Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Wait for Ice?

The new MarCum LX-9 combines digital sonar, high-definition underwater video and DVR functionality in one portable unit.

One inevitable effect of ICAST and all the reports that come from the world's largest sportfishing trade show is a surge of anticipation in the fishing world. Anglers everywhere read stories and watch reports, but most of the best stuff hasn't hit full production, and some may not be available for several months. And so we anticipate.

The waiting is even worse when it's stuff made for ice-fishing. No matter how quickly the manufacturers get production up to speed and make their products available, it's tough to ice-fish without ice. You can jiggle a new rod, hold jig between your fingers or even set up a shelter in your yard, but somehow it's not the same as really putting it to work on the hard water.

Such is the case this year. One of the coolest product introductions I'm aware of from this year's show, the MarCum LX-9, was designed primarily for ice fishing, so my guess is that some Minnesota lake will have to freeze before I'll actually get to see one in action. This portable unit combines digital sonar readings and high-definition camera, visible together on a split screen, and adds DVR recording capabilities. Talk about getting a seriously good picture of what's below you as you fish and being able to truly study the fish's behavior!

The more I think about these units and all their functions, though, the more I wonder why they should be only for ice. I realize most boating anglers rely upon in-dash units, and my guess is that changing bottom depths and a moving boat could create some challenges for the depth setting of the camera. Still, so much boat fishing is from a stationary position, with a lure or bait dropped straight down from the rod tip. It would seem like an LX-9 would be be immeasurably valuable to a drop-shotter working a school of suspended bass or a crappie fisherman jigging spoons beside a bridge piling. Or what about a scouting angler who is slowing going over a hole and is trying to figure out of he's seeing stripers, catfish or something else on his electronics?

What about dock fishermen, small-boat anglers or even back-of-the boat fishermen? Serious ice fishermen all carry their own electronics from hole to hole on every lake they visit. It seems to me like we might be "missing the boat" in the open-water world, and that the LX-9 is too seriously cool to only use when it's seriously cold.

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