Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp

Its been a few years since I bought a new sounder, a good 8 years for sure.  But, with my new tinny and a smaller platform to work with I of course went back to the Lowrance brand, and am definitely not sorry that I did!  I did want to get back into a color sounder, it doesn't  find fish any better, but with the Chirp technology, here's the difference:

"Standard Sonar

Standard sonar sends 1 single frequency at a time. Since the only feedback is from this 1 single frequency, there is little information to work with, limiting the clarity and resolution available with standard sonar.


Instead of sending just 1 single frequency, CHIRP sends a continuous sweep of frequencies ranging from low to high. CHIRP sonar technology then interprets frequencies individually upon their return. Since this continuous sweep of frequencies provides CHIRP with a much wider range of information, CHIRP sonar is able to create a much clearer, higher resolution image."

OK, and with that said I use the feature very little, case closed.  There is no doubt that the picture definition is amazing, but on deeper lakes not so much.  Here's a couple pics of what I mean:


 In the picture on the left, there is a school of bait fish, standard sonar on the left side of the screen and CHIRP on the right.  Although they show up on both screens, when marking single fish it is much harder to tell what your looking at with the CHIRP, unless your in shallower waters.  In the picture on the right which is just of structure, there is no doubt that the CHIRP provides amazing detail to underwater structure.  In fact, if you zoomed in on the structure you could actually pick out individual markings that were no doubt fish!  Because of this, I use the standard sonar 90% of the time, but on shallow lakes I will use the CHIRP when I am looking for specific structure that hold fish.

As far as "extra's", this sonar has pretty much what my last one did, but I bought this one with the built in Gold mapping from Navionics, amazing detail.  I've been to a few small lakes that my other system did not have mapped, but this one seems to have them all.  The GPS in this unit has not "disappeared" yet, is built in, and always seems to be able to pick up a single regardless of weather conditions.  I personally would not buy a sounder without the GPS feature, it's a definite "must have" to keep on top of the fish, and for getting back home if your coastal fishing and the fog sets in!  As far as a screen size, there were bigger ones that could be had but I settled for the smaller 5", I'm not watching TV out there so I hardly need the big screen.  My last one was only a 7" and it too was more than suitable for my needs, this is one time when bigger isn't always necessarily better.  Great unit, cost, on sale for $600, without the mapping $500, buy the map program separate will set you back $300 so a great deal.  Also, this unit is now discontinued.  As with computers, don't even try to keep up with technology!