Archive for the ‘Fishing Spot Specs ™ News and Tips’ Category – Define Your Search For Big Fish Only

January 24, 2010

Ever get off the water and on the drive home think to yourself, “I wish I had gone over there or used a different bait there.” This could be a form a second guessing but it seems more to me like the wheels are turning upstairs, evaluating the day and storing the information away in the old memory bank to be used on a subsequent trip. This is a situation where Fishing Spot Specs (FSS) can really have an impact on your day before going feet wet. The right search can start you down the right logical track by giving you a chance to probe the data and eliminate dead ends.



In competitive fishing the goal is normally to get the five biggest bass to bring back to the scales. There are exceptions to this but let’s take a look at how to search for the big fish only pattern. One way is to do a search for the WEIGHT range:

This works well and will return every record available where a smallmouth bass was caught in the 3 lb. to 6 lb. range. This means that if one smallie was caught at a spot then it would show up on this search. This could be enough if the total number of spots returned in your search gives you the right logistics to run from spot-to-spot.

Another way to do this is to search for the AVG. WEIGHT range:

The assortment of spots here will reflect smallmouth that were caught in larger numbers per spot. In this case one spot could make your whole tournament so the next step is to include weather and water data in your search to be sure the spot will hold up under the conditions you will be facing.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter – The Difference Between Weight and Avg. Weight

January 23, 2010

When locking fishing information into a database format one question in particular comes up about how to record multiple fish caught at one time. The simplest entry is when only one bass is caught: smallmouth 3.1 lbs. If I catch five smallies and they are all at 3.1 lbs. then that’s not so hard, just add a field for how many were caught: 5 smallmouth 3.1 lbs. It gets a lot tougher when those five fish all weight something different. On the water the latter is the most likely scenario and that’s where the AVG. WEIGHT comes in.

A typical catch of five bass on a single spot can look like this: 2.1 lbs., 1.7 lbs., 1.9 lbs., 1.7 lbs. and 2.4 lbs. (weight in 10ths). The way this report would record the event would look like this:

WEIGHT – 2.4 lbs.
AVG WEIGHT – 2 lbs.

The top weight available is 2.4 lbs. and that goes into the weight entry, the average weight comes to 2 lbs. and that is a good indicator of what you can expect should you decide to use this spot.

But wouldn’t it be more accurate if each bass was listed separately like this:

2.1 lbs.
1.7 lbs.
1.9 lbs.
1.7 lbs.
2.4 lbs.

More accurate, perhaps but there are two important parts of information delivery that would suffer.

1) Managing data input – When using the first method data entry for the WEIGHT and AVG. WEIGHT was simple and easy to do on the water and when entering the data into the database. Sure, it makes it easier on me but it also increases the demands on the search engine and the shear volume of time it would take to enter absolutely everything.

2) Getting reliable and actionable output – For the end user the two facts concerning the biggest bass and the average quality can be the most useful. This distills the list of five bass (it could be a lot more than five in many cases) into it’s significant components.

If we went with the second method of listing weights, one-by-one, then the data would have to be crunched at the back end otherwise the user would end up with reams of accurate, but un-distilled information to sort through. Entry time would be increased significantly and the search engine would be tasked harder with no increase in the value of the data.

Hopefully this report was helpful toward understanding the WEIGHT v.s. AVG. WEIGHT issue. When you do your free sort you can talk a look at the strength of these categories to help you decide what report to purchase.

(c) Wayne Carpenter – The Difference between Text and Notes

January 22, 2010

Knowing what the search results are telling you is the key to selecting a quality report to print out. Since you can search for free, taking the time to get it right is made easy so my goal is to do everything I can to help you clearly understand the output. Below is live text from the Combat Bass Fishing database for you to be able to see the difference between the two:

TEXT (What happened on the water – factual account with or without anecdotal information added in)
While working the lake side edge of the bulrushes we only came up with one short smallmouth. We worked the full stretch starting at the Bassett and ending at the Chematogan.

NOTES (Why this spot was targeted or other useful descriptions which would add clarity to the TEXT or other data elements of the report – Very similar to color commentary in sports)
I was looking to see if the bite on the open flat was any stronger at the shallower edges that terminated at the bulrushes

TEXT is almost always part of a Fishing Spot Specs (FSS) report and it isn’t really necessary to have clarifying NOTES to get the type of information you are looking for. NOTES does enhance the report though and as you use FSS you can evaluate the value of those as you go. The word count for both TEXT and NOTES are included in the Search Results and that can also be a criteria you might want to use when choosing a data report.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

How To Evaluate Bass Fishing Information/A Parallel

January 19, 2010

Before we wade deep into the murky waters of the current concept of what is considered bass fishing data of value we should draw some parallels with information we have learned to depend on everyday.

Weather information is the closest relative to what is now available through Historical information is related through posted High and Low temperatures for the day for us to compare with the forecast temperature. Snowfall/rainfall totals are shown to us to give us a relative sense of where we are compared to where we have been.

The range of forecast temperatures, precipitation and sky conditions are fed to us daily in a 24 hour format broken down into time segments we can relate to for our morning and evening commute and more. Add to that real-time radar coverage for our area, expand that out to the region and in some cases the nation. This adds up to useful data that can be applied to our day. As intense and computer massaged as this information is it’s not always as accurate as we would like, but it is the best available.

Even in this scenario with all the private and government resources placed at our disposal the final value of the data comes down to how we apply it. When I look at weather data I’m looking for trends. No matter what type of forecast it is (on TV or in text format off the internet) I rarely take it at face value and interpret it based on my local experience with weather systems I have dealt with in the past. I’ve developed a comfort level with this process and find that surprises are few after applying my judgment to the data.

Bass fishing information doesn’t begin to approach a data delivery system on the level we examined in the above paragraphs. Even with the roll out of Fishing Spot Specs (FSS) we are just seeing the beginnings of how this infrastructure to serve bass anglers everywhere will develop. As you work with the data presented by FSS you too will begin to apply your judgment to the reports and dial in on the best possible fishing day on the water that you can have.

A Fuel Cell for Bass Fishing Information

January 18, 2010

Energy can be stored in countless ways from the steam engines of old to futuristic storage modules that can power entire spaceships. From then until then the concept remains the same…you can’t leave home without it. Today our lives revolve around liquid fuels, batteries and current flowing through wires which power the tools we use but it’s how we use these tools that makes them effective. If the goal is to catch more and bigger bass then finding a source of power that makes regular success a reality is worth plugging into.

Let’s take a look at some of the staple elements which comprise modern fishing information:

BAIT SELECTION – Vast resources are available to dial in baits which cover both general and unique methods.
CHOICE OF PRESENTATION – Articles, books, TV, videos and seminars bring us up-to-date on the latest techniques.
BASS POSITION (SEASONAL or SITUATIONAL) – The same bevy of articles and such give us advanced information on bass habits
WEATHER REPORTS – The variety of information and technology is intense. Some information gets as detailed as winds and water temps from buoys in the field. This information covers both recent and real time data (today’s personal technology make it possible for it to be delivered in real time).
MAPPING – Mapping continues to hit new heights in detail and on board delivery systems.

This list gives us a good meat and potatoes array of tools to create a plan and execute it on the water but will this plan be accurate? Will it be flexible? We know where to get gas to fuel our tow vehicle and boat, we know which batteries energize our GPS and sonar but where is the fuel that brings our fishing information to life?

Here are some examples of bass fishing information energy we can use to power our plan for a successful fishing day: Call in fishing reports, personal log books, your best friends report from his day on the water, and Marked Maps Live!


* Call in fishing reports – These can be very helpful and when combined with all the other resources can make for a good day on the water. STORED ENERGY – About that of a single 9V battery

* Personal log books – I recommend that everyone keep a personal fishing log, I have some going back up to 15 years. These can give us key spots to hit or miss based on historical activity but they are not sortable and require skill on the part of the user as to what information is relevant. A personal log kept on a spreadsheet or database has more power yet it is still limited by the experience of one person. STORED ENERGY – Plugging into a 120V socket on the wall with a cord

* Your best friends report from his day on the water – This is the first level of information yet with real power. Since you’ve fished with your friend his habits, choice of bait and fishing style and location is familiar to you. His information comes from a recent experience on the water so this “live” data can have a real and direct impact on your trip out. He can only tell you about the spots he’s been to though. STORED ENERGY – A tankful of gas to get you where you need to go

* Fishing Spot Specs (FSS) and Marked Maps Live! – Both of these information services relay large amounts of stored historical data along with a broad range of fishing reports. In the case of FSS a powerful search engine can bring historical and recent reports together and with MM Live! a range of reporters deliver recent data on 27 individual map segments on Lake St. Clair. Both services dial in on spot specific data with a variety of strong information enhancements to help you interpret the results for use in planning the best day you can have on the water. Internet technology and cell phones make the potential for this information to be as real time as it gets. STORED ENERGY – Nuclear

So now it is possible to combine all of the above types of fishing information to reach the best possible result from your planning and for your execution of that plan on the water. The resulting arsenal to take out there with you can be:

Call in fishing reports, personal logs, best friend, and Marked Maps Live!

Results – limitless!

(c) Wayne Carpenter

The new Fishing Spot Specs site – What exactly is there and how would I use it?

January 16, 2010

This question came in about the new site: “What exactly is there and how would I use it?”

Fortunately it’s early in the year there’s time to get all the support systems in place for You can see a live demonstration of the website during my seminar, Bass to the Future and I’ll be doing another round of them at the Outdoorama in Novi, MI coming up on February 25th.

For now know this…you can do the search and see the search results for free without signing up for anything. This gives you an idea about the type of data which is available and how your custom search returns it to you. This way you can become familiar with the search engine and how the results are displayed. To see what the first page of the report looks like click on the Sample Report on the front page of the site.

There are some easy picks on the left hand side under “Saved Searches” and soon there will be “Captain’s Picks” which will have my recommended searches for that period in time. If you want to go ahead and purchase a report the website is setup to to do that but I would recommend waiting until I get at least 200 historical reports listed for the data to be of the most value. The finished report will have as many of the individual reports as you purchased that match the search terms. As soon as the season starts live data will be entered as I gather it from being out on the water. The live data can be used to tighten up plans for a trip out, eliminate water, dial in on specific baits and spots and get an overall sense of what is happening in this ever changing fishery.

Nearly finished is a FAQ section for you to browse. I appreciate the question posed and hope that this information helps.

Stay in touch with regular updates on this blog at

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

What is “Live Information” as it relates to Fishing

January 14, 2010

Fishing information comes in all shapes and sizes ranging from the article about a fishing technique which can add to your skills to the latest report from a buddy who has just come off the water. It’s all good but what type of information is “live” and why is that important?

In practice, information is “live” if it produces results. In preparation information is “live” if it leads to actionable strategies, defines options or eliminates methods which lead to a dead end. Theoretical prose about what someone thinks may or may not happen if conditions are this way or that way doesn’t qualify, no matter how authoritative the source is. In the case of our buddy who just came off of the water the only authority he needs is his recent exposure to conditions on the water and if his report is factual, the information is “live.”

I offer two types of “live” information sources: Fishing Spot Specs ™ (FSS) and the spot information covered in Marked Maps Live! FSS information can be both recent and historical. The “live” part of the recent information follows the same line of reasoning as if our buddy was offering it. The powerful search engine on the website is what makes the historical information “live” by being able to filter the information to suit your needs, the resulting report can lead to actionable strategies for example: Show only those spots that hold big fish the first week of June in a south wind. That sounds helpful and is well within the capability of the search engine. Even information from a decade ago can be a high value item when matched up with current conditions.

For Marked Map customers MM Live! offers the same type of information but also ties in to a product line of strong historical fixed information in the form of 27 laminated Marked Maps. The “live” portion is the internet based chart which reports back to the map user about which spots are being looked at by myself and the staff with report backs on the quality of the catch; is it tournament quality, is it just average bass or did we not catch anything at all and zero on the spot. Notes are also added to some of the spot information and when you combine that with at least 405 total spots on 27 maps it opens up a lot of options or in a big water scenario has a value as good as gold, eliminates water.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter – History

January 14, 2010

The roll out of Fishing Spot Specs ™ (FSS) on January 7th was the culmination of a dream of hooking anglers up with the most up-to-date fishing data about 15 years ago. At that time it was built as a stand alone program called VisualLog. Information could be purchased on floppy disks and uploaded to the program or you could just type in your own. Development stalled, the program got put on the shelf to collect dust and plan B, the Lake St. Clair Combat Bass Fishing Newsletter was born. The hardest part about leaving the program behind was that a top-notch graphics developer, Dan Kohls had put a considerable amount of time in to develop it too and in most respects the program worked. It still needed a few parts and then to go through a vigorous beta testing process to get it to market though. I credit Dan with helping to form the vision which FSS fulfills in part today.

Although the advent of FSS is personally gratifying, the real winners will be you, the end user. If there is anything that a decade of publishing the newsletter has taught me is that the method of delivery of the information is as important as the information itself. There are things that I do on the water that don’t translate well to an end user. One example of that is an area fishing method I use which can be extended as much as five hours without catching a single bass. In hour six, seven and eight though I can do no wrong and the day ends with us having to leave biting fish. This has to do more with style than data but it could be taught. The purpose of fishing information however is to get data into the angler’s hands and allow them to fit their confidence presentations and baits into the realities of the fishing environment. That’s the lesson learned during the long wait for this product and in that respect, delivers.

The search screen alone offers so many choices for filtering raw data to meet your needs. In the case of my data, a search can be made on a specific body of water – Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River or all of them together. You can break those out further by filtering out only those fishing reports that relate to a single jurisdiction – U.S., Canada or Walpole or all of them together as well. Beyond that there are date, fish, water and weather specifics which can make the resulting report worthwhile.

As of this writing there are only 77 live records available which are relevant, but limited in scope. You can tell from the front page of the website if any more have been added. Once I hit 200 records it opens up some research potential for pre-season planning then as that number grows, things get even more interesting. Records added after the season opener on the last Saturday of April will take on a greater importance yet towards keying you in to bass movements, bait selection, location, presentations and more.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter