Plenty of new equipment for fishermen

fishing rod
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

The new electronics available to serious fishermen are truly space age and beyond.

Indeed, the latest and best are bigger, more powerful, more detailed, more user-friendly, more colorful, more able to see things that we’ve never imagined, more useful for all sorts of reasons and certainly more able to find fish even in their most secretive hideouts.

That’s a lot of “mores” but to see the newest dash mounted units in action is to believe it. Oh, did I mention that the newest combo sonar/GPS units cost more?

Fish finders

My guess is that the new color GPS/depth finder/side imaging units most of us are drooling over are a far piece more powerful than the technology that steered the first moon landings. Indeed, new “fish finders” are far and above much more than just fish finders and certainly generations away from the first flasher units which, as primitive as they were, caused unsuspecting fish to get nervous as their buddies were yanked away.

Just like other high contrast flat screen technologies are now presenting fishermen the big picture so to speak. High definition split-screen imaging is now state of the art and with screens so wide that many console tops won’t provide enough real estate for one. But of course, the answer is an easily available adjustable mount which rivals the go-anywhere arm that holds a dentist’s drill.

New combo units are so detailed that “imaging” features allow the viewer to see with awesome clarity, even the smallest contour change, stone, or other small submerged object. And not just the junk that is under the boat, but off to the side as well.


Oh, what about color versus black and white? If you would like to own a black and white unit, check out the local antique store. They may have one, maybe two left.

Now the really important part. The latest units can communicate with other onboard equipment, such as an electric trolling motor and the other half of the combo unit. The depth-finding side can talk to the GPS side and the GPS side can talk back.

That means the latest lake-scouting craze, that of self-generated, custom mapping a lake or river is simply a matter of traveling a route that is then recorded electronically in the unit which then creates a map that can be pulled up anytime the angler wants it. Now push the right buttons on any given day and the self-created map will steer the boat by using the trolling motor to replicate the requested route.

It may be considered unfair for anglers to rely on such sophisticated equipment, but it’s still very possible to come home without a fish.

Other popular uses for networked units included steering a compass heading or selected contour depth while trolling by using the depth/GPS combo unit to steer the bow mounted trolling motor while transom mounted gas motor pushes the boat.

Another popular use is to use the trolling motor to hold a position, controlled by the GPS side of the dash mounted unit instead of hauling out and dropping an anchor.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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