View Full Version : Colour Sounder reading
14-08-2004, 05:09 AM
Thought i would show my ignorance and ask for some advice on reading a colour sounder - I know there was a thread not too long ago but there was not much on colour sounders there.
I have managed to score a Rayamrine DS600 colour sounder ( the same as you Mackmauler if your there) and find the included manual really unhelpful.
I was wondering how you tell the difference in bottome structure on a colour sounder - I know about grey scale but i was wondering if anynoe knows what colours represent what type of structre on the colour gear.
Any help would be great.
14-08-2004, 05:43 AM
i hope you get some responce as ide like to know as well as i just bought a navman 4500
14-08-2004, 04:58 PM
If it shows up big and red, with a black eye, it's probably a snapper. If it's long and striped it could be a Cobia. I bet Golden Trevally look good on them too. ::)
14-08-2004, 06:38 PM
Rick, Light colours (yellow, green, blue) are weak reflections and dark colours (red and brown) are strong reflections. The bottom is usually a brown/red, with the thickness of reflection representing different bottom types i.e. thick means gravel or rock, thin is sand. Growth on the bottom such as sponges, wire weeds, kelp etc is usually a yellow or green area on the bottom.
This should get you started. There was also a great post a while ago, and I think there were some shots of colour sounders. If you havn't seen this give it a look see.
15-08-2004, 08:28 AM
What SeaSaw has written is simply how it is and after using colour for awhile you will soon adapt what means what.
What i will write is only my personal opinion and findings of using a colour sounder for almost 15 years. Firstly and the most important part of using a sounder is that you need to have the Gain turned up high as you can possilby put up with this meaning you may have a screen full of interference but as long as that interference stops around 20mtrs off the bottom so that you have a clear view of that bottom area you have a greater chance of seeing a better bottom reading and more important whats on the bottom.(fish,coral,weeds).Most sounders will adjust them selfs when there in AUTO function but this can be a real pain when different speeds and conditions are found. I use the MANUAL function because i can adjust both depth range and Gain to suit what a feel comfortable with. If your unable to have the Gain up high when traveling at plaining speed or flat out your missing what could be good schools of fish and a Spot X. This is where a good Transducer set up makes all the difference. Remember the higher the gain the more you will see. I have come across spots that if i have the gain on 4 it shows the reef/rock but when i turned it up around 5-6 it showed fish and also corals and weed attached to the bottom. So it just shows that when you travel at speed and the gain is turned down that your not seeing fish and growth on the bottom. Fish will show up if there a large enough school but.
When fishing water say over 30mtrs its best to have it in a spilt screen zoom mode.
this meaning you can see the bottom in better definition and its best to have the split screen range total of around 20 mtrs( see pic).
Most colour sounders have a choice of different back ground colours BLUE/BLACK. I have used blue most of my life but now use black to gain the extra colour of blue during sounding. What i find important about finding good fishing grounds is what is growing on a hard bottom/reef. I have spots that have massive pinnacles and ledges but dont have any growth on them. The sounder does not show yellow or green colours attached to the bottom which are weeds/corals. Now these spots dont seem to hold fish on them and why would they hang around these areas with out growth. Determining what fish is down there is another story and everyone has different opinions. Red is meant to be a big fish but if fish are close to each other in a school then it will show as red. This also meaning that bait fish will usaully show as a red due to there tightness when schooling. Pearl perch will usaully show as green and spread out. Decent sized fish like snapper or red emperor will show as yellow or red patches.While fishing the shelf last weekend out from DI Point i came across many schools of fish on the bottom and it wasnt till we came across a patch that showed as a dark yellow to red colour that we pulled nice Reds off. I went straight back that spot and didnt see that colour on the sounder again and we dropped the lines down and caught nothing decent. After a bit of sounding around the area and going over many schools of fish i located that yellow/red school which was a smaller show of fish then the others but it was the qaulity school. Another drop and bang another nice Red into the boat. Remember that big schools of fish that show RED/YELLOW are usaully small fish close togethor and small patches of fish showing as RED/YELLOW are usaully the good fish ;) Hope it helps good luck
Heres a pic from last weekend using the black back ground which gives you blue,yellow,red colours for showing fish. Blue small- green bigger and so on. The left hand side shows the zoomed up screen and the other side in normal mode.The zoomed up screen is in a 15 mtr range(from top of screen to bottom of screen is 15mtrs) but its best to use around 20mtr range. As you can see on the normal mode screen that there is a fair amount of interference but it doesnt matter as im not interested on whats up that high. The gain is on 6.1 and will read everything down there with detail. You can see that this bottom has weed/coral growing on it(yellow and green attached to the bottom)and this is where the fish hang around as shown.(blue) This is also a perfect example of having troubles telling the difference between the weed/coral(green-Yellow) and if some of that Green/Yellow is fish hanging close to the bottom giving you false impression. It turned out to be weed/coral and the only small rubbish came from this spot(blue Small)
15-08-2004, 08:33 AM
heres another on our pearlie grounds. As you can see this is a massive school of bait fish schooling really close to each other and showing up as red. While on the bottom is scattered Pearl perch showing as green. Sorry about qaulity of pic its off my video camera.
15-08-2004, 08:40 AM
this shot is Pearl Perch hanging over a weed/coral bottom and in good numbers. Pearlies can sometimes school in rows as shown and give you a false impression of wire wide growing off the bottom.
15-08-2004, 02:26 PM
Reefmaster. Thanks for my lesson to on pearlies. I've got the furuno colour which the picture looks about the same. I didn't go fishing today and still learnt something about my sounder.
15-08-2004, 03:02 PM
Top post Greg. It's all right talking about it but a picture is worth a thousand words. [smiley=gossip.gif] [smiley=computer.gif] [smiley=computer.gif]
spiro, dont over look those blue showings on the furuno especially if there a little denser then reef masters first pic. in 90meters ive seen simular showings off innisfail and pulled 500-600pounds of reds and silvers off them (no bull). off the banks youl get simular showings,usually schools of squire.i use a furuno 582 . hope we get to use them next weekend.
15-08-2004, 03:36 PM
dfox i would agree with your comments that you caught reds when your sounder showed blue but as you said it was deep water and im sure if you had turned the gain up higher it would have then shown these as yellow or red on the sounder. The deeper the water the more gain is required. And as you said squire usaully show up as blue
15-08-2004, 04:13 PM
Greg - In the first pic how deep is that trench on the LHS or is it some sort of sounder anomoly from starting engine or something ?
Rick -If youre not happy with that DSX600 sounder, I'll swap you my fantastic mono X85 lol ! ;) ;) ;D
They certainly look the goods and all reports I have seen are extremely positive so far. I am saving for one of them after my trim tabs, chart plotter, etc, etc
15-08-2004, 04:32 PM
That break in sounding usaully happens when the transducer comes out of the water or a big amount of air bubbles travels under the transducer which occurs in rough weather.
15-08-2004, 04:48 PM
One thing Jim Carlson from Trymax showed me with the JRC Plot 500Fs and FF50s is to make the hardest colour (brown/red) white. This way you get good contrast in colours between hard bottom and live stuff on top of it eg. yellow/green colours (sponges etc. which is called live bottom.) Am used to having a white line after my last sounder was a Koden and am loving the JRC. On the Koden dark blue was often Pearlies. Another mate that had the big 8" or 10" Koden went looking for these dark blue shows of Pearlies on spots like the Tiger Kelly. Some sounders will let you put a colour bar up which will show you the way the colours go. It is on the JRC and I will try and get some pics tommorrow while we stuff around with our Autopilot.
i think most fishers over look the importance of a good sounder, theres a lot of ocean bottom out there and being able to interpret with a reasonable amount of acuracy what is bellow you is very important. you may be lucky and produce reasonable results by picking up structure and fishing on it, but to really produce you need to be able to distingwish both bottom hardness, life as in weed, sponges and corals and most importantly fish life. ive found alot of fishos go out to the banks and they fish the same spot x every time and dont put in the time to sound around and locate there quarry. ive found patches of hard bottom and sounded around and located the better fish in different parts of it every time ive been there. as reef master said he caught reds on one drift and then had to find them again as they had moved. some days you find them and they just wont bight but after awhile you get to know how they appear on your set. once ive found good fish i always turn off the sounder,some may argue but ive had boats pass me while on a hot session and the fish have spooked and stoped feeding due to 1kw sounders blasting away and its happened more then once and in over 100mtrs of water.To be serious in the deeper water you need one of the better brand pref colour units' get away from the crouds and find those more isolated areas and hope everyone doesnt want to fish on top of you even 50 ks out to sea. hope that helps in some way...foxy
16-08-2004, 05:10 AM
that was a interesting read and will i think that a white bottom is a great idea and will be looking into that myself. Have only had the JRC ff50 for a few months now and havent really looked deep into the functions and only played with it on the water. Used to have a koden aswell before going to the jrc and yes both sounders do read slightly different to each other.
you have hit the nail on the head and so many people over see such important info
If you want fish you need to put the time in and find that spot x away from others.
a good example of this would be Harry Akinson reef in the middle of the bay. fishing on this reef might catch you the odd fish and lots of rubbish but fish around and away from the reef on little structures will see the qaulity fish come aboard. (at times ;D)
16-08-2004, 06:08 PM
More good info here fellas, A good topic and info. I feel at least 20% wiser. I've always thought that the red blotches in the bait schools where bigger fish, insted of bait been tighter together. I know that squire show up blue sometimes as i've got a spot where they sit, which the reef is green and yellow with a hard bottom and blue blotches at either end where i pick them up. All about 4-5-6 kilo nothing smaller or bigger there yet. The banks are the flavour for me at the moment so i wont get back to Morton for awhile to see if the fish sizes has improved at this spot.
17-08-2004, 02:52 AM
Thanks heaps guys,
Greg your a champion, now i can go a test the sounder more accurately, one thing i know is that my transducer is a little too close to the outboard coz' i get heaps of interference and a broken signal at planing speed - got to remedy this so i don't miss any Spot X's . thanks heaps for the tutorial everyone. will post some picture when i get some so we can analyze them.
Thanks agian -- Rick
17-08-2004, 07:23 AM
Don't read anything into this picture as all I took it for was to show the colour bar on the left hand side. Down the bottom, even though it looks grey is the white. You can see it progresses through the reds then green/yellows before getting into the blues.
This was shot off Scarborough yesterday in that slop. That is just wave action showing there. Check out how cold it was. We have still been getting 21 degrees out near the shelf.
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