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 is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.