April 22, 2022
By George LaBonte
If you haven’t seen the latest 3-D bathymetric charts from StrikeLines and you love to fish, you’re missing out on an invaluable tool for not only understanding terrain features where fishing is productive, but one to be used as a guide to locate new spots based on your past success. If you’re unfamiliar with the technology, these are 3-D high resolution ocean floor maps loaded onto a microSD card that you plug into your Navico compatible MFD unit. (see Florida Sportsman Oct-21)
After having a few months to put these charts to work, I’ve discovered what might be the most useful component of the technology was something I hadn’t originally considered even though it was right before my eyes. Initially I imagined that seeing the bottom from a 3-D perspective would reveal remote structure in areas I might have overlooked while also painting a better picture of deep water structure for bottom fishing or swordfish that wasn’t very well documented on common navigation charts. Both of these points proved to be accurate but there was more to it after I became familiar with the use of the information.
What ultimately became the most valuable technique for me was putting information already in my arsenal to work in conjunction with the StrikeLines imagery. As an angler who already has a collection of coordinates for bottom fishing- the ability to view a known productive section of snapper or grouper habitat and compare it to other locations for similarities was a light bulb moment. Finding similar or identical features much like looking at pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in areas where I hadn’t previously spent any time exploring opened up a new world of possibilities that produced consistent results. Before too long, locating and identifying similar terrain features was opening up a lot of new doors and my GPS logbook was multiplying exponentially.
Although the 3-D charts are compatible with primarily Navico friendly equipment, there are workarounds to employ this technique with non-compatible brands. First, StrikeLines offers an Android tablet with built-in GPS that you can have them load separately purchased charts of your choice into and take with you anywhere. This also makes it easier to study the charts in your home without the need to be looking at your boat’s electronics display. They also offer downloadable charts to use in conjunction with the FREE OsmAnd Maps app compatible with both Android and IOS devices. Either option alone or combined with the cards plugged into your boat’s system provides anglers many more options when the common reef spots get too crowded. www.strikelines.com