In this blog I’ll show you what you need to create your own high detail lake charts for lakes that have no charts available for them. Here in North Alabama we have four lakes the BDA lakes created by T.V.A. as part of the flood control of Pickwick Lake. These are smaller lakes with Cedar Creek being the largest of the four which includes, Upper Bear, Little Bear and Bear Creek. In this example I’ll be showing you what I’ve already mapped on a part of Little Bear.
First you will need a few things to get you started, first a Humminbird Sonar unit that is capiable of saving sonar recordings. Next a blank SD card for the recordings, a laptop or desktop computer for converting the records and finally the software to do the converting. As for the Humminbird units I suggest that you use one of their side image units, Helix 5 would do okay for this but the larger the screens like a 1100 series or in my case the Onix 10 will give you a much better image and detail after the charts are created. As for the software you will need Humminbirds AutoChart Pro to convert the records and a Zero Lines card if you have more than one Humminbird unit to use the charts in them.
Once you have your recording you load up the AutoChart Pro software and create your charts. In the image below I have already converted the recording to part of one of the lake arms. In this case I just created the contour lines showing the depths in one foot increments. The first image is the lake arm without any detail or what you would see if you turned on your Humminbird unit and were fishing this are.
As you see there is not detail at all only showing a rough shoreline, so you have no idea what is below the boat as far as structure, man-made cover or the depth unless you looked at your sonar for the depth.
Now look at the detail you get once you have converted the recording in the software to the chart. If you will notice the tan area in the lake arm are areas where I have not saved a recording yet. I’ll fill in those spots the few trips to the lake.
Now in the above image I’ve taken my side image recording and over-layed them into the chart so now I know what is exactly in the lake arm. Do you see the hard bottom ares (white spots), rock piles, bottom depth changes and even a treetop placed by another angler on the lake floor? You think this will help you in locating and catching fish?
And finally I’ve put the contour lines over the side image recordings and now have a lot more information to help me locate and catch fish. I can change the transparency so the contour lines are barely visible and know exactly where to make my cast onto that rock pile, tree-top etc.
Hope this lets you know what is available out there to be used in conjunction with your Humminbird units.
Tight Lines…. until next blog…