Vertical sight fishing is targeting a single fish or two in 10 feet or more of water, using the depth finder to locate the fish than lower a bait directly on top of that fish. If that sounds easy … it really is. This is an outstanding way to catch fish all year long, even spawners in the springtime. In April a few years ago up the Pit Arm of Lake Shasta and was seeing fish on my meter in about 10 foot of water and they were paired up.
I knew this because I would see two fish on most every point. For those of you who don’t know, fish spawn on points and spotted bass and smallies both spawn deeper than largemouth. If the water is murky, the only way to see the fish is on the meter. The first thing you need is a good quality depth finder. I use a Garmin EchoMap Ultra paired with LiveScope where I can determine the difference between the structure and a fish. The transducer mounted on the trolling motor enables you to get directly over the fish. Then with LiveScope you can see out in front of you and watch these fish bite your lure live.
This technique also calls for quality equipment; I use an 7ft Okuma TCS 7Medium+ this rod has a light tip with a medium backbone. Most rod companies make a seven foot medium action rod that will work fine. One key to this technique is a smooth reel that releases line freely for me, I use the Okuma Helios 7.3-1.
Fishing line I’ve found using 100% Fluorocarbon line in 8 to 10lb test offers both sensitivity and low stretch needed for vertical sight fishing. A standard Texas rig or a drop shot with a 3/16oz-lead or tungsten weight will work for most occasions, sometimes heavier if you’re fishing deeper or it’s windy. Use which ever rig you’re more comfortable with. A Gamakatsu 1/0 Extra Wide gap hook will give you a great hook up ratio; it holds the bait straight and it weed less. You can also rig a spinning rod like the 7.2 Medum Pyscho Stick paired with a Helios 30 series spinning reel drop shot with a small mosquito or dropshot hook and nose hook the bait also. Experiment with both methods to see which one the fish bite better on that day.
There are many baits on the market that will work for this technique. Short compact baits like the four or six inch Fat Robo worm work well for Texas rigging where the Yamamoto Shad Shape worm or the Cross Tail Shad are good choices for drop shotting. As far as colors are concerned experiment, starting with a green colors then switching if I cannot get bit. Have an array of colors handy and if you don’t get bit try different color on the same fish.
By Mark Lassagne
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