Lowrance Point-1 ... A Must Have!
2014 Oct 06
The Point-1 GPS Receiver / Compass / Heading Sensor in my opinion, is one of the top three products Lowrance has launched in the past few years. The reason I say this is that it has done two major things –
1. Stabilized the charts when approaching a waypoint at very slow speeds
2. Stabilized the charts when fishing single, or multiple waypoints from a stationary position.
The keywords here are “slow speeds and stationary”, as any experienced user will tell you, have always been a bit of a problem with chart plotters. The reason for this is the lack of a directional gyro, or heading sensor / compass as it is more commonly known.
CoG (Course over Ground) on a chart plotter without a heading sensor is created by a presumed course taking your trail history as a guideline. Under Chart Options you can select Heading Extension, Course Extension or Both. If you select either Heading or Course Extension without having a heading sensor, you will notice two main things when driving at the console on the main motor:-
1. When you turn to port, your extension line will first go to starboard before catching up, and it is this phenomenon that makes it so difficult idle to a waypoint accurately. This is made even worse if you have a receiver mounted directly above your transducer (where it should be). The reason for this is that a boat turns very much like a forklift, as it is being steered by the back, and not the front like on a car or when using the trolling motor.
2. You will also notice that if you hit reverse, your pointer will tell you that you have turned the boat around 180°, when in fact it is still pointing in the same direction, just going backwards.
With a heading sensor, both these problems are solved, as can be seen in these diagrams –
When you kill the main motor and start fishing offshore targets on your chart plotter, you have a whole new problem depending on chart orientation (North up / Heading up), either the chart spins erratically or your pointer (extension) spins erratically, making it nearly impossible to fish.
The simplest way to orientate yourself on water is to use your boat as a reference, for both heading and distance. If you take your bow as the 12 o’clock position, then waypoints around you can easily be placed at one of the hour positions of a clock. For distance, using the length of your boat as a guide against your range rings, will go a long way in making those accurate casts.
Like any tool, no matter how fantastic it is, there are some fundamental guidelines that need to be fully understood in order to get the maximum out of the device.
1. Centre of the Clock
This is what a typical chart would look like with the range rings at 50ft intervals, and the heading extension in blue representing the boat’s true heading (Point-1). From this position there are 6 waypoints that are in reach of a very easy 50ft cast with a light bait.
Now you need to imagine that clock face around your position. There is a rock pile (163) at 1:30 approximately 20ft away, a tree (175) at just after 3 approximately 40ft, another tree (088) at just after 6 approximately 65ft (outside of 50ft range ring), another tree (124) just after 7 at 50ft, another tree (127) just after 8 at 50ft and another tree (162) just after 9 at 50ft. At this point it all seems easy enough, but beware.
That position you see as a little triangle in the centre of the screen is the receiver’s position, not necessarily where you are standing. Lets take the worse case scenario where your active receiver is mounted directly above your transducers at the transom, and you are reading your charts on the bow unit while fishing on a 21ft boat. That 50ft cast to tree (162) at the ‘just after 9 o’clock ’ position is going to be way off.
The solution to this problem is when you move from the console to the bow to go fish, change the GPS receiver source on the bow MFD to ‘This Unit’. You will still be getting accurate true heading data from the Point-1, but your actual position (centre of clock) will be very close to where you are making your casts from.
So next time you are on the water just randomly casting to 'approximate' targets and coming up a bit short in the live-well, I suggest you give the Point-1 an opportunity to prove itself on your boat.