I must admit that I’ve never created my own charts, though I do find it quite interesting and worth mentioning. There are several option out there like Humminbird’s LakeMaster AutoChart and Lowrance’s Genesis program that allow you to go out and use your boat’s sonar to build a topographic map of your fishery.
Some of these systems even have networked communities where you can choose to share your data or view the maps that others share.
It’s really a pretty cool concept, just one I’ve never taken the time to utilize. Though I do believe there’s merit in doing so.
I have not used these new Lowrance LIVE units myself but there’s a lot of hype surrounding them right now. Really looking forward to hearing more about them in the coming months. Here are some of the bullet points that jumped out right away.
- It appears that they are trying to develop something like Garmin’s Panoptix or moreover their LIVEscope that will be available on the units in 2019.
- Lots of smartphone integration. From the ability to allow notifications on your Lowrance screens to being able to screen share your smartphone onto your graph to watch sporting events, examine satellite images or use some of the other apps we’ve discussed in this piece through your Lowrance unit.
- You can view as many as 6 split screen panels now.
- They’ve preloaded the units with Lowrance’s new C-Map charts and Genesis LIVE capabilities to create real time custom maps.
This is one I really don’t even want to talk about, kind of like the LakeMaster deal with Humminbird. But I’d be remiss to do an article on technology in bass fishing and not talk about these two tools.
I fully believe both of these bits of technology give me an extreme advantage on the water.
I’m not saying I win every time I fish a tournament because I obviously don’t. But the fault definitely doesn’t lie with my tools of technology.
A lot of buzz came along with Garmin’s unveiling of their Panoptix technology a few years ago. As a skeptic of what other anglers say, I didn’t put much stock in Panoptix at first. Because believe it or not some anglers will actually just blatantly lie about how good products are. Shocker, I know. I did read up on it right away, but it really just sounded too good to be true. And the images I was seeing with the articles were definitely too good to be true.
Let me tell you something right here and now, I’ve been made a believer.
A good friend of mine and fellow ANGLR Expert and videographer, Ben Nowak, has been using Panoptix since its introduction to catch monster smallmouth up north. On a phone call one day he was telling me all about how good Panoptix was, citing a particular day where he used it to pluck 29-pounds of smallmouth off isolated boulders. He said, “I could see the boulder, I could see the fish sitting over top of it. I’d pitch my dropshot out and watch it as it fail. I watched the fish eat it. It’s unbelievable.”
But I did believe it. Because I trust Ben. So we devised a plan to fish the Rat-L-Trap only tournament on Lake Guntersville together. He drove down from Michigan with his precious Panoptix in tow and we set out to find isolated clumps of hydrilla to rip a Rat-L-Trap threw. We idled a flat, marked a few clumps and he put me on the trolling motor to see for myself. I panned the transducer back and forth as I eased up to the first waypoint. I saw interference at about 80 feet. I then eased up to about 40 feet from the hydrilla clump, portrayed on the screen by an amorphous blob of yellow and red.
On my first cast I hit the hydrilla. I thought to myself, ‘well that’s pretty cool’.
On my second cast, I caught a 6-pounder. I exclaimed out loud this time, ‘This should be illegal!’
But it’s not. And since it’s not, you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have it. Panoptix is legit. I got the PS22-TR transducer on my new boat and it is awesome. It’s expensive. I get that. But let me put it to you this way. Panoptix is as big of a leap in technology as no sonar at all to traditional 2D sonar. And as 2D sonar is to side imaging.
It’s the next step in the evolution of electronics and will most certainly be copied by all the other brands as soon as whatever patents or statute of limitations expire that are preventing it from happening right now.
Now Garmin has taken it even further with their new LIVEscope lineup, marrying the capabilities of Panoptix with the color palette and definition we associate with side scan and down imagining. I don’t have this transducer yet, again because of the only drawback, it’s expensive. But my buddy Nowak does and when I asked if I should upgrade he said, “I thought Panoptix was good…” Great. Here we go again.