Hawthorne suggests using a Recon 5 camera system with this scouting system to find and catch early-season panfish.Drill your fist hole in area where you remember seeing healthy weeds in the fall
If you’re on a body of water you didn’t fish in the fall (because, for example it is smaller and gets safe ice sooner) begin your search in the mouths of bays. “Bays and weeds go hand in hand,” Hawthorne says. “Drill ‘em out and look for weeds. Usually your weeds are going to be in four to 16 feet. Where I catch most of my fish in the weeds is in six to 12 feet of water.”
Drill your first hole and drop your camera with the lens positioned to look out to the side at a 90-degree angle. “However far you can see out to the sides through the water is how far you should spread out the rest of the holes,” Hawthorne instructs. “If I can see about 15 feet, I’m going to continue to drill down that line, every 15 feet and take a look.”
Before drilling more holes, re-position your camera’s lens to look straight down. “Down-viewing is key when you’re doing this,” Hawthorne explains. “You don’t have to drop the camera down as far – saving time – and it spooks a lot less fish. I’ve got a birds-eye view of what’s below me and my camera head is no deeper than my transducer.”
In each hole you drill, take a nice, long look. “This isn’t just a quick thing,” Hawthorne says. “You want to look at that camera for 30, 40, seconds and just stare at it and look for fish in the weeds. Those fish can hide really well in there. It’s not like a flasher, where you dip in the transducer and if there’s no mark there, you take off running to the next hole.”
Fish the holes in which you see fish, bugs or the best-looking weeds.