Josh Bertrand: Learning the Power of Panoptix with my “Aha Moment”

By: Josh Bertrand

It was the perfect “Aha moment”: My very first week on the water with my new Garmin Panoptix transducer, on Lake Pleasant, just outside of Phoenix. I was as new as you could possibly be to Panoptix – I had just been added to the Garmin Pro Team, had just gotten my GPSMAP 7608, 7610 and 7612xsv units installed, and was literally using it for the first time.

I had already seen some crazy stuff with what Garmin calls an “all-seeing sonar”, and had just pulled up on a spot to throw an Alabama rig. I’ll never forget what I saw: I had my eyes locked on my 7608xsv screen on my front deck, and literally watched a fish come out of a tree, swim up to my bait, and then turn around and swim back into the tree.

I put my A-rig rod down, picked up a drop-shot, threw back into the tree, and caught that fish.

I didn’t even know what I was doing with Panoptix yet, but there it was. Proof of what a huge advantage it could be on the water.

I made the switch to Garmin electronics in January. This was a serious decision for me, because as most of you know, our electronics are where it’s at for us fishing the Elite Series. Every other piece of gear we use depends on what we’re able to find and decipher from our electronics. But from the minute I saw the very first video on Panoptix last year, I knew it was something I really needed to look into.

I already knew that Garmin’s quality was top notch. They were good enough to dominate the personal GPS market across the board, and the more I looked into their technology, the more I understood that their mapping was a step above everybody else, too.

But Panoptix. That was the deal. A forward-scanning transducer mounted on the shaft of your trolling motor (officially the “Panoptix PS21 LiveVü Forward” transducer) that allows you to look underneath docks and scan across flats and breaks without having idle over them. The advantages are pretty profound.

Panoptix at the Bassmaster Classic
I can tell you without a doubt that Panoptix will make a difference for me at the Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake in early March. Grand has a ton of docks, and I don’t care how good you are at idling along a row of docks in practice, you can’t idle your boat under a dock. With Panoptix, you can literally see fish under those docks.

It’ll also be fantastic for scanning brush piles and throwing a jerkbait. You might be moving along, throwing a crankbait, see a brushpile on your Panoptix 80 feet in front of you, switch up to a jig and pluck a fish out of the brushpile. With a jerkbait, you can watch how fish are schooling, can see if fish are maybe following your bait and not biting, and adjust the way you’re fishing it.

I’m still on a learning curve with Panoptix, but as I dial it in over the course of the 2016 Elite Series, I feel like I’ll open whole new realms of possibility. I can’t wait.

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