EVERYONE REMEMBERS THAT FIRST CATCH

The line tightens. The rod bends. The excitement as you reel in the fish. In those few moments, a passion for fishing is born. From fishing with friends, family, or just alone with your thoughts, there is something pure about fishing. Taking in the fresh air, warm sun, a cool breeze, the sound of water lapping against the boat – you were made for moments like this. It’s peaceful. It’s great to be out on the water.

We would like to join you on that journey, so we have created this guide to bring to light some aspects of fishing you may not be familiar with – or haven’t thought about in a long time.

HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY HELP?

Lowrance fishfinder/chartplotter displays come with built-in sonar (fishfinding) and navigation (chartplotter or GPS Plotter) capability. Most displays come with a transducer and preloaded mapping, but some are available without a transducer and with basic, non-mapping GPS plotter navigation.

DISCOVER FISH FINDER BASICS

Discover how Chartplotter and Fishfinder displays play an essential part of fishing, helping you navigate safely, find the right spots and see your different sonar views, and ultimately helping you to find and catch more fish. But which type is right for you?

WHY LOWRANCE?

WHY LOWRANCE SOUTH AFRICA?

Many choices of cartography, including the most popular SA inland & offshore charts. We offer English AND Afrikaans as language options. Our staff are anglers themselves – so we talk the talk and walk the walk. We support local fishing by sponsoring and attending many SA fishing competitions. We provide the BEST back-up service in the country. And we offer the BEST warranty in the industry.

HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY HELP?

Lowrance opened the door for the recreational fish-finding electronics industry in 1957 when founder Darrel Lowrance created the first consumer fishfinder.

From the world’s first consumer fishfinder — the FISH LO-K-TOR — to the world’s best fishfinder — HDS LIVE — Lowrance fishfinders have been used by more anglers than any other brand in history.

Whether you fish ponds, lakes, inshore-coastal flats, tidal rivers or offshore, Lowrance fishfinder/chartplotters will make it easier for you to find more fish, so you can make the most of your time on the water.

THE CHOICE OF PROFESSIONAL ANGLERS

More professional anglers use Lowrance than any other brand because when money is on the line and catching fish matters, they can count on Lowrance sonar.

Lowrance Pros have won both MLF Redcrest Tournament Championships, both MLF points championships, the 2020 FLW Rookie and Angler of the Year Awards, plus seven of the last nine Bassmaster Classics.

WHAT’S THE BEST CHARTPLOTTER FOR YOU?

There are many different types of fishfinders and Chartplotters available, so deciding which one is right for you, your boat and the type of fishing is not always easy. Here we have outlined a few of the basics to make it easier to know what to look out for and why.

DISPLAY SIZE AND TYPE

Lowrance fishfinder/chartplotters are available with screen sizes ranging from 5- to 16-inches. Displays are offered with multi-touch touchscreens or standard non-touch displays controlled by a keypad. Touchscreen models offer full operation via touchscreen, keypad or both.

SCREEN SIZE

Bigger isn’t always better as one of the primary considerations when choosing a screen size is the available mounting space at the desired mounting location. Bigger screens are easier to see, but check the fit at your mounting location first.

SCREEN TYPE

Screens with premium In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology offer extreme viewing angles, superior clarity and are visible through polarised sunglasses. Most Lowrance displays have non-IPS, high-resolution SolarMAX screens with superb clarity and colour.

SPEED

Just like a computer – a faster processor yields smoother operation. With a fishfinder/chartplotter that translates to responsive menus, faster sonar updates and quicker chart redraws; all factors that make your time on the water more enjoyable.

SETUP

With Lowrance, setup is easy with high-powered sonar ready to go right out of the box and a preloaded map providing all the chart detail you need – with nothing more to buy. Just install your system and head to the water, or expand your system, choosing from a wide-range of networkable accessories.

COMPATIBILITY

Displays offer compatibility with a wide range of products that will enhance your system from the trolling motors and shallow water anchors to third-party chart providers and entertainment options.

MAPPING

Mapping is a key part of a display: the base map of South African waters offers basic chart detail with upgrade options from multiple popular suppliers. Whether on a dam or on the sea, mapping is imperative for navigation to locate and find the right fishing locations and be able to get there safely. 

There are also many charting features to look out for, which can aid the navigation and fishing features – as an example depth shading can help easily identify key fishing locations. 

Using external charts will enable you to quickly pinpoint areas fish like to hide, so you spend less time looking for a fishing spot and more time fishing. If you encounter uncharted areas, use Genesis Live real-time mapping – available on most Lowrance displays – to create your own charts, down to 1/2-foot contours.

FEATURES

  • Lowrance CHIRP Sonar:See fish with greater clarity, even in tight schools or close to the bottom. FishReveal: Easier to recognise fish with best of CHIRP and DownScan Imaging.

  • FishReveal: Easier to recognise fish with the best of CHIRP and DownScan Imaging.

  • DownScan Imaging: View picture-like images of structure beneath the boat.

  • SideScan: Cover water quickly, simultaneously scanning large areas to each side of boat.

  • Active Imaging 3-in-1:Get CHIRP/SideScan/DownScan Imaging from one transducer.

  • StructureScan 3D: Know where fish are located in relation to the boat with real-world 3D view.

  • ActiveTarget: Watch fish move and react to your lure in real-time.

  • Chart Options: Find key fishing areas faster with high-detail built-in charts.

  • Genesis Live Mapping: Create your own maps of uncharted areas onscreen in real-time.

  • Ethernet: Share sonar and chart data, receive SiriusXM® weather/audio data.

  • NMEA 2000®:Connects a wide range of marine sensors and accessories to a display.

  • SonicHub2:Control AM/FM, mp3, Bluetooth audio from display; supports video playback.

  • Ghost Trolling Motor: Fish all day with more power/efficiency; move in closer to fish with silent operation.

  • Outboard Pilot:Select your route and let the Outboard Pilot take you there.

  • Engine/Data Sensors: See all your engine data in one place – on your touchscreen.

  • Radar Connectivity: Enjoy safer navigation, follow flocks of birds to find fish offshore.

  • Video Input: View video from a fish camera or smart device on HDS LIVE 16/12.

  • Dual Channel CHIRP: Track two separate portions of the water column at the same time via split-screen.

If you have an idea of what functions you want on your system, check out the table below to see which system will best suit your needs.

KEY SYSTEM EQUIPMENT TO CONSIDER

Chartplotters are compatible with a wide selection of Lowrance products.

RADAR

From detecting large ocean going vessels to picking out small, low-to-the-water kayaks, Lowrance offers radar that delivers clear and precise imaging of shorelines, navigation buoys, floating debris, current weather conditions, marinas and other structures along with boats.

GHOST TROLLING MOTOR

One of the most common additions to a fishing system, trolling motors allow you to quietly move your boat into fishing areas without spooking the fish with the boat’s big motor. The Lowrance Ghost trolling motor delivers the quietest, most powerful performance delivering a full day of fishing.

VHF/AIS

You can reduce your risk of collision on the water by equipping your boat with Lowrance AIS (Automatic Identification System) capability and can always stay in contact with VHF radio.

POWER-POLE®

Power-Pole® anchors give anglers the capability to quickly drop anchor in shallow areas using the touchscreen of Lowrance HDS LIVE and Elite FS displays.

AUDIO

Round out your boat’s system with Bluetooth® audio streaming, video and audio playback from the SonicHub2.

Engine Interface

Connect your head unit to your engines, using NMEA 2000, and display engine data directly on your screen. View useful information like RPM, Voltage, Engine Temperature and Fuel Pressure.

ActiveTarget™ Live Sonar

See high-resolution images of fish swimming around structure and responding to your lure – as it happens – with new ActiveTarget™ Live Sonar. Featuring Forward, Down or Scouting views, ActiveTarget Live Sonar can scan fish locations and easily track their movements. See how fish relate to structure and respond to lure presentations, so you can make the right adjustments to make them strike.

Outboard Pilot Your First Mate

Lowrance HDS Series fish finders feature widescreen displays and pinpoint GPS mapping capabilities for optimum navigation. Install either the hydraulic pack or cable-steer pack and use the HDS/Elite FS unit to configure piloting needs. A portable wireless, Bluetooth remote controls autopilot from anywhere on board allowing for course corrections. Autopilot packs from Lowrance are easy to install with everything needed in the box and are recommended for single outboard boats that measure 30 feet or less in length.

Point-1 GPS Antenna

The Lowrance Point-1 is the ideal position and heading device. The Point-1 provides extremely accurate and rapid boat position and speed updates. In addition – unlike other position-only antennas – the Point-1 provides heading for accurate boat direction at any speed and for radar/chart overlay. It is fully waterproof and can be pole or surface mounted on any boat.

WHY DO I NEED A SONAR AND HOW DO THEY WORK?

With sonar, you can focus your fishing on areas where you see fish or fish-holding areas like rocks, drop-offs, ditches, trees, logs, etc. Without sonar, it is much harder to catch fish since you don’t know where they are or where to find areas they like to hide.

WHAT IS A TRANSDUCER?

Transducers, commonly installed on a boat’s transom, inside the hull (shoot-thru hull or thru hull) or on a trolling motor, transmit sonar signals (pings) into the water column and then receive the echoes from those transmissions.

CHIRP SONAR

See fish, structure and the bottom with greater clarity — right out of the box — with Lowrance CHIRP, which delivers the best views of individual fish targets, even when targets are close to the bottom or suspended in tight schools

DOWNSCAN WITH FISH REVEAL

DownScan Imaging™ makes it easier to identify how fish are relating to structure, providing photo-like images of rocks, trees, bottom composition and other underwater structure directly beneath the boat. FishReveal™ takes the high-resolution images from DownScan Imaging and combines them with the target separation and traditional sonar fish arches of CHIRP sonar, making it easier to see fish.

SIDESCAN – ACTIVE IMAGING

Perfect for searching large areas for fish-holding structure, SideScan provides views up to 600 feet to each side of the boat, allowing you to cover more water in a shorter period of time, and view areas too shallow for your boat – like next to the shore or bank. Active Imaging 3-in-1 brings our most popular sonar – Lowrance CHIRP, SideScan and DownScan Imaging™ – together into one transducer.

FORWARD VIEW – ACTIVE TARGET LIVE SONAR

View what’s happening in front of your boat. ActiveTarget Live Sonar delivers high-resolution images of fish swimming around structure and responding to your lure – as it happens. With real-time views of fish relating to structure and responding to lure presentations, you can make quick adjustments to make them strike. ActiveTarget also has down and scout views.

STRUCTURESCAN 3D

Get a real-world, three-dimensional view of fish, structure and bottom contour that makes it easier to know where fish and structure are located in relation to your boat.

SCANNING SONAR

Transmitting at 455kHz or 800kHz frequencies, scanning sonar provides high-resolution views to the sides (SideScan) and beneath (DownScan Imaging) the boat. 800kHz provides the sharpest resolution at shallower depths, while 455kHz delivers the best overall image quality and depth penetration.

HDI

HDI is a transducer that combines a round traditional sonar element, and a DownScan bar.

MULTIPLE ELEMENT TRANSDUCERS

Act like a single element transducer, but are made out of several (sometimes many) elements. This allows them to ping up and down more quickly – thus improving signal to noise ratio and to be more robust as large single elements are more delicate.

SINGLE ELEMENT TRANSDUCERS

Transducers with a single element are capable of transmitting two alternating frequencies. The Lowrance Skimmer for example, can transmit 83 and 200kHz frequencies or Medium and High CHIRP ranges.

HOW DOES SONAR WORK?

Sonar is a technique used to detect water depth and the presence/depth of objects in the water by sending a signal (ping) underwater and then receiving its echo. The echo is created when the original signal bounces off the bottom and objects in the water column between the transducer and the bottom. For fish-finding applications, sonar will show fish as an arch shape, partial arch or as a straight line, depending on the movements of the fish and the boat.

BROADBAND

An older technology, Broadband sonar sends single-frequency sonar signals (pings) at 200kHz, 83kHz or 50kHz frequencies. High frequencies (200kHz) yield the best resolution, while low frequencies (50kHz) can reach greater depths.

BROADBAND

Delivers higher resolution views by continuously sweeping through a range of frequencies – typically 28-51kHz (Low), 85-155kHz (Medium) or 140-250kHz (High) – which creates a more complete picture of the bottom and objects in the water column.

BEAM ANGLE

Traditional sonar always transmits its sound waves in the shape of a cylindrical cone. The angle of the beam and the size of the cone vary depending on the frequency that is output from the transducer.The size of the cone dictates how much of the body of water you can see at any given time, the wider the angle the greater the area.

For example, most traditional 200khz transducers have a cone angle of less than 20 degrees. If you’re fishing in less than 10 feet of water, the cone diameter on the bottom is less than 3 feet across which makes it less likely that a fish will come into range at that depth. So, as a rough guide, the wider the beam angle the lower the resolution.

IMPORTANCE OF FREQUENCIES

For shallow water, you need a medium to high-frequency transducers (around 80 and 200 kHz). High frequencies produce higher resolution images but they don’t penetrate very far into the water. For bottom deep water fishing, you need a low-frequency transducer (around 50 kHz).

Some transducers are capable of multiple frequencies or ranges, which you can use both at the same time.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRANSDUCER

With so many different types of transducers available, choosing the right one can seem daunting. This diagram will help to identify the broad types of units that would be suitable as well as providing direction to the specific transducer solutions in the Lowrance range. Whether you fish ponds, lakes, coastal areas or offshore, we have the sonar technology to help you find more fish. 

In the diagram A1 and B1 would require High Chirp, a Wide Beam and 300w or 600w power, C1 would be the same except for 1kw power. B2, C2, B3 and C3 are low (lowest chirp) and all require a Narrow Beam and minimum of 1KW power.

INSTALLING AND MOUNTING TRANSDUCERS

INSTALLING & MOUNTING TRANSDUCERS

Lowrance provides solutions for mounting transducers on every type of boat and most kayaks. Mounting locations vary depending on the type of boat.

TRANSOM MOUNTED TRANDUCERS

One of the most common transducer installation methods, transom-mounted transducers typically follow a Skimmer design that allows water to pass smoothly over the face of the transducer when the boat is on plane.

TRANSOM MOUNTING TIP

When installing a transducer on the transom, attach a plastic plate to the hull first. This not only prevents you from having to drill holes directly into the transom, but also improves the water flow over the transducer.

TROLLING MOUNT

In a Shoot-Thru hull installation, the transducer is epoxied to the floor of a fibreglass boat, transmitting through the bottom of the hull.

SHOOT-THRU HULL MOUNT

One of the most common transducer installation methods, transom-mounted transducers typically follow a Skimmer design that allows water to pass smoothly over the face of the transducer when the boat is on plane.

THRU-HULL MOUNT

When installing a Thru-Hull transducer, the thru-hull transducer is installed through a hole in the bottom of the boat.

FAIRING BLOCK

Used with thru-hull installations, a fairing block is cut to match the dead-rise of the hull to ensure water flows smoothly over a thru-hull transducer.

DEADRISE

For vee-shaped hulls, the dead-rise is the angle of the hull in relation to the horizontal plane below the keel of the boat. Given that most hulls have some form of dead-rise angle it is necessary to align the transducer so that the beam is set vertically down, this allows the sonar beam to track the sea/lake/river bed efficiently to ensure that the return signal is picked up by the transducer.

TRANSDUCER TIP

BASIC CONNECTIVITY

For most Lowrance fishfinder/chartplotter installations, the transducer connects directly to the display. Some sonar technology, like ActiveTarget Live Sonar and StructureScan 3D, a module is included which connects the display to the transducer.

SONAR TIPS

Check out some of the most popular basics of sonar videos on our YouTube channel.