fishfinder, fishing, Garmin, GPS, ice, maps, review -

Product Review: Garmin Striker 4+ Sonar/GPS Combo

 

I’ve been fishing (both in the summer and winter) for some time, but I’ve never owned a depth finder or flasher.  I’m not a pro angler, but I make an effort to get out as often as I can and of course, it’s more fun when you’re catching fish!  Last winter I had the opportunity to try a flasher while ice fishing, and I was sold. Buying the right one however, can be a real challenge.  There are lots of choices out there, with reputable manufacturers like Humminbird, Marcum and Lowrance to name a few. All have great features, along with their own great features.

What I found most interesting about the Striker 4+ is the feature called “Quickdraw Maps” which is absolutely brilliant, in my opinion. Using Garmin’s GPS technology and leading edge transducers, this device can create detailed contour maps of the lake as you drive!  It will even store up to 1 million square miles of data, so you can find those perfect fishing spots again in the winter without any trouble. Just as you can with any GPS unit, you can mark waypoints and save routes in memory for future navigating.

The Striker 4+ kit comes with the GPS unit (shown here) and all the necessary wiring and mounting hardware you’ll need for your boat, for just over $350 CDN, including taxes.  There’s also a suction cup mount for the transducer if you’re not a fan of drilling holes in your boat.

With customizable options for the display, two transducer frequencies, gain, and all the alarms, the Striker 4+ is a powerful little device. For those fishing purists who prefer the look of a traditional sonar view or only like the “flasher” style of display, this unit does a great job.  It’s sunlight-readable 4.3” display is crisp, bright and easy to read. The display is fully customizable too, and offers split-screen capability in case you like the option of multiple views.

The controls are intuitive and easy to navigate and it took me no time at all to figure out how to set up the display and start mapping my lake.  It’s important to note that the Quickdraw feature is always turned off by default, so you need to turn it on every time you want to record.

The portable kit makes this unit truly shine.  The kit (sold separately) comes with a high-quality nylon bag, a plastic base and handle, a float for ice fishing and a 12-volt battery along with all the necessary connections.  It took me about 15 minutes to get it all assembled and ready for charging.

The only drawback I can find with this device is a possible lack of connectivity to other apps like GPS’s own mapping software or Navionics.

I’ve been out fishing (and mapping) with the Striker 4+ a few times now, and after 3-4 hours of use, there’s plenty of battery life left.  I can’t wait for winter to give this unit another test!

 

PRO:  
Quickdraw features can store detailed contour features of up to 1 Million sq. miles of lakes and rivers!  Easy to setup, clear, bright screen, and relatively inexpensive when compared to other flashers or GPS units.  
CON:
Extracting the maps (for sharing between devices or friends) is not possible.  Memory is not expandable.
IN SHORT:
If you want an amazing standalone sonar unit that maps the bottom as you go, you can’t beat the price of this GPS/Sonar combo.