New Sonar and Radar Technologies Push the Boundaries for Anglers
Maybe you believe in magic. Or maybe you believe in good old-fashioned human intelligence. Either way, you can’t help but feel awed by the latest fish-finding technology — sonar that turns the underwater world into your own personal aquarium and radar that turns a probing eye on ever-distant skies.
Introduced in December 2022, Lowrance’s HDS Pro multifunction displays, second-generation ActiveTarget 2 live sonar and ultra-high-definition Active Imaging HD are pushing the fish-finding envelope in fresh water and salt water. “The MFD is intuitive and has every feature I could desire,” says Capt. Rich Tudor, host of the Saltwater Experience fishing show and a former Florida Keys guide. “And the ActiveTarget 2 has been revolutionary to our fishing salt water in the Keys. We use it in all kinds of situations—inshore and offshore.”
The heart of this Ultimate Fishing System—the 1 kW-capable HDS Pro MFD—comes with a 9-, 10-, 12- or 16-inch SolarMAX HD touchscreen display ($2,199 to $4,999), and delivers full networking and control of trolling motors, autopilots, engines, radar, communications, and PowerPole shallow-water anchors. ActiveTarget 2 ($1,649) updates the original live-sonar technology, unveiled in 2020, and provides higher-resolution views of fish movement and structure in forward, down and scout modes. Active Imaging HD ($399 to $449) returns hyperclear images from chirp, SideScan and DownScan sonar.
“When the water’s too murky, or you don’t know where the tarpon are [at the 3-Mile Bridge], you could fish the wrong spot for hours,” Tudor says. “With ActiveTarget 2, I can stay well away from the bridge and turn my trolling motor that direction. It’s just as obvious as obvious can be. You can see giant tarpon swimming.
Offshore, Tudor uses the technology on wrecks to see big schools of permit. He can spot them 100 feet ahead of the boat and make a cast.
When he’s scouting with SideScan, the crisper detail from Active Imaging HD helps Tudor determine the species of fish he sees. And the C-Map Reveal charts he uses on his MFD show him 1-foot contours and help find channels and deeper spots.
Pro tournament angler Mark Maus uses the same Lowrance gear on his inshore boat, but he has been ground-truthing the latest radar from Lowrance’s sister brand Simrad. Simrad’s Halo 2000 and 3000 solid-state radar arrays deliver increased power on target and come with ZoneTrack—for watching up to 50 vessels—Dangerous Target Alerts, and VelocityTrack, which shows color-coded targets that help identify potential threats.
Halo 3000 also comes with Bird+ Mode, meaning it maximizes its 130 watts toward identifying flocks up to 8 nautical miles away. “Guess what? It actually works,” Maus says.
The 3000 can also show returns up to 96 nm away. “It gives you that far-reaching look,” Maus says. “We just ran across to the Bahamas. When I’m 4 miles offshore of Florida, I can see the West Bank. That gives you that comfort feeling.”
Halo 2000 (50 watts) is available in 3-, 4- and 6-foot arrays, and starts at $6,399. The 3000 model comes in 4- and 6-foot arrays, and starts at $8,499. What’s next? Telepathic visuals?
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