Outdoor Articles

The Fisherman’s Marker

by Pursue The Outdoors on August 25th, 2006 in Fishing Tackle

“Marker buoys – who needs them?!” That is what I once thought and have heard throughout my fishing lifetime. Until I stumbled upon an innovative version of the traditional gaudy fluorescent orange and yellow “jugs” a few years ago, I avoided using them all-together. Fishing markers are largely unpopular with many anglers today for two reasons: often they attract more anglers to a specific location, and they occupy a relatively large amount of valuable space in a tackle box or storage compartment.

Jeff Lamphere from Minnetonka, Minnesota invented a solution. He calls it the Fisherman’s Marker. Not only are these markers dramatically smaller in size than traditional buoys, they also come in non-attractive colors. The smaller size and flat design occupies less space and allows for ease in stowage. Non-attractive colors meanwhile provide camouflage from other anglers: white for sunny days, and black for low-light conditions.

Jeff started development on the Fisherman’s Marker while fishing at his cabin on Green Lake in Spicer, Minnesota. One of his favorite fishing spots on the lake was a small, shallow rock bar located one mile offshore. Water depths of 40 to 50 feet surrounded the bar, making it a prime spot for fishing. “Once we located the rocks, we would mark it with a buoy. If you ran your motor over the rock pile more than once, you would scare the fish and push them into deeper water – generally not getting them to bite,” recalls Jeff. “After we marked the rock pile, we would float quietly over it and catch fish on every drift, mostly nice walleyes and smallmouth bass.”

With Jeff’s success came undesirable attention, however. “It seemed like within minutes of throwing a marker buoy, our spot would become Grand Central Station. As soon as other fishermen saw our float they would motor up to it to check the depth and many times start fishing extremely close to the buoy marker we had thrown out – ultimately spooking the fish and our bite would be over.”


It was after this repeated occurrence that Jeff decided to look for a small discrete marker that people would not notice – one that would not attract other fishermen in the area. After a fruitless search, he decided to fabricate one of his own out of a small block of wood, painted white. That small block served Jeff well the rest of that summer and fall, eliminating artificially-crowded spots. Thus began the initial development of the Fisherman’s Marker.

The Fisherman’s Marker today has certainly evolved from the first prototype, yet it remains a secret tool among weekend anglers and tournament fishermen alike. Jeff receives new testimonials and creative on-the-water applications every month. Anglers can pinpoint the exact locations of underwater structure, breaklines, and even bedding bass. Smaller, more compact markers offer the angler the additional ability to efficiently mark structure with the placement of multiple buoys as opposed to fewer deployments of larger, traditional ones.


While Global Positioning Systems (GPS) continue to evolve, the marker buoy serves an important role that cannot be replaced by modern technology. An angler often has to traverse, or crisscross a single weedline multiple times in order to locate a defined edge. As a result, the tracking display becomes an indistinguishable conglomeration of trails. Global Positioning Systems are limited in this capacity. Deployed markers, on the other hand, offer a concise, visual delineation of the underwater structure.

Team Kellogg’s Pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pennsylvania uses the Fisherman’s Marker in this capacity. “When fishing a weedline, I like to place markers along the edge that I am targeting. I will have several markers out at a time – six or more for a single stretch. The neat thing about the Fisherman’s Marker is that their compact size allows me to easily carry a dozen in the boat at a time.”

Dave will also customize his marker by cutting the pre-spooled line to a specific length. This ensures that his marker will not completely unroll in large waves. “I organize my markers in sets, generally in 5-foot increments, with the depth clearly marked on top. Even before heading to the lake, if I know that the weedline is generally 8-feet deep, I will pack my 10-footers.”

Sight Fishing

Sight fishing for bedding bass is not a technique that anglers commonly associate with marker buoys. Bass are easily spooked during certain phases of the spawn. If an angler has to target bedding bass at a distance, or at a greater depth, placing a marker buoy can establish a floating landmark in low visibility conditions. Light refraction also is a common challenge for sight fishermen, especially in deep water. The actual position of a bass has to be interpolated with every cast to compensate for the refracted image. With a definitive point of reference, anglers can be assured of proper lure position and focused on provoking the bass into a strike.

Boat Position

Another useful application of the Fisherman’s Marker does not include marking structure at all; it is position triangulation. An angler can drop a buoy off the bow, and have an immediate reference point for use in conjunction with two aligned features onshore. With a marker buoy aside the boat, a second set of features is not needed for triangulating a spot. Similarly, when an angler locates an active school of fish offshore, simply dropping a marker over the edge is both practical and quick. There is no need to throw a marker into the active school, and the precious time saved stumbling back to the console GPS unit can be spent landing additional fish.

While fishing tools come and go, there are an innovative few that deserve a permanent place in any angler’s tackle box. The patented Fisherman’s Marker is one tool no angler should be without. For more information on the Fisherman’s Marker, visit Jeff’s website at www.fishermansmarker.com, or call: 612-965-2259.

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