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.
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.