by Rupe Gaden •
My formative fishing years didn’t provide me with a lot of exposure to, or need for sounders or fish-finders. It wasn’t until several years later when I moved to the coast, with its unfamiliar and ever-changing saltwater environments, that I really started to see their value to the modern angler. My most recent move to Southeast Queensland and the impoundment fishing available has only made me crave the best gear I could afford even more. If I’m fishing strange water with tactics I’m not accustomed to, I’m going to need all the help I can get.
You can imagine the delight on my face when I was asked to review one of the new Lowrance Elite 9Ti units with a Totalscan transducer. These units have a high-res, 9” touch screen, GPS and many different options on how to view the bottom, structure and finned creatures that lie amongst it. The fish didn’t stand a chance.
The Elite 9Ti unit has a lot of gadgets and tricks up its sleeve. All your sonar needs are covered with support for StructureScan HD, Low/Med/High CHIRP and the TotalScan all-in-one transducer. With built-in C-MAP charts and reliable Lowrance navigation technology, it even has integrated Bluetooth and wireless connectivity which allows you to download software updates directly to the unit. This is amazing when you start to tap into other Lowrance users’ data through the Insight Genesis network.
The unit I received was to go onto a Bushman Stubby poly boat, and used primarily in the ABT BASS Electric series, and social fishing on the same bodies of water. I mounted the head unit at the bow so it would be in my field of vision from just about anywhere on the boat. If the technology is on board it may as well be utilised and easily accessed as you traverse the waterway.
Inside the box was everything I needed except a battery. Screen, transducer, cables, brackets and even the screws to mount it.
Taking the time to determine the placement of the head unit and transducer is important, but once you’ve decided the install is very simple. Within about 20 minutes the unit was plugged into a small battery and I was down the rabbit hole of features, modes and on screen displays.
Just Add Water
Sitting under the carport for setup I thought I’d sussed out exactly which layout would best suit my style of fishing, so I was ready to ditch the simulator mode and hit the boat ramp. The first launch and power-up of the unit on actual wet stuff was pretty cool to watch. It was only a matter of seconds before the Elite 9Ti was collecting, sorting and displaying the impressive amount of data it’s capable of processing.
Entering The Matrix
With the flood of information at your fingertips it would be easy to look at the screen and ask yourself, “But what does it all mean?”
I recommend spending some time reading the manual provided or, if you’re the impatient gen-y type like me, check out some tutorials on YouTube from the Lowrance pro-staff. You can scan the QR code on this page to see what I mean.
Will I Really Find More Fish?
There’s only one thing that will guarantee you more fish hitting the deck – going fishing instead of sitting on the couch refreshing your social media feeds. But once you’re on the water, YES, the Elite 9Ti will help you to find more fish. If they’re around and you know what to look for, it will show them in fantastic detail. Then you’ve just got to entice them, hook them, and land them. Easy, right?
Insight Genesis and GoFree
This is a clever concept allowing Lowrance users to help map waterways to not only enhance their own knowledge and fishing experience, but also that of other Lowrance owners. It’s a growing community with members who all believe in the ‘who shares, wins’ motto. Everyone putting in the effort and sharing information will mean we all catch more fish.
Using the GoFree app available in the app stores on your phone or tablet gives you another way to view your sounder from anywhere on the vessel. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to see just how valuable this free download could be. Its mobility is matched by its clarity. It’s super impressive.
What Should I Expect To Pay For All These Scans?
The Elite 9Ti package used for this review comes at a price much lower than you might expect for such a feature-packed unit. The RRP on this bad boy is listed on the Lowrance Australia website at $1699 with the TotalScan transducer included, but recently I’ve been able to find them in local retailers for as little as $1349! It’s not that long ago that such capabilities would cost you twice that, and they didn’t always include a transducer for that money either!
I am so glad the opportunity to test this unit came across my desk and onto my little poly boat Donut King. With every trip it demonstrates its value more and more. Although I’ve always been good with technology, I doubted I’d find the Elite as easy to use as some other brands I’d used, purely because I had no experience with Lowrance menus. However, it really is a cinch – and navigation is only made easier with the touch screen, which is another thing I hadn’t been exposed to before.
I’ve been so impressed in a relatively short period of time that I’ve already recommended this exact package to a couple of mates who were in the market. The sheer amount of technology, adaptability and ease of use combined with the price tag make it a no-brainer for me.
You should absolutely check out the Elite range of Lowrance sounders the next time you’re in a local dealer or find them online if need be. I’m sure you’ll be just as happy with them as I am with mine.