How to use Google Earth to plan a bass fishing trip – Part 2

In part 1, I covered some basic ways to use Google Earth to analyze a potential body of water for a potential bass trip.  Potential.  Hope.  Optimism.  Maybe that’s why I enjoy scouting ahead of time in this way.

In part 2, I want to begin to go over specifically what to look for.  How to find potential bass holding spots and how to create a waypoint for that spot.  So there’s really two key aspects to this:

  • knowing what to look for
  • using some organization skills and tech savvy to put that high-dollar fish finder/gps to good use.

Knowing what to look for

So this is a little misleading.  Truth is, knowing is a little strong.  It’s more like a hunch.  An educated guess.  A theory.  But we don’t ever really know.  At least not yet.  Maybe one day I will know that a bass will be here or there.  That’s what most of this lifelong passion has been about.  The hunt.

I will show you a little about what I decided to explore on my visit and why.  In the why, there will be lots to be gained from listening and watching to my logic.  It’s not all beautiful.  But even in my errors, there is something to be learned.  Lessons about why scouting from your computer at home can payoff big time on the water.

The scouting process

The upriver section looked good to me.  Simple.  Current, and current seems.  Areas that had defined strips of weeds.  Shallow flat banks where I could probably get a visual – actually look into the water and see what there was to see.  I could see several points extending off the river bank and a few locations where an irrigation ditch ran a ways out into the river.   Again, I’m talking about what I could see on my computer screen.

When you go about creating waypoints with GE, your are simply narrowing down your initial search.  You will be right on some of your “guesses” and you will be wrong on others.  But eliminating water is still learning.  The process works something like this:

  1. Mark likely waypoints on GE
  2. Create paths (tracks) on GE.  Use these to find your way into hard to get to areas that might be treacherous to try and run while on plane.
  3. Save your GE file as an KML file
  4. Convert KML file to a file your fish finder/gps can use
  5. Load new waypoints & tracks onto your unit
  6. Go to the water and check them out.  Make notes if necessary to any changes you need to make and create waypoints while on the water.
  7. Load updated waypoints to a card
  8. Download waypoints to a computer and view on GE
  9. Make changes on GE (start back over at step 1)

I repeat this process over and over again, several times a year, and year after year.  In fact, I try to start each year with a clean slate on my unit.  I have files saved on my computer but I don’t like to accumulate too many waypoints on my unit.  Don’t fall in love with spots.  Spots change.  Every month.  Every Year.

Remember this:

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire

–William Butler Yeats

Later, I’ll show you how to convert that file into a file your fish finder/gps unit can use.  That will be in part 3.  For now, let that flame flicker a little brighter.

For details on the process, check out the video below:

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