Passage Maker - - Contents - By Brian K. Lind

I couldn’t see them, but I was pretty sure the bar­racuda were still swim­ming un­der the dock. Ear­lier, they’d shim­mered as they darted around in the blue glow of the un­der­wa­ter lights. But the lights had been switched off and I couldn’t fig­ure out how to turn them back on. The lack of light, how­ever, pro­vided the per­fect time to test the new FishHunter gizmo that I’d brought for the trip to the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands.

Last fall, Lowrance re­leased this new con­cept; a castable, Wi-Fi-en­abled fish finder that pairs to your smart­phone. The FishHunter 3D looks like a soft­ball-size bob­ber. It sports five trans­duc­ers, trifre­quency, a 70-de­gree cone, and the abil­ity to cast it as far as 160 feet. It even al­lows for tow­ing be­hind a boat, prov­ing a per­fect choice for your dinghy, SUP, or kayak. It can also be used for bathy­met­ric map­ping, di­rec­tional cast­ing, and 3D struc­ture map­ping. All this is con­tained in a small pack­age, al­low­ing for pow­er­ful knowl­edge of your fa­vorite fish­ing holes that you wouldn’t nor­mally have with your on­board fish finder.

I slipped the FishHunter off the swim plat­form, let­ting it float be­tween the cata­ma­ran’s twin hulls and the main dock. The de­vice turns on au­to­mat­i­cally when wet (that, alone, was pretty amaz­ing). I then con­nected my phone to the FishHunter’s Wi-Fi net­work and launched the free app. In “Di­rec­tional Cast­ing Mode” you are able to see the depth that each of the five trans­duc­ers is mea­sur­ing, and when one of the sen­sors de­tects some­thing be­tween it and the bot­tom, it lights up with a red LED. Click­ing the red trans­ducer en­ters you into either Raw or Fish View, and both give a more tra­di­tional fish find­ing view where you can iden­tify the trans­duc­ers’ re­flec­tion from the fish. Af­ter ori­ent­ing my­self to the screen and the trans­ducer, one of the trans­duc­ers lit up so I clicked on it. It showed two fish un­der me.

The fact that this gad­get, when paired to a phone, can cre­ate 3D maps with bot­tom struc­ture blows my mind. $213 Ama­zon.com

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