Seems that a lot of guys have ditched good, old-fashioned marker buoys for small, digital waypoints on a graph screen to determine their position relative to structure and fish.
According to two of Ontario-based Witch Bay Camp’s “educators”—Minnesota-based pro walleye ace Perry Good and former Fishing HotSpots senior research editor Russ Warye—big mistake.
“I use a buoy to mark the location of fish I see on my graph or as a visual point-of-reference to mark the top of a piece of structure. For example, let’s say I find a rock hump that tops off at 18 or 19 feet, then if I find a pod of fish at 21 feet. I’ll mark the very top of the hump and then use another buoy for the location of the fish. That way I can look back and see exactly where those fish are in relation to the structure,” says Warye.
Warye says the system just plain works. “I can’t think of a better reference than something I can see and cast to. I encourage anglers to start using them again.”
Perry Good agrees. “Most of the time, I use a buoy to mark and see the exact top of a hump, especially if I want to pitch jigs up on top. When I’m pitching submerged structure I want to know exactly where that spot-on-the-spot is. The buoy gives me solid orientation.”
Personally, I’ve often used buoys when drift fishing or slow-trolling live bait rigs for walleyes. As soon as someone hooks a fish after a lull, I’ll throw out a buoy and come back and work the fish with a slip float rig or vertical jig presentation.
Same thing goes for schools of crappies over main basin areas—and I’m sure you can think of at least a half dozen other applications where mark buoys can help you stay on fish.
While today’s fishing electronics and high-definition digital GPS maps offer anglers some very real advantages, combined with the use of old-school marker buoys, your fishing can only get more effective.
Learn more about Ontario’s Witch Bay Camp and their 20-year-old “Fishing Program,” which pairs angler-guests with knowledgeable pros like Perry Good and Russ Warye at no additional cost. WitchBay.com
Check out Russ Warye’s books here.