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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Guys,

I am ready to buy a new 16.5’ boat with walk through windshield- still considering Lund, Crestliner and Alumacraft. Has to be 16.5’ because a longer boat/trailer would be too wide to make it through my garage door and the boat must be stored at my home. I will be adding a 24v Terrova 80 with iPilot at the bow. I am considering adding 2 Humminbird 899’s (bow and helm) and am curious if the “link” feature would be a worthwhile addition to the Terrova.

If I added the “link” feature, I could network both 899’s to the Terrova using a 5 way Ethernet switch and this would allow full sharing of information between the units. However, to realize the full use of the “link” feature, a Lakemaster chip for the lake you are on is required. The “Follow the Contour” and “Contour Offset” features are lost if the lake has not been scanned by Lakemaster. In Colorado, only three marginally popular fishing lakes (2 renditions of Lake Mary/Estes, Boulder Reservoir and Lake Isabel) have been HD scanned. Additionally, there are several marginally scanned lakes but this scanning is of questionable value for the “link” application and many lakes such as Spinney, Granby and 11 Mile are not even given this cursory scan. The “link” feature allows for greatly increased storage of waypoints and tracks that have been recorded but, considering the constant fluctuation of lake levels here, these waypoints and tracks would only be appropriate/valuable for a specific water level. With that in mind, the reduced storage capacity of the Terrova with iPilot but without “link” would not seem to be an important consideration. I may fish some waters in WY, KS and NE that are fully scanned in HD by Lakemaster but this would be infrequently. It would be especially valuable to hear the opinions from anyone who has the “link” feature and has fished lakes that have the extensive scans to see what their opinion might be for the HD scanned lakes and the lakes in Colorado that are marginally scanned and/or not scanned at all by Lakemaster.

It would seem that putting an 899 on the bow without networking it to the helm 899 (through “link”) would be of questionable value since the transducer attached to the Terrova cannot utilize the side or down imaging features of that unit. The 899 is a 7” unit and I would like to maintain the detail and ease of reading a unit of that size so a compromise at the bow might be an 859ci HD Combo. In either scenario, the helm 899ci HD SI Combo unit will be attached to a transom mounted transducer that will fully enable the side and down imaging features of that unit. If the “link” feature were added to the Terrova, the bow unit could share the side and down imaging abilities of the transducer on the transom with an 899 helm unit via the Ethernet connection. This information could not be shared with an 859 mounted on the bow.

As a final thought, I am not particularly adept at new technology (still use a flip phone) and would prefer to spend my time fishing rather than struggling to master the electronics. With that in mind, the idea of using 2 899s is appealing as I would not be required to learn the functions of 2 different units.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Oh yea, one other thing. There are some slimers willing to play at Chatfield if midges and small leeches are suspended under an indicator. Most will present you with a handful of love when they are landed. I feel so ashamed!
 

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I have this set up you dont need 2 @ 899's just get the smaller one like the 598? I think it still links if you wish. You will like the link system if you will use it, most do not. Just get the Ipilot you will be happy with that and you can up grade still if you sell the ipilot and get the link later. Big propblem with maps here in CO. Other than that your going to have to get most of your information off the net to use the link most guys in CO can get help for lowrance from Dan and Chad. Theres plenty of suport from them, but nothing In CO for Humminbird units.

Oh and your not going to be able to use your sonar on the Terrova if you connect the two FF together you can if you dont link the two and use the smaller unit for the sonar on th terrova.
Some people are runnign 3 FF's now to cover the side scan in full screen GPS mapping on another and sonar on one more all at full screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks, Fishrangler. Bottom line is that I don’t think that I would get enough use out of the “link” feature. I started the same thread on walleyecentral- http://www.walleyecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=323873 -and have received a few replies/suggestions there. Here’s my last reply from that thread:

"Thanks for the helpful replies.

I've read of the Lakemaster Auto Chart but, as mentioned, I'm not much of a tech guy so the effort required to become proficient with this feature would likely detract from my time on the water. Same deal toward fitting the Terrova with another transducer. I'm a flip phone guy.

I'm leaning towards the Terrova iPilot without "link" and adding a dedicated 859ci HD Combo on the bow to be used with the Terrova and a dedicated 899ci HD SI Combo in the cockpit hooked up to its compact transducer on the transom. Saves $310 on the Terrova, $400 for the 859 and $270+ for the Ethernet switch and extra rigging. Say $1000 total.

I can still "Record a Track" similar to "link." The limit of 6 memory tracks vs. 50 with "link" seems adequate to me considering the constantly changing water levels of the lakes that I fish. Seems that it might be a bit of overkill to keep tabs on very many tabs without the ability to label and alphabetize them for quick recognition. Maybe the touch screen units will provide a keyboard for this function. Same with the 2500 waypoints available through "link". You get 6 spotlocks which can be used as waypoints. Additionally you have the starting points and the end points of 6 tracks. Could these also be effectively used as 12 more waypoints?

Spot Lock appears to be the same without "link".

Copilot/Cruise appears to be the same.

Advanced Auto Pilot appears to be the same except that a spot on an HB graph can be designated for a destination. Without a Lakemaster card for that lake, I don't understand the value.

The key ingredient that's missing seems to be that Lakemaster has been premature in offering a Western States chip and, since the lakes that I will fish most frequently are not charted, the additional cost of the "link" feature becomes questionable. If I do find a lake that has been HD charted by Lakemaster, will I be able to see my tracks, waypoints, etc. on the graph using the 859?

I am certain that either the 859 or the 899 units will be so far superior to the HB 565 I've used for the past 10+/- years that I will be dazzled by the increase in quality and sensitivity. I generally used the old unit for depth and some bottom detail and would often activate the fish alarm- which would indicate any of 3 sizes of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. I'll be ordering Jason's side imaging tutorial and know that I have a daunting amount of study ahead of me. Hey, it's my retirement boat!

If I have misunderstood or not fully appreciated the value of the "link" feature, please chime in.”

I would appreciate any input from local guys.
 

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Here in CO we have reservoirs that drop, the "Record a tract" system works for a day and then the fish move because our water lines drop unlike out east unless you fish for trout and troll all the time. It would probable also work great for lakers Something to keep in mind. Sounds to me like you will be the expert on the subject once you get one. I'm not interested in everything these units have to offer. I use only the side scan, sonar, contour maps, anchored systems the speed control and stuff like that. I don't use the record a track any longer I have found better ways to catch them, once you find the fish "Walleye" its easy to stay on them with the anchore system and drop in on the fish and pluck them out one by one. The best resource for learning something new with these smart FFers is You Tube. I will be on the lake watch a quick vid and try it out. Most of the stuff you wont use IMO.
 
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