Fishfinder technology has evolved at an utterly blinding pace during the past decade, as manufacturers one-up each other on an annual basis. Most of the rapidity developed after the introduction of side-scanning fishfinders, and more recently, it’s been a slew of 3D fishfinders. This year, Garmin took a shot at one-upping the field yet another time with their Panoptix LiveScope system.
Rather than utilize just the usual down- and/or side-looking transducer elements, Panoptix LiveScope has a three-element transducer with the elements arranged in different angles, giving the “view” it sees a fan-like shape. These elements produce a simultaneous multi-frequency burst, rather than using single-frequency bursts (as with traditional fishfinders) or a series of pings through a frequency spectrum (as with CHIRP). Then, the unit’s computer brain stitches the returns from all three elements together, to project them onto the LCD screen on your fishfinder. There’s also a down-looking element incorporated into the transducer, so you can enjoy traditional fish-finding views at the same time. Meanwhile, an integrated attitude heading reference system constantly adjusts the sonar beams to mitigate the motion of your boat.
Net result: with the transducer mounted on a trolling motor, you can look 360-degrees around from top to bottom out to around 200 feet, as well as straight down. That’s pretty cool, but what’s even cooler is that the returns you see are so stunningly detailed that in some cases, it will be possible to determine what species of fish you’re looking at. Check out the picture above, and note that you can actually make out the individual fins on the fish. That. Is. Amazing.
If you already have modern Garmin gear on your boat, there’s a good chance it’ll be compatible with Panoptix LiveScope and all you’ll need to add is a GLS 10 black-box and the transducer ($1,499 in all), plus maybe a software update. It’s rather difficult to wrap your head around just how intense the views this system provides are, so we’d suggest going to YouTube and searching for videos. There are several on there – just for fun, see if you can ID the species of fish they’re looking at.