Marine electronics manufacturing companies are evidently profitable and desirable to investors. Just look at the purchase of Lowrance parent company Navico by Goldman Sachs and Altor Fund IV. Yep, old Darryl Lowrance must be having a good laugh over that one. Trends in the marketplace we see for 2018 are more like keeping with status quo. Look for the 2018 ICAST show in the summer for totally new technology dropping in 2019.

  That being said, here’s what you can expect on the boats at the shows this year. The Humminbird Solix units seem to be “the” unit to have for 2018.

 

Garmin

  The company is a world-wide leader in consumer electronics. Yes, they make those funny little bracelets that tell you to get up off the coach and start exercising, yes, they also make some high end aviation navigational equipment, and they also make very good marine electronics.

  The Garmin units for 2018 include the Striker Plus and Garmin Striker series. 

   The Striker Plus series has a four, five, seven and nine-inch screens.  The top-of-the-line nine-inch Striker Plus has built-in GPS and features Quickdraw Contours map drawing software, which stores up to 2 million acres of content with 1’ contours. Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar provides crystal-clear images with remarkable target separation. Anglers will see nearly photographic images of what passes below and beside the boat with CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars. Use the built-in Wi-Fi to pair with the ActiveCaptain app for smart notifications, access to Quickdraw Contours Community data and more. The Garmin Striker Plus 9sv retails for $699.

 

Humminbird  

   For over 40 years, Humminbird has been offering anglers fishfinders, depth sounders, marine radios and GPS systems with cutting edge technology and less than premium prices.  

  Techsonic Industries, Inc. began as Fulton Electronics in 1971 in a garage-like facility In Eufaula, Alabama. Now owned by Johnson Outdoors (also owns Minn Kota), Humminbird units are still manufactured in Eufaula.

   The award-winning Humminbird® SOLIX™ Series now includes a model with a 10.1” screen, Humminbird Basemap, and exclusive features such as Cross Touch® Interface, MEGA Imaging™, CHIRP Digital Sonar, AUTOCHART® Live, Bluetooth® connectivity and i-Pilot® Link™ compatibility. 

   The SOLIX 10 comes in two models: one featuring Humminbird’s exclusive MEGA Imaging™ with GPS and CHIRP Digital Sonar, and another with GPS and CHIRP Digital Sonar only. Other Solix models are offered in 15.4-inch and 12.1-inch screens.

   Humminbird’s ultra-clear MEGA Imaging™ is the first Down and Side Imaging technology to enter the megahertz range with performance that’s nearly three times greater than traditional 455 kHz frequencies. It results in the clearest, sharpest on-screen images ever seen.

     Three new Humminbird HELIX models are available - the HELIX 9, 10 and 12 MEGA DI GPS G2N units. These models are capable of broadcasting MEGA Down Imaging returns on nine, 10 or 12-inch screens. The LCD displays have best-in-class brightness so anglers can clearly see on the screen even in direct sunlight. They also feature Bluetooth® capability and plug-and-fish networking to easily connect to Minn Kota® i-Pilot® Link™, Humminbird 360 Imaging® and additional networkable Humminbird units.

   In addition to MEGA Imaging for the sharpest, most detailed screen images in fishing, the HELIX MEGA DI GPS G2N units also utilize CHIRP Digital Sonar, resulting in greater clarity, improved target separation and reduced noise for more accurate identification of fish and structure.

 

Lowrance

  Now owned by Goldman Sachs and Altor Fund IV, Navico is the world’s largest marine electronics company that also holds the Lowrance brand. From it’s humble beginnings in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1957 with The Little Green Box to a plant in Mexico that employs over 1,000 workers now, Lowrance will mark 60 years in business in 2018. The new year’s product line shows that Lowrance has listened to it’s core fishing clients with lower prices for some upper end units, better touch screen technology and some feature-packed budget models.

   The Hook2 units are claimed to be the world’s easiest fish finder. Lowrance says the HOOK 4x Bullet helps you have a more enjoyable day on the water by removing the hassle of making adjustments with a simple menu layout, easy access to key features and game-changing Lowrance® Autotuning sonar.
   You will be free to focus on fishing with Autotuning sonar, a new feature that actively adjusts sonar settings as fishing conditions change. You just fish and let HOOK do the rest.
  Anglers will cover more water in less time with proven HOOK Bullet wide-angle, Broadband sonar, offering double the sonar coverage of most fish finders. These units come in five, seven, nine and 12-inch screen versions.

  The Elite Ti units feature touchscreens, CHIRP sonar and high-resolution images without premium prices. They also can link with a MotorGuide Xi5 trolling motor, Power-Pole and SonicHub2 so you can make adjustments from the touchscreen or using built-in WiFi Bluetooth and your phone. The all-in-one transducer permits CHIRP, SideScan and DownScan Imaging.

  The Elite Ti models come in five, seven, nine and 12-inch versions.

  HDS Carbon units are Lowrance’s premium performance models with up to 16-inch high definition SolarMAX™ HD screens (also seven, nine and 12-inch versions) that are said to offer two times the resolution of any other display in the category and are viewable from any angle even with polarized glasses. A powerful dual-core processor is said to eliminate lag time on chart redraws and sonar updates.

  These units offer low, medium and high range CHIRP sonar technology, wireless connectivity, come pre-loaded with C-Map™ US Enhanced mapping with single foot contours on over 3,000 lakes, the ability to upgrade charts, plus they are StructureScan 3D, StructureScan HD and TotalScan transducer ready.

  Selected HDS Carbon units will also have some price reduction incentives for 2018.

  The Lowrance FishHunter Pro is a castable wireless transducer aimed at the bank anglers. Anglers fishing from the bank, dock or other shoreline structure can now see what’s below using the FishHunter Pro and their phone. There’s even a FishHunter 3D that offers users a three dimensional view of the what’s below. The FishHunter Pro has a reliable wireless range of up to 160 feet. The FishHunter 3D works up to 200’ away.

 

Minn Kota

   The new Minn Kota Talon offers additional ways to activate the unit from anywhere on the boat for precise control, as well as a new depth option - 15 feet. The newest way to control the Talon utilizes Bluetooth® communication to pair the Talon with Humminbird® units on the boat for total boat control on one console (including the ability to pair Humminbird units with select Minn Kota trolling motors). Anglers can also engage the anchor using a foot switch, with a wireless remote (every Talon comes standard with two), via the new Talonsmartphone app. and with the Talon’s built-in control panel.

  Another major advancement is the introduction of Minn Kota’s new 15-foot Talon, the deepest shallow-water anchor ever made. Also new is a clever work light built into the Talon top cap. When fishing in dark conditions, the work light illuminates the entire back deck of the boat to help anglers when rigging and landing fish at night. It has three brightness settings and white or blue LED light options for ideal illumination. 

   The Minn Kota Talon allows anglers to anchor in any condition with three user-selectable anchoring modes – another exclusive feature. The AUTO-DRIVE MODE powers the spike into the bottom with three increasingly aggressive hits. A SOFT BOTTOM MODE is ideal for less aggressive anchoring and easier retraction in muddy or silted bottom. When the wind is blowing, the ROUGH WATER MODE performs three consecutive auto-drive sequences at 10-second intervals for a secure hold when the boat rises and falls in waves. In addition, Talon’s electro-mechanical design keeps the motor above the waterline for silent stealth below the surface. Talon deploys vertically and out of the way, helping eliminate unwanted tangles when fighting boat-side fish. Anglers can also add the tilt bracket accessory for easy tilt function for passing under low-hanging obstacles. Duck hunters are beginning to use Talon on their boats.

   The Minn Kota Talon is available in a variety of color combinations including red/black, blue/black, silver/black, silver/white, all black and all white. MSRP is $2,499. (15-foot)

   Minn Kota’s new portable digital chargers have a built-in digital microprocessor that is the “brain” behind their performance. The microprocessor facilitates automatic temperature compensation, which senses the outside temperature and automatically adjust the charge profile. This self-regulation ensures a faster, more precise charge every time. The benefits to anglers are extended battery life, maximum power for cranking and improved cycle life for marine electronics.

  The Minn Kota Portable Digital Chargers also recognize when the battery has achieved full power, and shut off automatically when the charge is complete. The new models deliver 5 or 10 AMPS of total output and work on flooded/wet-cell, maintenance-free, and AGM batteries. Anglers will appreciate the portable chargers’ light weight, generous carry handle and ease-of-use on all their on-the-go fishing adventures. The 5 AMP MK-105PD will retail for $59.99 and the 10 AMP MK-110PD will retail for $84.99.