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CHANGING THE
SONAR GAME

By Lee Green

  Having started in the tackle business more than 28 years ago, I have had a unique opportunity to communicate with captains around the world. Over the many years in this industry I have dealt with all levels of fishermen, from weekenders to commercial crews, top tournament teams to traveling private operations. I have been fortunate to develop many close relationships over the years with them and this has given me an amazing amount of knowledge of different perspectives about the sport, and fishing in general.
  Over the years we have focused on big game fish like marlin, tuna, wahoo, and swordfish in the Atlantic, Gulf, Mediterranean and beyond. I have seen several innovations over the years that have impacted the sport. In general, electronics and tackle have improved and that has had a direct benefit to sport fishermen. Recently, electronics previously geared to large commercial boats have become available to the recreational fleet.
  In the past six or seven years there has been a game-changing tool that I don’t believe has ever been rivaled and is making a significant difference in catch results. That tool is Omni sonar.

  CLASSIC FISH FINDERS
  When most people think about fish finders, or sonar, they typically think of a machine that reads the column of water under the boat to the bottom with a slight cone angle that can see a bit wider. Various frequency transducers have improved in the cone size, but basically all you get is what is under the vessel.
  There were systems called “searchlight” or “sector” sonar that utilized 360-degree images. These old systems were effective but not widely used. There was a bit of popularity on the West Coast of the United States, as well as some use in the Northeast but it was rare to see one. These systems had a transducer that would lower under the hull and would essentially spin like a radar antenna. The images also came back like radar, where they would appear, disappear, and reappear. The cone could be adjusted to a smaller area, which helped the target acquisition/loss but it took a fairly high level of understanding to operate at that level. The actual machine was a bulky unit that was hard to use effectively, and the transducer was a major installation. The units were quite expensive and relatively unknown to the average fisherman.

  OMNI SONAR
  Omni sonar is just what it sounds like. The transducer transmits an omni-directional frequency. Like the searchlight sonar, the transducer is lowered under the hull so the image has an unobstructed view.

The omni sonar gives fishermen a much wider view of what is around the area of the boat not just under it like a sounder does.
The omni sonar gives fishermen a much wider view of what is around the area of the boat not just under it like a sounder does.

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