You may remember that we brought you the news, when the first 3D fishfinder started showing up on the market. Since then we’ve spent some extended time working with the Raymarine Axiom in 3D mode, and have an update you anglers should find interesting.
The first and biggest point we want to make: when fishing over structure in relatively deep water (over 20 feet) you absolutely, positively will find the 3D views advantageous. The main reason is the ability to touch the screen and rotate the view. This allows you to essentially “look” at a wreck or a ledge from all different angles, after passing over it a single time. It becomes much easier to figure out just what section or part of the structure is actually holding the fish, and position your boat over it.
Beyond this capability, however, there are also a lot of situations in which 3D won’t help you one iota. If you like casting in the shallows in search of reds and specks, for example, what’s directly under your boat is more or less moot. And like side-scan, in very shallow water your peripheral range is quite limited. 3D fishfinders also won’t help you much when trolling open water where big fish are hunting schools of bait. Yes, you’ll locate schools sometimes, but in my experience, in open waters by the time you circle back to try to get closer to a school you just missed, it’s moved on. Schools of bait being hunted by predators simply don’t sit around in the same place.
On the other hand, there are also a lot of unexpected perks you’ll discover when using a fishfinder in 3D mode. Quite often, you’ll unexpectedly find structure you never knew existed – even in areas you’ve fished for years. You can go down the center of a channel, and quickly discover which side is holding the lion’s share of the fish. And when vertically jigging it’s surprising how often you’ll be able to spot both your lure and the fish, and as a result will be able to determine where to cast or move to get that lure right in front of them.
So: should you get a 3D fishfinder? Truth be told, if you’ve upgraded in the past couple of years there’s a good chance you already have one – and if you haven’t, the chances are just as good that you’re fishing with old tech, and are due for an upgrade. So you might as well make that upgrade include 3D.