Knowing where the best fishing zones are located is an art form. Part of the picture is made up of oceanographic forecasts. Inside TZ Professional v3, there are numerous forecasts such as Altimetry, Geographic currents, SST and Plankton/Chlorophyll.
Phytoplankton are the base of the ocean food. They are single cell organisms that use chlorophyll within their cells to carry out photosynthesis, the process of generating energy from light. Phytoplankton are dependent not only on sunlight but nutrients and temperature. As colder waters tend to have more nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates and sulfur that can be converted into proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, phytoplankton tend to be found in larger numbers around the polar regions and in areas where the ocean currents bring cold water towards the surface.
What does the average sport fishing professional use to catch more fish you ask? Well if you already have your fishing equipment then let’s look at the electronic equipment.
While you will probably have a GPS connected, it will be necessary to set this up with your sport fishing software. This is even possible remotely in some cases.
Make sure your GPS is NMEA-0813 standard! NMEA-0813 sounds a bit complicated but it is a standard for electrical and data communication that is understood by all marine electronics. It also lets you convert the GPS data to your VHF radio on your boat in case of an incident so that your VHF can then relay your positioning. For more info on NMEA-0813 click here. There is also a new NMEA standard, NMEA-2000 that will eventually replace NMEA-0813. This new standard will provide a higher baud rate (more information per second can be sent) allowing for multiple speakers at any one time amongst other improvements.
Professional sport fishing has become more sophisticated and now most sport fishing professionals are using sounders that are capable of providing the bathymetry of the seafloor as well as capturing shoals of fish. If you have a waterproof environment then you can connect up your sounder to a software and in some cases in can be done wirelessly.
Perhaps you have also asked what is a sounder exactly. The real difference between a sounder and a sonar is that a sonar scans 360 degrees, whereas a sounder, also known as a fixed mount transducer scans for fish and the sea floor in one direction.
When searching for sounders, you should look for one that is labelled as a “fish finder”. For TIMEZERO software, if you pick up a Furuno fish finder, you will get full compatibility for TZ Professional v3 (for compatibility check the Furuno website). The following features are displayable directly within the software: Sounder Echogram, Accu-Fish, Bottom Discrimination.
Let’s take a look at what these features provide:
Sounder Echogram Display
This feature displays fish with amazing clarity by cleaning up the “noise” from the sounder. But not only does it find and display fish, it can identify fish and provide historic data (up to 3 minutes), so you won’t miss a thing! There is also the possibility to geolocate the fish so you can get to the spot where the fish are more accurately.
This feature is designed to analyse the data and estimate the fish size (of individual fish).
Bottom Discrimination Display
This feature’s main purpose is to locate a gold mine of a fishing ground or just the best spots in your local area, to maximise your catch. It determines what the seafloor is made up of, so for example, it can determine whether it is mud, sand, gravel or rock. It does this by determining the filtration rate of the sounder echo waves.
For more information on the TZ Sounder Module, click here
Sport fishing software for PC and or MFD
While MFDs have recently been a very popular choice with products such as the TZ Touch 2 being ideal sport fishing gear, sport fishing software is now a great choice. TZ Professional v3 with the Sounder & PBG module will allow you to do more than you think!
One example of how software helps you capture fish smarter is using your sounder connected to your PC to scan and collect bathymetry data in real time. If you are looking for a specific type of fish in a certain area, then having accurate bathymetry data will let you know where your best bet is by highlighting areas of only a certain depth.
Once the fishing area has been configured, you can manually configure the contour lines to be as precise as 0.2m which will display a new contour line every 5th contour. One problem that even the most expert of sounder users encounter is that the colour doesn’t always change when focusing on certain depth lines, which is another advantage of our TZ Professional v3. It can be manually colour coded, meaning that even when you get into precise measurements, the software is as easy to read and understand as ever. From there you can scan the sea for fish until you hit gold.
PBG software evolution
The evolution of PBG software for PCs has developed a lot over a short space of time. This image shows the evolution of resolution that you can display (recently increased two-fold, now 1.5m x 1.5m). Extrapolate PBG data automatically in real time with seamless customizing of brush size, is just one of the advantages of TZ Professional v3 navigation software. Another advantage is that TZ Professional v3 will even automatically identify and remove “erroneous” PBG data which will definitely be an addition for you to really use your sounder to its fullest potential.
And just one more of the many improvements with the new PBG module is that you can edit the 3D imported database (no longer limited to just the user data).
For more information on TZ Professional v3, click here.
How do I set up my instruments?
Ok but getting the electronic equipment is only half the battle, how do I connect everything up and know whether it is working or not before I set out on my boat? Let’s take a look at connecting instruments and what the different types of electrical specification are.
The equipment must be in either NMEA-0183 or NMEA-2000 in order for the information to be compatible from one instrument to another. In order to connect instruments, there are actually 2 different connectors: RS-232 and RS-422.
The RS-232 is your standard PC COM port and you probably have one on your PC (although now the majority of laptops have now switched to HDMI).
Example of Connecting GPS to PC
The image shows how the PC only requires two wires to be connected as it is only receiving information from the GPS. You will know if your GPS is running RS-232 or RS-422 by the amount of wires it has. RS-232 has 3 wires (transceiver, receiver and common ground) whereas RS-422 has 4 (2 transceiver and 2 receiver wires).
With Furuno depth sounders you can connect directly via a network cable or by RS-422. So if you are going down the route of a RS-422 connecter and you want it to connect to a serial COM port then you will have to use a RS-422 to RS-232 adapter.
The RS-422 differs from the RS-232 in that it does not use a common ground wire, instead it uses 4 wires: TD-A (Transmit Positive), TD-B (Transmit Negative), RD-A (Receive Positive) and RD-B (Receive Negative).
Depending on whether you want to talk back to the sounder or not, you may wish to connect up the TD-A and TD-B wires of the converter, however in this example let’s just look at receiver wires. The white wire from the converter needs to be connected to the RD-A and the black wire to the RD-B.
Why does RS-422 provide more accurate data than RS-232?
The RS-422 differs from the RS-232 by having two wires each for sending and receiving and then detects the voltage “difference” between them. This provides more accurate data because the noise that can cause erroneous results affects both wires in more or less the same way and seeing as the receiving side only detects the difference in voltage, it eradicates the noise problem.
Let’s look at setting up a Serial to USB adapter
Having already established that a serial port won’t work for modern day laptops, let’s look at how to connect a serial to USB adapter. You simply need to go to any electric store and pick up a converter. Once you have the hardware, download a driver (either from the CD that comes with the converter or online) which will then allow the PC to recognize the instrument in a virtual COM port.
Note: Make sure that these converters are compatible with RS-232 or RS-422
Once everything is set-up you will need to go into the Control Panel and make sure that your PC can see the virtual port in Device Manager. As soon as you have everything in order you can go out and start fishing smarter by catching bigger fish in the best areas!
Pourquoi avoir choisi TZ Professional v3 by MaxSea ?
A vrai dire, il y a plus de 10 ans que je connais les avantages de MaxSea (version 7 à l’époque). J’étudiais mes dérives à la maison sur les cartes Raster précises. Je ne l’utilisais pas en mer et j’ai toujours rêvé de personnaliser mes cartes en fonction de ce que voit le sondeur grâce à la bathymétrie. Il y a 2 ans, j’ai voulu passer un cap et j’ai embarqué sur mon semi-rigide, une version moderne de MaxSea TIMEZERO couplée avec un combiné Garmin GPSMAP et une sonde CHIRP. J’ai alors capturé un bar de 8,6 kg homologué record du monde.
MaxSea is proud to be a partner of The Ashram Fishing Team. This Australian-based team recently participated in the “Seasport Charters Marlin Cup,” using MaxSea TimeZero PLOT on board. Here is their account of how the tournament went.
The team is made up of Sangeeta Menon, Andy Ziepe, Mark Jarrett and Rhyss Whittred. The Seasport Charters Marlin Cup was hosted by the Perth Game Fishing Club in Jurien Bay, and ran from February 20-23rd.
Jurien Bay is approx. 400km north of Team Ashram’s home port and boasts some excellent game fishing species. The winner of this tournament receives an invite to compete in the Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica for 2015.
Rhyss Whittred gives us his account of the tournament:
“For our team this was the first major tournament we had competed in since I purchased my Wellcraft 270 and revamped the electronics to include Maxsea TimeZero PLOT and Furuno’s latest technology. I can’t say how keen we were to compete and in fact one of the teams there had the reigning world champion angler on board Valkoista (Craig White).
It was a 3 day tournament with your 2 best days fishing score counting towards overall championship points. The night before the tournament commenced I downloaded the latest Maxsea weather file and carefully worked out our fishing plan in line with sea surface temp, currents and plankton.
We headed out and had a cracker of a day. The Maxsea oceanic data was spot on and my team was fantastic with their art of angling and we managed Southern Blue Fin, Striped and Yellowfin Tuna to give us some great points of 2,850 points and our nearest competitors were on 375 points.
Saturday dawned and I planned to go to the same area north where we had done so well the day before. Alas, the water temperature was down 2 degrees, with no bait and no birds. We could hear others on the radio with great fishing results. Unfortunately I had left my mobile phone at the hotel and couldn’t download a current weather file. We were now at a complete low and did not turn a reel for the day.
The next morning I was up very early and downloaded the weather file and made a plan of attack. In fact the good water and temperature breaks we had 2 days before where now 40kms south of Jurien and we needed to get among it. With the early start we got down there in time for lines in at 6am and once again we tagged our limit of tuna and returned to port.
The scoring by other teams was very good and it was an absolute pleasure to have revealed that the Ashram Team picked up Champion Boat, Champion Female Angler, Runner Up Male Angler and Champion Tag and Release.
So my friends at Maxsea, I thank you all for your cutting edge technology and how it all worked in so well with my Furuno equipment and helping us to win this tournament.”
– Rhyss Whittred
Thanks Rhys! And best of luck for the World Marlin Championships in Costa Rica!
We just wanted to let you know we have fresh new NOAA charts for both Raster and Vector format. There is also Block charts update only available for TZ Professional v3. Please consult the list to see which charts are involved.
Check out our Facebook page to find examples of the improvements to the charts and find out about big changes in an area near you that you may not have been aware of: Vector | Raster
This week, MaxSea partner Olivier Journaux, A.K.A. Cpt. OJ, gives his advice on how to find the best fishing spots. He does this both by using the right onboard equiment, and by understanding the types of areas that certain fish like to be found. Cpt. OJ is an accomplished athlete who now provides sport fishing lessons in France.
When fishing with a line, jigging or vertical bait fishing, it has become essential to be extremely precise. In my line of work, I coach recreational sport fishing.
For this, it is important for me to position the boat as close as possible to the fish so that my customers can enjoy close contact with the beautiful fish.
It is also essential to constantly discover new fishing areas, which allow me to manage the amount of fishing in each spot. In this way, I take one or two fish per area out of the water and practice the “catch and release” technique that I described in this earlier MaxSea blog post here.
Then I move on to another area before returning again several days later.
Finding predator fish
To catch a predator fish, first we must find the place it is most likely to be. This is obviously the biggest job, the hardest and longest one to master.
Where are the fish
95% of the time, bars, shade-fish and saithe can generally be found near the water surface. They position themselves above their prey and upstream of the current. The pout, their main food source, usually hides in hollows. As a result, it is very common to catch bars and lean on rock surfaces as this is where the pouts can be found.
To be able to localise the fish, it is essential to have a sounder and GPS system with nautical charts. Unfortunately electronic charts are never 100% accurate. Maxsea TimeZero PLOT or MaxSea TimeZero SportFishing are perfectly suited to fishing as it allows the user to record the sea floor and generate their own, extremely accurate chart of their favourite fishing grounds.
Useful features within MaxSea TimeZero
A computer with MaxSea TimeZero connected to the GPS and sounder can store unlimited depth points, and adjusts for the current water level depending on the time and date (integrated tide information).
This means that by simply navigating in your fishing spot, you are simultaneously saving thousands of contour lines and the precision of your seabed data becomes increasingly sharp.
Thus, in places where all charts tell you that the bottom is flat, you discover hidden contours, sometimes more than 10m high over distances of 500m long. All you need to do is to explore the area with your sounder.
MaxSea offers the ability to create whatever you want, ideal routes, specific marks that can represent fish, rocky peaks , buoys, wrecks etc.
Then you can also add comments to each mark. In TimeZero software, you can consult classic hydrographic office charts, and add your own bathy data, and even record a bottom classification to view the type of sediment in each area
Types of spots favoured by fish
Depending on the direction of the current, we can have a good idea of where fish are most likely to be found.
They are usually
upstream of the current and
above the rocks (the highest point)
just below the first step of a rocky “staircase” if there is one in the area. They like these spots because it means that they are high up yet sheltered from the current. It is often a favourite spot for saithe when the current exceeds 1.5 knots.
By following these steps, I personally found wonderful fishing areas in the rocky waters of Antioch and Breton in France where I came across beautiful fish that had never previously been disturbed by humans.
This module allows advanced sailors to manually control and adjust the weather file parameters in order to get more accurate results. It also introduces the variability notion, helping the skipper to identify the particular moments in the navigation where strategy choices are critical.
Sea surface currents, temperature, chlorophyll concentration and altimetry provide essential data for efficient and productive fishing and a better understanding of the behavior of fish (pelagic fish in particular) and better target fishing zones.
Sea Surface Temperature
MaxSea TimeZero Plot offers an accurate, detailed display of the surface temperature, obtained via satellite. Each new version of MaxSea offers data that is increasingly global and more and more accurate.
The most important point is to clearly identify “rupture zones”, or in other words, thermal fronts where masses of water of different temperatures converge (in this image, a red zone, which is hotter, is encountering a yellow zone, which is colder). Fronts are likely to shelter more bait fish and therefore fish (mainly pelagic fish).
MaxSea TimeZero allows the selective display of a specific range of sea surface temperature, when targeting specific conditions.
Altimetry is an anomaly in the surface water height, in relation to a referenced mean sea surface height. These surface height measurements indicate the below surface temperature of water columns which change less quickly than the surface temperature.
The warmer the water is, the more the anomaly will be “positive” (higher than the referenced mean surface height) and vice versa.
The altimetry is obtained by radar detection. Unlike the surface temperature, sensing it is not susceptible to the presence of clouds. It therefore provides efficient information supplemental to the surface temperature. Here too, the zones where masses of warm water and cold water converge are the most interesting.
Thanks to MaxSea it is easy to use graphical display, it is easy to determine potentially fruitful fishing zones.
The fronts between warm and cold zones (between positive and negative anomalies) are zones where pelagic fish and particularly tuna are more likely to be present.
Indicating rising water and therefore rising nutrients and phytoplankton. Cold eddies are zones where pelagic fish are likely to find their food. Surface currents and eddy zones offer highly complementary, useful data, completely free of charge and on a flexible basis via the MaxSea Chopper interface (choice of zone, size of the zone, etc.).
Chlorophyll concentration is a measure of the abundance of algae, also called phytoplankton, which account for most of the plant production in the ocean. Phytoplankton is difficult to measure directly, yet they are the direct or indirect source of food for most marine animals. MaxSea Chopper interface allows you to consult Data of Chlorophyll Concentration indicated in mg/m3.
With MaxSea TimeZero Plot, enjoy the benefit of free and accurate oceanographic data in order to identify your potential fishing zones, save fuel, time and operating costs, and achieve higher performance.
With the help, patience and boat of Olivier Journaux (aka Captain’OJ, an oldtime partner), MaxSea’s sales team went sea bass sportfishing a while ago. We brought you the pictures.
A very difficult weather and poor technical skills (sorry guys, we have to admit it), it was quite a challenge for the team to fish anything. Captain’OJ, the only pro on board, caught the first sea bass (a 1,5 kg piece) that was released immediatly:
Sales Director Frederic Algalarrondo caught the second fish, a 3,6kg sea bass also released as the team only wanted to keep one.
Next fish was caught by Area Sales Manager Philippe Raba (3,5 kg):
Fourth sample (4,1kg!) was caught by Area Sales Manager Thibault Hua:
The icing on the cake was a magnificent 5,2kg sea bass caught by Philippe (second fish of the day and of his entire life) and kept by the crew.
User Testimony of MaxSea Time Zero Explorer By Keith Johnson, Game Fisherman, Port Stephens
JN Taylor the Australian distributor for Furuno, Maxsea and other leading brands of marine electronics was once again in 2009 the major sponsor for the largest offshore game fishing tournament in the southern hemisphere – the 2009 NSW Riviera Interclub . The Interclub event runs over 10 days at the end of February each year and is as much a festival for life around the water as a fishing tournament. Hosted at the picturesque coastal holiday town of Port Stephens on the Central coast of New South Wales two hours drive North of Sydney, the local fishing grounds are world renowned for proving one of the most consistent fisheries for all species of Marlin. Continue reading →