Yesterday, I found this in my e-box:
It’s a screen shot of a new down-looking imaging system, and as you can see from the picture, the view is pretty darn incredible. This press release didn’t come from any of the big-hitters in the saltwater marine electronics industry. It’s not from Raymarine, Furuno, Garmin, nor Navico. Who’s drawn this pretty picture on-screen? Humminbird. Now, I don’t want to take anything away from Humminbird, because they’ve long provided good bang for the buck and have pioneered several innovations in the past few years, such as integrated downrigger/fishfinder controls and side-imaging. But this is a company that has always been known for its freshwater presence. Bass guys use Humminbirds – we pelagic hunters wouldn’t even dream of it. Now take a look at that image again. Sweet. Maybe sweet enough to make you re-think your own brand loyalty.
It seems that while companies with a marine focus have made some awesome advances in the navigational department lately, (3-D bathymetrics, built-in chartography, and Broadband radar serve as examples,) fishfinders have more or less remained the same. Maybe we get a bit better definition or a tad more viewability, but nothing that could be termed “revolutionary.” Now, take a look at that picture for a third time…
Fortunately, electronics guys are quick to pick up on new technology and there’s no doubt that in a short while, marine-oriented manufacturers will integrate it into saltwater machines. In fact, Lowrance (yes, their roots are in freshwater applications but they’ve made a lot of progress into the saltwater market in the past few years) has just introduced a side-imaging system of their own. And Lowrance is part of Navico, which owns and shares technology with marine-oriented big-hitters like Simrad and Northstar. So, will we soon see a big bluewater electronics company with a side-imaging system? I posed the question directly to one of my sources (at a marine electronics manufacturer mentioned earlier in this blog post) and he smiled for a moment, nodded his head “yes,” and said he wasn’t free to discuss the technology being integrated into next year’s units. The good news is yes, it will happen and it will happen soon. The bad news? Look at that picture one last time – when imaging this good is available in a saltier version, we’re all going to have to replace our fishfinders.