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April 26, 2013

Electronics for Inshore Anglers

Tailored to fishermen who fish in shallow water.

Custom Charts

The Elite-7 Hybrid Dual Imaging series from Lowrance combines two technologies — the Broadband Sounder and Downscan Imaging — to create a ­photolike view of ­structure and bottom detail on a 7-inch display. With the Lowrance Downscan overlay feature, anglers can overlay Downscan Imaging over the Broadband Sounder view for a more detailed image of the ­bottom.

Recording and saving bottom data is a particular strength of the Elite-7. TrackBack features allow you to revisit water already covered and pinpoint locations with a waypoint, eliminating the need to circle back for a second look. The Elite-7 is available as a plotter, fish finder or combo model. 

The combo unit, in conjunction with Lowrance’s Insight Genesis mapping, lets you create custom charts of favorite spots based on sonar logs. All Airmar transducers used with Lowrance HDS models are also compatible with the Elite-7 Series. $499 to $869; lowrance.com

Dial In Detail

Two new sounders from Furuno — the 8.4-inch FCV 587 and 5.7-inch FCV 627 — ­feature advanced signal-processing technology, Accu-Fish and Bottom Discrimination, which interpret the ­information on a sonar picture. Accu-Fish is a fish-size-assessment function providing the ­approximate size of fish from four inches up to six feet. It determines fish size in depths from seven feet to more than 300 feet. Fish symbols appear on the screen, along with the size of the fish and their depth. 

The Bottom Discrimination Mode provides detailed graphic ­information about the composition of the ­bottom, differentiating and identifying rock, gravel, sand or mud. The details are displayed graphically or as a probability graph. The two signal-processing systems work hand in hand to simplify the hunt, says Furuno’s Jeff Kauzlaric. “First you find the right bottom and then see the fish,” he says. $995 (FCV 627) to $1,695 (FCV 587); furunousa.com

Look Around

Each sweep of Humminbird’s 360 imaging creates a high-res picture around your boat — 70,685 square feet, front, back and sides.

The applications are many: from locating fish before you get to them — whether they’re holed up in structure along the bank, or lying on the edge of the flats alongside a channel — to locating schools of bait just under the surface.

“It’s just like radar: You know what’s around you at all times,” says Humminbird pro Sam Heaton. “You don’t even have to be a live-bait fisherman, but you have to know where the bait is.” Find the bait and you find the predators. Angler-configurable-view options let you select particular segments to display, which can be viewed split screen with down-looking sonar. It’s functional at up to 7 mph, and is compatible with existing ­Ethernet-equipped Humminbird Side Imaging. $1,999; humminbird.com