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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering what the fuss is about?
Shopping for a GPS?
Where to put the antenna?
How to make a waypoint and name a favorite hot spot?
Want to start planning routes using Map Create?
Need advice on map cards? Found one you like?

As valuable as they are, finding a honey hole a mile from shore in the middle of a lake is something that deserves keeping for future visits. I have some lonely small humps located that I've never once seen anyone fish, yet they produce bass. I can motor right up to them within 10 feet and start fishing. Putting GPS and maps together has become possibly essential for the tournament trail. There's a lot to learn but none of it is difficult. The next time you are pre-fishing and find some good bass locations you need a quick and accurate way to get back to them even on a lake you don't know at all. Still using paper maps? I used to, but found on many lakes practically every spot looked exactly like any other, and I didn't know where I was on a map to make a good mark on it. Even if I was accurate mapping it there wasn't a high chance of recognizing it again. But now I can navigate a swamp in Louisiana where people died trying to get out years ago.

There are some $100 mapping programs available that will allow you to scan aerial photos and print out high detail lake features you wouldn't find easily on the water. You can set watpoints off those and upload them into a GPS unit on the boat, then navigate right to them. That's just a small sample of what's available.

The only dumb question is the one not asked. Whatever you've learned would be appreciated here.

Jim
 

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I go as a non-boater as I have no ' bass boat ' at the present time. My other fishing realy is just in a john-boat in small ponds. Many a time I wished I had ' sonar ' to see exactly what was down there or ' depth ' changes. But to be honest, im intimidated by those things. Looks like you need a degree in space engineering to operate OR to understand what it is trying to tell you.

I do glance at the ' combo ' units people I fish with have to see the water temps and the depths. other then that, I have no clue about them.
I probably wouldnt know a hump from baitfish by looking at the screen.

Which brand and model would you consider the most ' user ' friendly for beginners ?

If the good Lord is willing and creek dont rise I will have a boat by next summer and I need to have some idea about these things.
 

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Ive got an Eagle 128 and I definitely do NOT recommend it to anyone. I bought it only because it fit my wallet but its resolution is too low to tell much of anything short of the bottom. I really despise it! Soon as I get some money put away I desperately need to buy a better sonar unit with a decent resolution so I can tell the difference between grass, wood and baitfish.

Any suggestions Jim? I really like lowrance but am open to other brands too. I dont really need it to be a gps sonar combo although I definitely would like to get a GPS... I figured id go with a handheld unit first. Is that a good idea?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hands down, the best deal and function for the money is a Lowrance LMS332C (as "low" as $600). If you plan on being a non-boater wanting to record hotspots, then you'll need a handheld. It's also handy for walking out shorelines in low pool, marking great spots to fish later when the water comes back up. You can walk out ditches that will cut through weeds later, something that will put a lot of bass in the boat. Otherwise, if most of the time you will just be fishing, a good quality GPS sounder is plenty fine.

I do NOT recommend going cheap with a "beginners" model. It's really a terrible waste of money, as Jared has said. Get the best you can afford. The model above can also be switched to inside your truck for road trips, using a magnet mount for the antenna, showing all the stuff a regular auto GPS shows, minus the nice voice giving directions. All you'd need is a map card covering the area(s) you travel/fish in. They run $100-$175 each depending on brand and level of mapping.

I plan to be here and available to teach use of the things. I can post screen displays from my units (I have two of those, one on the bow, one at the console) here and explain what's shown. If you have such a unit you can insert a blank MMC or SD memory card ($10-$100 depending on capacity), then record something mysterious, post it here, then get it discussed.

With that level of unit you can find what the pros find and find fish habitat much more effectively. The resolution is nearly what a standard TV has (not plasma). A color display, as in this model unit, is a huge step up from grayscale, making it possible to spot a fish belly on the bottom. Anything less will become somewhat regretted, or even as in Jared's case, despised.

Jim
 

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Wow! I love that idea of walking out areas during low pool! I never thought of that! I definitely want a hand held!
I think for a sonar I am going to have to stick to about 400 bucks or so
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hold out for this one: http://www.basspro.com/servlet/cata...arClassCode=1&hvarSubCode=3&hvarTarget=browse

Navionics has been adding HD mapping to their line, showing depth contours to one foot intervals. Those are based on actual sonar surveys, highly accurate and up to date. http://www.navionics.com They are plug-in miniature memory cards with usually about 1/4 of the natio on it, most lakes in detail. Look over their region lists. Your favorite lakes might already be in HD (high definition).

A color unit and the 40 map scales is really nice. Color makes a big difference in speed of reading a map. All of them are low resolution displays, so color enhances an otherwise grainy apprearance.

The model you asked about isn't a good one around water. One dunk and it's history. Leave it in a heavy rain, pitch it. It'll resist sweat and a light rain.

Jim
 

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Your recommendation is definitely a sweet unit! I guess I will save for that one.
I went to Navionics page and looked around. HotMaps looks awesome! I was surprised to see their paper maps too. One foot contours is amazing resolution! I think I will need to invest in the paper maps for my state as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Navionics did a sonar survey of Lake Ouachita last spring, so next spring they should be offering the HD memory card map with 1 foot contour. It'll save me a huge amount of time using sonar to locate new fishing holes.

Jim
 
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