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First Look: Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock

Maximize live sonar capabilities without sacrificing boat control with the new Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock.

Technology is ever and always advancing what anglers can do. Perhaps two of the most groundbreaking new technological developments in recent years have been live sonar and GPS integration in trolling motors.

We have never been able to "see" beneath the water more clearly—in real time—or control our boats with such ease and efficiency as we can right now.

A well-known name in both categories with its Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging and Minn Kota Spot-Lock, Johnson Outdoors (the parent company of Humminbird and Minn Kota) has introduced a new accessory that allows anglers to better utilize these two powerful tools on the water. Brand new for 2022 is what Humminbird is calling MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock. Although its features go beyond this, what this device—mounted independently of the trolling motor shaft—ultimately does is free the MEGA Live Imaging transducer from its trolling motor chain. Instead, it permits the angler to use their Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor (and Spot-Lock) and MEGA Live Imaging simultaneously and independently of each other.

MEGA Live transducer with TargetLock control
Use the included foot pedal, your Humminbird fishfinder or an optional remote (not shown) to independently control your MEGA Live transducer with TargetLock. Then set the TargetLock and control your boat as you normally would. The transducer will stay locked on the structure or fish no matter where you move the boat. (Photo courtesy of Humminbird)

Whereas before anglers would have to sacrifice either boat control or Spot-Lock for precise live sonar or vice versa, with new Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock, you can now control a Live Imaging transducer separate from your trolling motor. No more drifting off your spot while trying to stay on fish with Live Imaging or losing track of fish while keeping your boat locked in place on a spot. This sounds simple when you say it out loud, but there’s a lot that goes into it—and plenty of other great innovations exclusive to MEGA Live TargetLock and Minn Kota Ultrex users that expand what they are capable of on the water.


"Anglers have had to sacrifice boat control in order to utilize live sonar since its inception," said Joe Brown, Humminbird and Minn Kota senior director of brand management. "Our team has been hard at work to provide full and independent use of the trolling motor and MEGA Live at the same time. Not only are we giving anglers back use of Spot-Lock with MEGA Live, but we have raised the bar with a suite of features that will make Humminbird’s MEGA Live TargetLock and Minn Kota Ultrex the most advanced and capable electronics combination on the water."


Pre-ICAST Testing

A few weeks ago, I attended a pre-ICAST event on Green Bay in Door County, Wis., designed to introduce media members to the new MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock. When Humminbird staffers explained this new product to us, they broke the discussion down into four key essential features/capabilities that it offers anglers. Below, let’s discuss each of these and how it elevates what anglers can do while fishing.

TARGETLOCK

The namesake functionality on this new product, this is a groundbreaking capability that should appeal to many anglers. With a simple push of a button, the TargetLock feature locks the MEGA Live onto structure and keeps it in clear view by automatically adjusting the transducer as the boat moves position and changes direction. Think of it almost like Spot-Lock, except, instead of keeping your boat on a fixed position, it keeps your MEGA Live transducer pointed at a targeted piece of structure. Whether your boat is moving or drifting, or your Spot-Lock is engaged, TargetLock remains focused on structure and fish.

Users control the transducer with a wireless foot pedal, a Humminbird fishfinder or an optional handheld remote. These same devices are what anglers use to set the TargetLock function. You can set the TargetLock in the current direction the transducer is facing with the click of a button on the foot pedal or remote. Or you can move the fishfinder’s cursor over an object or position on a sonar or chart view and engage TargetLock at the cursor’s location, at which point MEGA Live will automatically adjust to focus on the desired target.

SWEEP

This helpful feature, or setting, allows the user to conduct an automatic 120-degree sweep at the front of the boat. The angler will get real-time feedback of what’s 60 degrees left and right of the boat’s bow, including what’s directly in front—and this is regardless of what direction the trolling motor is facing. It basically allows you to maintain control of the trolling motor while Mega Live Sweep automatically searches for fish ahead of you. This tool does require that an AS GPS HS or Minn Kota heading sensor be connected to a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor with i-Pilot Link.


STEER

If you like having your MEGA Live transducer working in tandem with the trolling motor as opposed to using them independently, fret not because this feature allows you to retain that capability. Minn Kota Steer permits simultaneous control of both the Minn Kota Ultrex and Humminbird MEGA Live using the Ultrex foot pedal. You can steer the boat and the Live Imaging at once without taking your foot off the pedal to quickly see structure or fish. You will of course need a connection to a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor with i-Pilot Link.

Steering and fishing with Humminbird MEGA Live TargetLock
With the optional dual mount accessory, you can run a MEGA Live Imaging and MEGA 360 Imaging independent of the trolling motor. Use MEGA 360 to scan your area for fish-holding structure, then use the cursor to set TargetLock and the MEGA Live transducer will automatically lock on the target. (Photo courtesy of Humminbird)

ONE-BOAT NETWORK

Last, but certainly not least is the One-Boat Network Button, a programmable softkey that allows the user to activate MEGA Live Sweep mode or Minn Kota Steer, set waypoints on Humminbird charts and so much more. This button is accessible on the MEGA Live TargetLock foot pedal or on the optional hand remote. In addition to activating or deactivating the Sweep and Steer features and setting waypoints, you can also use this to turn MEGA Live pinging on and off or to return TargetLock to the home position.

Handheld control with MEGA Live TargetLock
The optional handheld remote puts unprecedented power in the palm of your hand. Use it to control the independent MEGA Live transducer. Notice the One-Boat Network Button at the bottom of the remote, which opens up so many possibilities for the angler. (Photo courtesy of Humminbird)

ADDITIONAL NOTES

There are several other things worth mentioning regarding the new Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock product. One that will be of particular interest to some anglers is that MEGA Live TargetLock can also be mounted on Ultrex motors alongside a Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging transducer.

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All that’s needed is an optional dual mount bracket which is available for about $200. With MEGA 360 Imaging operating at the bow, you can quickly locate fish-holding structure and use TargetLock to stay fixated on it. Courtesy of the One-Boat Network concept, while using MEGA 360 Imaging, you can simply move the cursor on your fishfinder over to the area where you see structure, activate TargetLock, and the MEGA Live transducer will automatically steer itself in that direction and lock onto it.

Also worth noting is that anglers will take advantage of an updated user interface on APEX, SOLIX and certain HELIX models of fishfinders. This includes the ability steer the MEGA Live transducer left or right and return MEGA Live to the home position, as well as activating TargetLock, MEGA Live Sweep and Minn Kota Steer.

The new Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock is compatible with all APEX and SOLIX models and H8-12 G3N/H7-15 G4N models in the HELIX line. And it works with Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motors with 45- and 52-inch shafts.

MEGA Live TargetLock comes available in two options. One has everything, including a MEGA Live transducer, while the other offers everything except the transducer for those who already have MEGA Live Imaging. Pricing on these and all other Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock accessories can be found at the end of this article.

First Impressions

As mentioned, several weeks ago, I had an opportunity to get on the water and test this new technology while chasing smallmouths in Green Bay. While fishing, we did not use every feature offered on the new MEGA Live TargetLock product, though I can certainly see the advantages of each. However, I did get to see the TargetLock mode in full display when we pinpointed a school of smallmouth tucked in some deeper water behind the protective wall of a dock.

Smallmouth Fishing Green Bay
The Green Bay waters around Door County offer excellent smallmouth fishing, and MEGA Live TargetLock puts some of the most powerful electronic tools at your disposal to help find and keep you on the fish. (Photo by Drew Warden)

Captain Adam Rasmussen, who guides on Green Bay, steered the boat with his foot pedal while the TargetLock feature kept the MEGA Live transducer focused on the structure and the fish. The school mostly contained smaller fish, but there were a few chunky smallmouths in there, too. And we had a really fun time catching fish after fish for about half an hour before eventually moving on.

We also used this feature to lock onto various fish-holding structures found around some of the islands found in Green Bay. All in all, I caught quite a few smallmouths in two days of fishing, including my personal best smallie, a 5-pound 13-ounce pre-spawner. It was a great trip, and an excellent way to familiarize myself with Humminbird’s new MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock technology while sampling Door County’s exceptional smallmouth fishing. Any angler frustrated with having to sacrifice boat control for live sonar or vice versa, or who’s just looking to maximize their effectiveness on the water, should give the new Humminbird MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock a strong look.

Drew Warden smallmouth fishing with Humminbird
One of many smallmouths the author caught on Green Bay in Door County, Wis., while familiarizing himself with Humminbird’s new MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock. (Photo by Drew Warden)

MEGA Live TargetLock Overview

MEGA Live TargetLock is independently mounted of the trolling motor shaft, providing full and simultaneous use of MEGA Live Imaging and all Ultrex features. Wireless foot pedal provides control of left/right steering, TargetLock and programmable One-Boat Network button. Control MEGA Live from the included wireless foot pedal, Humminbird fish finder or  optional hand remote. Backed by a Two-Year Warranty.

MEGA Live TargetLock

  • Includes MEGA Live Transducer, TargetLock steering assembly, wireless foot pedal, heading sensor, ethernet cable, power cable, mounting bracket and hardware
  • Available: July 2022
  • MSRP: $2,999.99
MEGA Live TargetLock specifications
The new MEGA Live TargetLock package comes with a MEGA Live Transducer, TargetLock steering assembly, wireless foot pedal, heading sensor, ethernet cable, power cable, mounting bracket and hardware. An adapter kit is also available if you already have a MEGA Live transducer. (Photos courtesy of Humminbird)

MEGA Live TargetLock Adapter Kit

  • Includes TargetLock steering assembly, wireless foot pedal, heading sensor, ethernet cable, power cable, mounting bracket and hardware (no MEGA Live transducer included)
  • Available: July 2022
  • MSRP: $1,499.99

MEGA Live TargetLock and MEGA 360 Dual Mount

  • Anglers can utilize both MEGA Live TargetLock and MEGA 360 simultaneously
  • Dual mount bracket allows both technologies to be simultaneously mounted on Minn Kota Ultrex motors
  • Includes bracket and hardware
  • One-Year Warranty
  • Available: July 2022
  • MSRP: $199.99
MEGA Live TargetLock dual mounting
The dual mount accessory allows anglers to run both MEGA Live and MEGA 360 independent of the trolling motor. (Photos courtesy of Humminbird)

MEGA Live TargetLock Remote

  • Easily control MEGA Live TargetLock from anywhere in the boat with the wireless hand remote
  • Provides control of steering (left/right), TargetLock button and programmable One-Boat Network buttonWireless Bluetooth connection
  • Includes remote, battery and lanyard
  • One-Year Warranty
  • Available: July 2022
  • MSRP: $109.99

ICAST 2022, the fishing industry’s trade show of the year, is scheduled July 19-22 in Orlando. Check out our coverage leading up to the big show.

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