Well I’ve had my Hook 7 for about a year and I’m starting to outgrow it. I needed something with more features such as side scan so I started shopping around. I instantly saw the price of some new fish finders, wow. Some lowrance units run up to $5,000!! I don’t have this kind of money to spend on my boat right now especially since my daughter is starting college soon so I decided to keep my budget between 400 and 600 dollars. I also knew that I wanted a Lowrance, just because my Hook is a Lowrance and I can operate it easily and setup waypoints quickly.
I started my search online and saw there are a number of used sonars for sale. I’m reluctant to buying used especially for boat equipment because some items may be missused, mishandled or even stolen. Also I didn’t want to purchase online and wait for it, I wanted to see it in person and leave with it that day. Shopping at a store also gave me the ability to test different units in my price range. For instance I compared the Garmin 94sv to the Lowrance Elite 5 TI during my quest for greater underwater vision.
Even thought I was planning on buying at a storefront, I did however use online resources for research. Comparing units, researching features and most importantly checking reviews from people like me.
I have about four sports stores in my area that have weekly mailers. I immediately looked up these ad specials and scanned for fishing electronics. Boom, Bass Pro Shops was having a huge sale.
Garmin 94sv was front page, it has sidescan, waypoint features and a 9 inch screen. This is bigger than my Hook. Also I saw the Elite 5 TI in there as well for two hundred off. Sweet. I decided to go visit Bass Pro and compare the two in person.
When I got there I was glad that I did my research and new what I wanted because there were over 20 lowrance units on display. Even their newest Hook2 stuff. The sizes ranged from small to gigantic. I also saw the Garmin stuff and decided to go and test those first.
The 94sv was a nice size. I could see the details clearly on side scan, which is super important because when you’re looking 150ft out you need to see the details. I went through and tested everything and looked at the mapping. Everything looked good. The only thing I didn’t like was setting way points while moving. This is the big thing I was looking for, I need to be able to set way points while the boat moves so I can put together a route to fish. Moving on.
I went and found the Lowrance 5 Ti and tried it out. Despite the tiny screen I was able to see in detail because of the high resolution. That was quick, I’ll take it.
While checking out, for whatever reason, I found out I was eligible for a 25 dollar gift card. Sweet. This took care of the sales tax.
When I got home, I unboxed everything and powered the unit up with an adjustable adapter. The screen looked smaller now that I paid 400 bucks for it and to fight off the buyers remorse I went and found an old android table to use with the unit’s mirroring feature. It works great. I even tested it for at least an hour. While the demo was going I would set waypoints for fish, rocks and grass. Then switch to the map feature and observe each spot from above. This is why I wanted a Lowrance.
Next steps? Install on my boat. I’m going to try and put it above my lowrance Hook 7 so I can look at both screens while hunting for fish. On my bow I want to put a ten inch tablet on a Ram mount and mirror the Elite onto it. This way I can get by with one small fish finder, for now. From here I’ll get another Elite, a larger one, a NMEA 2k network to attach them together and a mercury connector to view engine details.