Choosing the proper fishing sonar

By Lance Valentine

Purchasing a new electronics unit can be scary. Technology is constantly changing, and units are expensive, so making a good decision is important to get the right unit for your needs. Often times we see anglers that have bought a unit quickly without doing some research, have bought for price only or don’t understand what options and features are available and what each one does.

Taking the time to do some research and ask some questions before you buy is an important step. Below are some questions you need to think about before purchasing your next Lowrance unit:

1) Am I looking for a single unit or adding a unit to an existing system?
2) Will I be adding other units in the future?
3) If using multiple units, do I want the units to “talk” to each other; if Yes what information do I want to share?
4) Is sharing waypoints between units important?
5) Is seeing sonar information on multiple screens something I want?
6) Do I want StructureScan? Do I want just DownScan or DownScan and SideScan?
7) Do I want to add outside inputs such as GPS antennas, engine monitoring, fuel levels, bow mount trolling motor, satellite weather, stereo system, marine radio etc.?
8) What type of water am I fishing in, how deep do I usually fish?
9) Is the ability to customize the way my unit looks and the information I see important?
10) How and where will I mount the units?
11) How long is the technology I am buying been around? Am I at the end of the technology?
12) Do I need a special transducer for my application and what units will accept it?
13) Do I want a touchscreen unit?

Take the time to think about these questions before you buy, answer them honestly and then decide. Sometimes the correct decision will be to wait until more money is available so you can purchase the unit you need.

Remember, fishing electronics are expensive and a pretty substantial investment. Take a little extra time to honestly determine what you want you new unit to do, research multiple units, check the options available and make a good decision. One thing I would warn against is instantly jumping on a sale priced unit you see, especially if the price is way lower than the unit has been selling for. This is usually an indication that the unit is coming to “End of Life” and will soon be “old” technology.

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