During our annual maintenance we fitted a Lowrance HDS-10 high definition display allowing us to take advantage of the latest broadband fishfinding and StructureScan technology from Lowrance. The bad weather has prevented us getting out on any charter trips since fitting it all last week, but we did get a break in the weather for a few hours on Saturday which gave us the opportunity to run over a couple of small inshore wrecks near Brighton Marina, in depths of 17 to 20 metres.
We don’t normally fish on these inshore wrecks, but they gave us an opportunity to at least test the equipment and see what kind of images and information we would get, in readiness for use offshore on the deep water wrecks we normally fish on. There has been a lot of hype and rave reviews about this new technology, but most of it has been from small sports boats fishing shallow lakes in the USA. We needed to see what it could do when rolling around in a bit of a sea in the English Channel! All the images were captured at a displacement speed of 8 knots.
In short, we were not disappointed – this technology is certainly a leap forward. It wont turn a bad Skipper into a good one, but in the right hands it will allow an experienced Skipper to fine tune things a bit further on the day when drifting or anchoring a wreck. It will also speed up the process of learning a new wreck, as the side scanning feature will allow you to view the seabed up to 250ft either side of the boat as well as straight down in the conventional way.
In this first shot we passed over an inshore wreck known to have trawl nets snagged upon it. You can clearly see the netting on wreck on the side and down scan StructureView (left and top right window). This detail is not picked up by the conventional 2D fishfinder (bottom right window).
This screenshot shows a small WW2 landing craft. You can clearly see the structure on both the down and side scan views, a very different look to the conventional fishfinder (again bottom right).
The conventional fishfinder was very good at doing it’s job of showing fish echoes and bottom composition – alas we hadn’t worked out how to record screenshots when we saw some shoals and so don’t have any meaningful images to show you this time. We’ll get some for future posts though as we learn more about how to get the best from the equipment.