Not long ago I was in the boat of a touring pro with an electronics sponsor other than Garmin, so I was surprised he had a Garmin unit installed in the bow.
“LiveScope is too valuable not to have,” he answered without me even asking the question.
Other anglers must agree as sales of Garmin LiveScope are brisk.
LiveScope is not cheap. MAP pricing is $1,500 for the LiveScope transducer system that comes with the Panoptix LVS32 transducer, GLS10 sonar box and trolling motor (shaft) and transom mount mounting brackets.
You’ll also need to purchase a Garmin sonar unit that is LiveScope compatible. Those currently include the EchoMap Plus 7” and 9” units, an EchoMap Ultra unit, and all of the GPSMAP series units.
The EchoMap Plus 7” models start at about $500, so you are looking at about $2,000 minimum to get into LiveScope. Ice anglers are paying $2,800 for the LiveScope Ice Bundle.
The question is, is LiveScope worth it?
The first time I used LiveScope was in late fall 2018. We were targeting suspended crappie and located a large school in a couple deep holes (50” plus). The shallowest fish were 35 feet down.
Using LiveScope in the Down position, I dropped a small jigging spoon to the fish. It was fascinating to watch individual fish, not blips or firing pixels, approach the bait in real time. Some fish made a mad dash to the bait, others slid up slowly, and still others ignored me completely.
What stunned me was how active the fish were…I had always pictured fish as somewhat stationary while suspended.
A few weeks later, I pulled the Garmin LiveScope black box and transducer out of my boat and built an “ice bundle” using a 9-inch Garmin EchoMap Plus unit and a couple Dakota Lithium batteries
The very next morning, I was ice fishing over a shallow flat on Mille Lacs, jigging a rattle bait for walleye when a fish appeared on the screen. It rose slowly from the bottom and as soon as it cleared bottom, I could clearly see it was a nice pike (could see its sloped head, fins, forked tail, everything)! What’s more, I could judge its relative length (28 to 30 inches) using Garmin’s grid patterns on the screen.