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Electronic Dance Part#2 - GPS

 

Welcome to Part#2 of the Electronic Dance. In this article we will talk about the uses of a GPS and how to utilize them properly. GPS is short for Global Positioning System. It is a series of satellites that were developed and is maintained by the United States Department of Defense and they have allowed it to be used by the general public. Now how does this effect fishermen? With this invention we can store every fishing hole we ever known without worrying about forgetting it. All too often I have come to a body of water that I hadn't fished in years and forgotten where the honey-holes were. Now that I have a portable GPS at hand when I find the honey hole I simply plot it on my GPS, I then back it up on my home computer and over a few years I have built up a database of fishing hot-spots. Not only can I plot fishing hot-spots, but I can also plot where boat launches and marina gas stations are or even where sandbars abruptly shoot up from the depths of a lake, or maybe a boulder is only 1 foot from the surface of the water. All I would have to do is push one button on my GPS and mark it as a shallow area and I will be safe.

Being able to simply plot sunken debris, fishing-holes, and boat launches is in itself a great asset to a fisherman, but a GPS can do one other thing that is even more important than this. It can find your way home even if it was pitch dark outside and pouring rain. Most, if not all, portable GPS units have a Tracking function which allows you to retrace your steps exactly. Not only will this save you from being lost, but it can also be handy if you want to keep track of a trolling route, this is a great asset for great lakes fishermen.

Now that we now how we can benefit from a GPS unit, let's talk about which GPS's we should buy, and which ones we should stay away from. First and foremost, make sure your GPS is waterproof. While fishing it is not uncommon to get water places we don't necessarily want it to go, so be proactive and buy a unit that is waterproof. Secondly, GPS units have a tendency to not have detailed maps preloaded on them, so ask the retailer which maps will most suit your needs as a fisherman in a specific state, province. I fish mostly southwestern Ontario so I bought a program called 'Topo Canada'. This adds cities, small lakes, rivers and trails onto my GPS map. It also makes the water boundaries more realistic and not jagged. Without this program, if I was boating close to shore on a lake, the GPS would show me as being on land. Obviously this causes the GPS to be almost useless. However, this program cost me 180 dollars, and I bought the GPS on sale for 180 dollars (normally 300). So be forewarned, it can get expensive, especially if you were like me when I bought mine and didn't realize I needed the extra "Topo Canada" program to make it worth my while.  

Some cheaper GPS units will not allow extra software to be added. Be carefully when buying these, although they can seem cheap at first, they will never show roads, trails, lakes, rivers, streams as accurately as a unit with software add-ons. The internal memory of the GPS denotes how much data or maps you can fit. Normally they will come with 4mb, 8mb, 24mb and more. I find 8mb of space will fit enough information so you can fish within a 3 hours radius of your home and have top quality information on rivers, streams, lakes, highways, and forests. If you plan on doing a lot of traveling, then 24mb+ would more suit your needs.

 Tune in next time on the Electronic Dance and we will talk about trolling motors and what is a best fit for your boat.

 



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