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Garmin Panoptix – Great Tech for Walleye by Steve Pennaz
 When Garmin first introduced Panoptix, I was sitting in a well-lit room surrounded by bass pros  like Scott Martin, Jason Christie and Greg Hackney. The speaker called Panoptix “All Seeing Sonar,” then unleased a video that showed Panoptix LiveVu Forward in action.

My immediate impression was that the Panoptix display was easy to read…the bottom contour was instantly clear as was the small school of suspended fish which, according to the screen, was about 30 feet in front of the boat and about 10 feet below the surface.

It was also clear the fish were moving.

The next thing we saw was a small blip appear above and behind the fish that headed down in what we all recognized as the dive curve of a medium diving crankbait. The fish on the screen responded to the bait instantly, chasing it for several feet toward the boat before turning back the way they had come.

The video was a stunning display of the power of Panoptix and the room went instantly electric—this new tech shows bottom, fish, bait, and your lure, in real time. It even allowed you to pinpoint fish location!

The speaker then switched the conversation over to the second Panoptix option—LiveVu Down and that’s when the walleye/smallmouth fisherman in me edged a bit closer to the front of my seat.

Panoptix, we learned, offers three distinct down views:

walleye 1.    LiveVü Down -- provides real-time moving sonar images of what’s below the boat. Unlike traditional sonar, however, LiveVu Down doesn’t just show you depth and fish, it also shares the fish’s precise location, port or starboard, and the distance from the boat to the fish.

The value of this information is impossible to overstate…Panoptix gives you the ability to precisely present your bait to visible fish…and witness their response in real time.

Tournament walleye anglers are successfully using Panoptix LiveVu Down to successfully present multiple lines to individual fish (calling out simply “right” or “left” to fishing partners).

Target separation is superb, as is sensitivity…on my last trip my partner used a small barrel swivel above his jigging spoon and both were easily visible on screen.

walleye 2.    RealVü 3D Historical – Provides a history of the entire water column including bottom contours and fish in three dimensions. Fish and bait stand out in vivid colors. This is a superb tool for targeting suspended fish while trolling.

walleye 3.     RealVü 3D Down -- Digitally scans the area below the boat from front to back and side to side. A full 3D view of the area under the boat is constructed, showing bottom contour changes, fish and structure, even while stationary.

I have used all three “down” views over the past two years. For most of my vertical walleye presentations (jigging, live bait rigging and bottom-bouncers) and while dropping-shotting smallmouth, I go with LiveVu Down.

Pinpointing fish is the biggest reason, but I’ve found that watching fish response to my presentations is also extremely valuable. In some cases, the fish move quickly to the bait and strike, but other times they simply follow, ignore it completely or even spook. In all cases, this information is helpful in building effective patterns quickly.

I have the Panoptix PS30 transducer on the stern of my Ranger 620FS. I want access to the cleanest water at low speeds for the best available images. I rely on traditional sonar when running at high speeds; I often run a split screen with LakeVu mapping and LiveVu Down when on structure.

Gamin allows you to easily adjust the beam angle on LiveVu Down to adjust for speed, boat direction, etc. In most cases, reading fish and baits presented beneath the boat is possible, but not always.

There’s one other plus---Panoptix—both LiveVu Forward and LiveVu Down are deadly effective for ice fishing.  

LiveVu Forward makes it easy to locate fish up to 100 feet from the hole, and LiveVu Down provides insane target separation beneath your hole, that come in handy when fishing with others. You no longer question which bait a fish is responding to and you can watch fish moving several feet to each side to each side of the hole.

Panoptix is a technology that continues to impress.

Click here to see Panoptix on Garmin.com

Steve Pennaz is a hall of fame angler and host of Lake Commandos television series. He is highly skilled at finding and catching fish on new waters.


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