March 22, 2019
There's “Mor” out there than you think.
Erik Anderson, of Ft. Lauderdale, and Chad Morris, of Key West, are fishermen and divers with a combined 40 years experience in hydrographic surveying and mapping. It was actually on a dive trip together that they decided the time was right to bring high-resolution bathymetric charts to consumer-grade chartplotters. The two founded CMOR Mapping.
Now make no mistake, charts have shown bottom contours for years. Companies like C-Map, Garmin, Lowrance and Navionics all produce high-quality navigation chips showing depth, contours and wrecks. But CMOR, from what I've seen, is producing next-level stuff, rendering rockpiles and tiny breaks with the kind of accuracy that would make you keep fishing even if your bottom machine went out.
I was astounded as soon as I put my CMOR chart (Northeast Fla., Georgia, South Carolina) into my Simrad Evo2 machine. My favorite sea bass spot was not a rock all off by itself like I thought it was. It is actually a series of little ledges I never knew were there.
Now, it's important you go online and look at your area. Their webpage, cmormapping.com, shows the limits of coverage areas on a Google Earth background, allowing fishermen to see which areas are available and what has yet to be mapped. CMOR is constantly working to add coverage and the web page is the best place to see what is available for your area. At present, the data cards ($700) are compatible with Lowrance, Simrad, B&G and Mercury multifunction displays.
Captain Mark Lacovara, of Grand Slam Boats in Saint Augustine, is a hardcore bluewater troller. He says being able to work the edge of the continental shelf from rockpile to ledge, etc., is invaluable.
“It's a whole new ballgame,” said Lacovara, of CMOR imagery. “Wahoo and tuna are bluewater pelagics, but when it's time for them to eat, you can bet they'll be over some kind of bottom structure that holds bait and breaks up current. I'm also looking forward to checking some structure in much deeper water than we usually fish. The CMOR chart shows some things off in the deep I've never seen.”
“Trolling at 20 knots takes up a lot of fuel,” says Capt. Tim Altman of Jacksonville. “We are constantly on the hunt looking for cracks in the bottom from 125 feet out that should be holding vermilion snapper or blue runners that giant wahoo will be feeding on. Fish that we thought we had caught in the middle
of nowhere, I've now gone back, and seen they were close to structure that I didn't know was there.”
It is mind-blowing to consider how fast technology is racing forward in the world of blue- water fishing. Might someday every inch of the ocean we fish be mapped and shown on a chartplotter? FS
First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine December 2018