Innovation. In the world of fishing electronics, few brands are as synonymous with the term as Garmin. The worldwide GPS experts were once an outlier in the world of sportfishing; but the last decade has seen advancements like Panoptix and Panoptix LiveScope completely redefine what anglers expect from marine electronics.
The echoes of this revolution have propelled Garmin into a prominent position within the sport, headlined by extraordinary success at both trade shows and tournament trails. And while the majority of Garmin innovations begin life inside a skunkworks facility at their Olathe, Kansas headquarters, its latest winter innovations for fishing began in Minnesota, near the shores of Lake Mille Lacs.
“Minnesota and Wisconsin are the epicenter of ice fishing,” explains Garmin Regional Sales Manager Danny Thompson, a Twin Cities native who regularly spends his time visiting dealers across the Midwest and Northeast. “But people are ice fishing outside of that area, from Michigan to Maine to Vermont.” Recently, Thompson has seen the ice fishing world transform as Garmin’s pioneering fish finding technologies have made their way to the frozen frontiers of the Canadian border states and beyond.
“Garmin’s ice fishing bundles give anglers all of the tools they need to help find and catch more fish,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “From new dual-beam ice fishing transducers to preloaded mapping, UHD scanning sonar and industry-leading LiveScope, our robust lineup offers feature-packed solutions that will transform the way anglers fish on the ice.”
Out of the Dark Ages
In years past, Thompson says that ice fishing was in a relative dark age. Decades went by without much deviation from the formula of drilling holes and running a flasher with a narrow-beam transducer over them, hoping to converge a pair of lines combined with a jig to get a strike. But thanks to Panoptix LiveScope, that formula is changing.
“With the ability to look horizontally and down to 200 feet in any direction, the toughest part of ice fishing – finding fish – becomes easier with Panoptix and Panoptix LiveScope,” said Steve Pennaz, Garmin pro and former US National Ice Fishing Champion.
“A decade ago, to find roaming schools of crappie often required drilling 100 holes or more, then checking each for fish. It was tedious, time-consuming and not always successful,” added Pennaz. “And even with their massive coverage, these units offer tremendous target separation and live action, helping anglers build effective presentations faster.”
From a sales perspective, Thompson says Garmin’s Panoptix LiveScope bundle is simply, “the coolest thing that exists in ice fishing right now.” According to Thompson, the premium product is attracting more than just diehard ice anglers. “I really thought it was going to be for that high-end customer, but it seems like everybody now feels like they need to have one. Families love them. They love to show the children fish because it gives them something to do and gives them hope of catching one. Everyone from young diehards to the weekend warriors are trying to get their hands on this bundle.”
The Panoptix LiveScope Ice Fishing Bundle comes with a 9-inch ECHOMAP UHD 93sv that allows anglers to take their fishing to the next level with real-time scanning sonar. It features two revolutionary modes in one transducer – LiveScope Down and LiveScope Forward – so anglers can see up to 200 feet under the water in any direction. Either view provides incredibly sharp, real-time scanning sonar images of fish swimming and moving toward or away from the hole and below the surface with remarkable target separation and clarity. The Panoptix LiveScope Ice Fishing Bundle offers full sonar capabilities, including an ice flasher, and support for UHD scanning sonar and CHIRP traditional sonar.
The Panoptix LiveScope Ice Bundle includes the complete LiveScope System with a swivel pole mount, plus a 12Ah battery with charger and power cable – all in a convenient, glove-friendly portable bag for a suggested retail price of $2799.99. A new LiveScope Ice Fishing Kit that includes the LiveScope System, swivel mount and portable kit is also available for a suggested retail price of $1999.99.
An Enthusiast-Friendly Price Point
Thompson says Panoptix LiveScope isn’t alone in Garmin’s ice-friendly portfolio. The mid-sized ECHOMAP UHD 73cv and ECHOMAP UHD 63cv Ice Fishing Bundles include a high-wide and high-narrow CHIRP ice fishing transducer, respectively, with selectable beamwidth and provide crisp, clear fish targets with excellent target separation. The built-in flasher provides precise jig and fish detection as they swim into the sonar beam, and the unique ice fishing sonar mode increases the frequency for better quality images on screen. Both the ECHOMAP UHD 73cv and 63cv also support ClearVü scanning sonar* for nearly photographic images of what’s below the ice.
“This is for the people who want a really good ice unit,” says Thompson. “But also want a very good summer unit. We have great technology built into the ice units that offers an ice-specific flasher mode, but thanks to our quick release mounting system you can also take this unit and put it on your boat in the summer. Up here, we are in winter so many months of the year that this offers a true year-round unit.”
The ECHOMAP UHD Ice Fishing Bundles come preloaded with LakeVü g3 mapping, Garmin’s latest cartography with integrated Navionics data, for exceptional detail on more than 18,000 lakes. Featuring a 6- or 7-inch keyed-assist touchscreen display, anglers can easily create custom combination pages that combine sonar, flasher and map. Both the ECHOMAP UHD 73cv and ECHOMAP 63sv Ice Bundle include a rugged, glove-friendly carrying case, and are available now for suggested retail prices of $699.99 and $549.99, respectively.
The Panoptix PS22 Ice Bundle has also been updated to include the ECHOMAP UHD 73cv, and offers three types of sonar – narrow beam Garmin CHIRP traditional, Panoptix LiveVü Forward and LiveVü Down – with a suggested retail price of $1899.99.
For Kayakers, Travelers and Entry-Level Consumers
For the ice angler who wants the best sonar available, plus the ability to create and store their own contour maps, the portable STRIKER Plus 4 Ice Fishing Bundle is the perfect entry-level fishfinder solution. The STRIKER Plus 4 ice bundle includes a new dual-beam ice fishing transducer with Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar for crystal-clear images in shallow and deeper water as well as remarkable target separation. Its built-in high sensitivity GPS lets anglers mark hot spots, and with Quickdraw™ Contours mapping software, it’s easy to create and store up to 2 million acres of maps with 1-foot contours. The new STRIKER Plus 4 Ice Fishing Bundle has a suggested retail price of $249.99, and also includes a rugged, portable carrying case.
“This is a bundle I am super proud of myself,” says Thompson. “We have done a very good job of combining super high-end technology with portability. The unit is light. The battery is light. And STRIKER has a GPS that can save waypoints and trails. So, if you’re out there in no visibility, you can find your way home thanks to the GPS in the Striker 4.”
Thompson says he’s seeing STRIKER 4 sales soar amongst kayak anglers and travelers as well. The unit fits perfectly on a kayak, and it’s portable enough for travelers who want to fly into Canada and take advantage of fishing opportunities north of the border to stow in their bags.
All of the new 2020 Ice Fishing Bundles from Garmin are available to retailers now. To learn more and see Garmin’s full ice fishing product lineup, visit www.garmin.com/marine.