Maybe you have seen those professional fishermen on TV who compete in tournaments to make their living. I watch the tournaments as much as I can because I pick up little tips from them occasionally. I see them quite frequently talking about the structure that is under the water in the lake that they are fishing. They will say things like “There is a road that runs through here.” or something like “A bank drops off right here and goes for some depth.” The reason they are able to say such things is they have done significant research on the lake and the structures that lay at its bottom. They need this information to help them know where the fish are so they can fish in the right place and catch them. Before they go out on the water to start the tournament the fisherman use a tool called Contour Elite to find out everything they can about the lake and the fish that are in the lake. They want to know where all the shallows and deep areas are, the ridges and grassey areas, basically where the fish will be trying to seek cover and have access to bait fish that they can eat. Based on current conditions, such time of year, time of day, and weather conditions, they want to know where the fish will likely be so they can fish there. The Contour Elite tool gives them this all this information before they go to the lake. The tool is very easy to use and it is available for you to use as well. It allows professional fishermen to do advanced planning and be successful on their fishing trip and you can do that too.
You will need to select a lake that you are familiar with as a place that you want to fish. As you do research about and make more trips to your favorite lake, you will increase your ability to be successful in catching fish. You can determine in advance where the fish are that you are wanting to catch in your favorite lake with Contour Elite. As you know you have to take into consideration the time of year in which you will make your trip, what the weather is like, and the condition of the water in the lake. CE will allow you to do this in your research just like the professionals.
The product comes on a DVD and you install it on your PC that is connected to the internet. You do your planning with this tool before you go to the lake. Decide what lake you are going to fish then get a copy of the Contour Elite library for the area of the country where your lake is located. You have the ability to select from several lakes in your region of the country. If you don't see the lake that you would like to fish on the list you can download lakes from the CE server if you desire. The data for each lake takes up considerable disk space on your PC, so it is wise to only download those in which you have interest. The lakes that you have on your computer disk or the ones on your Contour Elite disk will appear on the list of “Lakes Available for this Region” To start your research of a lake just click its name on the list and click the “Open Lake” button at the bottom of the window. The data for your selected lake will be loaded.
Try out Contour Elite before you buy it with a free demo version. You can download the demo version with this link: http://contourelite.com/downloads/demo/ .
All you will see to start is the outline of part or all of the lake when you open a lake. I will take you through some of the features here, but you will need to experiment with this product. It is chock full of capability to help you catch more fish. First, click the “Display” option on the menu. On this menu are three options that you might want to review first, “contours”, “contour labels”, and “depth background”. If you click “contours” to “on” you will see the gradient lines between depths in the lake. Now click “contour labels” to “on” to see the measured depths in the lake displayed. Then click “depth background” to “on” to see shading for the various depths. These three options are important when it comes time to find where the fish are located in the lake.
Leave those options all “on” and go to the menu called “Fish Search”. This is where the capability of this product shines. A box opens titled “Fish Search”. In the box are a list of fish species called “Target Species”. Also there are lists for “Time of Year”, Time of Day”, and “Other Conditions”. Using these lists you can set the species of fish you want to catch and the current conditions in which you will fish. For an example search let's say we want to catch largemouth bass, it is summer time, and we will be fishing in the morning. The skies are clear and it is a calm day. With those settings made, click the button “Execute Search”. You will see a box that gives you some general fishing tips for the species of fish you selected during the conditions you selected. Click the “Close” Button to see red shading in the lake for the most probable areas of the lake where you can likely catch largemouth bass. You have the ability to “Zoom in” on parts of the lake or “Drag” your viewpoint of the lake to look at other areas.
By looking at the Contour Elite map you know where on the lake you will be putting your boat in the water. If you are like me you will want to mark waypoints for places that you would like to fish as close as you can get to where you put your boat into the lake. Now you know where the bass are most likely to be for your fishing trip because of your fish search. You can set up spots or waypoints on the map where you would like to fish. I usually set at least 3 waypoints and try to spend some time at each one unless one spot becomes very hot and I am catching fish, then I will stay there for a longer time. You can set as many waypoints as you like because you can see where the fish are most likely to be. These waypoints are very important since you want to take them with you to the lake and know exactly where the fish are.
Set your wayponts by opening the “Target Tool”. It is a red circle with an arrow in it on the menu. Then you will see the”Target Tool” box open. Click the “Draw New Target Spot” button. Now click the mouse where you want to set that exact fishing location on the map. I usually click in the middle of one of the shaded areas that were created by the fish search for this. A “Target Name” box will open that you can name the spot and put in comments about the spot. After you have entered all the spots where you want to fish you can view a list of all the spots you created by clicking “Open Target Tool Table” button. You will see a list of the details of each spot or waypoint you have created.
Now you want to export this list of waypoints so that you can import them into your Humminbird Fish Finder. To do this click the “Export Targets to GPS” button. You will see a box that let's you setup the export. First you need to pick the GPS format in the dropdown list at the top of the box. In this example we are exporting only waypoints so select “Humminbird waypoints and routes (hwr)” from the list. Since we have only setup waypoints here you should see the waypoints or spots listed in the list to the left. Now enter the path to the location on your PC to which you want to export your waypoints. For this file to be useful after it is imported into your Humminbird Fish Finder the file must be named with an extension of “hwr”. It must also be put into a folder called “matrix” for it to import correctly.
When I do the import I will have an empty SD or scan disk available. I create a “matrix” folder on the SD and name it “matrix”. I have the Contour Elite program just write the “hwr” file that I created with my “Fish Search” directly on to the SD into the “matrix” folder. Then I can put the SD into a slot on my Humminbird Fish Finder and import the data there. The only data that can be imported this way are waypoints and routes. The shading that you see in the Contour Elite map cannot be imported. You really don't need the shaded information if you have done a good job of placing your waypoints where the fish are expected to be located.
You will need to experiment with the Controur Elite program to learn all the capabilities of the program. If you use it correctly it can help you catch a lot more fish without working so hard to do it!