humminbird: Quickly and Easily

Humminbird has just released the new Helix 7 Fish finder and the units are on the way to Bass Pro Shops around the country. Currently the only fish finder in the Helix line is the Helix 5 so the Helix 7 is a life saver for old guys like me who can’t see as well as I used to. The Helix 7 has all of the great features that the 5 does but with a larger screen. There are four models to choose from; the Helix 7 DI fish finder ($399.99), the Helix 7 Sonar GPS fish finder and chart plotter ($449.99), the Helix 7 DI GPS fish finder and chart plotter ($499.99) and the Helix 7 SI GPS. These units are currently being shipped to our store and we should have them by the end of July or the beginning of August. There will be some Helix 7 units on display at our store for you to play with so come in and check out the new Humminbird Helix 7 at your Rancho Cucamonga Bass Pro Shops!



Fish Finding Made Easy

Transducers, Flashers, Sonar, Echoe, keep it simple so I can get a Fish!  In this fast world of ours when we want to relax, we want to relax not try and figure out our fishfinder. Do you have questions?  Here is a little information that we hope help you, but feel free to always stop down and talk with the experts.  Tell them exactly what you fish for, and the associates here at Bass Pro will be happy to direct you to the fishfinder that fits your budget and need.

Frequency:  The higher the frequency.   192-200 work well in shallow water, low 50 KHZ use in deep water.  The higher the frequency the more in depth detail will show up because of more sonar waves sent and received by the transducer.  The greater the wattage the faster your element will show readings.

Screen Resolution:  Pixels - The greater the pixels the better the picture.  Minimum should be 240(v)x160(h).  If you can afford it go with the largest screen you can.

Transducers:  This is the main component that sends and receives sonar waves.  They bounce off the objects and are then picked up by transducers.  This gives you your picture.

The power of the sonar, how clear the the screen is, GPS, chartplotting, quality and price.  All things that are important when looking for a fishfinder that fits you.

The Humminbird899ciHDSI fishfinder with GPS and Chartplotter has a 7" screen with side imaging.







Two fishfinders that have 5" screens are the Garmin Echo Map 53DVHD and the Hummingbird Helix 5 DI .  Both are rugged and reliable as well as have a chartplotter in them.








So stop on by and talk with our Fishing/Marine associates to help you find the right fishfinder for you.


Robin Piedmonte-Events Coordinator






Important Marine Electronic Update Seminars Coming Soon

Once again, we are proud to announce our electronics classes for Spring 2015:

Humminbird – Tuesday, February 24th at 5pm


Garmin – Monday, March 2 at 5:30pm



Lowrance – Tuesday, March 17 at 6pm


Classes will be held in our Conservation Room and will feature techs and representatives from the manufacturers.  The classes feature “hands-on” training and overview of the systems including chirp technology from Lowrance, the new side view entry from Garmin, and a host of new bells and whistles sure to make our fishing trips more productive and fun!

Preregistration is advised.  Simply call 816-795-4300 and ask for the marine department and we will get you squared away!

Impressions from this year’s marine university which I attended down in Florida a couple of weeks ago:

Really impressed by the following:

Minn-Kota Ulterra Trolling Motors with auto stow and deploy and power trim control both functions with IPilot (Pre-Installed) or IPilot Link. 

Garmin SU Series Fishfinders:  Features built-in downvu and sidevu sonar with preloaded lakevu maps

Lowrance Elite Chirp Series:   Chirp Sonar with Down Scan Imaging makes it easier to identify and distinguish bait and game fish.  Compatible with Navronics, Insight and a host of other mapping programs.

Humminbird Helix Series:  Super affordable units with 5” screen and down-imagining side imaging with or without GPS.  Compatible with LakeMaster, Navionics and Auto Chart PRO.


Spring Fishing Classic 2014 - Daily Specials

The Daily Specials are back for the Spring Fishing Classic! As always, no dealers, limited quantities, no rain checks, and purchase limits apply on some items.

Daily Specials Bass Pro Shops March 7, 2014Friday, March 7 ONLY

  • XPS Signature Series Fluorocarbon
  • Wohali Non-Woven Rain Jacket OR Pants - Constructed of 66% polypropylene/34% polyethylene film, these are perfect for the vehicle, golf bag or on the boat for wet weather protection at an excellent price.
  • Blue Water LED Pro Boat Package - New for 2014! More than 200 LEDs - light up your compartments and live wells with these 100% waterproof LEDs!

Daily Specials Bass Pro Shops March 8, 2014


Saturday, March 8 ONLY

  • Bass Pro Shops ProLite Special Spin Combo - Reel features 8-bearing system and Powerlock instant anti-reverse, rod features lightweight micro guides and IM8 graphite blank.
  • Bass Pro Shops Stump Jumper
  • Mister Twister Electric Fisherman Fillet Knife



Daily Specials Bass Pro Shops Altoona March 14, 2014


Friday, March 14 ONLY

  • Humminbird Fishfinder 597ci HD DI Combo
  • Plano 3-Tray Special Box - great starter tackle box for kids!
  • Bass Pro Shops Tourney Lures






Saturday, March 15 ONLYDaily Specials Bass Pro Shops Altoona, March 15, 2014

  • Shimano Curado G Baitcast Reels - Last chance at a great reel!
  • Bass Pro Shops Folding Processing Table - From the water or the woods, makes your backyard processing easier!



Fishfinder Frenzy

Fishfinders have come a long way in recent years.  You don't have to have a boat in order to have a fishfinder.  Fishfinders come small to fit on your wrist, portable and mounted.  

If you spend a lot of time on a boat, you may want to consider a GPS unit that comes preloaded with maps of shoreline and inland water.  Some even have satellite images and real-time weather updates, as well as radar images.

You want to have a unit that is waterproof, has glare protection, and a unit where the image should be easily visable.

The Humminbird Smart Cast RF-35 is a wrist mounting fish finder.  It shows bottom contour, depth and water surface temp.  This is good in small bodies of water and  along banks.  It goes to 125' depth with a 75' range.  Great for a young fisherman just starting out.

When thinking of a fish finder consider different screen options.  Color and pixels add more detail to the display and makes it easier to understand.  Think about what size you want and where you will put it.  Will you mount it? 

The Bass Pro Shops associates in our Fishing Department can show you a wide variety of Fishfinders.  Here are two you just may want to consider.

Humminbird 798ciHD

Side Imaging sonar/Down Imaging

5" screen HD Color Display

50 channel GPS and WAAS

4000 watts

Depth 1500'

Switchfire Contour XC Map-covers 3000 US lakes, depth contour lines

Ethernet Networking - Ability to share sonar, GPS and way points between compatible units.


Humminbird 998C HD

8" color display

side/down imaging

duel beam plus with switchfire

depth 150'

dual SD cards

dualbeam PLUS depth 1500'

So, stop on by and take a look.  You won't be disappointed.


Robin Piedmonte

Events Coordinator





Set Sail with our Marine Department

As the month is trying to pass by, it is time for me to focus on another department at the Bass Pro Shops store in Leeds, Alabama. If you are following our blogs, you will remember that in January, I focused on the gifts department ("It's All About the Gift"), February, I focused on the camping department ("Look What's in Camping"), and in March, I focused on the fishing department, ("Warmer weather means More Fishing") April got away from me completely, This month's focus will turn to our marine department, a department where there is definitely more than what meets the eye. Of course, there is more product than I have room to mention, I will try to highlight the surface for you. Don't forget, if you want to see it all.... you will have to come to the store and check it out for yourself!

The word marine has four listed definitions according to These definitions are a) of or relating to the sea; b) of or relating to the navigation of the sea; c) of or relating to the commerce of the sea; and d) depicting the sea, seashore, or ships. You will find a sample of each of these definitions throughout the marine department. This department has everything you may need from a boat, to all of the supplies required on a boat, all the way down to the water sport activities to use with your boat. If you already own your own boat, our marine department has all of the supplies to keep it up and going, including batteries, chargers, and accessories.

The following paragraph was taken directly from our store website:

"Make the most of your boat and time on the water with Marine Accessories from Bass Pro Shops. Whether you are chasing that tournament winning fish or just relaxing in the sun, enjoy the comfort our Boat Seats & Furniture can offer. Keep your craft juiced up and ready to go with Boat Batteries and Chargers. Stay safe and illuminated at night with Boat Wiring and Lights. Turn your boat into the ultimate fish catching vessel with Fishing Accessories specially designed to increase your hook-ups. Also ensure you meet area regulations and are prepared for an emergency with Boating Safety Equipment. Shop a large selection of Small Boats, Paddles & Oars to meet your needs. Also find Anchoring and Dock Supplies to be sure your boat stays right where you want it. Make sure your investment stays in top condition with Repair, Organization, and Cleaning Supplies."

Let's just take a peek at the boat showroom. Our boat showroom includes boats from various manufacturers.Tracker, SunTracker, Nitro, Tahoe, and Mako make up a great team and give you a variety of styles to choose from. Whether you are looking for a boat for your very own personal getaway or you are looking for one that the whole family can enjoy, our showroom is sure to have the right one to fit your needs. Many customers did not realize it, but, our boat showroom also includes used boats. If you are interested in trading in your older boat, we will help get you into a newer one! Our team is also available to service all of your boating needs. Our service team is in tip-top shape for your needs.

Once you get the boat to suit your needs, let's see what else the marine department has to offer you. Fishfinders, marine electronics, GPS, and radios are all a part of our marine electronics area. Our marine associates take the time to get to know our customers and their needs, when it comes to choosing a fishfinder. These little devices are definitely not a "one size, fits all" product. Each finder has a specific purpose and that purpose is to meet the needs of the operator. Humminbird, Lowrance, and Garmin are some of the most popular brands that we sale.

Trolling motors, outboard boat motors, and accessories for these motors also make up a portion of our marine department. We have a nice selection of motors that are sure to fit the needs of every boater. Minn Kota, Bass Pro Shops, and Prowler are just three of the name brands that we carry for trolling motors. We also offer a plethera of outboard boat motors. Whether you are looking for a spcific part, a mount, gas can, stabilizer, or the whole motor itself, we are sure to have what you are looking for in stock. 

Boat seats, furniture, accessories, batteries, chargers, wiring, and just about any other product you can think of are included in our marine section of the store. We also have supplies for repairs and cleaning your boat. Our marine department includes oars, organization tools, paddles, lights, and any other type of supplies that you may need for your boat. Don't forget about the boat covers and biminis. Check out this previous blog about what all you need to have on your boat to be legal with the Alabama Water Ways requriements.

At last, but certainly not the least, TOYS! Our marine department carries water sports supplies for those who are still a kid at heart. Whether you are an every weekend skier or just learning, we have the products that you need. We carry skis and wakeboards, life jackets, towables, and ropes to ensure that you will have a great time out on the water. If you don't have a boat and are just looking for some old fashion fun in the water, we have a variety of floats, water toys, and more. Whatever you decide to do this summer, make Bass Pro Shops in Leeds one of the stops before you get to your destination. Until next month, get out on the water!



The Hummingbird i597 is your new friend this fishing season!

Have you prepared yourself for the upcoming fishing season? Is your boat ready? If not, here is one item that will be a helpful too for you!

Here at Bass Pro we have a lot of hot fish finders/ chart plotters in the Marine department for the upcoming fishing season! The unit that I run on my boat is the Humminbird 597CI HD Down imaging combo. One afternoon  my father and I took our boat out for some fishing and relaxation. On that particular day the 5 inch color screen on the 597CI HD DI allowed us to split the 2D sonar and down imaging screens which gave us an extreme advantage on locating a large flat with a brush pile and fish stacked on it. Finally, after fishing well into the night the chart plotter option gave us the ability to retrace our track safely back to the boat ramp. This unitl typically sells for $599.99 and would make a great addition to your boat. It is a wonderful investment and if you don't believe me, stop by and take a look at one we have on display!


                 Features of the Unit:

  • 640Vx640H LCD 5'' color display
  • Down Imaging™
  • SwitchFire™
  • Dual Beam Plus™
  • UniMap™ Built-In Maps
  • Internal GPS
  • Quick Disconnect Mount tilts 90° and swivels 360°


The picture-like images of Humminbird® Down Imaging™ are created with high frequency sound waves emitted in razor-thin slices. The sonar returns from these waves create an instant ''snapshot'' directly below your boat. Our exclusive software analyzes the returns to verify the position of the echoes to ensure Down Imaging only shows you structure and activity directly beneath you, and not off to one side or the other. The Humminbird® 597ci HD DI Internal GPS Fishfinder Combo features a big 640Vx640H LCD 5'' color display with Dual Beam Plus sonar that has 25º and 16º beams. Performance fishfinder offers 4000 watts PTP power output and reliable depth to 350' (DI)/600'. Sonar coverage: 25º and 16º. Speed/Temp: Included. LakeMaster™ and Navionics™ compatible. In-dash mount: 5.4''H x 6.9''W.

- See more at:
  • 640Vx640H LCD 5'' color display
  • Down Imaging™
  • SwitchFire™
  • Dual Beam Plus™
  • UniMap™ Built-In Maps
  • Internal GPS
  • Quick Disconnect Mount tilts 90° and swivels 360°

If you have any questions, stop by and talk to one of our Marine Associates. They would happy to talk to you about any of our products!


The Hummingbird i597.



  • 640Vx640H LCD 5'' color display
  • Down Imaging™
  • SwitchFire™
  • Dual Beam Plus™
  • UniMap™ Built-In Maps
  • Internal GPS
  • Quick Disconnect Mount tilts 90° and swivels 360°


The picture-like images of Humminbird® Down Imaging™ are created with high frequency sound waves emitted in razor-thin slices. The sonar returns from these waves create an instant ''snapshot'' directly below your boat. Our exclusive software analyzes the returns to verify the position of the echoes to ensure Down Imaging only shows you structure and activity directly beneath you, and not off to one side or the other. The Humminbird® 597ci HD DI Internal GPS Fishfinder Combo features a big 640Vx640H LCD 5'' color display with Dual Beam Plus sonar that has 25º and 16º beams. Performance fishfinder offers 4000 watts PTP power output and reliable depth to 350' (DI)/600'. Sonar coverage: 25º and 16º. Speed/Temp: Included. LakeMaster™ and Navionics™ compatible. In-dash mount: 5.4''H x 6.9''W.

- See more at:





  • 640Vx640H LCD 5'' color display
  • Down Imaging™
  • SwitchFire™
  • Dual Beam Plus™
  • UniMap™ Built-In Maps
  • Internal GPS
  • Quick Disconnect Mount tilts 90° and swivels 360°


The picture-like images of Humminbird® Down Imaging™ are created with high frequency sound waves emitted in razor-thin slices. The sonar returns from these waves create an instant ''snapshot'' directly below your boat. Our exclusive software analyzes the returns to verify the position of the echoes to ensure Down Imaging only shows you structure and activity directly beneath you, and not off to one side or the other. The Humminbird® 597ci HD DI Internal GPS Fishfinder Combo features a big 640Vx640H LCD 5'' color display with Dual Beam Plus sonar that has 25º and 16º beams. Performance fishfinder offers 4000 watts PTP power output and reliable depth to 350' (DI)/600'. Sonar coverage: 25º and 16º. Speed/Temp: Included. LakeMaster™ and Navionics™ compatible. In-dash mount: 5.4''H x 6.9''W.

- See more at:




Do you own a kayak, canoe or just a bank angler but are having the hardest time finding fish? Well you should check out the Humminbird SmartCast RF25. The SmartCast is simply a fishfinder, depth finder and the RF25 is a rod mounted unit. about the size of a watch. These really work! us here at the Manteca BassProShops tested it in the aquarium, and this little fishfinder actully worked the Marine crew here at BPS was really impressed. So please do check out this little fishfinder. It will blow your top off.


Humminbird Scores Another Win!









When I came into the Marine Accessories Department several years ago at Bass Pro, Humminbird had just released Side Imaging.  It was truly  a success.  Several years later they introduced Down Imaging.   Again, this put Humminbird  as a  leader in Sonar technology.  Now they are introducing 360 Imaging™.  This new system allows  a 360 degree view surrounding the entire boat. 

Humminbird’s parent company (which is a private held company), Johnson Outdoors (you know  the wax people) has very “Deep Pockets”, therefore, is spending a fortune to keep Humminbird  on top.  Of course, Johnson Outdoors is reaping the rewards for having such a successful company in its fold.

The new unit will be compatible with many of its existing displays. You will be able to mark waypoints anywhere in the 300’ circle.  In the circle you will be able to zoom, set  waypoint alarms, and record video and photo screen captures.

The new unit carries a pretty hefty price tag.  Of course you still have to have a display etc.  The Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $1,999.99.  It will be available this summer.  Please stand in line.  First come is first served.  We take cash, check or credit card.






360 Imaging has you surrounded.

Want to get the most of 360 Imaging™ and its unprecedented coverage area? You're in the right place. Humminbird has broken down a screenshot to help you make sense of this revolutionary technology.



Four beam speeds

For greater on-water flexibility, 360 Imaging™ lets you choose from four beam speed settings. Lower beam speeds lead to higher image quality but lower refresh rates. Conversely, higher beam speeds result in lower image quality but higher refresh rates. With four options, you can find the ideal setting for your boat speed, water conditions and need for detail.







Understanding the beam

Visualize 360 Imaging™ as a thin sonar wall extending 150 feet to either side your boat. This wall rotates to create a 300-foot circle—updated in real time-—that enables you to see areas virtually impossible to reach with other types of sonar. And, because the sonar wall moves, you don’t have to.







Submerged bridge

This screenshot reveals a reservoir with bridge ruins (left of the boat location) and what was once a river channel. The white streaks to the direct left of the bridge and on the far right indicate fish. Shaded areas represent the channel's descending terrain, while lighter areas are rising terrain.






Train tracks

Here you can clearly see the ties of a submerged railroad track. After identifying a productive structure with 360 Imaging, you can orient your boat to fish alongside it.





Now that you can look forward, there's no looking back.

For the first time ever, you can see up to 150 feet in front of your boat, either in full 360 mode or by isolating your sweep area. With valuable intelligence on fish-holding structure and cover waiting up ahead, you can cast to productive areas without spooking the fish.








Mark a waypoint

Mark interesting returns with a waypoint directly on your 360 Imaging™ screen. The exact location will be stored in your unit’s memory and is viewable on GPS Cartography.







Sweep areas

New 360 Imaging™ allows you to isolate your sweep area over a section of water from 10˚ to 360˚. You can lock in your beam anywhere—but the area in front of your boat is especially useful. Because your transducer has less ground to cover, you'll also benefit from a faster refresh rate. 







Customize your display

Choose from eight color palettes for more flexibility. Based on water conditions, adjust sensitivity for the best returns. Even adjust sharpness to enhance edges and detail depending on lighting.








Switchfire/360 view

View 360 Imaging™ side-by-side with SwitchFire™ or GPS cartography. SwitchFire lets you see what’s going on below your boat while GPS puts valuable waypoints, routes and other navigational information at your fingertips.







Drop in without causing a stir

At your command, the ultra-quiet 360 Imaging™ Transducer Deployment System drops below your boat’s hull and prop for an unobstructed, 360˚ view. The system operates silently—escaping the notice of nearby fish.








Two deployment options

When the timing’s right, you can deploy 360 Imaging™ using your Humminbird unit or the control buttons found on the Transducer Deployment System. Easily manage the depth to which the Transducer Pod deploys to avoid grounding in shallow water.






Transducer deployment system

The Transducer Deployment System is the hardware behind the remarkable images of Humminbird 360 Imaging. This ruggedly constructed add-on works with any Ethernet-ready, Side Imaging-equipped Humminbird model.




Fish smarter with a fully loaded Humminbird

To get the detail and unprecedented coverage of Humminbird 360 Imaging, you'll need an Ethernet-ready, Side Imaging-equipped Humminbird fishfinder. Compatible models include:

1198c SI Combo      |      998c SI Combo     |      898c SI Combo    |      798ci HD SI Combo


Capt. Cary J. O'Brien

Marine Associate

Bass Pro Shops-Olathe, KS


Humminbird 561

Are you in the market for a new Fishfinder. Well Humminbird just came out with a new unit its called a Humminbird 561. This unit is excellent for the price, and it also has lots of great features. Such as a dual beam transducer, SwitchFire, and this unit will reach up to a 800' depth. this unit retails for $149.99 which is a killer deal. come pick it up at your local Bass Pro Shops.


Humminbird 408460-1 Black and White Fishfinder


Springtime at Tracker Marine

Hurry in to the Tracker Marine Dealership here in Clarksville, IN before the springtime deals are gone. Just like previous years, we are still giving you one of our boat VIP cards on qualifying boat purchases.

Get either a $500 or a $1000 Bass Pro Shops gift card on qualifying boats in stock before April 15, 2012. What a great deal to have this type of gift card to be able to purchase your favorite items for your needs after your boat purchase. Whether you need a new Bass Pro Shops Carbonlite Reel to go on that Carbonlite Rod, or an additional Lowrance or Humminbird Fishfinder on your Tracker Marine Boat. 

Give us a call here at 812-218-5337 so we can tell you how it works.

Thanks for visiting us,

Bob Crane

BPS / Tracker Marine



Spring Fishing and Electronics

Here in the Ozarks, the water temp is rising, the weather is unseasonably warm, but welcomed by many. The cool water species in our lakes are starting or will be starting their annual migration up the rivers, creeks and local streams for the spawn. If this warmer weather keeps up we should really see some amazing fishing over the next month. 'Tis the time to gear up and be prepared. Here at Bass Pro Shops the Spring Fishing Classic is in full swing for that very reason.

We all know the marine electronics play an important role in finding these prespawn fish.  We are offering several electronics with rebates and sale prices just to get you going this year. A particularly good buy is the Humminbird 798c Side Imaging unit. This unit is going fast though, as they are limited quantities. The Garmin 300c and the Humminbird 570 are on sale as well as having a mail in rebate available.

This year however, the most anticipated units here at our store have been the Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Series. Lowrance built upon the HDS series by adding a faster processor and some really cool overlays, allowing your Side Scan to now be overlayed onto your GPS chart. You can save this information and create your own lake maps.  This technology has made of the best tools even better.

They have also introduced the Mark and Elite 4 series for the new year. All of these have been really popular units here as well. The Lowrance Elite 4x DSI is quite a little unit for its price point. Another great buy is the Elite 4, a compact GPS/Fishfinder combo. The new screen that is in the Lowrance Mark 4 is really something, it uses the same bright white led's that are found in the color screens. However, the Mark 4 is grayscale in color, the lights are really boosting the picture you get.

So, come on down and gear up with us here at the White River Outpost in Branson, Missouri. We will get you squared away and out on the water prepared.


Humminbird Fishfinders and GPS Combos

Hello once again.

Today's topic is going to be on Humminbird Fishfinders, and GPS combos. There are so many to choose from, so you have to ask yourself do I get lost much? If so, I would suggest getting a Fishfinder/GPS combo. There are so many different things you can do with a GPS unit such as mark all your fishing spots, look at depths where you fish, and you can get contours of the lake or ocean you fish the most. The reason why anglers like the GPS is it has the tides and currents preloaded (only in Some units). I like having the GPS because when it is really foggy outside it's easy to navigate from point A to point B. The best selling Humminbird on the market is the Humminbird 587ci HD Combo package for $469.99. There are also some basic fishfinders that we sell starting at $79.99 its a Piranha max 150 its a real basic fishfinder with Depth and temp. The best unit you can get on the market right now is the 1198c Si Combo for $2,799.99, if your really serious about fishing.


Fishfinders : Selecting One For You

Have you got a fishfinder that's not working right? An older unit that needs replaced? The screen may be starting to get some dead spots? Its suddenly not reading the right depths, or showing the targets it used to? There a few things you can do that may help it out, but ultimately a new fish finder could be in your near future.

There are ways to troubleshoot the old unit. The number one thing to look for is the transducer. The transducer is the sending unit and the single most important part of any sonar unit. The transducer will wear out over time, no longer picking up subtle returns and ultimately no returns at all. Luckily replacement transducers are available for most makes and models of fishfinders. Older units however are becoming outdated and replacement parts near impossible to find. Being that the transducer is the source of signals and information, it is quite costly to replace. Transducers can range anywhere from around $65 through $200 depending on the whole unit's capabilities.

Looking at a new unit is the next step, and where to begin can be a daunting experience. You now have choices between depth finders and combination units. The first step in selecting the unit that is right for you is to find out what you would like to have and what you need out of your new  unit; Whether your looking to upgrade to a new technology or to replace an existing unit.  Questions to ask yourself that will help with the process of elimination include: Do I want a color screen? Do I need/want GPS? What about fish symbols vs. fish arches? How about the down imaging and side imaging technologies that are now available? 

Obviously the more you want out of  your new unit the more its going to cost. Therefore, it is important to know where you want to draw the line. All of the manufacturers of fishfinder and combination units offer a wide range of units that all perform, for the most part, equally well. Humminbird and Lowrance are two of the largest manufactures of such units, with Garmin holding in strong. In the low to middle range Garmin, Humminbird, and Lowrance all offer units that perform along the same lines. The differences lie in the screens themselves. I like to tell my customers to pick which one looks the best to them at this stage, because they will be the best fit. On the high end there are more noticeable differences in the units.

Why color screen over greyscale? plain and simple, color screens are much easier to see and read during the daylight hours. The bright white screens and bright colors are easily distinguished and seldomly washed out by the bright rays of the sun. Greyscale is more uniform in color and not as much going on in the screen. Greyscale however, is much more difficult to read in daylight hours.

Why pick a combination unit or a chartplotter? The reasons for combining fishfinders and GPS units are many. Easier ways to make waypoints on your favorite structures, in turn making them easier to find. GPS paired with fishfinding capability also allows for finding and marking of new structures and fishing holes. Unlike the turn by turn directions of any highway GPS, Marine GPS are not capable of turn by turn direction. Navigating a river channel is slightly more obscure than a drive to next town. Marine Electronics navigate by what is called straight line navigation or from A to B without any obstruction. Route planning in certain models and the ability to save trails and waypoints aid in this type of navigation.

Why the difference in watts and sonar? Sonar is the whole reason for buying a new unit. This is what tells us what is below our boat, is it fish? Is it structure? how deep are we? What is the water temperature? All of these questions are answered by the sonar and transducer. The unit you choose is going to have differences in total peak to peak watts and also in screen resolution. The total peak to peak watts aid in the sonar's overall sensitivity. A unit that produces more than 2,000 watts if mounted externally on the boats hull is going to be sensitive enough to pick up some baits presented in a vertical fashion. Again the higher the wattage, the more you can see and the easier it is picked up on the return echos of the sonar. Lowrance HDS series is the strongest line of fishfinders available today. These units are capable of 30,000 watts and 5,000 ft depths. What this translates into is the ability to see nearly everything in our freshwater system in great detail.  

Why the down imaging and side imaging? Side imaging and down imaging is a relatively new technology introduced to the fishing world. It supersedes the traditional sonar that we are used to by painting a much clearer image. However, it still has difficulty picking up the more subtle signals, such as your drop shot or other vertical presentations. The images themselves are a crystal clear image of what is actually there, the issue is retraining your mind to process the new information. Especially the side image, at first it can mind boggling to get the image clearly into your head. With a little practice it will fall into place and things will be much clearer below the surface. These technologies are also the most costly as they are relatively new to the field.
Hopefully this information will give you a little insight and lend some preparation as you  prepare to find that new fishfinder that fits your needs. I am Troy, a full time associate here the White River Outpost in Branson, MO. If you have any questions or would like to know more about the fishfinders come on down and see us or give us a call. I'd be glad to help you find the unit that best fits your needs.

Until then, tight lines and happy fishing

Troy Gregg


What Can I Find With A Fishfinder?

Humminbird 1198ci
It’s time to get real. The truth is that the term “fishfinder” is misleading. There is a boatload of science about how they work and why they do what they do, but let’s not waste time worrying about all the stuff that doesn’t directly help you find and catch fish.

When structure fishing, finding and establishing the location of structure is the greatest help a fishfinder can provide. Those little cartoon fish and arches may or may not be fish. Whether you spend $94 or $3500 sonar is never going to provide a rock solid image of a fish. It takes the data it receives and matches the sonar signal against known fish signals and presents them as fish. Your transducer didn’t jump under the water and (in what would probably be a British accent) introduce itself to the fish and ask for their sizes and names. It could be a fish or a twig. Seriously – it can’t honestly know for sure.

This is where your brain (and not the micro-processor brain in your Humminbird) comes in handy. The truth is that humans have been relying on certain rules and basics that have found fish for far longer than your shiny new HDS-7. Reading shoreline is one of the best examples of this. If there are piles of rocks on the shore line there are probably a pile of rocks off the shore. Finding drop-offs (where Walleye like to hang around and look for food) was as easy as sinking a string to the bottom to measure depth. People knew about structure and about drop-offs and sunken logs and other places fish like to hang out. These were the things you looked for to find the fish. Lowrance HD10

What fish finders do best is find these spots for you. If they are not always 100% accurate on a fish’s identity, they are definitely good at showing depth and structure. You’ll see rocks, weed beds and drop offs fairly clearly along the dark bottom line of your screen. Here is where spending a few extra bucks can help. A more expensive finder will show you (in high resolution) whether it’s a rock, log, weed bed or drop off in better detail. If you hear a beep and one of those tasty looking cartoon orange fish pop up hanging on a clearly visible drop off, you can make the connection that it’s probably a fish. This basic knowledge of fish habitat and behaviors will make your seemingly inept fish finder turn into a fish seeking missle. It’ll stop you from dragging your line through that too-good-to-be-true school of fish (probably just some floating debris) and wondering why they won’t bite.

And you’ve probably been hearing buzz about down and side imaging. It truly is the future of sonar. And (despite what you may hear) it will never clearly show you a fish. It isn’t even remotely designed to show you fish. But what it does do is give you an actual photographic image of the bottom of the lake. You will see structure as if the lake was drained and photographed. It’s telling that the most sophisticated fish finding technology available has no cartoon orange fish or arches option. It’s showing you the best possible thing it can; clear, distinct images of fish habitat. This technology will revolutionize the way anglers find structure – and therefore how they find fish.

So the next time you’re in Bass Pro Shops, consider these things when shopping for a new finder. Yes – color is better than black and white. It’s easier to see and some use color gradients to provide detail. Yes – GPS is a very useful function on your finder. It’ll take you back to your favorite spots and help you not get lost when out on the water. Yes – down and side imaging is totally worth it. When you learn to properly use it you will discover spots you never even knew existed on lakes you’ve been fishing for generations. And No – a fish finder will not make fish jump in your boat. It won’t tell you the species or even the size of the fish. Just like 100 years ago the only thing that’ll give you that information is solid understanding of the species you’re angling for. Your finder is just another tool in your box. Your experience and knowledge will never be replaced by a micro-processor. Ever.

When not using side-imaging to look for sunken treasure at the bottom of lakes, Chris Wragg is the promotions Coordinator for Bass Pro Shops Calgary. 


Lake Michigan Perch Fishing

By: Phil Piscitello

The month of June is a banner time for Lake Michigan perch fishing. The weather is pretty consistent this time of year and it is an absolute pleasure to be on the big lake now. To protect the perch resource on Lake Michigan in the state of Illinois, the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) closes off perch fishing throughout the month of July, so June is the time to fill up your cooler with some tasty perch fillets. The state of Illinois allows each angler to keep 15 perch fillets each. Across the state line in Wisconsin, the perch limit is 5 fish per angler. So as you can see Illinois is a popular destination for perch anglers.

The Conditions
The key to successful perch fishing at this time of year is having the proper weather conditions and locating the roving schools of perch. They will be following schools of baitfish such as emerald shiners and gizzard shad. They also feed heavy on round gobies. Find the baitfish and you will find the perch. Weather also is a major factor for successful perch fishing. Offshore West winds are the best conditions for successful fishing. A west wind will blow the warmer surface water out and bring the cooler, clearer water in close to shore. Perch will relate to the cooler, clearer, water. When searching for perch, they can be right outside the harbor to as deep as 80-100 feet of water.

Importance of Fishfinders
Having good electronics is vitally important  to finding offshore structure, baitfish schools, and schools of perch. Humminbird and Lowrance have the industries finest locators. If your looking for a new unit, or your first unit, Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee, Illinois has an excellent selection of electronic units to choose from and an excellent sales staff to help pick out your first one. They can also give you tips on how to set up your unit and how to use it to it's fullest potential. With the colorful, and more powerful, units on the market, finding schools of perch is relatively easy. Even fish riding tight to the bottom will show up on the locator, so less time is spent looking and more time is spent fishing. Once found the fishing is usually very good and you can catch a bunch.

The Equipment
For equipment a light action spinning rod and reel loaded with 4 or 6 pound monofilament or 6/4 fireline is a great setup. A longer 6 1/2 to 7 foot rod is best for getting a good hook set in the deeper water. Live minnows at this time of year is a popular and productive bait. Larger fatheads and baby golden roaches are the minnows of choice. These can be fished vertically on a crappie spreader rig or you can cast the same setup. Select the proper size bell sinker weight depending on the depth of water you are fishing. Another similar setup is to tie a snap-swivel to your main line for your bell sinker weight, and attach a Bear Paw Leader Connector up your line at a desired distance up from the weight. To this you attach a presnelled hook. Then up from there you place a second leader connector, a predetermined length above the first one and add a second presnelled hook. This is like having a custom made crappie spreader rig. Bear Paw Leader Connectors are available at Bass Pro Shops in the Musky aisle next to the steel leaders. You can catch 2 perch at a time on this rig when the fishing is good.

Another awesome presentation is casting jigging spoons. Hopkins and Cast Master make good jigging spoons. Bass Pro also has a jigging spoon similar to the Cast Master that also works well. You can get them with a feathered or plain treble hook. 3/4 or 1 ounce models are the most popular sizes. Gold or silver are two popular color choices. Silver/Blue, Silver/Green, and Silver/Glow are also productive. Use a medium action 6 1/2 to 7 foot spinning rod spooled with 6/2 fireline for optimum feel. You can cast the spoon and snap jig it back to the boat or you can vertically fish it. The fish will slam this spoon and it is a total blast!! What a fun way to catch perch!! When you are done fishing there is no finer meal then a batch of freshly caught perch deep fried along with some potatoes and onions and some pork and beans on the side. Can't wait to get back out.

Fishing in High-Definition

It’s in the 60s and 70s today in Central Iowa! Warmer weather means anglers are ready to get off the banks and into boats in search of bass, crappie, walleye and more!

The hottest fishing-related products in the Marine Department at our store are the 2011 line of Humminbird fishfinders. What makes them so popular? All 2011 Humminbird fishfinders have been upgraded to high definition (HD) and imaging has an added new direction…straight down!

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Marine Lead, Cory Cogley, says the new technology in the HD Down Imaging models (596c HD DI, 597ci HD DI Combo, and 788ci HD DI Combo) allows the fishing enthusiast to view a 3D image of objects he or she is driving over with the boat. A brush pile, timber, pilings, and other structures are obvious in great detail…no more guessing.

2011 Model Hi-Def Image                                                  Non-High Def Model Image                                  
2011 Model High Def Image                                      Non-High Def Model Image                                                                              

Side Imaging is still available in select models, with a 3D view 240 feet out to each side of the boat. Side Imaging combined with Down Imaging gives the angler a 180 degree detailed images of what lurks below. 

Another new feature, for the 788 and higher Humminbird models, is Ethernet networking. Easier connection capabilities let you share sonar, GPS, etc., between two compatible units with faster, more accurate connections. 

The fishfinders are flying off our shelves, so stop in, watch a demo, and see the difference for yourself in the new Humminbird technology!


Fishfinders at Bass Pro Shops!

Its about that time of year again, so fire that Mercury up and go catch some fish!! It always helps to have the latest Marine electronics on your boat.  Bass Pro Shops offers so many types of fishfinders, and fishfinder/gps combos. You are always thinking which one do I need? Well fellow anglers, it all depends on where you fish and what kind of fishing. Say your a largemouth bass angler, you're going to have to go with the Humminbird 798si HD, 898si, or the 1197si combo. These Humminbirds are great units and they are easier on the bank account than some other brands. The Humminbird 7series and the 8series are the best bang for your buck. They have an awesome scale on them, as well as gps, and one selling point that they have is the SI (side imaging) capability. Side imaging is really effective, especially for lake fishing, so go to your local Bass Pro Shops and check them out.

Lowrance is another one of the more popular fishfinder/gps on the market and with their HDS units, you cannot go wrong. The HDS units are slightly more expensive, but are well worth the money. The HDS units start at $549.99 and go up in price depending on the screen size and additional upgrades. One upgrade is the LSS1, which is the Lowrance Structure Scan 1. It is an additional $600.00 dollars, but it's so effective on the water, and I can personally attest to this, as I have used the product.  If you have any questions please come down to your local Bass Pro Shops and ask a sales rep.
Thanks for looking!

Click Here to see all Humminbird fishfinders.
Click Here to see all Lowrance fishfinders.


Finding the Right Fishfinder

By Justin Hoffman

Sonar Guide - Humminbird 798ci.
Modern fishfinders are capable of providing far more information than sonar units of yesteryear. In addition to downward looking sonar, new units, such as this Humminbird 798ci, are capable of displaying near picture-quality views of the underwater world on each side of the boat (side imaging), as well as detailed charts and precise GPS functionality.

The game of fishing has embraced technology full-steam, turning the art of finding and catching fish into a modern-day science. Bells and whistles have replaced the "that spot looks good" mentality, with the fishfinder leading the way in terms of functionality and definite angler advantage. These powerful tools allow a fisherman the resources to check depth, structure, fish locations, speed and temperature. Not only that, but marking productive waypoints and adding safety to your outing is a breeze with today's GPS technology. Follow this guide and find out what the terms mean, and what a fishfinder can ultimately do for you.

How Sonar Works

Sonar works by sending out an electronic impulse from the unit to the transducer. The transducer converts the impulse into a sound wave that is beamed through the water column. The sound wave will travel downward until it reaches the bottom structure, after which it will bounce back to the transducer. The sound wave will also travel through any objects found between the lake bottom and the surface of the water (fish or baitfish). When the signal is received, the unit will then make its interpretations, finally showcasing the results on the screen. These results will include depth of bottom, any vegetation or structure found and any fish or baitfish that were located under the boat at the time of the reading.

Power (Wattage)

The power of a sonar unit is described in Watts. The term "peak to peak" is used to describe the overall output power of the transmitter. When dealing with fishfinders, the higher the wattage, the more efficient and powerful the overall unit will be. Low wattage will ultimately bring you slow readouts, meaning a delayed reaction for a reading of a spot you have already traveled over.

The bare minimum peak-to-peak power would be 800 Watts, although 3000 plus Watts or more is certainly recommended for most anglers. One key point to remember: the shallower the water you fish, the less power you will need. For those that fish deep water (such as the Great Lakes or saltwater) it is best to choose the most powerful unit that your wallet will allow.


The number of pixels that a fish finder screen is made up of is a very important step in deciphering the quality and performance of the unit. Simply put, a pixel is a dot. The display screen is made up of a series of many dots, which in turn produce the "picture" or read out. The more pixels present on a screen, the better the picture will appear. (As the pixel count goes down, the more "blocky" or less distinguishable the screen read out will appear.)

Sonar Guide - Lowrance Elite 5x.jpg
Color displays have become the norm rather than the exception. Fish and structure literally pop out in different hues on color displays, which makes for easier interpretation, identification and separation from the surrounding environment.

240V x 160H pixels is the bare minimum when it comes to choosing a fish finder. Anything less, and it will resemble an outdated video game. Again, the more money you are willing to spend, the better the product you can purchase. 240 x 240 pixels would be a great starting point (and a minimum in my books), but certainly move higher if you are able to. The bigger the numbers = improved viewing. You won't regret it in the long run.


The transducer is the part that sends out sound waves in order to see what is below the surface of the water. When dealing with transducers, the most important aspect is cone angle. In layman's terms, the cone refers to how wide of a beam is sent out from the bottom of your boat. (It starts out narrow at the transducer and widens as it gets deeper.) The wider the degree on the cone, the larger the view of what lies beneath. As you move deeper, the coverage will widen and vice versa. Keep in mind that as cone angles widen, sensitivity begins to diminish in very deep water.

Transducer cones can be purchased in ranges from 9-degrees upwards of 60-degrees, with most units falling somewhere between 16 and 20-degrees. A cone of 20-degrees is a perfect starting point for anglers fishing a variety of water depths. Many dual frequency transducers will come with both 20 and 60 degree cones.

Frequencies also come into play with transducers. Most will come with either 50, 83, 192 or 200 kHz frequencies, all in direct relation to the cone angle. The higher frequencies (192 and 200 kHz) work best in shallow water, while the low 50 kHz transducers work best for deep water applications.

Another interesting aspect of transducers is the ability to have more than one cone transmitting from the same starting point. In other words, the standard transducer will have a single beam. Moving up the scale, you can then progress to a dual beam, triple beam, side beam and so forth. What each of these does is cover more water -- a very efficient option to have when scouring the lake for fish. Some models will come standard with these accessories, while others will require an upgrade. Again, cost will come into effect for these pricier, but significant advantages. Dual beams are far superior to single beams if your main playing area is relatively shallow water, as they will cover more of the water effectively.

A transducer is responsible for sending and receiving the sound waves that are used to create onscreen data. Consider mounting location and cone angle of the transducer when shopping for a sonar unit.

Side Scan

Side scan technology is a revolutionary design that can now allow an angler to see what is to the side of the boat, all from a bird's eye view on the screen. These amazingly clear, picture-like images will showcase every nook and cranny to the left and right of your craft (240 feet each!), saving you hours of spent time in comparison to working over the same area with a regular downward transducer beam.

This function will cut through murky water with ease, showing you rock piles, humps, and schooling fish you would never have known were there. For tournament anglers or serious fishermen, a side scan is a definite luxury that can up the catch quota, and learning curve, considerably.

Display Screens

Color displays can be found everywhere on the electronics market, and for good reason. Color will allow you a greater screen definition, making fish and structure literally "pop out" in different hues, which makes for easier interpretation and identification. I find color screens easier to see in bright light, and viewing them under dark or cloudy conditions makes them stand out positively brilliant.

New to the market are HD (high definition) screens. These realistic units give the same quality and "pow" that your HDTV does for your home, giving you the best quality and highest realism possible. The maps look beyond life like! Yes, HD does come with a higher price tag, but, like high-speed internet and dial-up internet, there's just no comparison between regular color and HD.

Black-and-white displays still have a place in the fishfinder market, but for the difference in price, I definitely suggest going at least the route of color. Saying that, black and white is better than nothing, so if that's all your funds will allow at this time, then make the purchase.

Screen size is another aspect of your fishfinder that should be given some thought. Generally, the lower-end units are always smaller in stature. This works well if it is to be used as a secondary unit or backup, but for your main electronics, always go with the largest size you can afford. A bigger screen equates to a greater viewing surface, meaning structure, digital readouts (depths, temperature, etc,) and chart plotting will be easier to see and recognize. The quality will be much better, also. A five-inch screen is a great starting point to consider.

Temperature, Speed and Distance

Although standard on many units on the market, some lower-end fishfinders will offer these add-ons as options. All have a place and time, and most are a personal choice in relation to your particular style of fishing. For those that primarily troll, the speed and distance feature will certainly improve your creel count. (You can tell the exact speed you were traveling when a fish strikes -- important stuff for those looking to duplicate their catch.) The same goes for drift fishing, especially when your targeted species is picky about how fast they will chase down a bait.

Having a temperature gauge on board is extremely important in my books, for the sole fact of finding warmer water or helping you locate the preferred range for fish. This feature works wonders for me during early season crappie forays, especially when fish are up spawning in shallow water. It goes without saying that my temperature gauge helps me locate and key in on these fussy fish. Both options are mandatory in my eyes.

Sonar Guide - Lowrance X67c
Many anglers prefer to mount their primary display in the console area and a secondary unit at the bow of their boat.

Portable or Fixed

Anglers have the option of purchasing a fishfinder that will be affixed permanently to their craft, or one that can be taken in and out of the boat with ease.

For those that rent boats, ice fish or go on fly-in retreats, the portable option is one to look into. It can be used in a variety of situations, and the compact size and carrying case make travel a breeze. They will also perform as proficiently as the fixed models, with the only difference being their portability.

Fixed fishfinders certainly get the nod for boat owners, as they can be mounted in the exact position they desire, with wires "hidden" underneath floor boards and bow. The transducer can also be attached to either the stern, trolling motor, or hull in order for it to be out of the way and securely held. (Portable units often use a suction cup for attachment purposes.)

The GPS Option 

GPS, or Global Positioning Systems, use satellites in the sky to pinpoint your exact location when out on the water. This feature allows you to mark productive spots (and come back to them time and time again), find your way back to shore in the case of an emergency and also map out co-ordinates for your home lake through the use of mapping software.

Most GPS fishfinders are combo units, meaning they have both a depth sounder as well as a chartplotter. A chartplotter will showcase your location, superimposed over a map. This allows you to know your exact location at all times. Entering waypoints is as easy as pushing a button with these units, and this priceless function will allow you to mark fish, structure, launch ramps, or anything else you desire. Once saved, that information can be selected at any time, and those spots can be revisited, or avoided, during future visits. (This is an awesome feature for returning to that honey hole of a mid-lake hump!)

For those that do big-water fishing or certainly tournament anglers, having GPS built into your fishfinder will open up a new world of fishing fun and increased catch rates.

As you can see, fishfinders are an important addition to your fishing arsenal. I can guarantee that they will increase your catch rates, and in the world of angling, that's what each and every one of us strives for when out on the water.


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