Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Hummingbird users have had their connectivity with Minn Kota for awhile now and it’s Lowrance’s turn and I couldn’t be happier with my set up!
I’ll first start out by giving you a little background, Lowrance products are all I’ve ever ran on my boats. They are user friendly for me, I understand what I’m seeing, and how to navigate them. I will also point out that last season was my 1st year as a Lowrance Pro-Staffer (pumped to be on this team). We’ll go back 2 years ago prior to being on the team when I did a complete overhaul on my electronics and trolling motor. Being a shallow water fisherman, I mainly used my graphs to tell depths, water temp, and mapping. Rarely did I fish reservoir lakes, so when I started fishing the Wild West Bass Trail I quickly realized I had a lot to learn and catch up on and my Gen 1 HDS 7 and Elite Ti 7 no longer cut it for me. Now I’m not saying you need to upgrade your equipment in order to compete, but I will say it makes life soooo much easier and your interpretation of what you’re looking at is night and day.
My equipment overhaul included a Carbon 12 with the 3D Structurescan module, a Carbon 9, a Minn Kota Ultrex, and Minn Kota Precison MK 460 charger. Yes, I know this was a massive upgrade and it hit the wallet HARD!
I installed everything myself so that saved a bit and ran up to Lake Shasta right in time to practice for the WWBT Pro-Am and was absolutely blown away and to be honest a little overwhelmed. It’s like getting a new computer and you only know how to use 10% of it’s capabilities in terms of advanced features. Right off the bat the 1st thing you notice is how crisp and extremely defined everything is! I mean I could see every rock, which side of the boat the fish were on, every branch on a tree..it was truly mind blowing. After this trip I met my family at Clear Lake with another family as we rang in the New Year there and my buddy and I took our sons out to catch some crappie. We ran into a cove and could clearly see what fish were crappie by their shape and what side of the boat we needed to fish. Again, blown away.
Going from the Minn Kota Fortrex to the Ultrex to me was an absolute must just for the Spot Lock as it’s such an incredible advantage to be able to hold a spot in wind and current. I had just lost a club tournament because I couldn’t hold a spot and reel in 4 lber at the same time all while not hit the piling or the rocks I was next to so for me this upgrade was a no brainer! There were some things I loved about it and some things I did not love about it. The head moving and always pulling the wire out of the housing was annoying but didn’t affect it’s performance. The noise the head made turning was also annoying and in some cases like bed fishing or trying to creep on fish in shallow water spooked them from time to time, again, not a major issue and I would still take that over the Fortrex. The only real issue I had with the Ultrex was the size of the pedal, it was WAY bigger than the Fortrex so I had to get creative and build a platform inside my tray to raise it up. So for 2 years I was fishing looking like Captain Morgan LOL. I got used to it pretty fast though.
OK fast forward 2 years and I upgraded once again to 2 HDS Live 12’s with the 3-In-1 Active Imaging transducers, Point 1 antenna, Sonichub2, LiveSight transducer, and the GHOST trolling motor. I have about 10 days on the water with everything but the Ghost and 2 days with the Ghost. I’ll break these out individually so it’s easier to follow.
Point 1 Antenna
Starting with the Point 1 antenna, this is such a must have. Before installing the Point 1 my graphs would constantly move left and right when not moving and this annoyed the hell out of me, I would select a spot on the chart just to keep it still and then figure out where I wanted to go next. If that doesn’t bother you and you’re not that concerned with knowing the exact part of the boat’s location is on the map then you can skip this one.
I thought the Carbon’s were fast, the Live’s are incredibly responsive! Other than the speed/responsiveness it’s pretty similar to the Carbon’s. The really cool feature the Live’s have are the programmable button so think waypoints, Power Poles up and down, music volume up and down, etc. super cool if you ask me! Then there’s the connectivity to the LiveSight transducer without a module.
3-in-1 Active Imaging
Coming from the 3D Structurescan transducer and module to a simple plug in into the Live is the way to go IMO, especially when I dropped $1000 just on the transducer and module. The 3-in-1 transducer is very similar to what you’d see with the 3D transducer without the 3D, which I never used, but was the best transducer out at the time. You will not be disappointed with the 3-in-1, crisp images with lots of detail so this is a win in my book!
Oh boy, this bad boy right here has changed the way I’ve been fishing! Say you’re fishing a point and the wind starts blowing you so you hit the pedal to move you back out away from the point and you happen to look down at the graph and see fish 20-30 ft. ahead of you. This has happened to me multiple times and I can watch my bait drop down, the fish move in and bite it…all while you’re watching. It’s insane, it truly is. I will go through the trees and move the trolling motor around until I locate fish. Would you say that’s a big advantage over fishing every single tree because you know they “have to be there somewhere right?” I think it is! The more I use the LiveSight the more I change how I approach areas. We have been so used to using our graphs to fish under us so it will definitely take some adjust time to fully utilize and get used to fishing with the LiveSight. I’m very excited to put it to use at the California Delta to see what’s under the mats, I think this will be an incredible tool when punching big mats!
When I’m fun fishing or taking the family out I’ve always used a portable Bluetooth stereo which worked, but wasn’t very loud or convenient to store. The Sonichub2 sounds great and the fact that I can control everything from my graphs and even the trolling motor pedal is AWESOME! Highly recommend add it if you’re looking at add some tunes to your boat.
Ghost Trolling Motor
I’m going to do a follow up on the Ghost once I have time to calibrate it and use all of the functionality it has. I installed it a couple of days before a tournament and have just used it in a bare bones way. Before I get into the performance I have to mention that the pedal fit in my tray and the holes lined up perfectly with the Fortrex holes, this a massive plus for me not having to have one leg raised! My 1st impression was, this thing is sleek, solid, and well thought out! When I say well though out; I mean things like the lift and deploy assist, the motor automatically turning to point straight a head and back to one side or the other when stowing, to the cables not moving and getting in your way, and the programmable buttons on the pedal…..well done Lowrance!
This motor is powerful, you can feel that as soon as you push the button. It’s super quiet with the exception of what sounds like changing the radio station dial in a old stereo (some of you may not even know what that sounds like lol). The pedal is a lot smoother than the Ultrex pedal where I felt like you really had to push down to move it, but the Ghost is not like that. As I mentioned, I only have 2 full days on the water with it and need a lot more in order to give a full write up so be on the lookout for a follow up article.
All said and done, I love having everything connected and talking to each other. I feel Lowrance did a phenomenal job realizing the cost needed to come down for their high end graphs which they did in spades. 2 years ago MSRP for a 12” Carbon was $3999.99 without a transducer and $999.99 for the 3D transducer and module, that’s $5000 for a 12” graph and transducer! Now, you’re looking at $3099.99 for a Live 12 with the 3-in-1 transducer which is a massive price cut in 2 years. Again, no matter what electronics you get they will be expensive and there’s no getting around that, but I did want to point out the difference in price from 2 years ago.
Thanks for reading everyone and feel free to message me with any additional questions.