Modern electronics have become nearly magical. I can remember back to the old days when we thought having a flasher to tell us the water depth and bottom density was a big thing. It’s been a few years and things have changed drastically. It’s no wonder guys can put bigger bass, as well as more bass in the boat.
In my younger years, I worked for a Tampa marine outlet store called E&B Marine. It was a good company that took pride in always having the latest and greatest electronics in stock. Keep in mind, this was back in the mid to late ‘80s.
I can remember selling units that simply showed the latitude and longitude numbers, and you’d have to look at a chart to see where you actually were. Depth finders had a paper display so you could remember what was under the water the next time you were in that spot. It sounds as antiquated as using two rocks to start a fire.
Today, the electronic toys are amazing, and I am fortunate enough to have some on my boat. Almost everyone has a combo GPS/depthfinder unit that shows your location and gives you a running picture of what is beneath you — an impossible dream a generation ago, but just the simple version of things today.
Currently, I have three pieces of electronics on my boat. I have a Humminbird Helix SI at the console. With this, I can get my current position from the GPS, a depth reading, surface water temperature, down imaging of the bottom beneath me, and side-scan images of what is on either side of the boat. All of this functionality comes in one unit.
The other two units I have are both up on the front of the boat. The first one is my Humminbird DI. It’s a simpler version of my console unit, just without the side-scanning capability. My third and newest unit is the Humminbird 360.
If you’re considering this unit, make sure you have a monitor, or head, that can read the image. I needed to buy a new monitor to view the image because the units that came with my boat are a model year behind and weren’t compatible. I went out and bought a Humminbird Mega Chirp SI.
Neither the monitor nor the transducer that gives you the 360 image were cheap items. But let me tell you this: That thing is worth its weight in gold when it comes to finding bass. I have been able to see and identify things that I have overlooked in years past on water that I have spent a lot of time on. It’s like I was seeing things for the first time.
But I’m already looking at the future. The next thing I plan on buying for my boat, is the new Humminbird Mega Live. This thing will actually show you the fish and their movement under the water or scanned out in front of you. How cool is that? This technology just became available this past spring. Naturally, that was about the same time I was putting the 360 on my boat. Now I am looking at putting a third monitor up on the deck of my boat.
Yes, it’s going to get a little crowded up there. In order to get the Mega Live mounted on my deck with the other electronics, I am going to have to find a stackable mount just to have room for all of the monitors I’ll have.
But if you plan on fishing tournaments, you almost have to have these types of electronics to compete. Everybody is looking for any edge over the competition. If you’re a weekend angler and fish a lot, one or two of these pieces of electronics may still be fun to have.
I could buy the Mega Live transducer and run it through the monitor I have for the 360. However, I would have only one screen available at a time. For that reason, I would prefer to have a separate monitor for my 360, the Mega Live, and for the down image of the bottom which can be split and show my GPS location as well.
This will offer me the best of all worlds going forward. I’ll know where I am if I am fishing over a GPS location. I’ll have a picture of the bottom underneath me, the water temperature, a full 360-degree view of everything around me, and a picture of any fish moving or suspending wherever I decide to point the Mega Live transducer.
It sounds like a lot, and it is. They have evolved the fishing electronics almost into a video game. But with what I am doing in bass fishing, it’s become a must-have.
Technology is awesome in the world of fishing in general. While it’s still short of getting a true TV picture on your monitor, they have achieved a great deal in the past few years. It may be more than some people need or want, but I can tell you this — it has helped me catch more bass, and I hope to increase that count even more with the Mega Live.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.