When Pete Ponds is fishing a river system in September, he relishes the improving drop-shot bite, not just because it produces fish but also because it’s possible to see the bite — even in deep water, and big fish.

“With the new electronics like my Lowrance HCS 16 or HCS 12 systems, I can not only find the fish more easily, but watch the action take place,” Ponds said. “You can see the lure, and you can see the fish, and you can see the fish move to the lure and take it.

“That’s pretty cool.”

Ponds uses his electronics to locate schools of fish on the ends of sandbar points in the river, like on the Pearl on the upper end of Barnett Reservoir near Jackson. Then, he uses them to pinpoint his presentation.

“It’s added a whole new dimension to fishing,” he said. “This technology stuff is crazy.”

Ponds has always caught fish in these scenarios, but he now has a better understanding of how and why vertical fishing works.

“I’ve learned more about how fish are positioned on the points and in the cuts, and I’ve learned which fish in which positions are the most aggressive,” he said. “One thing I’ve learned is this drop-shotting on the river is a lot more productive than I thought. I used to enjoy going out to the Pearl and using it to target spotted bass, but now I’m catching largemouth bass in those same areas on the same pattern. Big fish, too.

“You’d be surprised how little the boat affects fish in those situations. I used to think it was a deep-water tactic only, but I’ve caught big largemouth and spots in as little as 7 or 8 feet of water, fishing straight down.”

Sounds likes fun!

Said Ponds: “It is.”