New Electronics for Offshore Fishing

Hot new gear from Garmin, Furuno, Fusion, Mazu and more

July 20, 2018
man tapping a marine display on his yacht
New Electronics for Offshore Fishing Christopher Balogh

The latest electronics products can keep us entertained, on course and in touch from nearly any location in the world, as the developers stretch the imagination of possibility in today’s market.

fusion apollo ra770 multimedia entertainment sytem

Fusion Apollo RA770

Fusion’s touch-screen display can be mounted flush in the dash for a no-profile look. Courtesy Fusion

Fusion continues to upgrade its multizone, multimedia entertainment systems, and its latest, the Apollo series, is the company’s most elegant-looking and sophisticated in operation yet. The touch-screen display can be mounted flush in the dash for a no-profile look. Tap the screen to pause, play or access the playlist and change audio in any part of the vessel. Network it to many other source heads via PartyBus to control the music throughout the vessel and listen to different music in every area. Best of all, Apollo can wirelessly connect to other displays, eliminating the complication of pulling wires.

Thermacell Radius

Keep bugs off the boat — that’s what this proven device does for up to 110 square feet of area. To mosquitoes, it’s an iron dome, thanks to Thermacell’s patented repellent vaporizer. It’s powered by a built-in lithium-ion battery good for six hours of work, or indefinitely when the USB charger cable is connected. Repellent replacement cartridges are available in 12- and 40-hour pods. The best part of the device is that it’s equipped with an adjustable automatic shut-off timer so you don’t waste power or repellent. Does it really work? Yep, we’ve proved its effectiveness many times.

Furuno GP-197F MultiTouch Combo

Furuno GP-197F MultiTouch Combo

Furuno’s latest multitouch displays with TruEcho chirp and RezBoost sonar imaging are non-networking but ideal for the tender. Best yet, they connect wirelessly to First Watch DRS4W radar. Courtesy Furuno

If you’re running Furuno’s multitouch displays on the big boat, you’ll want to keep the same functionality running on the tender too. Furuno just introduced the GP-1971F and GP-1871F combo units, bundled with TruEcho chirp plus conventional sonar. The units don’t network to other displays, but will wirelessly connect to DRS4W First Watch radar, making installation on smaller boats a breeze. These new units also boast Furuno’s unique RezBoost crystal-clear sonar imaging, Accu-Fish and bottom discrimination, just like their big brothers.

Garmin inReach Mini

Why should a personal locator beacon be a one-way affair? Garmin says it shouldn’t. Its inReach Mini PLB combines satellite communications, enabling two-way text messaging via the 100 percent global Iridium satellite network. If things go FUBAR, send an SOS to the proven 24/7/365 rescue service. Once rescue is initiated, inReach Mini receives a response and rescue ETA. Oh, and it’s a handheld GPS too, and can accept Garmin’s downloadable maps for land and sea plus receive weather forecasts.

Mazu Sport fishing Satellite Communicator

Mazu Sport Fishing Satellite Communicator

Mazu works seamlessly with Raymarine Axiom series displays. Courtesy Mazu

This satellite communicator is bundled with a free tablet app, and with it, offshore fishermen can check GRIB weather and overlay it on either National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or Navionics charts via satellite, cellular or Wi-Fi service. Just for planning a trip, it’s an essential device to map a route based on sea-surface temperature, chlorophyll, sea-surface height and more. Then transfer the route to your navigation device. Mazu works seamlessly with Raymarine Axiom series displays to eliminate the tablet if you wish. But, the device is also a satellite communicator, empowering your Raymarine display or tablet to email or text. It also works as an emergency communicator to send an emergency SOS with your position from anywhere in the world via Iridium satellite to arrange rescue. Finally, add vessel-monitoring devices such as bilge high water, battery low voltage and more, and activate the Sentry function to keep track of your boat’s location at all times.

garmin fantom radars

Garmin GMR Fantom 54/56 and 124/126 Radars

Garmin leads the way with the industry’s newest and most powerful solid-state pulse compression radars: the Fantom 54/56 and Fantom 124/126. Both are available in 4- or 6-foot open arrays. Courtesy Garmin

Solid-state radar is getting better. Much better. And Garmin has just introduced its latest and the industry’s most powerful solid-state pulse compression series. Both are available in 4- or 6-foot open arrays. The Fantom 54/56 series boasts 50 watts of power, and the Fantom 124/126 bosses have 120 watts. The 50-watt output closely equates to 6 kW, and the 120-watt models challenge the performance of 15 kW models.

Billfishermen might be slow to ditch magnetron-based radar for finding birds, but advancements in these make Garmin’s new radars tournament-worthy. Early solid-state radars were once thought to be just for smaller vessels or companions to magnetrons for the instant-on advantage, but they give astonishing detail and target resolution. The 50-watt version has a near-target range of just 20 feet and an outer range of 72 nautical miles, and the 120 can reach out 96 miles, equaling or exceeding the navigation strengths of the most powerful magnetron radars. But it is the resolution that is most amazing. Using even early solid-state radars, we’ve painted a coconut, distinguished a tender from its yacht hundreds of yards away and even picked up a scalloper’s snorkel when we lost a swimmer one summer. This all-new radar from Garmin is the latest iteration of the instant-on radar, but with more power on targets for stronger returns and some cool processing to make your radar readings even more meaningful.

For safer navigation, it uses what Garmin calls MotionScope technology, a system reliant on Doppler effect, to detect and embolden moving targets on your display. Doppler waves change as the target moves from approaching to departing, and as they do, each target’s fading colored trail changes to let you know when a threat of collision is past. Pulse compression gives the high-resolution returns from the narrow, powerful 1.8-degree beam, and that allows displays to show small or barely floating objects as well as multiple objects that are very close together. Then Pulse Expansion increases target return size on the display so you don’t overlook them.


Lastly, Auto Bird Gain is just the one that could get you to glance away from magnetron radar. It uses Fantom’s high-resolution, compressed narrow beam signal to pick up the scant targets of birds, even those just skimming or resting on the surface, automatically, and display them on the screen boldly to guide you to fishy waters. Best of all, as we’ve come to expect, all this radar information can be overlaid on your chart for easy interpretation and navigation.


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