By RALPH BARTHOLDT
When Aaron Thykeson talks, anglers listen.
Especially if they plan to buy a fish finder, but don’t know how to scroll through the text messages on their iPhones.
A lot of what Thykeson and fellow marine tech guru Kyle Holloway will teach anglers tonight at the opener of the Mark’s Marine spring fishing seminar series, starting at 6:30 p.m. at 14355 N. Government Way, are basics.
Thykeson, one of the business’ owners, has been working in the marine industry since he was a kid swamping out boats in the summer, washing them down and staying out of the way of adults as he worked for Mark’s at its old location on Government Way just south of Prairie Avenue.
Even then, his real passion was technology.
So, when people ask him if he likes to fish, he offers a reply that betrays his allegiance to technology.
“I like to find fish with a fish finder,” Thykeson says. “And I like to be on the water.”
At tonight’s seminar both men will demystify the world of sonar — fish finders use sound waves to locate fish and make pictures of them on a screen.
The men will explain how fish finders work, and, according to Mark’s Marine’s brochure, “what we’ve all been doing wrong with them, and how to get the best signal possible out of the units.”
A quick tour of the fish finders on the floor of the north Hayden enterprise where boats, most of them covered, wait in snow-filled parking lots outside for spring to arrive, can leave anglers scratching their heads.
Thykeson starts most of his customer inquiries with observation.
If people seem unfamiliar with technology, he brings them up slowly to the capabilities of fish finders in today’s market.
Chirp technology for instance, uses a long-duration sweep pattern of sound, and its energy is far greater than traditional sonar, so it can send and receive much more information.
“It sounds like a bird chirp, but it’s not really a bird chirp,” Thykeson said.
The technology dissects large blobs of information that show up on a fish finder screen like a weather pattern.
“We call that a bait ball,” Thykeson said, of a multi-colored mass on the screen of one of the showroom finders.
Chirp technology dissects the blob into usable information, like removing paint layers on an old floor to display the wood grain.
“You can count the number of fish in that ball,” he said, showing the effect of Chirp.
Tonight’s seminar is a basic to intermediate level class, so even anglers with no technological savvy or experience with marine electronics can walk away from it with sound knowledge of fish finders.
The seminar kicks off the series that will, in coming weeks, include a Lake Roosevelt rainbow seminar hosted by guide Benita Galland. Brock Marrow of the local pike club will talk March 15 about pike fishing locally. Capt. Ron Sharp will talk March 22 about how to land the big lake trout on Lake Pend Oreille. Greg Koch of the Spokane walleye club will give a March 29 walleye seminar. On April 5, Jordan Smith of local Finns and Feathers Guide and Tackle Shop will introduce anglers to salmon fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene.