Since a short while I use the Garmin Panoptix live view system now. As promised, here are my first experiences with it, for those who are interested to read and know more about it.
Installation of the transducer is easy. Just connect it onto your Garmin network, and update your GPS map system with the delivered software. The setup is really a piece of cake.
(Of course you need to have a compatible sonar unit, see for more technical information : http://sites.garmin.com/en-US/panoptix/ )
So i choosed to mount it on a separate, rotatable pole in the back of the boat. In this case, i build it myself from an old long-shaft minn-kota backtroller :-) But you can use any stable solution of course.
When you start using it, you should take some time and patience to adjust the right angle of the transducer. Of course it is all depending on the position where you mount it, the depth, and the lenght and shape of your boat. Just play with several positions and you will find out what works best for you.
The pictures below might help. I took some reference points to make it easier for myself, in this case an island in front of the boat, where i knew exactly what the bottom shape and dropoff looked like, and on wich distances.
The image below shows the 3D forward-view mode, with some baitfish showing up between 5 and 18 meters in front of the boat, close to the bottom
With a little practice, you can see sudden changes in the way the baitfish move. Wich often means there are predators feeding ....i experienced it +/- 20 meters from the side of the boat, at a depth of 3 meters. Suddenly a school of baitfish spread out fast and went everywhere. Casting a few times over that direction and slowly retrieving back resulted in this pike. Or let's say, I am almost sure it was this one feeding there, or at least one hunting near the spot . Or just luck :-)
To wrap up : I am really impressed by this new Panoptix technology. A replacement for other great technologies like down- or side imaging ? Hard to say. Because you cannot compare them to each other. I experienced this is really something totally different, and I think Garmin did an amazing job here, a big step forward again in sonar technology . It's a great help to understand even better what is going on down there. And it's just big fun to use. If you are planning to buy new equipment, or upgrade, i can really recommend it !
I only used the Live forward (360) scan, because i mostly do pike fishing. But I love zander fishing also, so hopefully I can have the Panoptix down-view also in the future :-)
Hope it was interesting and useful to read . Thanks !