Monday, 16 September 2013

Fitting a Navigation Device - Garmin GPSMap 78

Fitting a fish finder earlier in the year has greatly enhanced my fishing capabilities and experience. The facility to be able to see the structure of the seabed, the depth of the water and find shoals of fish has been fascinating and educational. To enhance that experience even more it would be great to be able to mark the waypoints of features I fish over such as rough ground marks, wrecks, pools, gullies, banks etc. This would enable me to navigate back to those marks with far greater accuracy rather than having to use landmarks, a compass, and the fish finder.

Apart from navigating to fishing marks there is the safety element a GPS navigation device would bring.  Being able to mark launch sites would give some peace of mind should the fog roll in making visibility impossible.  A GPS would help me navigate back to the launch site in such poor visibility.  In addition, should I need to give out a distress call I could give coordinates of my current position thus helping any rescue team locate me.

I have been very pleased with the performance of the Garmin Echo 550c fish finder therefore, decided to stick with Garmin and purchase the GPSMap 78.

The device has all the features and specifications I needed.  It comes with a world base map however; there is an option to purchase detailed marine charts called Garmin BlueChart g2 installed via a micro SD card. The blue charts have a fishing chart, which displays detailed bathymetric contour lines; this would be very useful in selecting marks to fish.


In addition, with the purchase of the marine planning software HomePort, waypoints and routes can be planned at home on the computer and transferred to the device. This option particularly appealed to me.

Although the unit is a handheld unit that could be kept in a pocket, I wanted to fit a GPS mount on the kayak that would enable me to view the map and route whilst paddling.  To do this I purchased the following components:

1 x Ram Holder for GPSMap 78 (Ram-Hol-GA40)
1 x Diamond Base with 1" Ball (Ram-B-238)
1 x Double Arm Socket for 1" Ball (Ram-B-201)
1 x YakAttack ScrewBall 1"

I mounted my fish finder on a 16" GearTrac.

It was always my plan to use the GearTrac to fit other devices and this is ideal for mounting the GPSMap 78.

First job was to fit the 1" diamond base to the back of the GPS holder using the screws and lock nuts provided.

Next, I needed to secure one end of the 1" double arm socket to the diamond base.

The YakAttack screwball screws on to the GearTrac.

To complete the mount I fixed the other end of the double arm socket to the YakAttack screwball.

The device sits nicely now alongside the fish finder and within reach from my seat and can be tilted forward if necessary.

I mentioned the option to purchase BlueChart g2 marine charts.  Direct from Garmin, I purchased the chart for my location in the southwest called HEU463S - Bristol Channel & England S/W.

The chart is pre installed on a micro SD card that simply slots in underneath the batteries.

I also purchased the marine planning software HomePort, and downloaded the software direct to the computer from Garmin.  HomePort enables me to view the marine BlueChart g2 on the computer by plugging the GPSMap 78 into the computer via the USB cable provided.

There is a choice to view the charts in either navigation mode, fishing chart mode, or both.

Setting waypoints and sending that waypoint to the GPS is straightforward. 

First impressions of the Garmin GPSMap 78, the Blue Chart g2, and the HomePort software are impressive and I shall look forward to using these facilities to enhance my fishing experience even more.

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