Lowrance Mark-4 HDI & Lowrance Elite-4 HDI

Let me introduce you to two great entry level marine chartplotters/fishfinder we carry here in the Marine department at Bass Pro Shops Miami.

Lowrance Mark-4 HDI:

The Mark-4 HDI is a compact unit that includes a 4.3 inch grayscale display, an internal GPS antenna, Lowrance coastal U.S. mapping and a 83/200 455/800 transom transducer. What all that basically means is that you have everything you need to start boating and fishing in this one package. The unit is small enough to mount on practically all boats and versatile enough with a RAM mount that you could place the Mark-4 on other crafts like kayaks and personal water crafts. In addition the Mark-4 is capable of being updated to other mapping options like a Navionics Gold chart through a mirco-SD slot on the bottom of the unit.

My only gripe with the Mark-4 is that the grayscale display is a bit hard to see under sunny conditions, which brings me to my second recommendation;

Lowrance Elite-4 HDI:

The Elite-4 HDI is, for the most part, very similar to the Mark-4 but with a vibrant color display.  In addition to all the aforementioned features of the Mark-4 the Elite-4 comes in a second variety that includes a better 50/200 455/800 transducer for an additional cost. You get the Lowrance chartplotter, fishfinder and downview structure scan all in one compact unit.

So if you are a novice boater or even an experienced one you really can’t go wrong with these two compact, fully featured and budget priced Lowrance units.

Ruben M.


Latest & Greatest Fish Finding Technology

The start of the season is almost here, and most have been patiently awaiting its arrival. Although circumstances offer a difficult beginning to local fishing tournaments and weekend anglers, as the water levels continue to stay just low enough to keep most off the water, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Provided some rain comes, and the latest sonar/fish finding technologies, this season promises to be the greatest one yet.

          Many innovations and new technologies in the fishing and boating community have been long awaited, and delayed to be unveiled. But the wait has been worth it, and has come to an end. “Lowrance”, “Humminbird”, “Garmin”, and “Motor Guide” have just released their best and newest concepts for 2014. Here, we will focus on Lowrance’s latest sonar creation, “The SpotlightScan Sonar”.

          What is this spot light, and just what does it do one may ask? This latest innovation from Lowrance offers picture like quality of the lake bottom structure, and at a full circular area around the boat! It is controlled by a sonar transducer that attaches to the trolling motor and is linked to a “Lowrance HDS GEN 2”, or a “Lowrance HDS TOUCH” unit. Once this system is installed, the angler or boater has the advantage of seeing hundreds of feet of bottom contour at any angle of their trolling motors direction! This means every angle the foot pedal from the trolling motor points it’s facing, one has a detailed picture of bottom contour, structure, and even fish locations right on the HDS screen. This creates a huge advantage for not just the tournament fisher, but even the average weekend warrior.

          So where does one go to find the details and knowledge of such a sophisticated system? Why your local “Bass Pro Shops”, of course! All of our friendly staff can help make your next adventure out on the water the greatest ever; by helping you understand and rig your boat with the latest and greatest technology available. So come on in to the world’s greatest outdoor store, where the adventure begins!

Lawrance Spotlight Scan Sonar





Fish Finder Scam - Buyer Beware

    A typical blog for the marine department of Bass Pro Shops consists of product reviews as well as useful boating tips. Today's topic will not be the typical review or tip, but instead, a warning. In today's world of internet sales and worldwide distribution, it has become part of our culture to go online to find great deals. This scenario typically plays in the advantage of the consumer.  Unfortunately that is not always the case. Many people look to Amazon or Ebay for online deals, while others venture further into the web to look for even greater deals. The problem with buying from a dealer without a good reputation, is that  you cannot be sure if the deal will be to your benefit until it is complete. To avoid issues such as defective or wrongly described items, most people will opt to purchase from a knowledgeable and reputable company such as Bass Pro. After reviewing  this blog, you might think twice before making any purchases from a dealer that offers deals that sound too good to be true.

    While helping a customer with RAM mounts for his boat, the gentleman mentioned to me that he is purchasing a new depth finder, but not from Bass Pro. I asked him why he did not want to purchase the unit from us, and he replied that he had found it much cheaper online. Knowing that the price of high end depth finders does not fluctuate very drastically, I warned him about some vendors selling units without transducers. He said that the unit he found online came with the transducer as well as the structure scan LSS-1, and that he checked all the part numbers to be sure. The unit he was talking about was a Lowrance HDS 7 bundle. I asked him what they were charging for the unit, and he explained to me that he would be ordering from a Chinese website and the total price including shipping would be $740. I thought the would be a great price that I could not compete with, and not be able to come close to matching. Most Lowrance units  sell for the exact same price, regardless of the vendor, so the gentleman getting such a great price  was a bit of a shock. I had to figure out how these units were being offered so cheap.

     I have some experience with online shopping and have purchased things online from around the world. In my list of sites, I have a few that are from China distributors. I decided to check these sites to see if I could find the same deal as the customer. After about ten minutes of searching, I found it. The website offers many Lowrance and Humminbird products at prices that no store could compete with. Many of the units were offered with the structure scan. Each posting had a picture of the unit as well  a full description including part numbers. The only thing that I could think of when I saw them , is that this is to good to be true.

   After a little research, I found out how this is a scam, and how it can easily be avoided.  The websites that offer cheap China products are typically selling knock offs of real products at a discounted rate, but a Lowrance depth finder with structure scan is not quite as easy to replicate as a Gucci handbag, so I was sure they were not going to send a fake depth finder to the customer. These websites are not designed as a typical online store, but closer to an online mall. Hundreds of foreign vendors register on the site so that they can all sell their goods through one big website. Each vendor has different products they offer, as well a score that corresponds to the vendors customer feedback. This is where you can spot the scam. When reviewing the vendors feedback, you can see their sales track record as well as comments and date of joining the website. For every vendor selling discounted depth finders, the corresponding vendor account had zero feedback and a join date within the last two months. This is the sign of a fake company selling a product they don't have, and once the money is received they close their vendor account and open another under a different company name. The customer never receives the unit.

     Everybody loves to save money, and shopping online is often a great way to do so. Unfortunately not all internet sites have integrity and cannot be trusted for high dollar items. Scammers are everywhere, and they want your money. If they can play off the fact that you want a discounted depth finder, they will be happy to take your money and send you nothing. These websites are operating as we speak, so the more information a consumer has, the better they will be able to handle these scam scenarios. I did not want to mention the site on the blog, because they do offer some products at great rates that are not a scam. Buyer beware, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Ryan Wynn


Manteca Store 49


NEW Lowrance Elite 7x

Now up for grabs and on display at Bass Pro Shops is the new Lowrance Elite 7x. It offers everything that an angler would want; a large 7 inch color display screen, reliable navigation that’s easy to use, down imaging and more. The Elite 7x will allow you to use basic sonar plus down scan imaging to see the structures below you. It also allows you to split the screen between sonar and down image. Unlike its partner, the Elite 7, the Elite 7x does not offer GPS. So for those of you out there that want a BIG screen, sonar, down imaging- but not concerned with GPS- this is your unit.Elite 7x

Lowrance has put out this unit to save the consumer money, by not having GPS for those who don’t need it. The Elite 7xHDI is priced at a low price of $549.99. There is not any other unit or brand that has all of these options and 7 inch screen for this price.

So come in and see me or one of our many knowledgeable associates in the Marine Department and we can help answer any questions you might have.



Brady Moss

Marine Dept


Lowrance - The Powerful, New HDS Gen2 Touch

HDS Gen2

New in the Marine Department at Bass Pro Shops, the Lowrance's New HDS Gen2 Touch Fishfinder/GPS Chartplotter with Insight USA mapping 83/200 kHz & LSS-2 Transducer features a high-def 7", 9", and 12" widescreen color display with touchscreen functionality for fast and easy operation. An enhanced SolarMAX PLUS display offers superior sunlight and wide-angle viewing. You get built-in exclusive Insight USA mapping, Broadband Sounder, and StructureScan HD Sounder. Other features include a single Ethernet port in the 7" and dual Ethernet port in the 9" & 12" and full size SD card slot. For the Ultimate fish- and structure-finding display, overlay DownScan Imaging onto your BroadBand Sounder view. A superior accurate GPS receiver is standard.

HDS features:

  • Easy-to-use touchscreen control - unlock the power of HDS with fewer button presses, making it simple to quickly master advanced features. The first touchscreen display created with anglers in mind, it's even easy to use in rough conditions. Plus, SolarMAX enhancements for superior sunlight and wider-angle viewing.
  • Intuitive Insight USA Mapping - Standard on all HDS chartplotter models in the Americas. Contour relief shading produces a life-like presentation of underwater topography.
  • Built-in, Four-Channel Sonar Technology - Dedicated StructureScan HD signals for left and right side views, plus DownScan Imaging to get the whole picture. Award-winning Broadband Sounder for a more complete view of structure and fish detail that's easier to interpret.
  • Wider, Brighter Displays - Choose up to a 12-inch display for unmatched clarity and detail, or select the 7-inch, that packs amazing power into a compact package.
  • Introducing Insight Genesis - Create your own map from real sonar data that you record with accurate, high-resolution 1-foot contours, bottom hardness and even weed lines.
  • Flexible Networking Options - Network and share data across all HDS displays for the ultimate flexibility and cost-savings. NMEA 2000, NMEA 0183 and Ethernet-compatible with up to two Ethernet ports.
  • Performance Upgrade Choices - Compatible with Broadband 4G and 3G Radar, LCG-4000 external GPS antenna, SonicHub marine audio entertainment system. AIS collision-avoidance system, engine interface cables, plus video camera inputs on 9- and 12-inch models.
  • Advanced Memory and Waypoint Management - New "Export Region" function provides total control and customization of waypoint storage. Protects and organizes user data, and reduces processor tasks keeping HDS Gen2 Touch lightning-fast.
  • Confidence & Security - Protected by a Lowrance two-year limited warranty and supported by the Lowrance Advantage Service Program.


Stop by our Marine Department and let our knowledgeable marine associates show you the latest technology to help you find and catch the "big one"!

Billy L.

Marine Lead

Bossier City, LA




Great Deals in Marine

Come on down and see the great deals we have going on in the marine department during our famous spring fishing classic. We have so many great items for some great low prices. Here are a few of the items that are great deals that will be going on until March 10th.

                We have some awesome deals on our electronics during this sell. On Lowrances side, we have their new 4, 5, & 7 Series fish finders. The new 4 series includes both Lowrances Elite and Mark series. The Mark series Lowrance offers is their grey scale models. The Mark 4 is a small gray scale model with GPS. Don’t let grey scale scare you. This little unit is the most visible grey scale I’ve seen. It also offers extended mapping such as HotSpots card and the Navionics card. Then we get in to the Elite 4s. In the Elite 4 series, they offer a variety of them. There is the Elite 4x, 4, & 4DSI. The Elite 4X is just a plain color sonar model. The Elite 4 is identical to the Mark 4 but the big difference is that the Elite series is the color model. It offers the same GPS mapping features as the Mark series. Then there is the Elite 4 DSI. This little unit comes with Lowrances Down Scan Imaging. If you’re not familiar with Lowrances DSI then let me explain. We are use to the traditional sonar models and how they read. The DSI will make that mess of a structure on your screen to a readable picture. You will be able to see if that’s a tree or a grass pile, rocks or a road bed.  It really clears the image up that much. Next is the 5 series. The 5 series is the exact same as the 4 just with a bigger screen. Now we get to Lowrances New Elite 7 HDI. This unit is their new hybrid unit. This unit has a 7in screen and features Lowrances DSI along with their great traditional sonar. They also offer this series in a non HDI and a non GPS model.

                Next we have some great Humminbird units as well. To start out, let’s look at the Humminbird 561 fish finder. This unit is a great starter unit for say a Jon boat or a pond prowler. It is a simple gray scale model with a 5in screen. It is a dual beam model with a 60 & 20 degree beam. Next, let’s get in to some of Humminbirds DI or Down Imaging. Humminbird offers there down imaging in several units. The most popular of all of them are the 587ci HD DI, the 597ci HD DI, & The 596c DI. The 587ci HD DI is a 4 ¾ in unit with GPS. This is a great starting down imaging unit. It has all the same options as the big screen model the 597ci HD DI, just a smaller screen and lower price. This unit comes with not only the down imaging but also Humminbirds switch fire sonar. The switch fire sonar is Humminbirds clearer and more sensitive sonar. This is the same sonar they use within their high end models the 8, 9, & 11 series units. This unit also is Navionics and LakeMasters compatible.  Next, we have the 597ci HD DI. This particular model is identical to the 587ci HD DI but with a bigger screen. This unit is still Navionics and LakeMasters compatible. Last, but not least, is the 596c HD DI. This is Humminbirds 5in down imaging unit. The main difference between the 596 and the 597 is that the 597 has GPS. This unit is a great buy for someone not needing GPS and want the bigger 5in screen.

Also, I would like to mention that we have our GORE –TEX Pro Qualifier Parkas, Jackets, and Bibs on sale for a great price. If you don’t know what GORE-TEX is, it is probably the best waterproof material on the market. GORE-TEX will back up their material if it leaks. This is what the pros use while they are out on the lake in the freezing cold and pouring rain. Whether you’re a pro angler, a weekend warrior, or just wanting a great rain suit that’s going to keep you warm and dry while you are out and about I would highly suggest our a GORE-TEX line.

                So come on down to the marine center and see what we have to offer. We are more than glad to answer any questions or clear up any concerns you may have on any particular items. So hurry down and check out the great staff and the great deals we are having down here at Bass Pro Shops.

To see these great products before heading to the store, check out www.basspro.com



Outdoor Essentials - Sonar Basics

Fishing Needs and Pocketbook

Pixels, resolution, hyper scroll, cone angles, watts of power, color line…

Your head may start spinning just trying to decide what sonar would work best for your fishing needs.  Understanding technical terms go along with finding the right "fish finder," but the age-old deciding factor that makes the final decision 7 out of 10 times is price.

“Why does this unit cost $700 and this unit only cost $150”?

I can honestly say that question is heard at least 10 or 20 times a week. But, let’s see if we can shed some light on the subject of sonar and fish finders and make the decision a bit easier!

A Dash of Color Sonars

The advancement of color to the fish finder world has not only driven up costs, but also, and more importantly, opened up vast new abilities to what your finder can do.

  • Color screens - When you look at a color screen versus a common monochrome/black-and-white, you obviously notice the reds, greens, yellows, and blues, but that shouldn’t be the first thing you notice. See how the reflection from lights and sunlight don’t affect how the screen looks, however, look at a standard black and white screen and those same lights and sunlight almost make the screen disappear... if you can’t see the screen then you can’t see the fish!
  • Bottom Changes - Color fish finders make it possible for fisherman to see muddy, weedy, and rocky bottoms represented by a simple change in Lowrance HDS 8color. For example, the Lowrance HDS 8 with Structure Scan or Humminbird 898C can tell a walleye fisherman when a rocky wing dam stops and where the long sand flat starts. Likewise, a bass fisherman can see where the borders are to a stump field just by what sonar function they are using.

The Latest and Greatest!

The past few years have brought a huge revolution to sonar technology. The advancement of side scanning and down imaging sonar has not only changed WHAT you see, but the WAY you see it and the WAY you fish.

Lowrance HDS Gen2 and the new touchscreen HDS units use this technology, as do the Humminbird 500, 700, 800, 900, and 1100 series. Ultra high resolutions, HD screens, GPS, and lake cartography also take much of the guess work out of finding fish. Take one look at any of these units, and you’ll quickly see how side scanning and down imaging sonar can change the way you fish.

So, Which One?

Many situations will change what I personally recommend:

Units like the Elite 4x series or the Humminbird 196 are excellent choices for a sonar unit for a trolling motor set up.Humminbird 597

Want a larger screen? Then look for the 586 or 596 Humminbird units or the Lowrance Elite 5x. 

For a Sonar/GPS combo, I often recommend the Humminbird 597 series or the Lowrance Elite 5. Both have high resolution, sunlight visible screens, and will be able to accept the map chips that will improve the mapping capabilities. They also have models with the new down imaging sonar.

A new unit from Lowrance, the 7” Elite series, has the ability to overlay your down imaging sonar over the standard sonar making it an even more versatile unit.

Want the highest quality sonar on the market that gives you side imaging and down imaging? My personal recommendation is the new Lowrance touch screen unit, and as far as the Humminbird units take a look at the 800 and 900 series units as well.



You can find out about an exciting new marine electronics product, Saturday, February 23, 2 p.m. at the Bass Pro Shop in Altoona, Iowa, when Chris gives a free seminar on the new i-Pilot Link - Humminbird and Minn Kota's exclusive system that links your trolling motor and your fish finder together.  You can literally operate your motor from your fish finder or from a remote control!









Boating Season is Finally Here!

            It is time to get the boat ready and build back up the tackle boxes! Grab your Alabama Rigs and your Watermelon Flukes, because this year is going to be one of the best we have had in a long time. As a lot of us know, last year was one of the worst years in a long time for fishing, and for recreational boating in the whole Dallas/Fort Worth area. This was due to the extreme lack of rain, and such low lake levels, that one couldn’t even launch their boat from once familiar ramps! Thanks to a couple of seasons of great rain and warmer than average weather, the level of our lakes and the water temperature is once again ideal for fishing and recreational boating!

            The start of this year has seen a lot of changes in the equipment and tools we use to find fish and catch the lake records we all live for. The new line of sonar/chart plotting combos is of course, the first and most important. Examples like the new “Humminbird 360” and “Lowrance Structure Scan” are the latest and most cutting edge of fisherman technology! These new tools allow any fisherman to see well beyond the normal parameters of sight, and truly observe fish and structure more than a hundred and fifty feet all the way around them! It can be definitely stated that the whole game has changed, and anyone without these tools is left in the wake of those who actually possess and understand them. So where does one go to obtain and find out exactly how to interpret this latest and greatest fishing technology?

            Bass Pro Shops has been in business for more than forty years, and has strived to provide  greater customer service than any other outdoor retail store can, by staffing only the most knowledgeable associates that truly live and breathe fishing, boating, hunting, and all the outdoor adventures that let us know we are alive! This is why I not only work at Bass Pro Shops, but I enjoy what I do. Because we make it the best place to gain knowledge, get the best customer service, and truly understand who our customers are. Because we are our customers!

Nitro Z-9



New Lowrance Mapping Options

     Chart plotters have become a huge aspect of boating. Boaters and fisherman alike have found the information provided through these chart plotters priceless. A basic GPS chart plotter will allow boaters to review routes and waypoints enabling the boater to navigate to nearly anywhere the boat will take them. More advanced chart plotters can accept additional mapping. This additional mapping provides greater detail of water ways and at the same time provide additional functions that will help boaters avoid obstacles and fisherman find the hot spot. This great detail comes in the form of contour depth lines. These lines are nearly identical to topographic lines except they show depth of water instead of elevation of land. Previous options for these detailed maps have been limited. Lowrance has decided to remove the limits from todays chart plotters and offer something new. One huge improvement by Lowrance is that they are now providing high definition mapping upgrade options. Another improvement that may prove to be a big game changer is the  Insight Genesis mapping.

   Navionics continues to be the leader in the field of mapping upgrades for marine chart plotters. For years they have dominated this field by providing the greatest detailed maps available as well a very high level of unit compatibility. Another mapping upgrade is Fishing Hot Spots. Although not quite as nice as the detail provided by Navionics, Fishing Hot Spots has been a great alternative, and much better than having no detail at all. When Lowrance began selling HDS units they were offered with another mapping option. This mapping option is called Insight Mapping and is the foundation for Lowrances new mapping options. Insight mapping has traditionally  not been as detailed as the Navionics option, but does provide some features Navionics did not.  A shaded relief map that looks similar to google earth as well as mapping across the entire US inland and coastline makes Insight mapping an excellent alternative to Navionics mapping.

     After introducing Insight mapping, Lowrance has taken it a step further with Insight HD and Insight Pro. These new options are definitely worth checking out. New features for the new Insight mapping include  a higher definition shaded relief. This will help boaters spot subtle differences easier. Aside from the shaded relief upgrade Lowrance has added over 3,000 lakes to their list. They have also added fishing tips from the pros. The advances in the Lowrance Insight mapping are great, but they are not compatible with all Lowrance units, so check the Lowrance website to see if any of these upgrades will work for you.

   The changes Lowrance has made to their Insight mapping is going to be a good benefit for many boaters, but they didn't stop with just upgrading their current technology.  Insight Genesis is the new mapping technology available to boaters with the HDS Gen2 Touch.  Lowrance has determined that boaters want everything mapped out, regardless if it is available on the latest upgrade or not. They were able to develop technology to give the boaters exactly what they want. What Insight Genesis allows users to do may be a big game changer in the world of chart plotting. Boaters will no longer have to rely on the mapping companies to provide the detail they need, they can now do it themselves. Insight Genesis mapping allows boaters to create their own high definition maps. As you are driving with your sonar and structure scan on, you are capturing data about the water depth contours. Through technology, this information is now able to be recorded onto the HDS Gen2 Touch. The recorded data is then uploaded into the Insight Genesis Map Creator software. Once the map is created it can then be downloaded to an SD card to be viewed in your unit or computer. This technology is ideal for boaters who never seem to find their body of water on any of the other mapping options.

     Lowrance continues to innovate through both their units and software. With the new Insight HD an Insight Pro mapping boaters can have a higher level of detail than ever before. The technology of Insight Genesis will give boaters the freedom to map out, with great detail, nearly any body of water. To learn more about these mapping options and their compatibility visit lowrance.com or come Bass Pro and talk to the marine department.

Ryan Wynn


Manteca Store 49


Products you must have in 2013

A new year means more new fishing gear to buy. This past weekend I enjoyed some down time and got a chance to sit in front of the fireplace and review the latest Bass Pro Shops Master Catalog and locate some of the other hot items for fishing online. Now is the perfect time to get your shopping list prepared for new gear coming out later in 2013. More than anything, I want my readers to be ready to catch more fish using quality products. So over the next few paragraphs I will mention some of the excited gear coming to a tackle store near you very soon.





Bass Pro Shops Bionic Blade XPS Micro Guide Trigger Rods are engineered for sensitivity and feature Pacific Bay Micro Guides for smooth casting and virtually friction-free line flow. This is the latest entry in the fishing rod class with micro guides. The revolutionary IM8 blank is created with our innovative ArmorCore Technology, which is a stronger than steel aramid fiber core that is wrapped with ultra-light IM8 graphite to make this one of the most powerful, lightweight rods you'll ever fish. EVA split grips add to your control and fishing comfort. The casting rod comes in two distinct lengths and three different actions. This is a quality product with a good price. Suggest Retail $79.99






Professional Angler and Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam has spent close to two years designing and testing the new Strike King KVD Slash Jerkbait. It’s unlike any jerkbait on the market with a crazy, wilder action than any other jerkbait Kevin has ever fished, and I believe fish will choke on this bait! This bait has a really wide side-to-side travel on the jerk from the angler, and it also has a lot of erratic wiggling and darting action. A weight transfer system means an angler can cast it a mile. The  3D eyes and an incredible detailing. The smaller 200-size features two super sharp treble hooks, while the larger 300-size features three treble hooks for maximum hook-ups. Available in a wide range of colors handpicked by KVD. The suggested retail is $9.29






Costa Sunglasses rings in the New Year and its 30th anniversary – early with the introduction of three styles from its 2013 collection: Tuna Alley, Saltbreak and Cat Cay. Each of the brand new is part of Costa’s core performance sunglass category, with signature features such as a nearly indestructible co-molded injected nylon frame construction, sturdy integral hinges and a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects. I really like the look of the newest Saltbreak style for the fisherman or woman. These sunglasses provide a large frame fit with performance features such as a no-slip interior lining and temple tips for a “forget-they are-on” fit. It’s available in tortoise, matte black, silver, white and the new blackout frame colors, and retails starting at $179.





This new Shag Proof Poppin’ Phattie was designed by Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Angler, Ish Monroe. The Poppin' Phattie is the ultimate popping frog! Its unique double concave face allows it to pop and spray water everywhere, generating explosive strikes. Featuring ITT - Snag Proof’s Inner Tube Technology, a separate tube for the hook and line-tie keeps water out and makes the Poppin’ Phattie virtually unsinkable. The bait weighs 5/8oz, and it casts very well - even on windy days. Its legs are arranged farther back to facilitate better hook-sets from its super sharp Gamakatsu 4/0 EWG frog hook. This bait is available in six different colors. Snag Proof's baits are proudly made in the USA! The suggested retail price is $9.95.





 Vicious fishing line is taking a leap into the saltwater business in 2013 with the new Vicious Offshore. This line is built with the same A.C.T.™ characteristics as their Ultimate fishing line, but with big fish and saltwater conditions in mind. The Vicious Offshore is manufactured for the die-hard saltwater enthusiast. Advanced Copolymer Technology (A.C.T.)™ will stand the test of time. Utilizing more than 30 years experience in the line business, ACT formulation means dependability. Built with high-tensile strength, very low stretch, superior knot strength, excellent castibility and ultimate impact characteristics make this line top-notch by any standard. A must have if you are looking for a heavy and super-strong line. The line comes in ¼ lb spools in sizes 20lb. to 50lb. test. The suggested retail price is $8.99




 Stanford Lure's new cedar topwater Turbo Shad lure has almost complete neutral buoyancy. This brand new topwater lure has the edge over most other floating top waters. This spectacular topwater lure resembles a wounded bait fish. When you go to twitch this top water bait through the water, the Turbo Shad displaces water to either side with both props, and it provides a proven fish catching sound. Once the bait returns to a stationary position, the Turbo Shad will sit slightly back on the tail end to ensure better hook ups and reveal the enticing profile of a wounded shad or bream, when pulled, the heavy-duty props on both ends of the Turbo Shad will be sure to call up all bass from any depth and produce some of the most violent topwater strikes you have ever seen! The bait weights: 0.63 Ounces and come in 4 different colors. The suggested retail price is $17.99.





Bass Pro Shops has totally re-conceived the Bionic Plus Baitcast Reel; which feature a rock-solid all-aluminum frame and a white finish. They have also added their proven, externally adjustable Smart Cast anti-backlash system, which allows you to modify settings at the beginning and the end of the cast which virtually eliminate backlashes! Another features include a smooth six-bearing system; Powerlock instant anti-reverse; forged, double-anodized aluminum V-grooved spool; smooth - powerful drag system; comfortable ribbed grips; a recurve handle, and drag star. I am excited to test this reel very soon. The suggested retail price is $79.99


Lake Lanier's fishing guide and Pro Angler Ryan Coleman now owns SpotSticker Baits and is introducing a new Football Head jighead in 2013. The Pro Series now includes Football Stand-Up Heads with screw-type soft plastic keepers. These heads feature the same ultra-tough powder coating and premium Mustad 4/0 hook as our Ball Head SpotSticker jig heads. The Pro Series Football Heads are currently available in Green Pumpkin and Black. Choose from 1/8, 3/16, or 1/4 oz in packs of 5. You can locate this product at: http://www.spottedbass.org. The suggested retail price is $4.99 for a 5 pack






This is my favorite hook when flipping baits into the heavy cover.  Bassmaster Elite Angler Greg Hackney has helped The Strike King design the Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook. This bad boy is super sharp, super tough, black nickel Gamakatsu Siwash hook made exclusively for Strike King. Its line eye is sealed closed, so your tough braided line won’t slip out, and its injection molded rebarb keeper holds your bait in the proper position even when pulled by the heavy cover. A big wide gap throat of the hook offers plenty of bite for good strong hook set, yet is compact enough to accommodate smaller creature baits. Use it with heavy rods and strong line, the Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook has what it takes to consistently get giants out of heavy cover. The hook comes in 3 large sizes 4/0, 5/0 & 6/0 with 5 per pack.  The suggested retail price is $7.49.






Our friends at Chaser Fishing Products have the latest/greatest item for the crappie fishing folks; a fully rigged (Umbrella Style Bait) aka the CC-Rig that comes with your choice of jig size and color, as well as a painted head of the rig. The CC Rig has now struck stardom in the Crappie world. Customers have reported catching multiple fish at a time on these umbrella rig style baits. You can use them trolling, casting and jigging. They come with your choice of 10 different jig colors to choose from. I would recommend first trying the "Rainbow" rig. This rig comes with 7 different colored jigs. After trolling this Rainbow rig, you will determine what color jig is the color they want to eat that day. You can locate this product at: http://shop.chaserfishingproducts.com/main.sc The suggested retail price is  $19.99.






Finally, a company has come out with a quality box to hold the Alabama Rigs. Designed to securely hold the Rigs, the Alabama Rig Box from Plano was created using Plano's Stowaway 3700 footprint. The box will hold four rigs in individual compartments and can be used with any Plano Guide Series or FTO Elite tackle system that holds 3700 series Stowaways. Constructed from sturdy, clear polypropylene with ProLatch fasteners, the Alabama Rig Box features two unique and adjustable dividers protect and organizing your Alabama Rigs. The first is the V-channel leader slot that clips firmly to the top of the rig. The second is a patented star channel that collects and secures the rig's wire arms for multi-arm rigs, without bending or crimping them. The suggested retail price is $7.99.






Everyone has been asking, “When is Lowrance coming out with a more affordable down scan unit with a big screen?” Well, they did it with the new Elite 7 x HDI Fishfinder. This is a highly reliable navigation unit that is very easy to use. The Lowrance Elite-7x HDI Fishfinder features a Broadband Sounder™ (83/200 kHz) plus DownScan Imaging for depths to 1,000 feet. DownScan Imaging signal features a maximum depth capability of 300 feet. The Elite-7 Combo boasts a 70% larger Elite Color 7" display for brilliant, wide screen visibility and viewing detail in all conditions. A multi-window display capability lets you choose split-screen mode or single wide-screen view. Broadband Sonar is ideal for marking fish arches. DownScan Imaging reveals easy-to-understand, picture like detail about the structure and the bottom. Now you can even overlay DownScan Imaging onto Broadband Sounder display for one stunning view that will separate and clearly expose your fish targets from the surrounding structure. Save time and fuel by using the Elite-7's TrackBack into Sonar History to review covered areas and pinpoint spots. The suggested retail price is $549.99





 There is a new look for a great product for cleaning your GPS and sonar units in 2013. The safest and effective way to clean and protect your expensive marine electronics, sunglasses, digital notebooks, smart phones and televisions is by using Wave Away. The Wave Away solution easily removes dust, fingerprints and water spots without harming screens. The spray bottle contains enough of the cleaner for approximately 500 applications. Each kit includes the cleaning solution and a 12"L x 12"W microfiber cloth. Using general-purpose cleaners or window cleaners isn't recommended for LCD screens because alcohol or ammonia-based formula cleaners, and harsh detergents strip off the protective surface and scratch your display over time. The Wave Away Sonar and GPS Screen Cleaner is specially formulated to clean and protect LCD screens. Not only is it alcohol and ammonia free, but it is designed to stick where it's sprayed - resisting dripping into sensitive electronics, which can cause permanent damage or failures. The suggested retail price is  $14.95.




The latest tackle system is now available from Bass Pro Shops in the all new “Freestyle Satchels”. The Freestyle Satchel features an interlocking handle for secure storage, a padded shoulder strap, plus two side tool holders and additional front storage for personal items. The Freestyle gear bags also feature two side pockets for more storage, and will hold up to three utility boxes. This soft tackle bag is crafted of rugged, 600-denier polyester backed with a PVC coating. The Freestyle Satchels has two models to choose from, and they will hold up to three Plano 3600 or 3700 utility boxes. The suggested retail price is $19.99.


I hope my list of new products excites you for the future. In 2013, one of my resolutions was to take my wife fishing more. Don’t use the excuse your wife does not fish; she will if she has fun doing it. Make it a weekend outing of more than fishing. If you don’t have a wife, take a kid fishing. Trust me that will make you a better person! So let’s get excited and get outdoors, it's only 60 days until spring.






About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.


Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr   and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr   


Blog: http://outonalimbwithtombranchjr.blogspot.com/



Using Your Lowrance Electronics To Locate Trophy Catfish


During seminars and on guided trips I often field the question of “How do I locate trophy catfish using my electronics?”  In today’s article I will answer this using screenshots from my Lowrance Gen-2 HDS-10 unit.  Contrary to popular belief, catfish aren't bottom feeders that eat the most rotten stinky decomposed meal they can find. This only true when they are just starting out in life eating anything and everything they can in an attempt to bulk up so they are not eaten themselves. After they mature into adulthood (over 5lbs) they are a predatory feeder. While still opportunistic where they will eat a chicken liver etc if it presents itself, they prefer to feed on natural forage fish like shad, sunfish, crappie and bass.

Current is the key to locating trophy-sized cats. I like to refer to large catfish as the “SUV’s” of the underwater world. Their wide heads and bulky bodies like heavy current about as much as Bill Dance likes a UGA ball cap. During low current situations, catfish are very nomadic and can be found all over the water column chasing bait amongst the stripes hybrids and largemouth. Usually what I see are the other fish really working a bait ball and the cats are what I like to call "efficiently lazy". They will hang out just below the action and feed on the baitfish that stray away from the group or the ones that are injured in the frenzy. However, with the introduction of current the catfish stage behind structure like large rock piles, old sunken bridges, heavy timber or in the case of our example below a ledge with a sharp drop off that they are using as a current break. These current breaks allow the catfish to hold position without expending any unneeded excess energy to stay in one place.

Due to the shape and length of a catfish he gives off a different return or arch than other fish. Also due to the width and density of his skull it will show me a multi colored return as well. Using the color 13 palette on my HDS-10 I can really see them stand out from the other species in the lake. In the first screenshot below inside the red circle you see a typical catfish return showing you a high arch that is slightly thicker at the apex and is showing a green + dark green return in the head. In the blue circle you see the same thing but with more dark green in the return and they are facing right into the ledge staying out of the current. These would be larger catfish that are doing just what they should in this scenario. In the orange circle you see some smaller pan fish in the mix trying to get into the current break area and realize that they are on the wrong side of town! If you notice, the catfish in the green circle are not facing into the current but looking to the left at these pan fish and appear to be feeding pretty good. Screen Shot 1

In the second screenshot below with the same settings and heavy current moving from right to left you see longer, thinner returns that have a slight bit of green in them. A striper or hybrid have a dense dark main blood vessel that gives me a touch of green in their return also. However, the fact that the returns are facing the wrong way and are way too thin for a catfish would tell me that these are stripers or hybrids just getting their grub on.

Screen Shot 2

Now that we are able to identify catfish using our 2-d sonar I would like to share a tip that will keep you from sitting on an unproductive hole full of fish for what can seem like hours without so much as a nibble. In order to do this you must learn to speak shad. The structure scan portion of my HDS-10 unit is one of the deadliest weapons that I have when looking for feeding catfish. Using the down scan and side scan features I let the bait tell me what the fish are doing in that area. If I see bait pods that are perfectly round or even cylindrical in shape in the same area as a group of trophy sized catfish I know that those fish aren’t actively feeding as in the first screenshot below. However, if the bait is spread out all across the screen then I know that there is a feeding frenzy going on and that I need to get a few baits in there quick, as seen in the second and third screenshots below.

Screen Shot 3

Screen Shot 4

Screen Shot 5

Here is a photo of a nice father and son catch during our thaksgiving trip this year. Remember that 90 % of the fish are found in 10% of the water and by knowing what to look for and where you are half way there! 

50 lb Blue


The Best Christmas Gift Idea's

Thanksgiving has passed and now it’s time to get your favorite outdoor's man or women something you know is tested and is a quality product for a Christmas gift. I am going to make this easy, so sit back, relax and read my suggestions of gifts anyone would be happy to receive. But first, I am going to have to go “Dave Ramsey” on you: create a budget on how much you’re willing to spend on a gift and follow your budget!  


Here's a great starting point for you...



Costa Sunglasses has your outdoorsy family member covered this Christmas with the introduction of its latest new sunglasses line -  RealTree® AP camo line. Available in Costa’s popular Fantail, Blackfin, Double Haul and Zane, these limited-edition styles are the perfect gift for the avid hunter or angler.  Each of the four Costa styles featuring RealTree AP camo are part of Costa’s core sunglass collection – meaning they offer superior wrap shape to protect against glare, proprietary anti-fog vents in the frame front, sturdy integral hinges and nearly indestructible co-injected nylon construction.  Costa is a great choice when it comes to a quality pair of sunglasses. Read more at: https://www.costadelmar.com


Plano Storage Tubs are very practical, reliable, and truly are a quality product. These tubs offer roomy, lockable storage for objects large and small, and feature two durable latches to keep contents safe even during transportation or shipping. Both models feature molded grooves for simple, sturdy stacking if needed. These Plano's Storage Tubs offer versatile and long-lasting protection to keep contents dry, safe and together. And when in the field, their reinforced lids can even double as a work surface for many chores. I have cleaned fish and ducks on the lid, and it did an incredible job. Read more at: http://www.basspro.com/Plano-56Quart-Storage-Tub/product/120618/.



Look good and support a great charity by purchasing Wounded Wear Forever T-Shirts. These are a high-quality pre-shrunk Gildan Pure Cotton T-shirt with the Wounded Wear logo on the front chest and “Forever Recognizing the Cost of Freedom” underneath the logo. On the back of the shirt is The Wounded Wear logo and the Wounded Wear flag. “What have you done for your Country lately?” is printed on the bottom of the shirts. This is one of Wounded Wear's original shirts and is one of our best sellers! You will be supporting of troops by purchasing clothing from Wounded Wear. You can purchase these items at: http://woundedwear.org/Wounded%20Wear%20Forever%20T-Shirt


The latest fishing craze is the face covers, or buffs. Wearing one of these means you can wear it as a face mask to skip the sun screen on your face, or stay warm during the winter. The stretchy, seamless microfiber polyester buff’s fabric comes in different patterns and looks. The material is designed to wick moisture from the surface, while being lightweight and comfortable protection from sun and wind. These buffs may be worn easily as a neckerchief, scarf, headband or balaclava. They are perfect for fishing, hunting, hiking, paddling and many other outdoor activities. All of them machine wash, and just allow them to air dry before the next usage. More than anything, I really like all the different ways you can wear them! Pick out a great design from http://www.basspro.com/UV-Buff-Headwear/product/97319/



Number one (#1) most important thing we all should never go on the water without is a good-quality life jacket. I personally never go fishing, or even just boating without wearing it; I love my family too much. A life vest worn on top of everything else it is really hardly noticeable, and it could save your life. I wear the Mustang Survival automatic inflatable type vest, there is no substitute. The competition version of this vest is stylish. It features a secure zip closure that can withstand rigorous activity; heavy duty coated nylon for increased durability, and is very lightweight, comfortable, and compact. It will keep you on top of the water long enough to allow you to get back in the boat. Remember to attach your kill switch to your life vest any time your gas motor is running. http://www.basspro.com/Mustang/_/B-4294650442.

Lowrance Gen2 Touch includes all the best features from the HDS (High Definition System) series, plus it comes with the company’s Broadband Sounder and Structure Scan HD built in to the unit. The touch screen interface is very user-friendly and seems to be a big hit! One of the cool features is you can customize and configure and make your own screen views with up to four panels at once, plus the Touch offers a new three-panel vertical-page view. The Gen2 HDS Touch 7, 9 or 12 units come with an internal 1 Hz GPS antenna and are preloaded with Insight USA coastal cartography. The Structure Map feature allows anglers to scan and overlay underwater images onto a chart real time or create saved Structure Map views. These units will cost from $1,299 to $3,249. Read more at: http://www.lowrance.com/en-US



Anglers can never have enough lures in their arsenal when they go after those illusive green fish called largemouth bass. If they do not have them already, this is a great addition to any fisherman’s tackle box. The Bass Pro Shops – XPS Nitro Square Bill crankbait boasts a fat body style that creates a very good displacement in the water over the bill of the bait.  Remember, the purpose of a square-shaped bill crankbait is that it deters snagging on stuff during the retrieve back to you.  For those looking for a silent approach, the Bass Pro Shops – XPS Nitro Square Bill crankbait model possesses all the action and snag-resistance that is standard on most square bill crankbaits, but with a quiet approach that makes a shallow-water bass a predator for this bait. Read more at: http://basseast.com/xps-nitro-square-bill-crankbaits




Every fisherman and outdoor's person needs a multi tool. These are the greatest gadget, as they contain everything you'll need in one compact tool. From knife blades to screw drivers, to bottle openers and more, a Multi Tool is the perfect gift for every angler on your shopping list. Leatherman survival products have been around for decades. Beginning with the Pocket Survival Tool in 1983, Leatherman now manufactures over 30 models of knives and multi tools. Every product I have ever purchased has been high quality, and lasts forever. I personally love giving these as gifts they are always well received. See all the different models and price ranges that are available at: http://www.basspro.com/Brand-Leatherman/_/N-1z0xd5x/Ntk-Search_All/Ntt-leatherman.


These are some of my favorite gifts - both to give, and or receive. If you receive a great gift this Christmas that has passed your usage test, let me know maybe I can include the information in one of my future product reviews …...  Merry Christmas everyone!




About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years and he is a part owner of Wave Away, LLC.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.



Blog: http://outonalimbwithtombranchjr.blogspot.com/


Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch

   Lowrance has always been a leader in the field of sonar for fishing, and they continue to be ahead of the pack due to their continued innovation. After Lowrance released the HDS Gen2, boaters were excited about the new features and were happy to switch from Gen1 to Gen2. With Lowrances latest innovations users are sure to be even more impressed. The HDS Gen2 Touch is the latest product line offered by Lowrance and it's packed with features that would make any fisherman want to make the switch. Touch models do contain many of the features of the HDS Gen2, but added new features that makes the HDS Gen2 Touch models the superior of the HDS line.

  HDS Gen2 has created a buzz in the fishing communities because of its ability to go above and beyond any typical depth finder/GPS combo. With an improved processor and added function of side imaging overlay, it was obvious that Gen2 is much better than the Gen1. Likewise, the Touch models will likely prove to be much better than the original Gen2 models. Both Gen2  product lines will coexist for the time being, giving boaters the option. They will both be able to offer structure scan, overlays, Insight mapping, and NMEA 2000 compatibility. Because they share many of the same features and a similar price point, I believe that the Touch models will prove to be the most popular depth finder out.

   Although the HDS Gen2 Touch will offer many of the same features as the original HDS Gen2, it's the added function and features of the Touch models that make it it so appealing. The obvious improvement made to the models is the touch screen. This makes going through functions faster and easier. Perhaps one question a fisherman would have is " what about wet and dirty hands on the touch screen?". This has been taken into consideration by Lowrance, and they are sure  that the screen is durable enough to get messy and still function properly. Another improvement made by Lowrance is the software interface in the unit. With large touch screen icons it  will be very easy to navigate through the features.

  Users of past HDS models will find the new HDS Gen2 Touch is easier to use, faster, and more in tune with todays touch screen electronics. Aside from the new features, Lowrance gas also improved on an original feature. To achieve side and down imaging in previous HDS models it was necessary to use the LSS-1 or LSS-2 box along with an additional transducer. These extra parts would make the HDS models undesirable to some, but Lowrance has solved that problem. When purchasing the HDS Gen2 Touch models, they will come equipped with structure scan capabilities inside the sonar unit, thus eliminating the need for an additional box.

   The new HDS Gen2 Touch is easier to use, easier to set up, and easier to see than past models. These models are capable of much more than the features that I have reviewed, and for a full list of improvements and features please visit www.lowrance.com/hdsgen2touch. To check one out in person please visit a local Bass Pro Shop.

Ryan Wynn


Store 49 Manteca Ca


Lowrance HDS Gen 2 and Structure Scan




Lowrance HDS Gen 2 and Structure Scan HD

We have all become familiar with the HDS line from Lowrance and if you haven’t,  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

While you are using your archaic electronics, other anglers in the know are seeing more, tracking more and storing more than ever before!

With the release of the HDS Gen2 line Lowrance has stepped up to the plate and laced one out of the park yet again.

Next we will go over some of the new features offered with the Gen2 lineup.


Say goodbye to lag time between keystrokes!

With the improvement of the processor you can expect lightning-fast chart updates, panning and zooming, plus faster start-up and menu operation.

 Structure Map

Real-time Structure Map capability when paired with the LSS HD. The new StructureMap™ overlay feature allows anglers and boaters to view and create life-like underwater images of the lake, river or seafloor. Yeah, it gives you the ability to virtually create your own detailed mapping of any lake you choose.

 Advanced memory

Up to two waterproof SD card slots to load Insight™ HD or Fishing Hot Spots® PRO map options, as well as Navionics® charts with TurboView™ for the best possible chartplotting experience.
You can also record and save vital sonar and navigation data and upload future HDS software feature updates.


Scroll-back thru Broadband Sounder™ or StructureScan® sonar imaging history to review structure or fish targets and pinpoint the location with a waypoint with chart plotter models.

Yeah these features aren’t necessarily new to HDS Gen2, but I thought I would still point them out!

 Easy to use and view

Simple-to-follow menu operation and graphic interface make HDS® Gen2 easy to learn. So users quickly gain control of key functions.

 Out-of-the-box networking

HDS® Gen2 features full plug-and-play connectivity with the versatility of dual platforms: high-speed Ethernet for display networking and performance module add-ons; and NMEA 2000® for onboard engine- and system data sharing.

No matter how you look at it if you are serious about angling or just want the best of the best on your boat, the answer is the New HDS Gen2 line from Lowrance! Visit your Rancho Cucamonga Bass Pro Shops and speak to our Electronics specialist in the Marine department or check out our seminar schedule for the next electronics seminar. ***Tip of the day*** bring your unit in on a weekday Monday – Thursday for specialized one on one training. Call the store and ask for Jeff to schedule your session!




New 360 Imaging

   Depthfinders have gone through many changes over the past 10 years. Boaters no longer rely on depth graph printers and flashers to give real time sonar readings. We can now use brightly colored high definition units that nearly everyone can figure out. These depthfinders have made fishing, and boating in general, much safer and more fun than ever imagined before. In the recent past we have seen perhaps some of the greatest improvements on depthfinders. I am referring to the structure scan technology. This technology has allowed fisherman and boaters to identify objects in the water like never before possible. Just as boaters are beginning to understand the use and importance of structure scanning technology, Humminbird brings us another step closer to the future of aquatic imaging.

  360 degree imaging is here. Just as Lowrance releases a new structure scan transducer, the LSS2 with high definition, Humminbird takes the technology to another level. Some of the differences between basic structure imaging and the new 360 imaging may make you consider adding this technology to your boat. 360 imaging does not only show you the structure on the sides of the boat, nor does it simply show the structure below the boat. Humminbirds 360 imaging will show boaters exactly what the name implies, 360 degrees of structure. That is 150 feet in every direction, giving boaters a huge field of vision with unmatched definition. This will allow boaters  to scan ahead and spot structure, and even have the ability to isolate your view. This means that you can adjust the direction and degree of the beam to isolate exactly where you want to be scanning.

  Perhaps the one of biggest downsides to the 360 technology is its availability. While Humminbird is not making us buy all new units to enjoy 360 imaging, we are limited to what units can use the new technology.  I have included a quote from the Humminbird brochure to clarify exactly who can use the 360 imaging. "... you'll need an Ethernet-ready, Side Imaging-equipped Humminbird fish finder." Currently there are at least four humminbird units available that will work with the new transducer.  Owners of the 798c si, the 898c si, 998c si, or the 1198c si, can  automatically upgrade with the new 360 imaging transducer.

    Now that we know what units can benefit from the 360 imaging technology, we can identify  who can benefit from  the use of this technology.  With the ability to scan ahead, we can see that nearly all boaters can benefit from 360 imaging. You can see an object before you get there and identify obstructions and debris along your route. In addition to the safety features, boaters will have the ability to spot fish habitat such as rock piles and drop offs over a larger body of water than ever before. These feature would also make the technology  ideal for divers and snorkelers looking for new structure.

     Scanning ahead far enough to not spook the fish, identifying new structures, and being able to pin point your scanning view are some of the features that make the Humminbird 360 Imaging the current leader in structure imaging technology. For more information and further details about 360 Imaging visit humminbird.com/360imaging.

Ryan Wynn

Marine Dept.

Store 49



Product Review - Lowrance Elite 5 DSI


Product Review - Lowrance Elite 5x DSI (Color) Fish finder/Chart plotter

elite 5 dsi

We all know a dollar will not go as far as it use to! Finally an electronics company has come out with a quality product that won’t break the bank. Lowrance is now producing some really nice, cost effective and quality products. The new Elite 5X DSI color fish finder/chart plotter is a great example. These units take the guesswork out of locating fishing hotspots. The screen shows a high quality picture, this will help you locate and catch more fish. The DSI features allow you to tell what types of different bottoms and the structures that are underwater.

The Elite 5X DSI offers you the ability to see exactly what you want to see with a proven depth of up to 200 feet. The 4000 watt peak to peak and 500 watt RMS power allows you to capture images with your boat traveling at speeds of up to 40mph. The best picture for me with this unit has been from 1mph to 25mph.

The Elite 5X DSI offers a dual coverage imaging of 455/800 kHz that has greatly improved the imaging and guaranteed depth. Remember to selectable dual frequencies of 455/800 kHz to give you the option of a wider and deeper scope of view or an enhanced view of a certain location. You now have the ability to see in a range that is wider and deeper than you have ever encountered, but the imaging available with this fish finder is enhanced greatly. You now are looking at almost double the area you were on your older fish finders.

You will find out that the display is one of the best features of the Elite 5X DSI. It offers a 5 inch screen that has a 480 x 480 pixel count. Lowrance SolarMAX 256 color TFT display makes the clarity of the screens picture incredible. This high resolution display allows the images to be shown to you with a superior image. This unit offers a backlit screen so that you can take advantage of the fish finder/chart plotter in low light or at night. When using the night screen try the green color palette for your display, it works better with your night vision when lighting conditions are very dark.

All these new units come with “Trackback” technology. Now you can review your sonar history immediately and even retrace the steps you have already taken on your chart plotter. This will allow you to save time the next time you come back to a certain spot.

screen shot

With the addition of Lowrance’s Elite 5-x DSI, you can now have a down scan imaging with a fish finder. The most exciting part of this unit is the images of the bottom, different structures, thermoclines, and telling if the bottom is a hard or soft bottom.

With the incredible new standalone Elite-5x DSI imaging fish finder, you’re equipped with a technological new edge improve your success in finding -- and fishing -- hot spots…clearly… precisely…and especially affordably.

Now the down side - The unit does not come with a manual and would be difficult to operate if you didn't have much experience with depth finders. There are some really good training videos online that are free of charge.  Be ready to spend some time on the water learning how to use the unit. Be prepared that this unit will not let you see your drop shot or a jigging spoon, like you did on your older units.  The technology of this transducer in the Down Scan Imaging units is sending the signal so fast to the bottom it will not draw your lures or a pretty fish arch. This unit does draw bait balls and brush/trees better than anything out there for $599.99 (the MSRP and price at Bass Pro Shops)

To learn more about how these units work, I would recommend watching Barry Stokes product training video from YouTube:




About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a Prostaffer at the Bass Pro Shops in Atlanta, Ga, a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 26 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 16 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim, live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout."

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr

Blog: http://outonalimbwithtombranchjr.blogspot.com/


The advantages of Sidecan or StructureScan

Hello to all!

The spring weather has arrived, although we really never had a winter. So time to get on the water, if you haven't already. The fun time of the year is here for me and hopefully for you as well. The fishing is heating up, the weather is definitely starting to warm up and the deals in our Marine Center are definitely on fire.

With the spring weather here now is a good time to talk about the Side Imaging/Structure Scan technology offered by Humminbird and Lowrance respectively. Now that the weather has warmed the option of using Side Imaging/Structure Scan is a huge advantage. The big females have moved to the shallows to get the boomshakamawow (spawning time) on. By using the side imaging feature you can find beds up to 150' away and also see if fish are actually on them. By marking with you cursor you can then prepare for your stealth attack and presentation.
If bed fishing is not your cup of tea, then here is another example of Down imaging/structure scan. In a split screen mode of Down Imaging and 2D traditional sonar, you can find a school of fish holding to structure and see the benefits to using both screens. In 2D sonar you can see the movement with the arches, which can tell you if the school is active or not. Look at the down imaging now and you can actually count the individual fish and get a great idea of the size of the fish. Once you put all that information together, you can immediately realize whether or not to try and work the school.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of information you can get from these units by Humminbird and Lowrance. Now, I can't tell you which to use or buy. You really need to come in to our store and see for yourself and kick the tires. It's kinda like buying a vehicle. Everyone has there preferences. Some folks are Ford people and others are TOYOTA (Official Vehicle of Bass Pro Shops). So, when you get a chance, come on in soon and check out all our line of electronics and other spectacular items throughout the department and store.
Jonathon Cone,
Bass Pro Shops Fishing Legend

Sonar Side Scan

Few inventions have provided anglers with underwater information like the recent side scan sonar units that are available at Bass Pro Shops. The newer units are a far cry from the first “green” boxes that only showed blips on a circular screen. However; with practice most anglers mastered the blips and could even discern what type of bottom was below them!

Today’s angler can really hone in not only fish images, but can actually see structure some distance from their boat. The side scan is designed to be used as the boat is moving, it doesn’t work well when sitting still. Most units will function properly at 3 to 6 mph. Anglers can scan an area then go back and fish the area, or you may also replay desired scans for review.

Side scan will not only show fish, it will also show what fish are doing! Spawning beds will show up as small white circles so anglers will know if fish are spawning. Manmade structures such as rock or brush piles can be found, even if they are under a dock!  The detail is outstanding and even small features such as a single rock or small ditch can be detected.

The Lowrance and Humminbird manufactures have been very aware that most anglers want a user friendly menu and they have responded very favorably. Fewer buttons and easy to understand menu’s are very nice. Both companies offer online tutorials that will answer almost all your questions. Also, our Bass Pro Marine Associates are very well versed in every aspect of the side scan operations and can also help you out.

So if you want to expand your underwater knowledge, side scan or imaging is definitely the equipment that you need. Be sure to ask your Bass Pro Marine Associate about our Gear Guard Premium protection plan for extended warranty and damage protection, it certainly pays off in the long run if you have problems. Product protection plans can be obtained at the time of purchase or with 30 days of purchase by calling 1-866-618-5783 or online at www.bassproshopsgearguard.com.


Boat Buying Tool

Happy New Year, Everyone!!  Guess What?  It's Boat Show Time!

It may be Winter but it's the time of year when most boat manufacturers schedule events to showcase their products.  The DFW Metroplex is well represented with Bass Boat brands like NITRO (www.nitroboats.com), Skeeter (www.skeeterboats.com), Ranger (www.rangerboats.com), Stratos (www.stratosboats.com) and Bass Cat (www.basscat.com).  If your in the market to purchase a new Bass Boat, make sure you're in good health before you look at the sticker price on many of these.  You know, it's a lot like shopping for a new truck or car.  Every manufacturer builds base models with standard equipment and then provide you a list of options (or upgrades) you can select to fit your personal preferences.  You look at the list, add what you want, take away what you don't want and end up with a selection.  Then you look to see how your changes have affected the price you're going to pay.

So, I thought I'd try the "build a boat" feature you see on some of the boat manufacturer websites, just to get an idea of what a boat equipped with my preferences might cost.  Now, I didn't try to add every option out there but I did add equipment that I would want if I were purchasing a new boat.  As I began to put together the boat, I noticed one critical piece of information was missing - PRICING!!  I tried another manufacturer and again, pricing was not available.  This was not helping at all!  I wanted to know what it was going to cost me.  With these programs, I could easily put together a boat, print out the selections I made and take it to a dealer, only to find out I had created a boat that only Donald Trump could afford...and I'm in no position to be spending Mr. Trumps money.

Then I went to the Nitro Boat website - www.nitroboats.com. In this build a boat program, I could see everything - including pricing.  This tool allowed me to add optional equipment, delete some equipment that didn't interest me and kept a running total of all the adjustments I made to my boat.  At the end, I was able to see a list of all my selections, including the price changes.  I could even print out the boat I had just created that included all my custom colors and options (including the Lowrance HDS-10 & HDS-8 w/ Structure Scan (www.lowrance.com) and the upgraded Mercury 225 Optimax Pro XS with Torque Master (www.mercurymarine.com).  So I did, I printed that bad boy out.  Now, because I had just created this boat, I knew there would not be one with this color selection and equipment in stock anywhere but just for fun, I went and asked my Tracker Sales associate if he had this boat.  He said, "I'm sorry, sir, I don't have this particular boat in stock.  Would you allow me to place the order for you?"  I asked him what additional charges and fees would I have to pay for him to order this Bass Assault Vehicle I had just created, to which he replied, "There are no hidden costs with a Bass Pro Shops boat."  I thought this was just incredible!  I could actually design and build my boat, print out a detailed listing of all my equipment and take this to my local Bass Pro Shop and order it.  Best of all, I knew exactly how much this rig was going to cost me before I ever left the comfort of my house.

If you're in the market to purchase a Bass Boat, Family Fish and Ski Boat or Pontoon Boat this year, you owe it to yourself to visit the Tracker Boats website dallas.trackerboatcenter.com.

Here you'll find links to all the Boat Brands Bass Pro Shops carries and YOU CAN BUILD YOUR OWN BOAT AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IT WILL COST YOU.  Once you've created the boat of your dreams, print it out and bring it with you to your nearest Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Tracker Boat Sales Consultant to experience unparalleled customer service.  Remember, your adventure starts here.

Michael Lawson
Bass Pro Shops
Tracker Marine Boat Center
Grapevine, Texas

Larry Beerer
Lead Sales Consultant
Bass Pro Shops
Tracker Marine Boat Center
Grapevine, Texas

Electronics for Crappie

Since the invention of the “little green box”, which was what inventor Carl Lowrance named the first sonar unit that was available to the public; many anglers relate their use to bass fishermen and bass fishing. However; knowledgeable anglers are finding that today’s units are invaluable for pursuing crappie.

Better straight down imaging will show schools of shad and crappie that are feeding on them, the units will also allow you to find brush piles or other structure and reveal whether or not fish are present. This saves a lot of time and effort trying to locate fish and structure.

Side imaging scans the areas to the side of your boat and are very useful in finding structure or brush piles, the side imaging feature is fairly new and can be a significant investment. The side imaging technology performs best at about 3 to 5 mph and doesn’t give good returns when stationary or moving very slowly.

When buying a new sonar unit anglers should try to get a unit with high wattage. This is called the amount of “power” that the unit has, a 4000 watt unit will give more detail than a 2000 watt unit. Another factor to take into account is pixels, the more pixels the unit has, the more detail you will see on the screen. Otherwise, today’s units are very reliable, extremely waterproof, and will withstand really severe use.

Units that have GPS capability are very useful for marking your favorite spots, plus they are extremely valuable with available maps and guidance systems when fishing a new lake.

Some units even have SD card slots so you can save your fishing trip data and download to your home computer.

Our Marine Department Associates are very knowledgeable and can assist you in getting the most out of your purchase. The “hands on” display area of our Marine Department can save you a lot of time and effort in determining what unit will work best for you. GEAR GUARD is highly recommended as this warranty extension plan will protect your investment even further.

Mike Eutsler

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

Springfield, Missouri