Sonar fishfinders have always helped us find fish and fish-holding structure, but helping us precisely target fish has been another story. Early on,bulb-type flashers supported vertical jigging. You dropped your lure and watched its flash move down to a flash marking a fish and then, hopefully, all you had to do was set the hook. The problem was that not all the nearby fish were directly under our boats — not even all the fish we saw on our screens. Some were at the outside edge of the cone of sound generated by our transducers and we couldn’t tell if they were to our left or right or off our bow or transom.
Most bass anglers learn to fish shallow water by casting to visible targets like stumps and weed bed edges. These fishermen can be out of luck when the fish move slightly deeper or the water level rises enough to hide these targets.
Today’s side-scanning features can help but you must either mount the transducer on your trolling motor and turn it back and forth to spot and keep track of fish and structure or mount the transducer on the transom and scan by rotating your whole boat. Humminbird’s 360 Imaging system takes all the work out of this by scanning all the way around you while your boat is at rest. Standing on the casting deck or sitting in your bow fishing seat, you need only glance at the screen for a bird’s eye view of the structure, cover and fish out to about 150 feet in any direction.
The 360 Imaging system requires a special transducer and a Humminbird unit with an Ethernet port to handle the huge volume of data involved. At this writing it can work with Humminbird’s new SOLIX series, select units in the HELIX, ONIX and 800, 900 and 1100 series.
360 Imaging transducers can already be clamped to the upper shafts of MinnKota Fortrex and Maxxum bow-mount trolling motors and they are now available on the company’s new Ultrex motor. Ultrex has an enhanced version of Spot-Lock that automatically holds you on a fishing spot with GPS accuracy while you fish. Owners of Fortrex or Maxxum motors who upgrade to an Ultrex can move their current 360 Imaging system to the new motor with the aid of an adapter bracket that should be available by the time you read this. 360 Imaging transducers can also be transom mounted with a special bracket system but I think attaching the transducer to a bow mounted trolling motor is the easiest and best way to go. That attached to something you already lower into the water for fishing and stow while cruising and it centers the screen picture on your fishing position.
Visit humminbird.com to find out more about how 360 Imaging shows you where submerged structure, cover, fish and even bottom features are in relation to the seat of your pants while fishing.