At last year’s forum get together a few of us had the conversation over dinner about Garmin’s Panoptix technology and how it had the potential to change the game of today’s run and gun, ice trolling, hole hop way of ice fishing. Yesterday I had the opportunity to use it for the first time on the hard water and it was pretty interesting to see and learn.
The best way to describe Panoptix is as a live ultrasound of the entire water column up to 80’ or more away. From the top of the ice to the mud of the bottom - everything that swims. Imagine seeing a school of perch 45’ away from where you stand and having your buddy walk 45 feet in the direction the fish are, drill a hole, drop a jig down and catch those fish. All while you hang out at the original location watch his auger punch through the ice on your screen and then watch those fish race up to his bait react to it and see him fighting the fish.
Our best success came in the afternoon when the weather started warming up and the barometric pressure was dropping. We went from -12 Saturday morning to almost 32 degrees by yesterday afternoon, which felt like a major heat wave. We found the fish relating to the old creek channels that run through the basin of the lake we were fishing. We drilled a large grid of holes along the old creek channel and placed the Panoptix unit in a hole near the middle of our grid knowing the fish were in our general vicinity. From there, we spun the transducer until we’d mark a school of fish and we’d walk to the nearest hole to where we thought the school was located. Many times the school’s were large enough when you’d walk to the hole and put your Marcum transducer in the hole you’d be right on top of them and catch 3-4 fish before you'd spook them or they’d swim away. When the school would move you’d go to the Panoptix and spin it until you find the school again and repeat.
The photo below shows two holes we had drilled one at 20’ and one at 38’ and the big school of crappies right below the hole at 20’. Too many takeaways tyo mention but the learning curve on it is endless. It made for a fun successful day on the ice.