When scanning the lake bottom with your Side Image unit regardless of what brand or model you have to get the best images requires the correct angle you scan from. In the images below I have images of a side scan with a Humminbird unit at different angles to show you what I mean.
In the image above the boat is on the right side of my boat and I’m heading up river. And as you see that I almost ran over the top of the boat by looking at the top left corner of the boat with my boat.
In the image above you can see that I took my boat over the very top of the sunken boat with part of the boat on the right and the left sides of the scan. By the way can you see the Bluegill beds in the sunken boat.
In the above image you can see I got the correct angle of the sunken boat and you can see the entire boat and the details of the boat.
Look at the above image and you can see I got the angle wrong.
Here I have the boat and chart speed wrong for the best scanning image.
Now in this image you can see it all came together with the correct boat speed, correct chart speed and the correct angle. I’m on the inside shallow side of the boat scanning up river at a slight angle to the boat to get the best scan of the boat.
So the next time you are on your lake and spot something, try scanning it from different angle and speeds to get the very best image of what you are looking at. This all takes time on the water with your unitsand playing with the settings.
In my last blog I showed you a software program I used on
how I manage my waypoints and allows me to see where they are along with the
contour lines on a lake map. But as you may have noticed the contour lines were
listed in “Meters” instead of feet. But you are able to change it to feet if
you prefer to use them instead. You will need to be a little computer savvy to
make this change but you should be able to do it by following the following
First thing is to make sure the SAS Planet program is
closed. Now you will need to find the “Folder” where you installed the program.
Next, we need to “Open” the folder by double clicking on the folder. After you have the folder open you will now need to open the next folder. This will be labeled as “Maps” double click on this folder.
The next folder we need to open is the”_water”” folder. Move your mouse over the folder and double click to open the folder.
Then next folder that we need tot open is the “SAS.plus.maps” folder. Double click on this folder to open it.
Now we need to open the “navionics.layer.zmp” folder to make the changes required to change the meters to feet settings.
Now inside this folder you will find a file by the name of “GetUrlScript.txt” this is the text file we need to edit to change the program from “Meters” to “Feet”. Double click on the file and it will open in the Windows “Notepad” program.
Look at the line I have high-lighted and you will see a red circle with a number “1” in it. To make the change all we have to do is change the “1” to a “2”.
After you edit the number all we need to do is “Save” the file. DO NOT rename the file or “Save As” or move the file! Just select “Save” and close the “Notepad” program. See photo below.
Now that you have made the change to that file, we need to do the same thing to three more files. Just repeat the same steps in the three following folders.
After you have edited all four files then you can open the
SASPlanet program and you should see the depth contour lines are now in “Feet”
and not “Meters”.
Hope you enjoy the SAS Planet program as I do in managing
all your hundreds or thousands of waypoints.
I seen a post on Facebook the
other day about “Do You Really Use Your Depth Finder To Help You Catch Fish”? That
is a really good question, as I have seen a buddy that I fished with that had a
new Garmin Depth Finder on his boat but never turned it on while we were
fishing. In his case I think it was all about having the “Newest Thing” on his
boat. It’s the same as having Power Poles® on your boat but never put them
down. If you’re going to pay out the money for the newest technology then you
need to take the time to learn to use them. I personally have six units on my
boat but actually only use three or four of them at a time. Two of the units
were small in-dash depth finders that came with the boat.
One thing I had a hard time
understanding when I first got my first depth finder an old “Super Sixty”
flasher that I used to catch a lot of fish watching it. I could watch my jigging
spoon go up and down as I lifted and lowered my rod and see the fish signals
come to the spoon while watching the flasher. Now that we have the choices of
Side Imaging, Down Imaging and Sonar all in the same units they have really
become a big help in catching fish whether it be bass, crappie, bluegill or
As we ride around the lake or
body of water you are fishing looking at things that pop up on the screen and
wonder what they are. To learn this, we must both spend the time on the water
learning our units and to actually know what they are that we’re looking for.
Here is a screen shot of something on the bottom that my boat passed over. One
what is it and second where is it in relation to the boat and where do I need
to make my cast to make contact with the structure?
Okay take a look at the photo
above and see if you can tell, first what is it, and second where is it and
third where do I cast to so I can try and catch any fish that may be located in
the structure. Just by looking at the photo above, I first thought it was
directly under the boat which in this case part of it is but most is not. If it
is under the boat where under the boat is it located? I would in the past make
a cast straight behind the boat to try and make contact with the structure.
Sometimes I would make contact with the structure but most of the time I did
not. The one way we can tell that part of the structure is partially under the
boat is the red coloring in the screen shot in the brush top. This red color tells
me that the strongest signals are in the very center of the sonar cone. Take a
look at the photo below to get a better understanding of what this means.
Now let’s take a look at the same
piece of structure with our Down Image unit and see if we can see what it is
and where it is.
Okay we can tell that it looks to
be a brush top someone placed in the lake and there looks to be one fish on the
right side of the brush top on the right at the edge of the screen. By looking
at the fish and the shape it could possibly be a crappie as it is tall as it is
long. But this is only a guess and we have no way of knowing unless we actually
catch the fish.
Okay so now we know it is
possibly a brush top but where is it. Well again since I thought I drove over
the structure you’d think it is behind the boat. But again, it could be but
also could not be under and behind the boat.
Now let’s see what the structure
actually is and where it is in relationship to the boat. We can determine all
this by using our Side Image unit. Not only will it tell us what it is but
where it is located and where we need to make our cast to try and catch that
fish that we are after.
Okay from the side image view we
can tell that it is actually a brush top under the boat and also a bucket with
what looks to be canes by seeing the shadows of the canes. And last a huge
stump to the right of the boat about 20 feet to the right of the boat. By the
way can you find the fish in this screen shot? Hint look for the shadows they
give the fish away.
In this last screen shot I did with third party software available to you the angler you can see the location of the structure.
So, to get the best out of your new or current units you
have to use the tools you have and learn to use them to help you catch more
fish. After all this is the reason, we spent the hundreds of dollars if not
thousands of dollars on the “Newest Thing” for our boats.
In this blog I’ll be discussing Side Imaging Sonar and Down Imaging and do you need it. As I discussed in my earlier blog on Sonar versus Down Imaging was it really needed. From the images I’ll post below we can see that some of the structure is visible in the Sonar and the Down Image views but the problem is where they are located in relation to the boat.
As stated in the earlier blog I will be converting recordings done with my Humminbird Onix 10 SI Touch and my Helix 12 Gen 2 Mega Scan SI units. The software I use to view the recording is ReefMaster Viewer and sometime I will use Deepview FV as well as AutoChart Pro. Three of these are purchased software and the other one is a free software version. You can do a Google search to find out more on these products. As for recording with your Humminbird unit I have a blog discussing this as well just follow this link “Recording”.
The problem with Sonar and Down Imaging while fishing or even scanning the lake bottom with your units. Is to determine where the structure is in relation to your boat. Since we are dealing with a 2 dimensional flat screen and scanning a 3 dimensional world. Since the software on the units is only placing pixel dots on the screen there is no way to show the bottom in a real world display. That is unless we are using Side Imaging.
With Sonar and Down Imaging as we drive over the structure is it under the boat as the display shows? It possibly could be and we can tell this with the Sonar view by looking at the colors displayed on the screen palette. Since on a Sonar transducer set to 200 kHz the cone angle is pointing straight down and for an example shining like a flashlight beam. Take a flashlight and turn it on and point it straight down at the floor. The circle of light you see will represent the transducers cone angle. As you can see the angle is in a circular pattern and any object that enters the cone will be visible. Now lower the flashlight down towards the floor and you will see the circle of light gets smaller. This represents the depth of the water your boat is setting in. With a standard 200 kHz transducer the circle will be 1/3 of the depth of the water, for example in nine feet of water you will only be scanning a three foot circle of the bottom. Now move out into 30 feet of water and now you will be looking at a ten foot circle of the bottom.
With all that being said if your boat is in 9 feet of water and you drive your boat over say a stump, and it shows up on the display screen then that stump is directly under the boat. That is under the transducer where ever it is located.
Now let’s say we dropped a waypoint on that stump and wanted to fish it. As we turn the boat around and go back to the waypoint where is the stump in relation to the boat. Again on the display as we get closer to it it will show up on the display but now is it under the boat or in front, rear or right or left of the boat?
The only true way to know for sure is either with the Side Image or the Humminbird 360* transducer. With the Side Image transducer the problem is we now have to drive past the stump to see it displayed on the unit. But now we will know if the stump is on the right side or the left side of the boat. With the Humminbird 360* transducer we can see the stump without having to even move the boat. If the stump is at a three o’clock position we just cast to the stump at a 90* angle to find the stump.
I hope this explains a little the advantage of the Side Image transducer. Take a look at the images below to see what I am trying to explain. I’ll do a blog on the Humminbird 360* transducer after I get on the water and do some screen shots with it.
Click on the Thumbnails for an Enlarged view of the images.
In this image we can see a stump displayed on the Sonar but only know it is located slightly to the right of the boat by looking at the Side Image view.In this view we see the top is directly under the boat and slightly behind the boat.
In this image there is a creek channel that the boat just passed over but but it did not show up on the Down Image view.
Now let’s look at this gravel point that is off the the right side of the boat. Without the Side Image view we would not even know it was there.Can you see the gravel bar on both sides of the boat in the Down Image view. See the tree top slightly to the left side but still under the boat?Stump field to the right and a stake-bed to the left not visible on the Down Image view.
Stump field to the right and a stake-bed to the left not visible on the Down Image view.
I get asked sometimes if Down Image is really worth the extra expense over the regular Sonar units. I definitely have to say yes but only if you do not know what your looking at with the Sonar unit. I’ve used sonar units since the old flashers and paper graphs from back in the mid to late seventies. One thing for sure is that you want to get one with a GPS so you can return to the structure that you will find with them.
My units are Humminbird Onix 10 SI Touch and Helix 10 DI and a Helix 12 SI. All of these unit have GPS and Sonar built into them. I’ve also used a Garmin unit and Lowrance units with good results.
One thing I must say is that of all the Humminbird units that I have owned, everyone of them has had software issues and several have had to be returned to Humminbird for repairs! I don’t know why they can not get their software right before they release their products. Anytime that they have to release five to ten software updates that tells me they have issue with their software!
All of the images you will see in this article will be from recordings that I have recorded with either my Humminbird Onix or my Helix 12 units and then viewed in ReefMaster Viewer software.
I use the Sonar with the 83/200 kHz transducer settings and my chart speed is normally around 5 or 6 with my boat speed at about 3.5 to 4 mph when I’m doing the recordings.
Look at the images below and you will be able after a lot of time on the water looking at different structures to learn what you are really looking at. In my next blog I’ll show you the Side Images and the Down Images views.
Hope this helps you to learn your units a little better and catch a few more fish.
Click on the image thumbnails for a larger view of the images.
Step 2: Open the Lowrance file that you want to convert. The file will have an extension that ends in (.usr).
Step 3: You will get a pop up message that lets you know that the Lowrance is not a .gpx file but asks if you want to convert it to one.
Step 4: Once the file is converted to the gpx format you will see a file created that has both the usr and gpx file name as shown below with the name Bob.usr.gpx.
Step 5: Now insert a blank formatted SD card into your pc’s SD slot and an icon will pop up in Humminbird PC.
Note if you have an Onix unit then you do not convert the files in Step 5 or Step 6 but just copy the file to the SD card with the file extension that ends with the (.gpx ).
Step 6: Then next step is to select Add from the window that pops up.
Step 7: Once the file is written to the SD card you will get a Upload successful pop up window.
Step 8: On the SD card a folder was created named (matrix ) that the Lowrance converted waypoints were written into. Step 9: If you open this folder the files will have the extensions that are (ht, hwr ).
In this Blog I’ll try to show the difference in the Navionic’s Hot Maps Premium and Platinum map cards and the LakeMaster 3.0 map card. First off I’ll tell you that I have had to personally buy all three of these cards and I do not get any cards from either company. Price points on the cards are pretty close with the Navionic’s Platinum running around $199.99, the Premium at $149.99 and the LakeMaster cost at $129.99.
One thing you need to understand is that the LakeMaster cards are designed to work only in the Humminbird unit and not in the Lowrance units. Garmin and Ray Marine use their own mapping programs.
Both cards come with the SD card micro chip holder with the micro chip included. So no matter which unit you have they will work in either the full size SD card or the micro chip slots. These screen shots are from my Humminbird Onix 10ci SI unit. Also please note that the cursor was very close to the same location as I could get them for these screen shots.
Looking at the first card the Navionic’s Hot Maps Premium you will see that there is a lot of vacant blue areas on the map. This means that no one has taken the time to record the lake bottom and upload it to Navionic’s for update downloads. You can record the lake data and create an account with Navionic’s and upload the data to them and a day or so later you can download the updates and then it will show the contour lines for the area you did the recording on. If you will notice on the Navionic’s maps there will be contour lines that all of a sudden just stop. These are where the user recorded the sonar log and uploaded only to that spot and no further.
The map card screen shot above is the Navionic’s Platinum card and the brown area in the photo above is the original creek channel in this part of the lake. The white area is a feeder or ditch that is located on the flat. The closer the lines are together the steeper and faster the depth changes. The circular areas indicate either a high spot on the lake floor or a deeper depression on the lake bottom. The small dotted lines represent an old field road that ran on the flats before the lake was impounded. You might notice that there is some 3D highlighting on some areas of the creek channel and high spots. This is one of the features with the Platinum cards.
In the above screen shot is from the Navionic’s Premium map card. You can tell by looking at the light tan colored portion which is the land around the lake that there is no Google Earth overlay data. This to me is useless data that was not necessary at least for what I use the cards for. The colors are a lot lighter on the Premium card versus the darker colors on the Platinum cards.
Now let’s look at the LakeMaster 3.0 map card. As you can see from the screen shot below there is a lot more contour lines which represent more of the lake bottom detail with this map. Looking at the map below there is very little areas in these snap shots that does not have the contour lines.
The above screen shot has the Shallow Water Highlight option set to 5 feet.
So wrapping up this Blog I would have to say that the LakeMaster 3.0 card has a lot more lake data than either of the Navionic’s map cards.
I hope this will help you decide which map card is best for your fishing use.
Okay now that we have our Sonar Logging recorded and placed in a folder on our home computer we need a way to view it. the program that I use is called Sonar Viewer. You can download the at this link Sonar Viewer 2.1.2 . Once you download the program install it on your computer.
Now after we have installed the program and launched it we need to select the file or Sonar Logging we want to view.
Select File the go to the folder you created and select the file in this case the recording was named Sonar0000.sl2.
Now just hit the Arrow to start the recording. Notice that if you move your cursor over the item or object you will get the Depth, and GPS info along with other information.
Joy hope this helps you better use the tools we use for fishing.
I have found a useful feature that you too can use to improve your fishing while on the water and then do the lake recording study at home on your laptop or desktop computer. This feature is called Sonar Logging. I’ve discussed this feature on Humminbird units in the past and now I’ll show you how to do it on a Lowrance unit in the following step by step blog. Make sure you have a blank micro-sd card in the card slot.
Let’s record the screen recording as you are searching the lake with either your Down Image or Sonar views.
From the Sonar or Down Image screen press the Menu Button.
Scroll down to the Log sonar option.The next screen will be displayed, you can change the file name here if you desire to. Next just press the Start Logging option at the bottom to start the process. The recording will start and keep recording until you Stop the logging. I usually do about a ten to fifteen recording at a time then if I desire will start another session. Once you get home remove the SD card and place the file on your laptop or desktop to view. I usually create a folder with the lake name and the date and place the recording in this folder.
See Part 2 on how to view them on your home computer.
In this blog I’ll go through the steps of adding or changing the Overlay Data that displays on your different screens. This blog covers the HDS Gen2 models only.
First step is to select the Menu button and select Settings, then press ENTER.
First step is to select the Menu button and select Page, then press ENTER.
First step is to select the Menu button and select Page, then select Data Overlay press ENTER.
The Overlay Data is the information that is displayed in the small blue box in the photo above, in this case it is the Time. If you want to change to a different Data display select Change and press ENTER.
The Overlay Data is the information that is displayed in the small blue box in the photo above, in this case it is the Time.
Now scroll down to Sonar and press the + icon to open up the drop down menu below it.
Select the Time option and then press ENTER. Now exit out by pressing the Menu button and the Overlay Data should be displaying on your screen. You will need to do this for each of your screen views to display the data you want displayed on the screen.