Have you ever wondered if you’re fishing in the wrong spot? Then you know why GPS maps are such hot items with today’s pros. These electronic marvels use detailed contour lake maps to tell you exactly where you are in relation to the structure you’re fishing–and even to the fish you’re after.
Many GPS maps also function as LCG depthfinders. Using both, you can pinpoint biting fish or productive structure, mark that location as a waypoint, and come back to it anytime. Here’s what to look for:
Display: Color is far superior to black-and-white because it clearly differentiates land, water, contour lines, and other features. Get color, even if it means buying a smaller unit.
Size: This is the single most influential factor in price. Though significantly more expensive, a bigger display is better because it’s easier to read. Go as big as you can afford to.
Resolution: Most makers list the number of vertical and horizontal pixels. But the true measure of sharpness is pixels per square inch. Good resolution is most critical on small units.
Maps: Some models have built-in contour lake maps, but most need plug-in map cards or downloadable maps, sold separately. All of the units here will help you catch more fish.
Navman Tracker 5380 (800-628-4487; navman.com)
Display Size: 3.8 inches • Pixels: 320V x 240H (about 10,500 per square inch) • Built-in Depthfinder: No • Compatible Map Source: C-Map • Price: $400 • Comments: This full-featured unit needs little space and has a great price for color. The display is small but very sharp and functional. It’s a good, affordable choice if you already have a depthfinder.
Humminbird 595C (800-633-1468; humminbird.com)
Display Size: 5 inches • Pixels: 320V x 240H (about 6,100 per square inch) • Built-in Depthfinder: Yes • Compatible Map Source: Navionics • Price: $550 • Comments: This compact, combination GPS map and LCG depthfinder has a unique quick-mounting system that’ll save you fishing time. The transducer comes with a temperature probe.
Eagle FishElite 642c IGPS (800-324-1354; www.eaglegps.com)
Display Size: 5 inches • Pixels: 640V x 480H (about 25,000 per square inch) • Built-in Depthfinder: Yes • Compatible Map Sources: Lowrance FreedomMap, Fishing Hot Spots Elite, LakeMaster Pro Maps, NauticPat USA, Navionics • Price: $600 • Comments: Six color modes let you adapt to light conditions. A surface temperature gauge is included.
Raymarine RC435i GPS Chartplotter (800-539-5539; raymarine.com)
Display Size: 6 inches • Pixels: 320V x 240H (about 4,250 per square inch) • Built-in Depthfinder: No • Compatible Map Source: Navionics • Price: $1,055 • Comments: “Point and shoot” navigation lets you click on any waypoint, and the unit will direct you to it. A SmartRoute feature automatically builds routes and waypoints from previous tracks.
Lowrance LCX-26C HD (800-324-1356; lowrance.com)
Display Size: 7 inches • Pixels: 480V x 640H (about 15,000 per square inch) • Built-in Depthfinder: Yes • Compatible Map Source: Lowrance FreedomMap, Fishing Hot Spots Elite, LakeMaster Pro Maps, NauticPat USA, Navionics • Price: $1,650 • Comments: The 20GB hard drive is loaded with charts of U.S. coastal areas and over 2,100 inland waters.
Garmin GPSMAP 3210 (800-800-1020; garmin.com)
Display Size: 10.4 inches • Pixels: 640V x 480H (about 5,900 per square inch) • Built-in Depthfinder: No • Compatible Map Source: Garmin Inland Lakes • Price: $2,667 • Comments: The large color display is easy to read, even in direct sunlight. The unit has extremely fast redraw and response rates and is available with numerous optional features.