Recently a friend asked me how important a speed and temperature at depth probe is to open water trout and salmon trolling. I think I shocked him when I said if forced to choose between a sonar unit or a speed, depth, temperature probe I’d pick the depth probe every time.
Trout and salmon are so temperature sensitive it’s possible to target these fish by simply finding layers of water that are at the preferred water temperature. For my money the best tool for this job is the Fish Hawk X4+ Depth or the new X4D that uses bluetooth technology for monitoring and saving data. These invaluable machines measures trolling speed at depth, water temperature at depth and also surface water temperature.
All of this critical fishing information is achieved using a transducer based signal that eliminates any need to transfer data through an oversized downrigger cable. A small probe mounts just above the downrigger weight and communicates with a transducer mounted to the transom. The data is in turn viewed on an LCD screen that can be mounted at the helm or any convenient place in the boat. With the X4D models anglers can view this invaluable information on their smart phone or tablet.
I generally mount the LCD screen on the Fish Hawk right next to my downrigger. This way when I’m moving the downrigger weight up and down in the water column, it’s easy to monitor temperature breaks and thermoclines.
A short break away cable is mounted to the downrigger weight and the probe. This way if the downrigger ball hangs on bottom and breaks off, the probe is not lost.
The Fish Hawk is useful for finding warmer water early in the season when the main lake temperature is icy cold. During the warmer part of the year the Fish Hawk again is invaluable for finding cooler bands of water that typically concentrate salmon and trout.
The Fish Hawk is also invaluable for monitoring trolling speed at the ball. Often due to subsurface currents the speed the boat is moving over ground at the surface is much different than the speed the downrigger balls and other gear are moving at depth.
Most trolling gear is speed sensitive, so knowing exactly how fast the gear is moving at depth is another critical piece of information anglers can’t get without the help of the Fish Hawk. The Fish Hawk is also a durable piece of equipment that will last the average angler a lifetime. Easy to use and accurate, the information the Fish Hawk provides is every bit as valuable as that provided by a sonar unit.