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Let's Discuss Altimetry

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Old 03-07-2018, 10:29 AM
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Default Let's Discuss Altimetry

How much stock do you place in altimetry readings from sites like Hilton's. Were fishing a wahoo tournament this weekend and some of the stars are aligning for water temp, chlorophyll, ect.

However the altimetry is less than ideal for the area. Yellow (as opposed to blue).

Have any of you found altimetry to be a very reliable indicator for success?
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:10 PM
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I wish I knew what you were talking about as I would like to catch more Wahoo.
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:56 PM
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check out post 1745 on page 88

anyone trolling the steps or elbow or middle grounds in the gulf?
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Old 03-07-2018, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by raydog View Post
You guys crack me up! Who teaches the fish about this stuff. Fish only know three things. 1. Can I eat it. 2. Can it eat me? 3. Can I F* it.

Tide affects Items 1 and 2. Moon phase and length of daylight affects #3. This comes from a guy (me) who was paid to study this stuff back in the 70's.
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Old 03-08-2018, 04:25 AM
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I believe in Altimetry- its pretty evident if you pay attention to flyers, bait balls, etc I think. I also have a lucky t-shirt, and think lure color matters outside of dark and light. so take it for what its worth.

That said with Altimetry, it doesn't seem to affect bottom fish and bait on the bottom. Therefore its feasible that wahoo hanging on structure wouldn't be affected. who knows
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Old 03-08-2018, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by budman6pk View Post
I believe in Altimetry- its pretty evident if you pay attention to flyers, bait balls, etc I think. I also have a lucky t-shirt, and think lure color matters outside of dark and light. so take it for what its worth.

That said with Altimetry, it doesn't seem to affect bottom fish and bait on the bottom. Therefore its feasible that wahoo hanging on structure wouldn't be affected. who knows
Excellent point. I never thought to consider that as a way to evaluate altimetey readings.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:20 AM
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I believe in the effects altimetry has on the presence or absence of pelagic fish.Altimetry measures the ocean's height (sea level) as compared to Bathymetry which is measurement of the depth of the ocean.

I demonstrate, explain Altimetry to friends by holding a half full glass of water level. The depth of the water, Bathymetry, is constant. Then I tilt the glass to the left. While the depth of the water, Bathymetry, remains the same, the height of the water, on the left side of the glass is higher than on the right side. (try it). Perfect demonstration of Altimetry.

Now, how does this affect fish ? The water on the left side of the glass, higher water, because of gravity, is pushing down towards the bottom of the glass, ( known as "DOWNWELLING") taking grasses and nutrients with it, causing an area void of fish, while on the right side of the glass, the water is pushing up to reach a level of gravity, causing an "UPWELLING", bringing grasses and nutrients up to the surface. Most offshore fishermen have seen water bubbling on the surface (UPWELLING").

The pelagic fish find nutrients and their food in "areas of transition", that area where "Downwellings "transition to " Upwellings".

DOWNWELLINGS are indicated on satellite charts as areas of RED, while UPWELLINGS are indicated as areas of BLUE.

Again, fish the transition areas. I honestly believe Downwellings create areas VOID of pelagics and transition areas , while not guaranteed to hold fish, offer us the best opportunity to find fish.

If you view satellite Altimetry shots, you will see weird shapes , somewhat circular, outlining the different areas of red and blue. Look for the areas that are sort of between the "circles" to find "areas of transition".

Combine Altimetry, Bathymetry, Chlorophyll ( water clarity), and Sea Surface Temperature to find your best areas to target.

I am not a scientist, just an everyday retired charter captain, trying to explain Altimetry.

Using the above, works for me. I find the fuel saved looking for fish, more than pays for the cost of my chart provider, let alone the time saved as well as bringing fish back to the dock consistently.

Another benefit to using the charts, I enjoy studying them even on days when the seas are too rough to leave the dock. Fishing is more than catching. Studying the charts is part of the hunt.

Hope the above is beneficial. Capt. Billy/ Right Stuff
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:22 AM
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In my experience, altimetry doesn't play a huge role until you get off the shelf. I think tide will have a higher influence on wahoo than sea surface height.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by dolphin44 View Post
I believe in the effects altimetry has on the presence or absence of pelagic fish.Altimetry measures the ocean's height (sea level) as compared to Bathymetry which is measurement of the depth of the ocean.

I demonstrate, explain Altimetry to friends by holding a half full glass of water level. The depth of the water, Bathymetry, is constant. Then I tilt the glass to the left. While the depth of the water, Bathymetry, remains the same, the height of the water, on the left side of the glass is higher than on the right side. (try it). Perfect demonstration of Altimetry.

Now, how does this affect fish ? The water on the left side of the glass, higher water, because of gravity, is pushing down towards the bottom of the glass, ( known as "DOWNWELLING") taking grasses and nutrients with it, causing an area void of fish, while on the right side of the glass, the water is pushing up to reach a level of gravity, causing an "UPWELLING", bringing grasses and nutrients up to the surface. Most offshore fishermen have seen water bubbling on the surface (UPWELLING").

The pelagic fish find nutrients and their food in "areas of transition", that area where "Downwellings "transition to " Upwellings".

DOWNWELLINGS are indicated on satellite charts as areas of RED, while UPWELLINGS are indicated as areas of BLUE.

Again, fish the transition areas. I honestly believe Downwellings create areas VOID of pelagics and transition areas , while not guaranteed to hold fish, offer us the best opportunity to find fish.

If you view satellite Altimetry shots, you will see weird shapes , somewhat circular, outlining the different areas of red and blue. Look for the areas that are sort of between the "circles" to find "areas of transition".

Combine Altimetry, Bathymetry, Chlorophyll ( water clarity), and Sea Surface Temperature to find your best areas to target.

I am not a scientist, just an everyday retired charter captain, trying to explain Altimetry.

Using the above, works for me. I find the fuel saved looking for fish, more than pays for the cost of my chart provider, let alone the time saved as well as bringing fish back to the dock consistently.

Another benefit to using the charts, I enjoy studying them even on days when the seas are too rough to leave the dock. Fishing is more than catching. Studying the charts is part of the hunt.

Hope the above is beneficial. Capt. Billy/ Right Stuff
Honestly, I may enjoy this part of fishing the most. It’s the analysis of a bunch of data that allows for more consistent fishing days. It makes the “hunt” more exciting.

I appreciate the input. Very well put.

Occasionally we will fish on days where the temp/chlorophyll is off and they tend to be extremely slow days.

I have come to rely heavily on this information because, as you know, when everything is right the bite will almost always be on.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CNBarron View Post
In my experience, altimetry doesn't play a huge role until you get off the shelf. I think tide will have a higher influence on wahoo than sea surface height.


This an interesting thought. Perhaps at 120-160ft upwellings/downwellings aren’t significant?
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:57 AM
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Altimetry is one of the key indicators I use. I like to be on a zero line if possible. But as with any metric, it doesn't mean much by itself. I try to put as many 'edges' together as possible. So something like a temp or color or current break on a zero altimetry line which is going to happen at an oil rig, or canyon or other fishy bottom.

From my experience, if you can find multiple indicators, that is where special stuff really happens!

edit/disclaimer: all my experience on this is gulf of mexico in 600-10,000 feet deep water.
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:07 AM
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If you're in a tournament why would you fish any conditions other than the ones you're comfortable with?
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Old 03-08-2018, 09:19 AM
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CNBarron is correct. Altimetry plays a much greater role in deeper waters, outside the shelf. Altimetry is just one of the contributing factors when looking for fish. I agree, less important when looking for wahoo.

Good luck in your tournament. Thank you for starting an interesting thread. Capt. Billy/Right Stuff
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by JaxBch View Post

This an interesting thought. Perhaps at 120-160ft upwellings/downwellings aren’t significant?
It's a matter of how much water and more importantly nutrients are being moved up the water column. In 1200' it's a lot more than at 120' and even more so out in 3500'+. Remember that when you are hunting fish from space, you are less hunting your target species and more hunting THEIR target species. Spend your time leading up to the tournament looking at where the bait would be concentrated and what structure it will likely move to. Once you start analyzing how primary forage species get moved from structure to structure you can pattern where the ideal location to start hunting for big fish. I would develop a game plan to start at the latest ideal location of the fish and then backtrack over structure that you believe held the highest concentration of bait in the days leading up to the tournament. My theory is that larger fish will not need to move with a main bait school as they are better feeders and may be hunting a school of bait that has remained on structure that is no longer in the "ideal" conditions.
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Old 03-09-2018, 03:33 AM
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120ft off of Jacksonville is way different than 120 feet off south Fla.
I'm not sure how impactful tide is in N Fla, given 120ft is 40+ miles offshore.
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by budman6pk View Post
120ft off of Jacksonville is way different than 120 feet off south Fla.
I'm not sure how impactful tide is in N Fla, given 120ft is 40+ miles offshore.
None....IMHO.
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Old 03-09-2018, 05:06 AM
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That's like saying the if the NFC wins the Super Bowl the stock market goes up in the following year.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:42 AM
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I have NEVER fished off Jax. That being said, if I were fishing the wahoo tournament tomorrow, I would fish a course between the following sets of coordinates. I plotted this course for sh--s and giggles.

30.21.05
80.20.15
AND
30. 5.46
80.22.38

My starting #'s are approx. 55 miles east of Jax. in around 140+- ft of water. This plan gives me a water temp. range of 74 degrees to 76 degrees. Water clarity is okay.

Inside the edge of the stream, there is a se current against the ssw flow of the stream.( wind blows from and the tide flows to ) This might provide some nice eddy's as well as weedlines.

In the northern hemisphere, some recommend trolling against the current. I focus on this, but have caught fish trolling in different directions. I always try and mentally record my heading at the time of fish strikes.

I did my "hunting" this morning using "Rip Charts".

JaxBch, and others, I would welcome your comments on my proposed trolling plan. As I said, I've never fished off Jax. before, and your critique would be very welcomed.

Ironworker, I hope all of the above posts help you catch more wahoo. All this info certainly puts the " Bop shoe Bop Ba Bop" and the " Sham in the Sham a Lamma Ding Dong" into fishing strategies.

Wishing all who are fishing the wahoo tournament tomorrow, the very best of luck. ( notice, even using all the posted info, luck is still part of the formula.) Have a fun and safe tournament. Capt. Billy/Right Stuff
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Old 03-09-2018, 04:16 PM
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For those of you who do factor in altimetry, it seems the consensus is to fish the transition areas. Why there instead of right in the middle of the highest number you can find. If upwellings start the building blocks of the food chain, a reasonable assumption, I'd think you'd want to be right where they're most pronounced bringing the most nutrients up to the surface.

Anyone care to post a shot of the altimetry of the NW Providence Channel in the Bahamas, we fish there a lot of YFT and curious how the canyon that dead ends in the middle of it looks on an altimetry image.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:17 PM
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HurricaneBK, good question ! I will try and explain what my thoughts are. Again, not scientific ! In the middle of an "Upwelling" you have all these nutrients, microscopic creatures and baitfish being pushed to the surface in a centralized locale. Picture these nutrients being pushed to the surface and then pushed outward to calmer areas. These calmer areas are the transition areas where the nutrients, microrganisms ,and baitfish cluster and are "MOST PRONOUNCED, before being dragged back down in a "downwelling". They are gathered there because there is where an area of calm ( for them ), exists.

Your thoughts about the middle of an upwelling certainly has merit. But trust, as I do, the marine scientists who study this for a living.

I hope my explanation helps. I have fantastic numbers for the NW Providence Channel. I fish there often.

Send me a PM with your cell number, and I will share my yellowfin numbers with you, as well as text you a screenshot of the NW Channel Altimetry. I am sensitive not to violate my subscription to Rip Charts, as they are an extremely honest, very helpful, and extraordinarily reasonably priced service.

If you would like a personalized demo, go online, google Rip Charts, and ask for Chris to get back to you. They have been so helpful to me. Note, I do not have any financial arrangement with Rip Charts for my recommendations. They have more than earned my referrals.
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