When fishing clear-water small streams and wading along the shore, anglers pay close attention to the location of riffles, pools, and especially, “holes” and how fish relate to these visible features. However when fishing in a boat on large, possibly murky water, it all looks the same. That’s why most anglers cast along the shoreline. This is a target they can see.

Electronic “fish-finders” help anglers locate features in a seemingly featureless body of water. I have a lot to learn about reading electronics but for my unit, unless ice fishing or the kids need something to watch between bites, I try not to be distracted by those pixilated fish taunting me by cruising across the screen; I’m looking for a quick change in depth. Not that there aren’t fish on wide, flat areas too but when the going gets rough, it is hard to beat a hole.

The definition of a “hole” varies regionally. In some places, it can mean a change of depth measured in inches. Mark Zona, co-host on the Bassmasters television program frequently illustrates that in Elite series tournaments with high pressure for a few days, locating a difference of depth of just a few more inches can mean landing big bass that others can’t. And Jeff Knapp, veteran smallmouth bass guide often seeks “scour holes”, which are midstream and measured only in inches.

So when Allegheny River angler, Joe Stefanacci shared the location of a “hole,” I had to ask the depth with a skeptical eyebrow raise. “30 feet,” he said. That got my attention and earned a permanent spot in my memory banks of places to cast.

Also, I think it was Elite Bassmaster angler Tommy Biffle who said, “A channel is just as good as a hole.” Many lakes are actually impoundments of watersheds. Those deepest channels are just long holes which can be fish highways such as when fish transition to or from spawning areas.

With the recent purchase of our boat, I look forward to gaining a better understanding of what is down there with my electronics. Do you have a good “hole?”

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.