There’s big news; Brunswick Corporation announced in October that it completed its acquisition of Navico (Lowrance’s parent company), a global leader in marine electronics and sensors for $1.05 billion.
Brunswick (think Mercury) now owns the industry leading Navico brands of Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, and C-MAP, adding them all to its Advanced Systems Group (ASG), which includes the leading Parts & Accessories (P&A) brands in power management, digital control and monitoring and networked devices, as well as MotorGuide, Attwood, Land ’N’ Sea; Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils; Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris, Heyday, Lowe, Lund, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray, Thunder Jet and Uttern boats.
Have you noticed it’s been near impossible to purchase any Gen 4 Humminbird units? To meet demand Humminbird is expanding operations at its plant in Barbour County, Alabama. The project is expected to create roughly 75 jobs.
The 27,400 square-foot expansion will increase the facility’s production and assembly areas by more than 25 percent. The investment will also include significant purchases of new capital equipment. The Eufaula plant currently employs 222 full-time workers, along with 65 part-timers.
“Humminbird has grown significantly over the last six years and we expect it to continue to grow,” said Craig Packard, general manager of the company’s Alabama facility. “To increase our capacity to meet future demand, we are investing in growing our workforce and continuing to expand our facilities.”
This expansion follows a 17,000-square-foot addition, which increased the facility’s warehouse space by 40 percent. Maybe we can start seeing more order fulfillment in 2022.
So what can you expect for 2022 in marine electronics? Probably scant new technology, as we are still in a period of bringing anglers into the world of live sonar. Here’s what the big three will be offering this season and what you’ll be seeing on boats at the shows.
In 2018 Garmin introduced technology that changed the way anglers fish. Panoptix and Panoptix LiveScope permitted the user to view fish in real time and actually watch them swimming around and their reaction to offerings. Since that moment, Lowrance and Humminbird have had to reset their technology goals to keep pace – talk about a game-changing advancement.
For 2022 Garmin continues enjoying their headstart and will rely on their Panoptix LiveScope with a Forward mode, Down mode and a Perspective mode to drive sales. The LiveScope Forward mode offers 135-degrees of forward-facing range approximately 20-degrees wide. The LiveScope Down mode also offers 135-degrees of range that’s 20-degrees wide. The LiveScope Perspective mode will show 150-degrees in any direction with a 20-degree width.
Panoptix compatible products include Garmin GPS Map units and EchoMap units.
Garmin, like Lowrance realized Minn Kota was shutting them out of the whole boat networking possibilities so, a couple years back Garmin created their own line of trolling motors that “talk” to their fish finders as well. The Garmin Force is available in 50- and 57-inch shaft versions and features a brushless design, 24- or 36-volt operation, wireless foot pedal and water resistant, floating remote. The advantage of the brushless motors is said to be their quietness and very low level of interference on depth finders.
Like the Minn Kota iPilot trolling motors Garmin also offers autopilot, heading hold, cruise control and anchor lock.
Humminbird will probably make the biggest waves this coming season as it final has the new MEGA Imaging® live-action technology ready which rounds out the One-Boat Network®.
Huminnbird’s MEGA Live Imaging technology allows anglers to see fish and structure in real-time, even watching fish on screen as they move or even bite an angler’s lure. Humminbird developers admit it took a while to get the product ready for market.
“It was important for us to get it right with MEGA Live. Building a live sonar technology that could operate at the level of MEGA Imaging took time but it was definitely worth the wait,” said Humminbird Brand Manager Matt Cook.
MEGA LIVE Imaging sonar views are provided by a compatible Humminbird fish finder and a state-of-the-art transducer, designed to mount to a trolling motor shaft, providing rapid deployment into the water and easy steering control of the live sonar views. The MEGA Live Imaging transducer comes with a multi-position bracket that provides three sonar views, each suited for different fishing applications and techniques.
MEGA Live Imaging view modes include the follow modes: Down Mode or Live imaging looking directly below the transducer; Forward Mode or Live imaging looking out and away from the transducer, steered using the trolling motor’s foot pedal or remote and Landscape Mode or Live imaging from a wide, bird’s-eye view looking out and around the boat.
Humminbird’s MEGA Live Imaging retails for $1,499.99 and will be available to ship this winter.
MEGA LIVE Imaging transducers are compatible with all Humminbird APEX® and SOLIX® models, as well as HELIX® 8-15 G3N / G4N models with MEGA Imaging. For optimal performance, the MEGA Live Imaging transducer is designed to be paired with a Minn Kota Ultrex™ trolling motor.
Humminbird has upgraded its popular HELIX 7 G4 models that offer high resolution and easy-to-read sonar views of fish and structure. Similar to the G4 models, these new models boast a new, higher resolution 7” HD display, with all of the sonar and navigation features found on G4 model, with the addition of upgraded dual, microSD card slots that support all Humminbird compatible chart options.
Anglers will notice a redesigned front housing that features three preset view keys to allow quick access to favorite sonar and chart screens, a familiar experience to that found on the larger HELIX G4N models. An additional upgrade to the new HELIX 7 G4N models is compatibility with MEGA LIVE IMAGING™ for models with MEGA Side Imaging or MEGA Down Imaging. When paired with the advanced sonar accessory, users will see fish with the detail and clarity of MEGA Imaging in real-time.
The move up to the HELIX 7 G4N Series also delivers several networking and compatibility. All of these models are networking compatible, providing Ethernet networking and Bluetooth® support, which allow connection to the ONE-BOAT NETWORK™ family of products from Humminbird and Minn Kota.
New networking features also include built-in NMEA 2000® and Wi-Fi® connectivity to enable optional display of outboard engine data and information from many NMEA 2000-compatible accessories.
The HELIX 7 G4 and G4N Series will begin shipping to dealers this winter. HELIX 7 G4 Series models will be available from $499.99 to $699.99 MSRP and the HELIX 7 G4N Series will offer models from $649.99 to $899.99 MSRP.
Lowrance has three main lines of fish finders; the HDS LIVE units, the Elite FS series and the HOOK Reveal units. Most of the region’s anglers use HDS LIVE units ranging from 7,9, 12 and 16 inches so they can take advantage of Lowrance’s Active Target Live Sonar technology, much like Garm’s that permits anglers to observe fish behavior in real time. They also offer the following key Lowrance features: High-resolution SolarMAX™ HD IPS touchscreen viewable at extreme angles and through polarized lenses, high-resolution ActiveTarget™ Live Sonar ready, Active Imaging™ 3-in-1 ready (Lowrance CHIRP/SideScan/DownScan Imaging), FishReveal™, StructureScan® 3D ready, preloaded C-MAP® Contour+ mapping with 1-foot contours on 15,000+ US Lakes, 9,400+ Canadian Lakes, touchscreen control of Power-Pole® anchors, Lowrance Outboard Pilot and Ghost® Trolling Motor, a wide range of optional chart upgrades including C-MAP®, Navionics®, Florida Marine Tracks and more, plus NMEA 2000®, Wireless, Bluetooth® and LiveCast connectivity and smartphone notifications
The Lowrance Ghost trolling motor that debuted a couple years back has also received some upgrades for 2022 with 47-, 52- and 60-inch versions available.
Like Minn Kota and Garmin, Lowrance worked to create a trolling motor that would integrate with it’s own electronics (as well as Power Pole) and offer hardware and software connectivity – dubbed the HDS Ultimate Fishing System. The Lowrance trolling motor is brushless so it’s said to be quieter, offers more thrust and longer run times.
The new Minn Kota Raptor shallow water anchoring system is able to sense when wind and waves pick up and threaten your hold on the bottom. Then it automatically anchors itself back without the angler having to do anything using Active-Anchor and Auto-Bottom Modes. You can also anchor from just about anywhere in the boat with the push of a button since there an included wireless remote, an optional wireless foot switch, your smartphone, your Humminbird unit, iPilot or iPilot Link system. There’s also three bracket options: extension or angle bracket, jack plate bracket or sandwich bracket (between the jack plate and transom). The anchoring spikes are guaranteed for life. The entire unit has a five-year warranty.
Many anglers are turning to lithium batteries to power their boats, trolling motor and accessories. These batteries bring numerous advantages over more traditional marine power options including reduced weight and longer run times. But these advantages come with the possibility of damaging batteries through over–or under-charging.
Minn Kota’s new line of Precision On-Board Chargers is said to take the guesswork out of running lithium power and maximizes the life of 12-volt marine lithium batteries. Select models boast an industry leading 15 amps of true-rated output.
Enhancements to the line, optimized for 12-volt lithium batteries, include charge profiles specifically formulated for the high demands of lithium batteries. The new chargers can even wake lithium batteries from standby mode unlike traditional charging methods, which can require a more manual process.
The foundation of safe, fast and precise charging from Minn Kota’s new Precision Line of battery chargers is automatic, multi-stage charging which adjusts output based on the current needed to charge lithium, flooded lead-acid or AGM batteries in each stage of the charging cycle. These battery-specific charge curves can then be selected individually by bank, allowing for endless options when it comes to trolling motor and accessory battery power. Boaters and anglers can run outboard manufacturer-recommended AGM-style cranking batteries while running a trolling motor or accessories with lithium power.
Anglers with a dedicated electronics battery powering multiple fish finders will also appreciate the addition of a 5-bank, 10-amp option. Just as with previous generations of Precision chargers, temperature and low line voltage compensation account for extreme environmental inputs and adjust to provide the safest and most efficient charge possible. This line of chargers eliminates the risk of over-charging or running lithium batteries until completely drained.
Minn Kota Precision Chargers are available in 11 different output configurations with 6, 10 or 15 amps of true rated output and for the first time ever, as many as five banks. MSRP will range from $119.99 to $649.99.