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Electronics Tips for Offshore Trolling

Pro Suggestions for Dialing in Bluewater Species

May 23, 2018
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Photo credit: Garmin Garmin

When South Florida captain Vinnie LaSorsa heads offshore to troll for wahoo or blue marlin, he dials in his Garmin GPSMAP® 8600 series and GPSMAP 7600 series displays to generate the best detail of the structure and baitfish below. The private captain for music superstar Jimmy Buffett runs a GPSMAP 8622 at the helm and a GPSMAP 7612 in the tower of the 42 Rybovich Last Mango.

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Vinnie LaSorsa and Jimmy Buffett aboard the Last Mango. Photo credit: Vinnie LaSorsa Garmin

“When I’m wahoo fishing, I put the Fishing Chart [from the BlueChart® g2 Vision card] on the port side of the screen, and on the starboard side, I split the screen for high and low chirp [sonar],” LaSorsa says. “I like the high/low split so if I see bait, I get a better picture of what I’m really looking at.”

The Garmin GPSMAP 8600 series, introduced in 2016, comes in 17-, 22- and 24-inch high-resolution displays with pinch-to-zoom control. The units fully network with sonar, radar, autopilot and sensors as well as compatible units like the GPSMAP 7600 series, available in 7-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 16-inch sizes.

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Photo credit: Vinne LaSorsa Garmin

LaSorsa’s vessel is also outfitted with an Airmar B275 low/high/wide chirp transducer and a Garmin GSD 26 chirp sonar module.

“On previous electronics I used, when the depth would drop from about 200 feet down to 450 or 500 in the Bahamas, the sounder would start looking for bottom,” he says. “You’d go 15, 20 seconds before you’d pick it back up. Now, I don’t lose bottom when I’m doing S patterns over the edge.”

Garmin
Photo credit: Drew Offerdahl and Sean Wilkes Garmin

LaSorsa also says he appreciates the fast processing speed of the GPSMAP 8600 when he’s high-speed trolling for wahoo and needs his screen to rapidly redraw the scene. “At 14 to 16 knots, the boat can drift one way or the other, and suddenly you’re in 1,600 on the deep side or 80 feet on the shallow side before you know it,” he adds.

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Photo credit: Garmin Garmin

When he trolls for blue marlin at the Northeast Canyons off the U.S. mainland, he keeps the Fishing Chart up and leaves his radar on to locate the rest of the fleet. “Four to five boats packed together 6 miles away, they’re usually on something,” he says.

When he marks bait or interesting structure, he uses Garmin’s sonar-rewind feature to scroll back and quickly tap on the screen to save a waypoint. “If I mark bait trolling for blue marlin, I make three to five passes before I give up on the location,” he adds.

Garmin
Photo credit: Drew Offerdahl and Sean Wilkes Garmin

LaSorsa’s GPSMAP 8622 is compatible with Garmin’s new OneHelm integrated boat-control system. When he decides to flip on his Lumishore underwater LED fishing lights, he can operate them directly from the display. His Garmin VIRB 360 and FLIR infrared cameras also network with the unit.

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Photo credit: Vinnie LaSorsa Garmin

He has also noticed the display screen’s extra clarity and viewability from any direction, due to the GPSMAP 8600’s IPS — or in-plane switching — technology. At the end of the day, LaSorsa says, “When I’m running east and the sun is setting in the west, there’s not as much glare.”

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