2006 Guide to The Newest Electronics For Catching Fish

Technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and angling always gets its share of innovations. You might be surprised at how 2006's new toys can make you a better angler!

Just 10 years ago, it would have been mind-boggling to imagine the things we are now doing with our fishing electronics. Who would have thought we could sit on the water and watch live weather radar, or keep in our pocket a little unit that shows detailed maps of our favorite lakes and streams? And that's just the beginning.

Today's technology comes in an incredible array of gadgets now available to the American angler. Check out the following new products and see for yourself.

Eagle Electronic's FishEasy 245DS Compact Sonar


Soon to be released is Eagle Electronics' FishEasy 245DS Compact Sonar, with the brand-new Eagle 83/200 kHz Dual-Search Technology for optimum fishfinding performance in both shallow and deep waters. Features include high-detail 240Vx160H pixel, 4-inch diagonal Film SuperTwist LCD display; 16-level gray scale definition with GRAYLINE; 1,500 watts peak-to-peak/188 watts RMS; dual 83/200 kHz sounding for superb target detail and separation from shallow water to 1,000 feet; and a compact Dual-Search Skimmer transducer with dual beams producing up to 120 degrees of fishfinding coverage. The FishEasy also comes with a built-in temperature sensor, FishReveal and HyperScroll features, Advanced Fish I.D. with FishTrack, and high-speed screen updates and back-up memory.

Contact: 1-800-324-1354; www.eaglesonar.com

Garmin's Quest 2


Anglers who often travel to new fishing waters will love Garmin's Quest 2. When you're on the road, this new mobile unit will get you to your destination without missing a turn as you look at preloaded roadmaps that cover the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The turn-by-turn voice-prompted navigation system will recalculate your route if you make a detour, and while you're riding, you can zero in on 6 million points of interest such as ATMs, hotels, restaurants and gas stations. When you reach the lake, take the waterproof unit off its cradle, attach it to your boat and head out to your favorite fishing hole. The Quest 2 comes preloaded with roadmaps, but anglers can opt to buy Garmin's MapSource cartography such as U.S. Topo and U.S. Recreational Lakes with Fishing Hotspots, which will allow you to reach your exact destination on the water with clear visibilities of the lakes, depths and much more.

Garmin's new GPSMAP 376C is yet another portable and versatile unit that provides enormous amounts of data for boaters and anglers. Like the Quest 2, it's preloaded with roadmaps and can use Garmin's fishing and marine software. And with the included GXM 30 Smart Antenna, it also can display XM WX Satellite Weather data, including NEXRAD radar, storm cells, wind speeds, surface temperatures, forecasts and more than a dozen other weather attributes. In addition, users have the option of receiving XM Satellite Radio's 150-plus channels of commercial-free music, sports and news. This cutting-edge product provides the user with an unmatched combination of mobile situational awareness, information and entertainment on the water and on land.

Contact: (913) 397-8200; www.garmin.com


Humminbird's new 700 Series takes fishing-system technology to a new level with dozens of performance enhancements and even greater expansion capabilities. All five models are designed to be either in-dash or gimbal-mounted and come with a 5-inch diagonal screen that delivers 640 vertical pixels for high-definition sonar images. The new color screens are adapted from military aircraft applications and offer "hemispherical" (180-degree viewing left to right, top to bottom) ultrawide viewing angles. Three of the 700 Series models are chartplotters featuring a 16-channel GPS/WASS receiver and compatibility with Navionics Gold and HotMaps Premium cartography. Each includes Humminbird's exclusive digital screen Snapshot feature that allows you to mark a waypoint on the screen and then save the entire screen image on a memory card. The image can be reviewed later on-screen just like a digital camera. The image also can be downloaded to a personal computer. Four of the five models have DualBeam PLUS sonar to provide both wide coverage and better structure and bottom detail. All four models can be upgraded to QuadraBeam (standard on the 737 model) or WideSide sonar.

Small-boat owners can enjoy high performance with Humminbird's new 300 series. These units are compact in size to mount easily in many small spaces on a boat. All have a high-resolution screen, can read bottom depth up to 1,000 feet and feature DualBeam PLUS sonar.

Color and monochrome models are available, all with a high-resolution display that can be selected to show either fish arches or symbols with a mere 2 1/2-inch target separation. Temperature readings also are displayed onscreen. Two of the models come with full GPS chartplotting functions and built-in UniMaps of U.S. inland lakes, rivers and coastlines.

The internal 16-channel GPS/ WAAS receiver has a forward-mounted omnidirectional antenna for excellent satellite reception even when the unit is mounted in-dash. The internal GPS antenna makes installation easier and allows the unit to be moved from boat to boat more easily.

Contact: 1-800-633-1468; www.humminbird.com

Raymarine E80


Raymarine's newest products are their powerful E-Series multifunction displays. Two units with different display sizes are available: the 8.4-inch E-80 and the 12.1-inch E-120. Each is equipped with an ultrabright display for maximum visibility in all lighting conditions. And like Raymarine's award-winning C-Series, the E-Series displays can be configured in any combination or used individually.

Up to eight displays can be networked together using Raymarine's all-new SeaTalk hs high-speed network protocol. Simply connect the appropriate sensor to transform the E-Series display into a full-function chartplotter, digital fishfinder, radar or on-board video system.

The units also network with NMEA 2000 compatible engine systems for monitoring critical engine data such as tachometer, voltage, oil pressure, fuel level, fuel consumption and coolant temperature. There is support for both single and dual engines, with up to five engine data display combinations to choose from. The patented digital sonar fishfinder technology allows for precise targeting of fish and bottom structure.

Contact: 1-800-539-5539; www.raymarine.com

Vexilar Edge3 LC-507C


Vexilar has taken its popular Edge2 LCD fishfinder/depthfinder and made it even better. The new Edge3 LC-507C has a high-resolution 78,800-pixel display with four background color options and six different color display options. The super bright TFT screen display is easy to see even in bright sunlight. The two-transducer system has a wide-angle 38-degree cone and a narrow 10-degree cone running at the same time. Users can overlap the two on the same display for easy comparison. Other features include quick one-touch button functions that allow you to easily find your favorite display functions, plus a fish alarm and temperature, depth and voltage readouts.

Vexilar's Pro Pack flasher, a system very popular with ice-anglers, also has received a total makeover for 2006. Features on the new Pro Pack II include an enlarged and super-strong handle design, a totally new universal transducer-holder system plus a rod holder, tackle box and cable storage system. The Pro Pack II will still be available with either the FL-8 SE or the FL-18 flasher/fishfinders. The system also has a high-quality 12-volt 9-amp-hour battery for longer performance. Also standard is the T-130 Battery Status Indicator. Like its predecessor, the Pro Pack II fits into a 5-gallon bucket for easy transport. You also can purchase a soft-pack carrying case to help protect your investment.

Contact: (952) 884-5291; www.vexliar.com

Zebco ZF200


Zebco enters the fishfinder market this year with their portable feature-loaded ZF200. This affordable unit can be handheld or used with a stand for instant depth and fish readings from 2 to 99.9 feet. The transducer is mountable, trollable or floatable, and comes hardwired (no connection required) to a 25-foot transducer cable. The transducer's ShootThru sonar technology allows readings through a boat's hull at speeds up to 45 mph, and works through the ice. The sonar beam angle is an extra-wide 45 degrees. Other features include a no-glare polarized VirtuView LCD icon display for quality readings in all light conditions; easy to learn and use two-button programming with a quick-reference guide; bottom depth readings, fish icons, and weed and bottom indicators that make signal interpretations quick and simple; and a two-stage audible fish alarm. The ZF200 runs on four AAA batteries, with a 30-hour battery life in regular mode or 60 hours in battery-save mode. The unit is water-resistant and protected by a durable, textured plastic housing.

Contact: (918) 836-5581; www.zebco.com

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