I talked a little last week about going to Tulsa, Oklahoma to spend some time with Darrell Rollins, our Field Support Specialist at Lowrance. Darrell took me on the water to train me on the use of the new Lowrance HDS units and their new Structure Scan technology.

It may have been the best four hours I’ve spent preparing for a fishing season.

I’ve yet to use the HDS units in competition, but from what I have seen, they are the most advanced fishfinders that I have ever laid eyes on.

Anyone who has ever seen my boat knows that I have a unique – some may call overkill – setup where my electronics is concerned. When coupled with my Biosonix Fish Activator, I have a total of five different electronic devices rigged on my boat.

I have a flush mount unit in the dash, as well as the bow, which I use for high speed and shallow water fishing. I also have two large screen Lowrance units on RAM Mounts; one at the bow, and one at the console for higher detail imaging when fishing deep. You can see videos on my personal website – www.skeetreeseinc.com – showing how I set up my Champion for the season.

The new HDS units will take my unique setup and make it downright extreme.

First of all, the menus on the HDS units are completely different than anything Lowrance has released before, which is a good thing. In the past, making changes to the units required using the keypad on the right, and toggling between multiple screens to make changes. Now we will have the option of programming soft keys at the bottom of the screen that will save time on the water.

The definition of the high definition screens is amazing. They show some of the clearest images of what we are positioned over that I have ever seen in a fishfinder before. When coupled with their new broadband Sonar, which returns sonar signals in a digitized format, the HDS units show target separation that can produce an image of a single fish next to a boulder.

Before the new technology, that fish would have been displayed as a part of the boulder, now we can see that it is a fish that could make the difference between winning and losing.

As an angler, I need every advantage on the water, and my competition has had a slight advantage with the abilityto see to the side with their fishfinders. Now that Lowrance has come out with their Structure Scan technology that integrates into the HDS units, I’m the one with the advantage now. They have also added SIRIUS Satellite Weather, which can help me see weather trends, as well as help me make my way back to the ramp safely around bad weather.

They even made units that have GPS modules built into the units which means we don’t have to have additional wires and accessories mounted on the boat.

I have to credit Lowrance for listening to its pro staff and implementing things that we have asked for to makinginstallation and functionality of the units easier.

The new technology is more affordable than one might think, and with Lowrance’s commitment to the quality of their products, and their training program – competing on the Elite Series just became easier – I can’t wait to put it to the test.