Embracing The Electronic Revolution

By C.C. McCotter


  At a recent outdoor show I realized that perhaps I had fallen behind the technology curve. ItÕs easy to do and understandable if you are the average angler that purchases a boat or fish finder once every five to 10 years. However, if you are a fishing guide that is supposed to showcase the latest and greatest in marine electronics, these days you need to upgrade every year or two.

   I realized my technological gap when a fellow angler demonstrating Lowrance electronics looked at me with humor/horror when I told him I was using a Lowrance Mark 5x and a Lowrance Elite 5 on my rig and no GPS.

   My reasoning for using this proven look down, arch technology is that just about any angler can afford this type of unit and would want to learn how to use it during guided trips. ItÕs what weÕve been taught to use for the past 30 years, and IÕve gotten quite good at it, as have many others. I also opted for a non-GPS unit the past five boats after I had a GPS navigate me in the fog and dark into a shallow point.

  Well, IÕm here to tell you itÕs time move forward with new and improved technology. While IÕm not advocating you trash your current arch-based depth finder, I am encouraging you to go to your local marine electronics dealer and have a salesperson demonstrate just what a new Lowrance can do for you.

  The specific technology that helped change my mind is the HDS (High Definition Sonar) Generation 2 software that will be hitting stores this winter. The Lowrance HDS comes in a HDS-5m chartplotter, HDS-5x fishfinder, HDS-5 fishfinder/chartplotter, HDS-7m chartplotter, HDS-7 fishfinder/chartplotter, HDS-8 fishfinder/chartplotter, and HDS-10 fishfinder/chartplotter. Featuring the same 5-inch, 6.4-inch, 8.4-inch and 10.4-inch screen sizes as Gen1 units each is intended for a different marine application. To further my education, I contacted my friends at Lowrance and asked why Gen 2?

  Lowrance Regional Representative Matt Taylor told me, ÒBesides the obvious improvements from a much faster processor, the angler is going to like the ease of understanding how the structure below your boat is actually laid out when combining HDS Gen2 with StructureScan technology.Ó     

   HeÕs right. What was great about my show experience was the ability to see the HDS Gen2 technology so I could better understand the difference between Gen1 and Gen2.

   Gen1 HDS Lowrances won just about every award in the business when they came out a couple years ago. That technology featured fast processors, high screen resolution, something known as StructureScan. The Gen 2 units now have new technology called StructureMap - a built-in and upgradable mapping program you have on screen working with the GPS and StructureScan to show where you are. The StructureScan is a highly detailed three dimensional sonar image.

  The Gen2 upgrade now permits anglers to combine StructureMap and Structure Scan, overlaying the sonar images on the map for review both on and off the water. A faster processor means it happens in less than a second. Twice the processor speed and twice the memory makes for faster start-ups, faster menu operations, split second chart panning and zoom speeds.

  Users should pair a Gen2 unit with the LSS-1 StructureScan Imaging module and LSS-1 Imaging Tranducer so they can activate the StructureMap overlay option. Once these two are linked, anglers can create their own charts of their favorite fishing holes and positions to fish them using GPS waypoints. 

   Imagine the possibilities É if you could scan the lake bottom in 3D, mark that rock pile with the fish, drop a waypoint and then compare it with hydrographic map views AND store it all?

    Compatible with Lowrance enhanced basemaps, Insightª HD cartography, Navionics¨ and all HDS-compatible third-party charting cards, the new StructureMap view provides a greater perspective of the areas covered by StructureScan sonar imaging (two foot contours are available for most lakes in the east). In addition, with the built-in recording capability of HDS Gen2, users can easily create and view StructureMap detail on or off the water — without the aid of a computer. 

  What does all this technology mean? It means if you take the time to master it, you will be blown away by the performance and amazing views, and find more fish.

   HDS Gen2 built-in mapping includes a U.S. enhanced basemap with coverage of more than 100,000 bodies of water with detailed shorelines and depth contours. In addition, select HDS Insight Gen2 models come preloaded with Lowrance Insight cartography, featuring shaded-relief depth contours. Lake Insightª inland mapping (available with HDS-5 Gen2) includes nearly 5,000 freshwater lake maps with life-like perspective of bottom structure and topography. Nautic Insightª (also available with HDS-5 Gen2) offers a superior life-like view of bottom structure with detailed coastal and offshore depth contours, plus navigation aids for the entire U.S. coastline. Insightª USA (available for HDS-7, -8 and -10 Gen2 models) combines inland and coastal coverage areas of Lake Insight and Nautic Insight. All HDS Gen2 models are compatible with Navionics charts, and feature Turboviewª for high-speed seamless zooming and transition between 2D and 3D modes.

  Remember my incident with the shallow water point and GPS in the dark and fog? Improvements in GPS accuracy essentially eliminate the possibility of this happening again.

  Scheduled to be in stores by January 2012, Lowrance HDS Gen2 multifunction displays can be purchased from authorized Lowrance dealers and distributors throughout the United States and Canada. Minimum advertised prices range from $549 for the HDS-5x Gen2 fishfinder to $2,449 for the HDS-10 Insight USA model.

   For more information on the Lowrance HDS Gen2 series, the entire Lowrance line of marine electronics or to locate an authorized Lowrance dealer, please visit www.lowrance.com.