We always love to hear feedback from our customers. Here’s a story from Steve and Scott Harris, two tournament anglers from Maine.
My brother Scott and I are bass tournament weekend warriors and also past users of scanning sonar. We heard about Panoptix in February, watched every YouTube video possible, and purchased a Panoptix PS31 and an echoMAP 70dv on April 28, 2015. The Panoptix PS31 is the forward-looking trolling motor mounted transducer that scans from straight ahead downward 90 degrees, to directly below the boat.
Our first tournament of the year, the annual Maine Special Olympics charity on Cobbosseecontee Lake, was May 3rd. We only had one available day on May 1st to install both units and to practice for the tournament using the echoMAP 70dv and the Panoptix PS31. Installation was a breeze, and our three hours of pre-fishing consisted of learning how to use Panoptix. By Garmin’s design, it could not have been easier! As soon as my trolling motor was down, a picture was displayed of the lake bottom in front of the boat. We moved out into 50 feet of water, set the forward range to 400 feet and could see the bottom including the upsloping shoreline 300 feet away. The Panoptix LiveVü Forward updated nearly instantaneously as the trolling motor turned in any direction showing bottom contact the entire range.
We set the range to 80 feet forward and headed to a point nearby with a sunken tree. We cranked up the gain, widened the beam width to medium, and Scott cast out a small crankbait. Amazingly, we could see the crankbait moving through the water column from about 40 feet in front of the boat, all the way to the trolling motor. I cast out a suspending jerkbait and again we could see it. It was obvious that my jerkbait was not suspending because we could watch it slowly drop to the bottom when not moving. I took off the middle hook and cast it out again and could now see it suspending perfectly. I gave it a few quick jerks and a bigger signal was displayed below the lure. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but I knew it must be a fish. I paused the lure and just let it sit for a few seconds, gave it one twitch and BANG – the three pound largemouth nailed it.
This became a critical part of the morning bite, as we would watch the jerkbaits move rapidly through the water column until a fish appeared, then slow them down to trigger the strike. Later in the day, we watched the fish swim away from this technique, so we mixed up the retrieves until we found one that would keep them around and trigger strikes.
In the tournament of 94 teams, only 20 eight fish limits were caught. We caught over 20 keepers and had the winning bag of 29.85 pounds, bringing home $3,200 in the process.
Thank you, Garmin! The Panoptix PS31 is a grand slam home run. What a weapon! We can’t wait to see what the Panoptix RealVü 3-D Forward view can do for us.
For the latest news and updates about Garmin fishing and hunting products follow us at @garminfishhunt on Twitter and Instagram, and on Facebook @Garmin Fish & Hunt, and tag us using #FishGarmin or #HuntGarmin.