Using a Compass to Find Areas

The use of a compass has become a forgotten tactic. Even with today’s fancy GPS (Global Positioning System) a compass is still necessary to find offshore areas. Eight out of ten bass boats today do not have a compass on board. I suggest buying a dash mounted compass. If you do not want to mount it to your boat you can mount it to a board. Use an 8 X 8 x 1 inch piece of wood to make it stable. Lay the board on the floor between your legs. Be sure to watch where you going too! You can store the wood and compass together. Smaller compasses will not work well while moving.

The trick to finding bass with a compass is using it to start with. Most people do not need a compass because the only fish easy to find areas. In order to find a unique place you may have to use a compass. The compass also works in conjunction with your depth finder. The compass shows what direction and your electronics shows the depth you are seeking.

Step by Step:


1. Using your Topographical map locate an area you intend to fish.

2. Find a definite landmark, such as a point. Always try to view your map from the southern end.

3. Use a ruler to draw a line from that point to the area you want to fish.

4. Place your compass on a latitude line so your line passes through the center of the compass dial. You can make your line longer if necessary and work off any latitude line.

5. Place your compass dial to 0 degrees and determine at what degree your line is running.

6. Let say your line in running at 22 degrees NNE. All you have to do is leave that point keeping your compass at 22 degrees and you're headed straight there. Be sure to know what you might run over on the way there


Compass Back

If an easy line object can not be used or depended on, you can use your compass again. Maybe your new-found spot is far away from land. Well here is how you do it.

Step by Step:

The way I do it, is back track at 345 more than once to refine the degree that puts me on my buoy. I may find I need to run at 352 to land on my buoy. Be sure to get your buoy when through.

** If your heading is 180 or less add 180

If your heading is 181 or more subtract 180