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Thread: GPS,Sonar Help

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    St.Germain wi
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    GPS,Sonar Help

    I'm in the market for a GPS/sonar unit for my boat. I'm not going to lie i know nothing about them and don't know where to start, it seems like a lot of people prefer Lowarnce over any thing else. Can anyone help me in the right direction. I would like something that will help me out musky fishing but nothing too crazy and fancy!

    Cabellas has a sale on Lowrance products this month so i would like to take advantage of that!!

    Thanks,
    -Trevor
    Last edited by trev; 03-21-2013 at 08:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    Minocqua, WI, United States.
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    A recent press release by Southwick Associates reported that its AnglerSurvey.com showed Lowrance had 43% of the market and Humminbird 42.9%. According to Southwick, this was based on "15,819 internet-based surveys completed by anglers who volunteered to participate last year in AnglerSurvey.com polls."

    So, this means the GPS/sonar market is neck-and-neck, while 10 years ago Lowrance dominated the market. The difference was that Johnson Fishing bought Humminbird about a decade ago and invested heavily, and the brand is now outstanding. This is obviously reflected in the larger share of the market Humminbird now holds.

    From what I've seen and heard from others, the Lowrance products seem to have a few more bells and whistles whereas the Humminbirds are much more user-friendly. I've used 'Birds since 2005 and have been very pleased. Only twice in that time have I needed Humminbird's customer service and they were excellent in both instances. www.humminbird.com

    A couple of tips:

    1. Get a color unit. Don't even bother with monochrome.
    2. Get a unit that has as wide of a screen as you can afford. I use GPS to not only mark travel routes but to outline reefs, points, and other structure that I fish. This may not seem so important when the sun is high and you can see where you're going, but it's really important when the wind is blowing or it's getting dark and you want to catch a big musky you saw on the spot. Knowing where to position your boat the whole time is crucial. The wider screen will give you a much more detailed view.
    3. Buy two SD cards and save your waypoints and tracks, etc. to them. I have one SD card for each of my fishfinder/GPS units that I keep in my garage, and the other in my safe deposit box at the bank. Downloading such data to the SD cards involves pushing a button or two, and having duplicates ensures I never lose the data.
    4. As you can tell by No. 3, I have a GPS/fishfinder combo on the bow and another on the console of my boat. The bow GPS is largely for fishing, the console for navigation. Too many guys try to get by with a console unit spun around so they can see it from the bow ... with the console transducer normally mounted on the stern, and you in the bow, your boat control is already the length of your boat (16-20 feet) off. I want to know exactly the depth beneath my feet when I stand in the bow, and with a GPS puck on the bow my GPS positioning is as accurate as the satellites will allow.
    5. As implied in No. 4, GPS satellites are first and foremost for military use, so their accuracy will vary depending on what our military is doing. While it's cool to drive your boat after dark "on instruments" (following the GPS trail), you still must watch forward as you drive the boat. Any inaccuracies in the GPS may be dangerous ... there have been some famous middle-of-the-night boat crashes over the years in which guys relied too heavily on GPS and hit islands.
    Steve Heiting

    www.steveheiting.com

  3. #3
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    CANADA.
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    I would only add one thing to what Steve said. Humminbird services its products EVEN THE OLDER UNITS!!! and are always very helpful. Lowrance just told me to buy another unit after I mentioned how many units I had. So I bought a Bird and have never looked back!
    jim.

  4. #4
    Member
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    Franklin, Wi, USA.
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    I have front and back gps /combo birds' and I love them. I have Navionics chips for both but thats a good point Steve about extra ones.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2012
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    I'm in the same position. For me, much comes down to what map chips are available. I've always liked the Fishing Hot-Spots Maps. Is their mapping software good?

    I also heard good things about LakeMaster but they are only available for Humminbirds.

    Any options on mapping chips?

    Backdraft

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2013
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    I set up my boat with then top-of-the-line Lowrance units. They worked just fine for the first few seasons but eventually gave me constant issues with maintaining lock of the GPS satellites. The unit beeped each time the unit gained or lost lock of the GPS satellites. I wish that it could have played a tune of some sort for all the non-stop noise it made. I called Lowrance's customer service desk and was on hold for 45 minutes. A lady instructed me to do a few things, which didn't solve the problem(s). I called back to their customer service desk a few days later and stayed on hold for about one hour. I explained the situation to a different lady that answered the phone. She basically said "huh" and told me to post my situation on some chat rooms to see what information I could obtain to solve the problem.

    I dumped the Lowrance units two seasons ago and bought Humminbirds for the console and bow. I found them to be extremely reliable and intuitive to use. I can leave the manual at home and simply figure it out on the fly when in the boat. I find that I simply ask myself "how would I do something" and then try it. It just works. I bought a third unit and have it set up as a portable unit to take to a fishing lodge in Canada where I rent a boat. I've had a couple minor issues and have found Humminbirds customer service to be nothing short of outstanding.

    I am very glad that I made this switch and haven't looked back. You just can't put a price on good electronics.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I am making the switch this season. After running Lowrance units for the past 6 yrs I am going with a Humminbird 1198C on the consule and the 998C for the bow.

    Before the Lowrance units i was running Bottomline, so it will be kind of like going home making the switch to Humminbird

    rnovak

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2011
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    Blue Mounds, WI
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    Quote Originally Posted by piesox View Post
    I have front and back gps /combo birds' and I love them. I have Navionics chips for both but thats a good point Steve about extra ones.
    I don't think Steve is saying to get an extra Navionics chip for both units. You don't need to do that, you can back your data up on a blank SD card. I put it on a blank card and put it on my computer with Hummin' Birds software which can be down loaded for free on their website. So I end up with all of my data on the SD card and on my home computer.

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