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Finding your way around a body of water is often synonymous with finding fish. Modern marine electronics make all of the points, coves, creek channels, humps, ledges and other fish-holding features visible to the boating angler. Whether you opt for a marine GPS device offering all available features or just a few, here are three essential features to consider.
The basic function of GPS technology is mapping and navigation, and that is at least as critical to boaters as to hikers and wilderness travelers. Most GPS systems only need three satellites to triangulate your position but pay attention to the number of satellites the GPS pulls from. The more satellites in its network, the more accurate the positioning. For basic GPS, you can choose from handheld or console-mounted, some of which can be disconnected for safe storage or used on other vessels or vehicles. If you go with a handheld model, make sure it is a marine device, meaning it is waterproof and comes with preloaded base maps covering the water you intend to explore.
Aside from knowing what’s around you, understanding what is directly underneath you is also important. Depth sounders are standard on most console or portable Marine GPS units. Their most basic function is to keep boaters from grounding on shoals and points; but combining a knowledge of fish behavior with water depth and structure is also the first step in separating non-productive stretches from memorable honey holes.
Fish finder technology is critical to most boating anglers. It uses sonar technology to eliminate the guesswork in determining what lurks below, how deep, and how big. A GPS unit that includes a transducer and fish-finding graphics is invaluable in finding both game fish and baitfish at any depth.