Ever wished that you could see underwater to spot the fish you want to catch? Let me just share some of our favorite features of the Simrad NSS EVO3 units that we use here in Ocean Blue Fishing daily.
We believe everyone wants that superpower and with the vast choices of GPS/Sounder units in the market today, you’d have a really good alternative to actual X-ray vision. GPS/Sounder units have changed the fishing world since they were invented back in 1948 in Nagasaki, Japan.
The sounders were of pretty poor quality back then but innovative developers who also loved to fish kept improving the designs and worked up to what we currently have now, which provide us with full color touch screen displays with a heap of information that help us in our quest for fish, just literally, on our fingertips.
Years ago, I got told by an older angler that: “Sounders aren’t used to find fish, they are used to confirm the fish are there. A good angler finds the fish.” This always ring true to me although if he was here now, I would’ve told him about using sounders to locate structure where fish might hold.
The sounder is one of the guide’s best tools for finding fish. It is a tool that we rely on day in and day out because we have guests fish with us who fly into Vanuatu from all over the world. We use them to spot schooling bait, underwater structure like channels, pinnacles, humps and even the fish we are after. When we are fishing for our pelagic species around Vanuatu we also use our eyes as we are always on the lookout for birds current lines and anything that just doesn’t fit the rest of the picture.
Now we run the Simrad NSS EVO3 GPS/Fishfinder combo units and they are a damn good unit for what we do on a daily basis, which is guiding international customers to catch their fish of a lifetime when fishing Vanuatu. They do a great job of picking up Marlin, schooling fish even while cruising at 25 knots, while still reading the bottom at 300m!
I know that we have different opinions about different sounder brands, and you might even have a favorite sounder unit that you would swear your life on, but let me just share some of my favorite features of the Simrad NSS EVO3 units that we use here in Ocean Blue Fishing daily.
SolarMAX IPS HD Display
Admit it, you’ve also had some heart stopping moments when you thought that you broke your sounder screen, but then realize that it’s just the viewing angle or when you have your polarized sunnies on. It gets quite irritating especially for a fisherman to not be able to see the screen at certain angles. We can’t always be confined to the helm as we have to move around the boat to cast, drop lures, drop anchor, and other things and a clear view of the structure below or our position on the map is of utmost importance for an efficient fishing session. Thus, my appreciation for the great screen and display that the NSS EVO3 has.
No need to lift up sunnies to see the crystal-clear HD display. No need to visit the chiropractor for neck adjustments because the screen is clear from even the sides. Even little old blinky Bill can see fine details from the back of the boat with no dramas.
Touchscreen Plus Keypad Controls
Who doesn’t love a touchscreen? All the power just at the touch of your fingers! The intuitive touchscreen is just like playing with your iPad and is just as smooth and silky in its operation. Pinch the screen to zoom in, program custom gestures to get to your favorite functions, swipe left and right and all that good stuff. Touchscreen is all good and that but when the screen gets wet as the weather gets sketchy, you’ll have the manual keypad and rotary control dial to use. It feels good to use physical controls at times, as it gives us a sense of confidence, physically touching and pushing buttons to use functions.
Bluetooth and WIFI Connectivity
Again, you can’t be stuck at the help all of the time and you would want to see your sounder at almost all times. The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to mirror your display to compatible iOS and Android devices. Access the charts, sounder, radar and engine data from anywhere on the boat. Your mates fishing with you can also hook up to the Bluetooth if they want to.
The WIFI is a treat as we can just hook up to my phone’s data to update the software to get the latest and greatest features Simrad comes up with.
Now let’s look at some pros and cons of having a good sounder on your boat or a charter boat.
Obviously, knowing what’s under us allow us to fish more effectively versus just guessing what’s below us and blind casting. The time savings is just ridiculous. Gone are the days where we triangulate where we are using the coast and a random tree from a distant island to locate our favorite spot to fish. GPS/Sounder combo units provide us with pinpoint accuracy, and even logs our tracks to make perfecting our drifts easier. Sounders are a heaven sent as we can now accurately locate underwater structure with ease, especially with the advent of structure scan, side scan, down imaging, CHIRP and all that good stuff. It sometimes feels like cheating. There is no time wastage fishing underwater deserts. Look for structure and/or bottom irregularities and you should be laughing.
You’ll surely feel confident fishing a spot when you see big red arches around a ball of smaller red arches, spells feeding frenzy any day of the week. The skippers or guides aren’t the only ones who get a boost of confidence once fish are marked, the anglers on the boat will also get a big adrenaline rush once they see arches on the sounder, giving them an extra boost of energy needed for that one more jig.
Any good modern sounder must have connectivity to the engines. The skipper at the helm will have important engine information under their nose the whole time they are out on the water and can easily spot engine problems before they even start to happen. This is crucial for the safety of everyone on board and will save you a wallop of cash if you can bring the boat back to the ramp in one piece rather than being towed back by the local tugboat.
You’ll get a few “experts” on board and will always have their noses on your screen telling you where to go, what to do and where to fish. Having a good sounder does wonders but can also cause mutiny on the boat if one is not careful or experienced enough to handle their tools. Experienced skippers will have no problem with this, but if a greenhorn is at the helm with salty old mates on board not catching any fish, oh may Poseidon save his soul.
This is not exactly a con, but maybe can be called a “blooper” or accident. One may get depth readings so deep yet still get reefed, and later find out that you have forgotten to push the transducer down to its proper position. Experience still is king. You may have all the best tools and equipment onboard, but nothing beats true on the water experience. Spend time to learn your waters, get in touch with your tools and equipment to where they are just second nature, like an extension of yourself.
Hopping onboard a well-fitout center console with all the bells and whistles can lead one to have very high expectations. We all want to catch fish and the best tools and equipment can really make a difference in the end results of a fishing trip, but we are always under the control of Mother Nature and fish won’t always cooperate with us. So, if you have one of the best boats in the marina, make sure you’ve caught enough fish to confidently avoid the “all show no go” connotation.
That’s it for today folks. I have more pros and cons about having sounders on the boat, but I’ve run out of beer along with energy to keep writing. Hope you enjoy the stuff I share and if you do, let us know!