The word of the week this week is “electronics.” Repeat, because it is very critical for fishing in the 21st century …. “electronics.”
I have been reminded this week as I have had a phone call with some discussion about recommendations for graph/GPS.
I have had a phone call about problem solving an electronics problem, an email with questions about recommendations for a particular model, and a trip this week that was focused more on fine tuning a unit, reading and interpreting what we see, than it was about fishing.
I got the hint that this might be a good subject for this week.
I have said for many years now, “You are better off fishing out of a tin can with good eyes (quality electronics) than you are a $30,000 boat with bad vision (low end-poor electronics).”
One of the best upgrades you can do for your fishing is upgrading your sonar/GPS. If you don’t have GPS now as a modern angler, you are missing out on a huge upgrade to your efficiency as an angler.
Yes, you can catch fish without GPS. Yes, your old rotary phone works … but wasn’t the upgrade to a cordless with a keypad worth it?
Yes … you still get the internet with dial-up service, but have you used the internet with cable-fiber optics or wireless?
Now, with GPS, every location on earth has an address. One of the great additions to the GPS units now is the mapping chips they read and transfer to the unit. The early chips were OK, then some improvements in mapping occurred and it required updating a mapping chip.
The chips the last few years have incredible detail. Contours right on the screen with an ability to see where your boat is in relation to the lake structure and contours.
Many of the units even come pre-loaded maps, and the chips are just an additional upgrade. The ability to leave a plotter trail is extremely helpful in being able to stay on your location, repeat your path, or find your way back to the dock.
You can leave an electronic marker (waypoint) that can mark hazards or fishing spots.
An electronic marker with a constant address that you can return to can put you back on fish you have found (or others have found for you!) It is easy to learn some GPS basics.
It takes some time to improve and expand the capabilities of what the units can do for you.
Sonar units have gone through some significant improvements and changes the last few years.
They have gone from liquid crystal interpretation of the sonar to digital signal.
They have gone from black-white-gray, to color units with an ability to change palettes to improve your ability to interpret what you are seeing.
That is like upgrading from a black and white TV to a digital flat screen!
The most significant changes have come with down scan and side scan capabilities. They require a different type of transducer (the thing that goes on the bottom of the boat to send the signal to the bottom).
They are more money, and require more time on the water to learn how to read what you are seeing. But the anglers that have become good at using this technology swear by it.
The manuals, videos, classes available, and on-line information can help improve your learning curve with your equipment.
The best options are help from a friend who already has this knowledge, and time on the water yourself playing around with the features.
For those who have been using quality units with mapping, don’t split the screen with mapping, just go to your sonar only, and go fish for a few hours.
Wow, what an eye opener for how nice we have it now! These units used to cost big dollars, but like all technology, as it improves and expands, the prices come down.
Very high quality, user friendly units can be purchased for a few hundred dollars.
Pretty reasonable when you figure these are sophisticated computers in your boat that can stand up to weather and the pounding that can take place in a boat. The most commonly purchased brands in our area are Lowrance, Hummingbird, and Garmin.
You can see them in action and get a little in-service about them at locations like Scheels in Fargo, Reeds in Walker, or during one of the many sport shows or boating and fishing shows.
Read, research, compare, and upgrade to something that can really work for you.