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Locators - bring me to "current" from the dark ages...

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Hello,

 

I'm Luke.  I'm hoping to get some help from people who may have navigated this path before me.  Thanks in advance to anyone.

 

A little background if you care:  I started entering a few bass tournaments here in Wisconsin last year and had descent success based on my experiences growing up fishing.  This spring up here in Northern Wisconsin has been a challenge over the past few weeks.  I've struggled catching bass, finding bass, and getting bites.  The water temps are in the 40's.  During the summer I can see the structure the fish are on and can catch them well enough.  This spring has been a different story.  I caught 0 the first tournament then 3 this last tournament.  The winning bags have been 20lbs the first tournament and 24lbs the second tournament.  I'm OBVIOUSLY not skilled enough, yet.

 

The day after the second tournament I went fishing on a lake and was determined to fish in deeper water.  It took me 6 hours to find a crib, drop a jig and catch a smallmouth in 20 feet of water on a lake I didn't know.  It was painful but humbling at the success.  During this experience, I realized that electronics are extremely important, far more important that I realized last year during the summer or any other point before that.  It took me 20 minutes to identify through sideimaging a crib (on an improperly working Humminbird 997c without GPS) and finally get over the top of it.  I realized how important GPS on a unit with Sidescan and a trolling motor to take me to the waypoint are.  My fishing abilities are extremely limited by my technology currently, in my opinion.  

 

Over the past few nights I have been researching endlessly on why so many boats I compete against have up to 4 large monitors on them, and now I know why.  They can see the fish, then catch them. 

 

Opinion:  What I have determined is that the Garmin Panoptix(sp?) is a superior unit for seeing fish and my bait around the boat compared to the Humminbird.  I also realize how valuable a new Minn Kota with iPilot Link is (and Mega imaging +).  But from what I can tell, the Garmin does not have the features capable of using all of the Minn Kota, which would require me to buy a Humminbird locator with Lakemaster as well. 

 

Questions:

 

Am I understanding the following correctly:

 

1)  I would need a Humminbird locator to identify the structure and set the waypoints, to

2)  Navigate to the structure and have the trolling motor take me there, I would need the Minn Kota iPilot (i'm getting the Link if I do it).

3)  While on the structure to see the fish moving around me etc, I would need a Garmin locator

4)  Linked with the Panoptix Trolling motor transducer mount

5)  Would I need the Panoptix Transom mount and other hardware also?

 

I have seen the Humminbird 360 and would prefer to stay away from it if I'm going to be spending the big bucks on the Panoptix.

 

I added all of the items to my cart on a online Outdoor Merchandise company and the cost is SIGNIFICANT, but I would imagine the investment would be worth it once I train myself, scan the lakes and waypoint structure, and get accustomed to the technology. 

 

Thanks for any input based from experiences. 

 

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I'd wait till Icast and see what different manufacturers come out with.

 

SE Kansas grass grower

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The harsh truth is electronics aren’t magic. If you think you slap a couple screens on your boat and will catch 20lbs every trip, I’ll be honest with you, you won’t. You will take a step back actually because you will fish less. If your good with that learning curve, throw them in the cart!

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Like @Sprocket said wait until Icast. Word on the street is Garmin has some cool stuff coming out. 

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Honestly......and I am being honest.  IMHO You would be better served learning the seasonal habits of the fish you are targeting and the body of water they are on and using some "good" electronics to verify they are there.  Electronics are a tool, they are no guarantee.  For my style of fishing I am content with older units that give me sidescan, downscan, 2d and GPS.  Are you really willing to put out thousands of dollars in electronics to find out they are not the magic boxes you thought they were?  I can honestly say I very rarely catch fish that I can actually see on my electronics and I don't have the video game quality optics.  I have caught some dropshot fish off my finder and I have caught crappie off my finder when I can see the school. Normally where I fish we are shallow 90% of the time and you can't see squat on the electronics other than to pinpoint when we are in the weeds and depth changes on the bottom.   Your electronics will not find the fish for you.  You find the fish and your electronics will verify they are there.  

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Hello Luke and welcome to Bass Resource ~

I have to agree with @TOXIC 's point of view.

While having a quality unit(s) on board is no doubt a valuable tool, electronics is simply that, one tool. 

 I run Humminbird & Minn Kota units on my rig, and do utilize at least some aspect of their capabilities every trip (however, the Fortrex is not i-pilot capable and not needed in my own fishing). 

Locating fish / bait holding structure and cover is key for me, as is a working knowledge of local seasonal fish patterns.  This is where my Helix units are most valuable.  And while not every area or piece of structure holds active fish all the time, I can't eliminate them, if I can't locate them.

 Being able to mark and catalog points of interest is a big deal too.

  My advice is to visit an electronics dealer that has several brands & models on display (sports shows a good).  Each manufacturers units utilize its own 'language' if you will.  You may find that one 'speaks' to you a bit more than another.  Something you will not know ordering online and makes some hands on time a solid pre-purchase plan.

The better ones are all pretty good, difference lies in how the information is presented & interpreted. 

Good Luck with your decision and Derbies going forward.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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Luke, realize that no matter what you decide to go with, in a year or two or a few, it will most likely already be outdated.  I have a 5 year old HDS unit and I feel like its a fossil compared to some out there now.  Most of us simply can't afford to upgrade our electronics every season.

 

At the very minimum, electronics will serve as a safety item showing how deep it is and also the water temperature.  At certain times of the year, water temperature will play a big role.  And of course, just knowing how deep your boat is running is a good idea so you don't plow into a pile of boulders or sand bar...

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