Electronic Fishing 1962

A 1962 Ad for Lowrance Electronic Manufacturing Company and their portable depthfinder, the Model 505.

A 1962 Ad for Lowrance Electronic Manufacturing Company and their portable depthfinder, the Model 505.

When I started bass fishing in the mid-‘70s most boats had two depth finders – one on the console and one of the bow. These units were predominantly flashers made by Humminbird, Lowrance or Vexilar. About that same time paper graphs also started to take hold in the industry so by the late ‘70s you’d see boats with a paper graph and flasher on the console and then a flasher on the bow.

Nowadays serious anglers are placing two widescreen GPS/Depthfinder units on their consoles and two on the bow with some anglers even going as far as using iPads for more mapping capability. How times change.

In 1962, though, depthfinders were still a luxury item most anglers didn’t think they needed. The units back then, mostly manufactured by LEMCO (Lowrance), were all portable units and were powered by lantern batteries.

Lowrance introduced the Red Box flasher to the industry in the mid-‘50s and by 1962, the concept hadn’t really caught on. Only the serious angler, guide or writer had the units, while most others scoffed at the $139 retail price.

In order for more people to purchase and use the new-fangled gadget, someone had to convince John Q. Fisherman it was worth it. Magazines like Sports Afield, Field and Stream and books like Don Fuelsch’s Southern Anglers Guide all ran articles that showed the advantages of using a depthfinder and coupled with a topographical map how it could decrease the time to learn a lake. It’s funny to think any angler would feel this way today.

Recently while reading through a set of Southern Anglers Guides, I noticed that each issue, except for the 1961 issue, had a great piece on the use of depthfinders. Although they’re basic in concept, the one thing about science is it doesn’t change from one year to the next or from state to state. In fact, a lot of what has been taught in these old writings has long been forgotten due to the point-and-click ease of new units. In fact, when was the last time you increased the depth setting on your unit in order to see if there was a double echo to determine the hardness of the bottom? With the old units, the ones that only had a couple of depth settings and didn’t have an auto button, second and even third echos were as plain as day.

Below is the full text of the article on electronic fishing that was published in 1962 in Don Fuelsch’s Southern Anglers Guide. Again, it’s a great look back in our electronic history. If you’re interested in a more in-depth piece on electronics of days past, I highly recommend getting a copy of Buck Taylor’s book, The Complete Guide to Using Depthfinders. As the title says, it is complete but the other fact is it goes into detail how and why depthfinders work and how to interpret their signals. Although our new units leave a lot of the guesswork out of the puzzle, some inquiring minds may want to know more and this is the best resource I have ever found.

 

The Facts of Electronic Fishing, Don Fuelsch's Southern Anglers Guide, 1962 by A. B. Berger page 1.

The Facts of Electronic Fishing, Don Fuelsch’s Southern Anglers Guide, 1962 by A. B. Berger page 1.

 

The Facts of Electronic Fishing, Don Fuelsch's Southern Anglers Guide, 1962 by A. B. Berger page 2.

The Facts of Electronic Fishing, Don Fuelsch’s Southern Anglers Guide, 1962 by A. B. Berger page 2.

 

The Facts of Electronic Fishing, Don Fuelsch's Southern Anglers Guide, 1962 by A. B. Berger page 3.

The Facts of Electronic Fishing, Don Fuelsch’s Southern Anglers Guide, 1962 by A. B. Berger page 3.

 

The Facts of Electronic Fishing, Don Fuelsch's Southern Anglers Guide, 1962 by A. B. Berger page 4.

The Facts of Electronic Fishing, Don Fuelsch’s Southern Anglers Guide, 1962 by A. B. Berger page 4.

  • Ralph Manns

    IMHO, most, if not all. early instructors teaching sonar-use failed to identify an important factor in all traditional vertical sonar imagery. For down-scan sonar to work, the boat must be moving. he forward speed of the boat/transducer changes the appearance of bottom structute. A fast boat paints steep changes in depth while a slow boat may make the same gradient appear gradual.

    After years of using a flasher, use of a Vexilar chart recorder until I couldn’t fund repairs and paper, and graduation to pixel image machines, I learned this simple fact only when selling tackle. A man came in and wanted to turn his brand-new Lowrance back, because “It didn’t work.”

    I learned that he went out on his pond, dropped a new brush shelter, and then could NOT see it. All he had was a flat return: no brush..

    After much questioning I learned he had anchored right over the brush and then turned the unit on. AT the boat must move to produce changing imagery. He measured the minimal depth of his brush pile over and over and over. creating a flat image..

    • Terry Battisti

      Hi Ralph,

      Yes, I agree with what you say. Only through experience will you really understand what the unit is telling you. Although a moving boat is good for “seeing” what is down there with respect to the surroundings, if you know how to tweak your unit, it will tell you a lot even in a stationary boat.

      I recall one tournament I fished back in the early 80s where we were vertical fishing in 40-45 feet of water on a channel ledge. I knew I was on the ledge based on the thickness of the bottom line and gray line. When I was about to go over it, the bottom line would thicken signifying the actual signal was reading a varied bottom depth. At the time I was using a Lowrance 1510C and was watching fish suspended 2-3 feet off the bottom. I was doodling a small worm and could see the worm and the fish go down to the bottom. When the fish went down, I always tensed up because I knew what was about to happen. To rod tip would go dead and I’d start reeling as fast as I could to keep the line tight and set the hook. 🙂 Yeah, I won the tournament.