It’s pretty much impossible to find a modern fishing boat that does not come equipped with one kid of fish finding device or another. Of all available options, GPS devices have become the way to find fish whilst being safe on the water. Not only do they help you navigate, they also allow you to mark a good fishing spot that you can return to later.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System and is most commonly used for navigation. They pull information from a number of different orbiting satellites put into space by the US Government. One of the major benefits of a GPS system is their ability to work at any time and in any type of weather condition.
The orbiting satellites travel round the earth twice per day, transmitting signal information as they go. Those signals are then triangulated to give the user an exact location on their device. A simple explanation of triangulation is that your GPS receiver needs to be locked on to three spots in order to get the exact latitude and longitude of your current location. Once that crucial information is locked in, the GPS can then use other satellites to deliver other information such as speed, track, trip distance, destination distance, as well as sunset and sunrise times.
The multi-channel design of GPS systems allows them to give readings that are incredibly accurate. Once the GPS finds a satellite, it will lock on through one of their available channels. Most fish finders have an accuracy of up to 15 meters, with newer models delivering an accuracy of up to 3 meters.
The benefits of fishing with a GPS system are wide and varied, which explains why so many are now moving away from maps and charts to this more modern form of navigation. For example, if you have discovered a number of great fishing spots, you can save them into your GPS so that you can easily get back to all of those locations, saving you a ton of time and frustration. Another benefit is the ability to track down hot fishing spots that would ordinarily have gone undiscovered when using old charts and maps. You will also have the ability to share that information with friends if you go fishing on their boat instead of your own.
GPS systems can also contribute to your safety out on the water. Being out on the boat is a ton of fun, but it’s also easy to lose focus, especially if there are a few people on the boat with you. It becomes all too easy to lose your way or get turned around. A GPS system will always help you find your way back to where you need to be. They are also very useful should bad weather such as heavy fog or rain roll in. They have built-in mapping software that can safely guide you back to a dock. The accuracy of your GPS will also allow the Coast Guard to locate your position should an emergency arise.
Handel GPS devices are readily available online or at your local boating store. There are tons to choose from, so ask for help in selecting the one that best suits your needs. There is also the option of getting a built-in GPS system when you buy a new boat. If it doesn’t come pre-installed, you can ask you boat dealer to direct you to an installation professional.
As great as GPS systems are, they should never be the sole navigation tool you have on board your boat. As with any computerized tool, problems can arise, so make sure you have traditional maps and charts, too, in case a problem arises. Another must have on your boat is a handheld radio, which can be a lifesaver in emergencies.