Monday, December 22, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Ideas for the Outdoors-man who has it all…



To make it easier on everyone, I have decided to post my favorite last minute Christmas Gift ideas for the wives, girlfriends, parents and children who might need a little help buying their man a Christmas present. Here are my suggestions this holiday season. 

Costa “Cortez” Sunglasses
Costa’s Cortez offers a large fit with a bold wrap shape, meant to block glare from entering from the sides. The linear venting system alleviates lens fogging, and the temple tips feature open slots for a retainer cord. “Anglers who use our sunglasses know they’re going to be able to see the fish faster, and their eyes are going to be more relaxed, even after a full day on the water in harsh conditions,” said Chas MacDonald, president of Costa. The frames are built of nearly indestructible co-injected molded nylon, with sturdy integral hinge technology. The hypoallergenic rubberized interior lining and nose pads keep the sunglasses comfortably in place all day, providing a “forget-they’re-on” fit. The price starts at $169 MSRP

ThermoCell Heated Shoe Insoles
Cold feet are miserable. Here is a cool product from ThermoCell, heated insoles that you control wirelessly with a remote control. Rechargeable batteries are imbedded in the soles. The remote allows you to pick between two heat settings or no heat. MSRP is $99.99. 



Seaguar Smackdown Tournament Braid - 150 Yards
This is the most awesome new fishing line to come out in years. This braided line is sleek, ultra-strong tournament quality braid is so thin that the 20-lb. test has the diameter of 6-lb. monofilament line! Smackdown Braid features 8 ultra-thin, micro-weave strands in a round, smooth-casting profile with extra sensitivity. In addition to Smackdown's unparalleled abrasion resistance, it provides exceptional knot and tensile strength. You cannot go wrong picking up a pack of the Seaguar. $32.99 MSRP for 150 yards of 20lb test.

Bass Pro Shops GripMaster™ 9 inch Fillet Knife
This is an affordable, tough, and super sharp fillet knife. Featuring the 420 stainless steel thru handle construction for long-term usability, the GripMaster Fillet Knife's razor sharp blade includes a serrated section that's perfect for tackling really tough jobs. The rubber handle provides outstanding cutting comfort and control. The GripMaster fillet knife includes a durable, molded hard plastic sheath designed with vents and a convenient belt clip. MSRP $5.99




Wave Away Sonar GPS Screen Cleaning Kit
This is an incredible, safe cleaning product for your marine electronics, smart phones, tablets, LCD television, or sunglasses. Wave Away Sonar & GPS Cleaner is made without alcohol or ammonia, which can remove the protective coating from your screen. For best results, spray the screen with a couple pumps of the cleaning solution, and then wipe it off using a microfiber cloth (included). Afterwards go over the screen once more with a dry section of the cloth. For hard water spots, leave the cleaning solution on longer, so it can really dislodge the grime. The Wave Away Sonar & GPS Cleaner can also be used for non-waterproof electronics, just spray the cleaning solution on the cloth rather than directly onto the item itself. MSRP $9.99

RedHead Lifetime Guarantee All-Purpose Socks for Men 
I have been wearing these socks for 3 years in the winter; there is no better sock on the market for the price. If ever they wear out, just return them for a FREE replacement to your closet Bass Pro Shops! They are made with 100% fine grade itch-free wool against the skin from top to toe, which makes these socks softer and our stitching technique adds double-reinforcement to all stress zones. 81% wool, 17% stretch nylon, 2% spandex. Leg length: 13”. Made in USA with MSRP of $11.99

Strike King MOISTURE WICKING long sleeve shirt 
Strike King new clothing line has some good looking shirts. My favorite is the moisture wicking shirts for the winter time.  100% Poly interlock moisture wicking performance tee shirt. It has a smooth collar, tagless and comes in long sleeves only. The new StrikeKing logo appears on the chest and back of the shirt. MSRP $ 28.00




 Yamaha Pro Fishing Hat
Out at sea or on land, shield your face from the sun and show your Yamaha Pro Fishing Pride. This Yamaha Pro Fishing hat is made from a royal blue cotton twill and four black or white mesh panels. The Yamaha Pro-Fishing logo is featured on the front. MSRP $19.99





Lastly, what not to buy your favorite outdoors-man this Christmas:

  • ·        Fishing rods and reels
  • ·        Lures
  • ·        Bass boat or kayak
  • ·        Rain suits
  • ·        Shoes or boots
  • ·        Guns
  • ·        Thermal Underwear
  • ·        Fishing Electronics




Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! May this joyful season greet you with health and happiness. Please continue to pray for our military….





About the author:

Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and prostaffer for Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Lawrenceville, GA. He retired as a Lieutenant/Paramedic/Firefighter with Gwinnett County Fire, GA after 29 years of service in 2013. He is currently a contracted employee with NAVICO/Lowrance working as the College Fishing Recruiter. He has been working in the Outdoor Industry for over 20 years. He and his beautiful wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab Jake. They volunteer with Operation One Voice, a 501c3 support Special OPS soldiers (www.operationonevoice.org)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lowrance Sonar Tutorial- Part II



After last weeks blog a few people asked to see Part 2 of the basic sonar article, so here it is.... Enjoy this "oldie but a goodie" from LOWRANCE... Tom, Jr.

Fish Arches
One of the most common questions that we receive is "How do I get fish arches to show on my screen?" It's really pretty simple to do, but it does require attention to detail, not only in the way you make the adjustments to the unit, but to the whole sonar installation.

It also helps to see the Why Fish Arch section below. This explains how arches are created on your sonar's screen.

Screen Resolution
The number of vertical pixels that the screen is capable of showing is called Screen Resolution. The more vertical pixels on a sonar's screen, the easier it will be for it to show fish arches. This plays an important role in a sonar unit's capability to show fish arches. The chart below lists the pixel sizes and area they represent down to 50 feet for two different screens.

PIXEL HEIGHT

PIXEL HEIGHT
100 VERTICAL PIXEL SCREEN

240 VERTICAL PIXEL SCREEN
RANGE
PIXEL HEIGHT

RANGE
PIXEL HEIGHT
0-10 feet
1.2 inches

0-10 feet
0.5 inches
0-20 feet
2.4 inches

0-20 feet
1.0 inches
0-30 feet
3.6 inches

0-30 feet
1.5 inches
0-40 feet
4.8 inches

0-40 feet
2.0 inches
0-50 feet
6.0 inches

0-50 feet
2.5 inches

As you can see, one pixel represents a larger volume of water with the unit in the 0 - 100 foot range than it does with the unit in the 0 - 10 foot range. For example, if a sonar has 100 pixels vertically, with a range of 0 - 100 feet, each pixel is equal to a depth of 12 inches. A fish would have to be pretty large to show up as an arch at this range. However, if you zoom the range to a 30-foot zoom (for example from 80 to 110 feet), each pixel is now equal to 3.6 inches. Now the same fish will probably be seen as an arch on the screen due to the zoom effect. The size of the arch depends on the size of the fish - a small fish will show as a small arch, a larger fish will make a larger arch, and so on. Using a sonar unit with a small number of vertical pixels in very shallow water, a fish directly off the bottom will appear as a straight line separate from the bottom. This is because of the limited number of dots at that depth. If you are in deep water (where the fish signal is displayed over a larger distance of boat travel), zooming the display into a 20 or 30 foot window around the bottom shows fish arches near the bottom or structure. This is because you have reduced the pixel size in a larger cone.

               

100 pixels

240 pixels

On the right above is a section of a 240 vertical pixel screen. On the left is a simulated version of the same screen with only 100 vertical pixels. As you can see, the screen on the right has much better definition than does the one on the left. You can see fish arches much easier on the 240 pixel screen.
Chart Speed
The scrolling or chart speed can also affect the type of arch displayed on the screen. The faster the chart speed, the more pixels are turned on as the fish passes through the cone. This will help display a better fish arch. (However, the chart speed can be turned up too high. This stretches the arch out. Experiment with the chart speed until you find the setting that works best for you.)

Transducer Installation
If you still don't get good fish arches on the screen, it could be the transducer's mounting is incorrect. If the transducer is mounted on the transom, adjust it until its face is pointing straight down when the boat is in the water. If it is angled, the arch won't appear on the screen properly. If the arch slopes up but not down, then the front of the transducer is too high and needs to be lowered. If only the back half of the arch is printed, the nose of the transducer is angled too low and needs to be raised.

Fish Arch Review

1. Sensitivity
Automatic operation with Advanced Signal Processing (ASP™) turned on should give you the proper sensitivity settings but, if necessary, the sensitivity may be increased.
2. Target Depth
The depth of the fish can determine if the fish will arch on the screen. If the fish is in shallow water, the fish is not in the cone angle very long, making it difficult to show an arch. Typically, the deeper the fish, the easier it is to show an arch.

3. Boat Speed
The boat's engine should be in gear at an idle or just above. Experiment with your boat to find the best throttle location for good arches. Usually, a slow trolling speed works best.

4. Chart Speed
Use at least 3/4 chart speed or higher.

5. Zoom Size
If you see markings that are possible fish, but they do not arch, zoom in on them. Using the zoom function lets you effectively increase the screen's resolution.

Final Notes on Fish Arches
Very small fish probably will not arch at all. Because of water conditions such as heavy surface clutter or thermoclines, the sensitivity sometimes cannot be turned up enough to get fish arches. For the best results, turn the sensitivity up as high as possible without getting too much noise on the screen. In medium to deep water, this method should work to display fish arches.

A school of fish will appear as many different formations or shapes, depending on how much of the school is within the transducer's cone. In shallow water, several fish close together appear like blocks that have been stacked in no apparent order. In deep water, each fish will arch according to its size.

Why Fish Arch
The reason fish show as an arch is because of the relationship between the fish and the cone angle of the transducer as the boat passes over the fish. As the leading edge of the cone strikes the fish, a display pixel is turned on. As the boat passes over the fish, the distance to the fish decreases. This turns each pixel on at a shallower depth on the display. When the center of the cone is directly over the fish, the first half of the arch is formed. This is also the shortest distance to the fish. Since the fish is closer to the boat, the signal is stronger and the arch is thicker. As the boat moves away from the fish, the distance increases and the pixels appear at progressively deeper depths until the cone passes the fish.


If the fish doesn't pass directly through the center of the cone, the arch won't be as well defined. Since the fish isn't in the cone very long, there aren't as many echoes to display, and the ones that do show are weaker. This is one of the reasons it's difficult to show fish arches in shallow water. The cone angle is too narrow for the signal to arch.

Remember, there must be movement between the boat and the fish to develop an arch. Usually, this means trolling at a slow speed with the main engine. If you are anchored or stopped, fish signals won't arch. Instead, they'll show as horizontal lines as they swim in and out of the cone.

Actual On-The-Water Chart Recordings
The following chart records are from a Lowrance X-85 liquid crystal graph sonar. It has 3000 watts of transmitter power, a 240 x 240 pixel screen and operates at 192 kHz.

X-85 Sample 1



This shows a split-screen view of the water beneath the boat. The range on the right side of the screen is 0 - 60 feet. On the left, the screen has a 30-foot "zoom" rangeof 9 to 39 feet. Since the unit is in the automatic mode, (shown by the word "auto" at the top center of the screen) it picked the ranges to keep the bottom signal on the screen at all times. The water depth is 35.9 feet.

The unit was used with an HS-WSBK "Skimmer®" transducer mounted on the transom. The sensitivity level was adjusted to 93% or higher. Chart speed was one step below maximum.

A. Surface Clutter
The markings at the top of the screen can extend many feet below the surface. This is called Surface Clutter. It's caused by many things, including air bubbles created by wind and wave action or boat wakes, bait fish, plankton and algae. Many times larger fish will be seen feeding on the bait fish and other food near the surface.

B. GRAYLINE®
GRAYLINE® is used to outline the bottom contour which might otherwise be hidden beneath trees and brush. It can also give clues to the composition of the bottom. A hard bottom returns a very strong signal, causing a wide gray line. A soft, muddy or weedy bottom returns a weaker signal which is shown with a narrow gray line. The bottom on this screen is hard, composed mainly of rock.

C. Structure
Generally, the term "structure" is used to identify trees, brush, and other objects rising from the bottom that aren't part of the actual bottom. On this screen, "C" is probably a tree rising from the bottom. This record was taken from a man-made lake. Trees were left standing in several areas when the lake was built, creating natural habitats for many game fish.

D. Fish Arches
The X-85 has a significant advantage over many competitive units in that it can show individual fish with the characteristic arched mark on the screen. (See Why Fish Arch for more information.) On this screen, there are several large fish holding just off the bottom at "D," while smaller fish are hanging in the middle of the screen and near the structure.

E. Other Elements
The large, partial arch shown at "E" is not a fish. We were trolling near the entrance to a cove that had hundreds of tires banded together with wire cables. Other cables anchored the tires to the bottom. The large arch at "E" was created when we passed over one of the large cables that anchored the tires.

X-85 Sample 2


 
This shows a full-screen zoom view of the water beneath the boat. The range is 8 - 38 feet, which gives a 30-foot zoom. Since the unit is in the automatic mode, (shown by the word "auto" at the top center of the screen) it picked the ranges to keep the bottom signal on the screen at all times. The water depth is 34.7 feet.

The unit was used with an HS-WSBK "Skimmer®" transducer mounted on the transom. The sensitivity level was adjusted to 93% or higher. Chart speed was one step below maximum.

A and B. Fish Arches
The X-85 has a significant advantage over many competitive units in that it can show individual fish with the characteristic arched mark on the screen. (See Why Fish Arch for more information.) On this screen, there are several large fish holding just off the bottom at "B", while an even larger fish "A" is hanging directly above them.

C. Structure
Generally, the term "structure" is used to identify trees, brush, and other objects rising from the bottom that aren't part of the actual bottom. On this screen, "C" is probably a large tree or trees rising from the bottom. This record was taken from a man-made lake. Trees were left standing in several areas when the lake was built, creating natural habitats for many game fish.

D. Surface Clutter
Surface Clutter "D" at the top of the screen extends below 12 feet in places. Small fish can be seen beneath the surface clutter. They are probably feeding.



Original article from Lowrance, unknown author.... Tom, Jr.