A month ago I started testing the Lowrance Structure Scan side scanner review, and today it’s time for part II. By now, I’ve used the unit on a 10′ to 20′ plateau with scattered rockpiles, around a rock-strewn lighthouse, over underwater rip-rap in varying depths, and at underwater humps that rise to 18′ in 30′ of water.
First, the negatives I’ve uncovered so far: Fish are tough to detect in side scanning mode, and what looks like a great mark on the HDS barely shows up on the side scanner. In fact, unless you’re going by a large, tightly-packed school of bait or a very large fish, you can’t expect it to show up on-screen. Second, when your boat goes up and down on waves it creates a wavey “bottom” line off to either side, just like a regular sonar does with the bottom, and unless the wave pattern is regular this can cause a decieving return on the meter.
Now, for the cool stuff: this thing makes it uber-easy to find rockpiles off to the sides. When you see the returns (which are easy to pick out) you can set a waypoint on them, then switch into chartplotter mode and either go to them, or (when in shallow water) zoom way in and position the boat off to one side or the other to cast to it. Working with the StructureScan mode, you’ll also get a far better picture of structure you’re motoring over. This came in particularly handy when fishing around a screwpile lighthouse with legs going far out to the sides. What I had thought were fish turned out to be the piles, jutting out into my transducer’s cone. But with StructureScan on, I could clearly tell what I was looking at.
So, am I happy with StructureScan so far? Do I think it’s worth the money? Yes, and heck yes. Remember that if you already have an HDS on your boat, it’ll only cost about $600 to do the upgrade. Considering what you can do with side and Structure scanning, that’s peanuts.
Stay tuned – next month, we’ll go into using StructureScan on wrecks down to 100 feet!