1. Yep electronics are real important now. And fun: Shoot just looking at the screens on the water are fun enough to do for hours (my 2c).
2. Yep lots of choices, and many functions are similar across brands.
3. Yep guys are using multiple brands on their boats now…even though the ‘lectronics companies don’t want that.
4. I searched for a while to find someone who knew a lot about all the different brands to get some insight but struck out…til now.
Talked to Justin Russell of Russell Marine Products, a boat-outfittin’ and ‘lectronics shop outta KS. They work on lots of bass boats, Justin is a bass fisherman…
…he gets it and he’s plugged in — not sure how many pins on his plug tho (12? lol). Anyhow, here’s a few Q&As from a call we had last week:
What’s the most important thing about bassin’ ‘lectronics?
> “The big thing we see is that people who are willing to invest the time to truly learn more than turning them on…they reap the benefits…regardless of the brand….
> “We outfit probably 500 boats a year. I’ve got guys that swear by Humminbird, by Garmin, by Lowrance, some that mix and match brands. But the guys who are truly successful with fishing, brand doesn’t matter as much as truly using their electronics to find and catch fish. They’re willing to dedicate the time it takes to [understand their units]…tend to be more successful than guys [who swap brands].
> “I will say that in the Live technology realm, Garmin is light years ahead of everyone else currently on the market. We see a lot of stand-alone [Garmin] units. Like if a guy is Humminbird…just wants a single LiveScope unit on the front of the boat.
> “Guys know they are getting beat by not having LiveScope on their boats, so they’re buying a single unit just for that on their boat.”
Who’s the best at what right now?
> “For side scan, it’s Humminbird Mega 360. For 2D, it’s Lowrance. And Garmin for Live.
> “That’s different than it’s been [in the past], where one [brand] used to be dominant. And in the future I think [all brands’] tech will be very very close…. Every manufacturer we talk to, they kind of know their weaknesses.
> “I think within the next year, Humminbird will have a Live out, and Lowrance will define theirs better. So I think moving forward we’ll probably see less combinations of brands…around 2022 guys will probably will run all one brand for everything. We’ll see a transition to all Garmin, all Lowrance or all Garmin, especially seeing all these trolling motors….
> “For companies that have not developed trolling motors in the past, a lot of market research [was done]…. We were introduced to trolling motors on the Lowrance side almost 4.5 years ago [well before they came out].
> “Spot-Lock [aka GPS anchoring] has changed the way we fish for sure. Not just tournament guys, but also crappie and walleye guys recreational fishing. …someone a little older or with health issues or physical limitations might have difficulty operating a trolling motor on a windy day or maybe at all. Now they can get out to fish. So it’s been great to see these advancements….”
If you bought a new boat today and needed 3 graphs and a trolling motor, what would you pick?
> “The Ghost trolling motor. We were involved with early-on prototyping and idea stuff with Lowrance, and I really truly feel [Russell Marine has not seen service-wise] as many issues as we have with Ultrexes. We’re an authorized service center for Garmin, Lowrance and Minn Kota, and we’re still seeing the same repeated issues with Ultrexes now as when they first came to market. I’m not saying they haven’t tried to fix them….
> “Garmin has had some issues with new Force trolling motors, but I will say Garmin has been extremely helpful with swapping out whole trolling motors no questions asked…’get your customer taken care of.’
> “Lowrance has had some very minor issues but is the exact same way. They want to see what’s going on [with a bad motor] and are sending our customers brand new trolling motors and are paying us to install them.
> “I feel like both companies know they need to have great customer service, but we’re seeing way less issues on the market with Lowrance Ghost by far.
> “I’d have [Lowrance] 12 Live units front and back. I love the Lowrance 2D sonar — I’m used to it. I was a Lowrance guy for a long time. It’s actually how I got into this industry…. When I was young, I had aspirations to be a pro fisherman and was trying to fish the Opens…really dove into Lowrance products a lot…guys at the events always came to me with questions….
> “I’ve gotten so used to…how [Lowrance] screens function and how they work. …a lot of advancement with mapping…if you’re lucky enough to have [a C-map] for your lake, the mapping is incredible. Side-imaging is good, but Humminbird is definitely better.
> “I can drive back to a waypoint much easier when it’s Lowrance because I’m used to it.
> “I’d also put a Garmin 1222 LiveScope…on the bow.”
More stuff with Justin coming soon….