by Simon Goldsmith •
The advances in sounder design, performance, and function have never been greater and a recent upgrade from a 10 year old 7” unit to a new 7” Simrad NSS7 evo3 illustrated to me with blinding clarity just how advanced today’s modern sounders are. The data and information they provide for an angler, and how handicapped you can be as an angler if you’re not running one in your boat are now truly evident.
Small and Mighty
The new Simrad NSS evo3 is the latest evolution in the NSS series, the previous incarnation of course being the NSS evo2 series. While the model I had may have been the smallest in the range, it certainly doesn’t lack in performance, power, and ability.
The evo3 delivers many advances over its predecessor the evo2, with new Dual Channel CHIRP providing the ability to display both low and high CHIRP on your screen at the same time. This can be a huge asset when fishing offshore where the need and benefit in having both can be huge, with low CHIRP giving you the depth penetration you’re looking for and high CHIRP the shallow and surface detail you want.
I ran my unit on high CHIRP when fishing the dams in South East Queensland and the detail and speed in the information it provided was razor sharp. Most times I ran high CHIRP on a split screen next to my DownScan display. I had the high CHIRP there to provide me with maximum information of what was below, while the DownScan provided me with a breakdown and a separation in the detail of what was below. The DownScan gives me the clarity to see individual fish and also at times identify what species is below. Telling the difference between catfish and bass at Wivenhoe is must.
Bright as the sun
Being able to see the sounder screen in bright sunshine, particularly with sunglasses on, has often been a challenge with sounders and the evo3 attacks that challenge head on with its new display. The new SolarMAX HD display provides a bright, easy-to-read screen that is clear and crisp to read in any light, at any time. Sharp and vivid in its colours and details, the evo3 has few, or perhaps no peers when it comes to display clarity.
While we live in an age of touch screens, and they’re preferable in most cases to use over non-touch screens, there are times when they aren’t the best to use. The evo3 provides that alternative with both touch screen and keypad and dial functionality providing the best of both worlds. Offshore anglers and those fishing in rough conditions will reap the benefits of this dual design.
I found myself using both, and to switch between the two was a fluid process and took little time to become familiar with. Once I got dialled in with how the unit worked I don’t think I ever found myself asking, ‘Now which button do I press again?’
Often I wouldn’t look, I’d just reach when pressing a button. For example, if I was on the front deck of my boat fishing and I wanted to mark a waypoint, I’d just lean down and hit the waypoint button without ever actually looking at the screen. It was easy and it was simple. I used the same blind approach in many cases when powering the unit on and off.
The menu button and dial layout is very logical and clean in its setup, making it very easy to use and learn. The customization of the WheelKey on the keypad is another great setup option and you can tailor it for both a short press and long press. Customise it how you want, and in one button you have two different functions tailored to your needs.
Modern sounders are anything but standalone pieces of technology and the evo3 offers multiple connectivity options. Built-in GoFree wifi allows you to download charts direct to the unit via the GoFree online shop, or alternatively you can download the maps to your computer, save them onto a micro SD, then install them in your sounder. I used both methods to test how all the options were to use and found it all easy and logical to do.
The Social Maps available from the GoFree online shop are a fantastic resource to have at your fingertips. The ability to upgrade and expand the data in your unit and do so via a social, user contribution-based platform, impressed me the most when I made the leap from a 10 year old unit to the new evo3. I was definitely behind the times.
To access the evo3’s online GoFree options, all you need to do is connect your unit to a wifi connection. I connected to both my wifi at home and also did a hotspot with my iPhone, and just like downloading the Social Maps, I found the process simple and logical.
If you want to view your evo3 display on the water via your iPad or iPhone, that function is available too, with the GoFree Link app allowing you to view and control your Simrad via your smartphone or tablet. In large boats this is a great way to keep an eye on the charts, radar and engine data you have displayed on your Simrad.
The Total package
I ran a TotalScan transducer with the evo3, and it’s a transducer that could be described as the total package providing Broadband, CHIRP, StructureScan and DownScan imaging. The Broadband sonar supports 83/200kHz frequency, medium and high CHIRP frequencies, while the StructureScan supports 455/800kHz frequencies.
As I mentioned earlier my preference in most cases was to run high CHIRP on screen, and when I needed further clarity and refinement in what I had on screen, I ran DownScan in conjunction with it.
The Simrad NSS7 evo3 is a multi-faceted, multi-function unit that offers chart, echo, structure, radar, navigation, instruments, video, autopilot, timer plot, and forward scan all on the homepage. While I only scratched the surface when it came to use these functions, chart, echo, and structure were my three go-tos. The evo3 is a sounder that is equally at home on a small inshore boat, like my 17’ bass boat, as it is on a larger offshore.
The chart options and display, especially with Social Maps, are stunning to say the least. The Social Maps and the underwater topography they make available for anglers, and for a lake angler like me, are priceless in my opinion. The echo and structure options show us what’s beneath the surface with outstanding detail and clarity.
The addition of the Simrad NSS7 evo3 to my bass boat has been an evolution for my fishing that’s been long overdue and enlightened me to what is possible and what is available. The only problem I see now is that I want another one and I want a bigger one. I think NSS12 just might be on the cards.