I recently received my first mapping service from Donald Harper and wanted to share my experiences so far and also how I plan to put it all into action.
After deciding what lake and the time of year I wanted the mapping services for, Mr. Harper was very quick to get the information to me.
The information came via e-mail, was able to be saved and printed, and was very easy to read and understand. There was no need for a follow up e-mail or phone call asking to explain something. It started with an EXTREMELY detailed write-up on what to look for, what to try, and what to consider. For me and how I approach new lakes, the write-up alone is going to drastically help with shortening the learning curve.
Anybody with a basic knowledge of Navionics or Lakemaster will not have a problem. The mapping Mr. Harper provides uses Navionics and at first I was a little concerned because I use Lakemaster maps. However, after sitting down in front of my graph I found it very easy to transfer the information over from Navionics onto my Lakemaster map.
There’s a “key” map that’s an overall view of the lake and has each “spot” labeled with its respective number (there’s 20 spots). Next there’s a detailed map that’s zoomed in over each individual spot. The key is useful because without it, unless you’re a land navigation expert, it would be difficult to figure out where each spot was.
In addition to the write-up for the lake there’s a very detailed breakdown for each spot. It goes as far as talking about boat positioning, considerations for the boater, considerations for the co-angler, and even where to cast.
After reading the write-up, going through the breakdown of each spot, and studying the maps that were provided, I prepared to enter all the information into my graph. The information is entered manually, so yes it did take some time. For me however I prefer the “manual” do it yourself aspect because usually when I’m able to just plug something in I miss the subtle details. Because I had to manually find the spot, match the contour lines, press the mark button, select the icon, and save each spot, I feel I’ve got a much more in depth knowledge of the spot and what’s there.
One thing I learned really quick was I had to be creative with my icons. The map on the top is what Mr. Harper provided and the one on the bottom is after I entered the information onto my graph (the yellow arrows were added after to illustrate the boat path and casting targets). The solid red line on Mr. Harper’s map is optimal boat bath, circles around an “x” are casting points, and circled objects are high percentage areas / objects. It doesn’t show what each icon is on my map because zooming far enough to make them appear cut out the rest of the fishing spot and I only wanted to use one pic for this. The waypoints that mark a particular object such as a rock pile have a rock pile, if it’s a waypoint that indicates a spot to cast at I used a target, for spots that aren’t so obvious for boat control I used a “car” icon to indicate where to drive the boat. Once I drive the spot for the firsf time, I’ll save my track and will delete the car icons.
I plan to put the information to work in the near future and will do a write-up documenting my experience. I’ll also be doing a video in the very near future on how I entered the information on my graph.
Thanks and tight lines.