swapped it for the boat battery, and away we went. Unfortunately, when he tried to turn on the electronics they were dead as a doornail. My buddy’s electronics weren't properly wired with fuses, and the power surge had fried their little brains. If we were going to catch fish, we’d have to alter the plans a bit. Here are a few fishfinder-free tactics that helped us fill the cooler.
1. Traditional depth-finding: To locate a near-by drop-off, I clipped a 10-ounce weight on the end of my fishing line. Then I slowly bounced it along bottom until feeling the edge.
2. Cross-current trolling: Since we couldn’t monitor our trolling speed but we knew the approximate RPM setting from experience, we trolled cross-current. That eliminated the need to bump up or drop down speed as we turned against or with the current.
3. Mark the spot: When we started catching fish, we marked the spot with by dropping a float tethered to a weighted line. Before fishfinders and GPS were common everyone carried a float to mark spots, and you should still have one on board, just in case.