We take a look at some of the marine electronics available to today’s recreational angler, how best to employ it and some do’s and don’ts surrounding the installation and use of your devices.
Marine electronics have come a long, long way over the past decade or so, especially with regards to recreational fishing. Gone are the days where we relied on good ol’ instinct in finding fish or, better yet, Dad’s ‘legendary fish-finding intuition’ which was pretty effective most of the time – as long as you did the exact opposite of what he instructed!
Nowadays we have the technology to pinpoint the location for the best chance of landing a fish; the ability to identify the species in the designated location; how deep the targets are; what structures will hinder you in a fight; and even the means to see through those structures with scanners – the possibilities are seemingly endless! What’s Available?
Plotting your course
To make sure you at least get into the right ballpark of whatever species you’re targeting, chart plotters are essential pieces of equipment to have in your arsenal. Most chart plotters now subscribe to major cartography companies which offer bathymetric charts along with the standard raster and vector fare. Detailed contour information and, in the latest models, 3D underwater views enable the angler to decide where he’s most likely to find his target species. Then it’s as simple as moving the cursor to the particular fishing spot and, at the touch of a button, be on your way! Drift no longer matters either, since steering directors keep you on course at the right angle to reach your specified destination.
Plotters are useful in more than one sense. Tide induced currents play a huge part in where and when fish feed, and knowing when and how these currents occur will determine how successful your fishing trip turns out. Luckily modern plotters come equipped with tidal information and you’re able to call up real-time data about the tides and resulting currents in your area.
Sonar is another tool commonly enjoyed by recreational fishermen and it’s a feature of marine technology that’s made staggering progress in the last few years. Where once a shoal of baitfish looked like one big mass, modern sonar units can now differentiate between individual fish. It can reach depths of thousands of feet, and filtering, beam configuration and pulse rate provide crystal clear images of what’s below your boat.
Integrating your sonar with your other marine electronics gives you incredible fish finding potential. When your