Ish Monroe is known as being one of the best shallow water anglers on the Bassmaster Elite tour. His attention to detail gives him a mental edge over his competitors but so does his penchant for fishing quiet. “Every time you move in that boat you make noise,” Monroe said.
Organize Your Boat
Monroe believes that by keeping his boat extremely well-organized, will not only make him more efficient but less obtrusive on the water. Each fishing rod is stored in each hole in the rod organizer in the port side rod locker. He keeps the number of rods on deck to a minimum, 2- to 3- rods on each side of his deck at the most to minimize clutter.
In the centre compartment, all of his boxes are aligned so that he’s not “fumbling around trying to move boxes to get to boxes”.
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He believes that the trolling motor creates the most noise beneath the water so anglers must pay attention to every detail.
He’ll make sure that all of the springs are lubricated and he’ll tighten the bolts, nuts, and breakaway knobs on his MotorGuide X5 trolling motor each time he plans on fishing to avoid any creaking or knocking sounds that echo beneath the water and alert bass to an intruder nearby.
He also runs the T-H Marine G-Force Eliminator to further reduce noise and vibration coming from his trolling motor.
Many anglers underestimate the noise and vibration that is produced from weeds caught behind the prop and the impact such noises have on fish behavior. Monroe removes the prop each day, clean out the weeds, inspect the sheer pin, and inspects his MotorGuide Machete Pro for any nicks or dents. He prefers the metal three-blade machete prop for its ability to come through the grass. He changes out his prop 2 to 3 times a year to ensure that it is in top form. There is no room for laziness. “If I am fishing and I hear something abnormal, I will stop fishing and fix that problem right then and there and not be lazy about it,” Monroe said.
If he can’t fix it, he’ll swap out his trolling motor for a spare that he stores in a compartment.
Monroe prefers to use his trolling motor sparingly instead allowing his boat to drift with the momentum of the water or wind when possible as was the case when he won the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Tournament on Lake Okeechobee. “When I won on Okeechobee, that was a huge key. I fished an area and saw a guy coming towards me so I anchored with my Power Poles, had lunch and let him blow through the water and let it quiet it down. When I stood up to start fishing again, I immediately started catching fish again. He’d just went through that area and never caught a fish.”
It’s no secret that Monroe enjoys power fishing when he’s shallow so he’ll run his HydroWave on that specific sound profile to mask any sounds that he was not able to neutralize.
Fish Finders & Marine Electronics
Running to two Lowrance Gen3 Fishfinder / Chartplotter units at the console and one at the bow, all Ethernet and networked through with the NEMA system, means that Monroe has control of all of his electronics when he needs them most. So, when he’s fishing shallow, he’ll set the back units to standby when he’s fishing on the front deck to avoid them unnecessarily pinging and creating noise as the transducer tries to read bottom.
When fish are shallow and super spooky, Monroe stresses that anglers need to present their baits silently. Monroe stresses that anglers learn to pitch, flip, and make roll casts so that the bait lands softly.
For an angler looking to learn how to fish more quietly, Monroe suggests they start off practicing with a lighter weight to start with, preferably no weight, like a Senko. From there, they should move to an 1/8 to 3/16-ounce bullet sinker, a ¼ to 3/8-ounce spinnerbait, and a smaller sized crankbait. As anglers become comfortable with lighter weights, gradually increase to heavier.
No one is perfect. Every angler is going to hit a dock post, a cross support, or just about any other unintended target that can spook fish when hit. Monroe suggests anglers simply come back to the area later. Every fish is different, but Monroe is quite confident that he can get those better fish to bite again. “Big fish are creatures of habit and I firmly believe they have a home or an area that they like. They might not be on that piece of structure but they’ll be very near.” Monroe said.