BassWestUSA - March/April, 2011, Page 51

cient with utilizing various electronic tech- nologies in concert to enhance their par- ticular style of shing. Even the veterans differ in their opinions and preferences; yet, all agree that the main bene t derived from investing in today’s electronic tech- nology is spelled T-I-M-E S-A-V-E-D while on the water.


Side imaging sonar uses a high fre- quency sonar signal, capable of imaging the entire water column out to 240’ from both sides of the boat. Images are scrolled across the sonar screen from top to bot- tom and provide a “bird’s eye” view of the water column and lake bottom below. FLW Tour Pro, Brett Hite of Phoenix, AZ, travels the country in search of bass and much of his paycheck depends upon his pro ciency in eliminating unproductive water in a short amount of time. Hite leans heavily upon side imaging sonar to cut out tremendous amounts of search time look- ing for hidden hot spots from the driver’s console. Hite adds, “It gives such a broad picture of what’s below the surface. I’m able to actually see how a creek channel meanders through a at in one pass of the boat; then, move my cursor and mark a waypoint on the exact spot where I want to sh along that channel. When I move to the bow, my front unit is linked with the console unit so I can sh the precise spot I saw from the console unit. The amount of time I’ve saved with side imaging sonar is incredible!” Hite’s not done raving about side im- aging, as he adds, “Side imaging provides huge shortcuts when shing docks. Lake Norman, North Carolina is a perfect exam- ple, where you may have miles of docks along a shoreline, but the best ones will have brush piles just out from the end of the dock. Just a few years ago, I’d spend hours shing each dock trying to feel that brush with my lure, but now I just drive down a row of docks with the side imaging unit, mark the brush piles with a waypoint as I go past and focus my efforts on these spots. This technology has condensed sev- eral hours down to a few minutes.” Doug Vahrenberg, a Humminbird pro- staffer and tournament pro from Higgins- ville, MO, frequently answers the cry for help from anglers across the country new to side imaging sonar. As he explains, “I use it 90% of the time – even from the bow. Some people mistakenly think side imaging is for deep water only; but, it can really shine in ultra-shallow water, where traditional 2D sonar doesn’t help. I was


able to place in the top 10 during an FLW event a couple of years ago on Alabama’s Mobile Delta, which is a shallow water tidal shery, using side imaging sonar. At low tide I could see the stumps and laydowns where I was catching my bass; however, during high tide, I couldn’t see them at all. With side imaging, I could image those same shallow water targets that were out away from the boat during high tide and make precise casts to catch my limit. Side imaging sonar played a signi cant role in my success.”


Traditional 2D sonar (what most an- glers use) utilizes a low frequency cone- shaped signal to graph directly beneath the boat. In comparison, down imaging so- nar shoots images beneath the boat using a razor-thin, high frequency signal. As a re- sult, down imaging sonar is able to provide a picture-like pro le in greater detail than 2D sonar. Yet each has their proper place in your electronic arsenal. Don Iovino, of Burbank, CA, is a Low- rance pro-staffer and famed deep water expert on western reservoirs. He explains the screen con guration on his Lowrance HDS bow unit when vertical shing: “I set up the Down Scan view (Lowrance’s down imaging sonar) directly above the 2D sonar, as I think these two screen shots are most important for the type of shing I do. In my opinion, they are married to each other. When looking at cover, Down Scan allows me to distinguish what 2D sonar cannot. With 2D sonar, I could be looking at rocks, treetops, air bubbles, bait, etc., but it can often be hard to determine which is which. Down Scan allows me to distinguish exact- ly what’s down there - I can practically see the leaves on the trees with Down Scan so- nar; however, it usually doesn’t show sh as vividly as the 2D sonar screen.” Iovino, like many long-time 2D sonar users, still prefers the signature arches that indicate sh on the structure below, while sh on the down imaging sonar often show up as small dots or dashes. He adds another point to the power of 2D sonar for viewing sh, “With 2D, not only can I see the sh, but also their activity below in real time. The slashes up or down on the 2D sonar screen reveal their movement in the water column, which is important in vertical shing.” In addition to the dual screen sonar views, Iovino will often include the topo- graphic map screen on his Lowrance bow unit in order to maintain a frame of refer- ence for his boat position in relation to the map-shown structure below.

Photo courtesy of Doug Vahrenberg


Photo courtesy of Doug Vahrenberg

Photo courtesy of

Split screen shots display side imaging, down imaging and 2D sonar, revealing how each component records the same object.

Photo courtesy of

Screenshot shows an example of the Navionics mapping data available for Lowrance and Humminbird chartplotters.

March/April 2011