Go ahead, ask Lance Valentine if he knows anything about catching fish and then take a step back, or better yet a comfortable seat because you are in for a verbal assault of the most informative kind.
In fact, you are going to hear what he thinks backed up by what he knows and further proved by his lifetime of doing just that; catching fish.Valentine is all about the magic of modern marine electronics, namely sonars and GPS systems which today, come in combo packages and packed with features too often unused.
In fact, Valentine is a nationally recognized instructor and advocate supported by the Lowrance company and the hundreds of anglers who attend his well-traveled road show each year.
But know this, Valentine uses his sonar and GPS to provide him the information he needs to put his single most important theory for fishing success to life. The rest is simple.
“Fish for active fish and don’t waste time on anything else except looking for more active fish,” Valentine said many times over in a Walleye 101 class held recently at Ravenna Marine.
According to Valentine, leaning how to maximize the information available on modern marine electronics is essential to consistently catching walleyes or any targeted game fish.
“Every fisherman knows how to run lures, spoons and spinners but using those typical walleye baits just anywhere can be useless unless he is lucky enough to be fishing where there are active fish. He may fish those great lures all day without catching a fish,” Valentine said, adding that consistent, successful catching is not about luck.
Finding active fish before getting lures wet is the lesson that Valentine delivers each and every time he gathers a crowd.Valentine, from Flint, Mich., hammers home his proven methods in seminars and during on-the-water charters. It’s apparent that Valentine is good at fishing and perhaps better at teaching.
The point is, according to Valentine, active fish will bite on nearly anything when they are feeding.
“I’m not claiming to be a good fisherman but I always catch fish. … always,” he said, adding that he never puts a lure in the water until he knows for sure he is on top of active fish.
Students at Valentine’s recent Walleye101 class were nothing short of amazed at his session on reading the screen. They learned that contrary to common thought, sonar units do not read depth at all.
“They register the distance traveled by the sonar ping as it bounces off the bottom or any underwater object such as a fish, and returns to the unit. When you understand that, you’ll start to see everything in a different light,” Valentine said.
He went on to illustrate to a room full of eager learners how to interpret the colors of a new HD sonar nit. One of the points that Valentine kept pushing was that thing about finding active fish before wetting a lure.
If you’ll leave your rods in their storage compartments until you’ve located you targeted fish, you’ll catch more. It’s important that fishermen with good color sonars crank them up to full or nearly full power, creating what he calls a dirty screen.
Too often, he said, anglers tend to turn the power down so the screen is nice and clear. That’s a mistake because the unit won’t show fish and other things.Valentine also stressed the importance of properly installing the unit’s underwater sending unit, called a transponder, so that target game fish can be seen clearly at top boat speeds.
According to Ravenna Marine owner Gary Tennefoss, bringing in top experts like Valentine is one of his favorite promotions.
“Activities like this aren’t about sales but are important to me to serve the boating community in ways that better their enjoyment of fishing and boating,” he said.