In this fish finder review, we take a look at the GARMIN echoMAP Ultra 105 and 125 sonar units.
As followers of this blog will know, I’m a huge Garmin fan, although I have used Lowrance, Furuno and Humminbird in the past.
It doesn’t really matter what brand you prefer.
Far more important than the brand is that your unit and transducer is the right choice for the chosen application.
That’s why the Garmin echoMAP Ultra will be hard to beat in shallow waters.
I have already written about why Garmin’s UHD transducer is perfect for the creeks.
And I have looked at how the GT-51 transducer is perfect for finding small spots like Wonky Holes.
Likewise, the Garmin echoMAP Ultra, with all the tools you could ever hope to use, is a perfect unit for use in shallow water.
As you may know from experience, accurately determining what is under your boat from the sounder display can be difficult.
Because unless you use an underwater camera. Or have years of experience, it’s hard to “ground truth” what you are seeing.
Those that have done my Sounder Skills 2 online fishing course will know how important it is to cross-check using a number of tools and frequencies.
The Garmin echoMAP Ultra includes the best of all these worlds for use in shallow water.
The usual suspects are present.
- Side-scan for finding tiny spots out to the side of your boat. BUT – the Garmin echoMAP Ultra has 1070 kHz GT56 UHD (or ultra high definition) side-scan built-in for up to 20 metres deep or 455 kHz for venturing a bit deeper.
- Plus Traditional 2D CHIRP for assessing spots for fish in depths up to 60-70 metres.
- And down scan to differentiate big fish among bait schools or to take really neat pictures of sharks!
And for the first time, the Garmin echoMAP Ultra also includes the capability for Live Scope!
Live scope is my new favourite toy and is an amazing tool to help work out fish behaviour.
It is also tops when the fish are not biting as you can see what they are up to in real-time.
Please note the Garmin Ultra is Livescope compatible meaning you will need to purchase the Livescope transducers separately.
You have two options.
- LVS12 which will plug straight in.
- LVS32 which needs the GLS10 black box.
I actually run the LVS32 as the black box stitches the image together and gives you a full 135 degrees of the picture from just behind the boat to all the way in front of you. That’s in forward view (what I use mostly).
The LVS12 only gives 30 degrees down and 30 degrees forward displayed on a split-screen. It is a lot cheaper and still a good little tool but if you have the cash the 32 is the go in my opinion.
We show you the LVS32 in action in the video a little further down this blog.
GT-54 High-Wide transducer (superseded by GT-56).
The Garmin echoMAP Ultra comes with the GT-56 high-wide transducer.
High frequency is great for seeing in between objects and gives great target separation.
However, it doesn’t have much punch.
So typically manufacturers use a sharper beam to push more power down.
But this means you don’t cover as much of the bottom.
Enter the Garmin echoMAP Ultra high-wide GT-56.
It offers a high frequency with a wider beam.
The GT56 is a slightly larger transducer than the GT54 as it’s elements now produce higher power.
I explain the benefits of the Garmin echoMAP Ultra and take it for a test run in the video below. Please note: you cannot record the screen of the Ultra so we plugged the GT54 into another unit for the screen recordings.
So there you have it.
Garmin echoMAP Ultra is a top little unit for shallow applications.
And by shallow I expect the unit will function well without driving the wheels off it for traditional to about 70 metres deep, UHD side scan to 20 metres deep, 455 kHz side scan to 50 metres deep, 800 kHz Clearvu down imaging to about 70 metres and 455 kHz Clearvu down imaging to about 100 m.
They will go much deeper but the best picture is gained when you are not at maximum depth.
Remember the goal is to determine what is down there accurately not just pick up the bottom.
Talk to an expert
For the first time ever we don’t just use these units, we have partnered with Burdekin Communications to sell them!
So many people buy a sounder and don’t know how to use it (or worse buy the wrong one). Hence we have have teamed up with the experts to make sure you get the right unit, the right transducer!
AND help you drive it to catch more fish.
Knowing what the buttons do won’t help you catch more fish unless you know WHEN to do it and WHAT to look for.
CONTACT US before your next sounder purchase and talk to our expert Paul Benvenuti.
We provide comprehensive (step by step) training on the practical use of your sounder in our acclaimed online course Sounder Skills 2.
We remove all the technical jargon and show you simply how to catch more fish in less time using your marine electronics.
Or check out our teaching style for less than $20 with our introductory course Sounder Skills 1.
You can find links to all our courses and free training at our Ryan Moody Fishing shop.