This review of the Lowrance Elite-5 Sonar/GPS
will hopefully give you the information you need to know before purchasing it. Lowrance focuses most of it’s development on its HDS models, like the Lowrance HDS-10. However, they have many fish finders that suit fisherman with smaller budgets and a different economical approach. The Elite 5 is a middle of the road fish finder that works well for everyday fisherman, as well as the once a year fisherman.
The sonar for the Elite 5 gives any angler an edge on the water. The powerful 4,000 watt peak-to-peak, 500 watt RMS, and 20/60 degree dual-beam transducer will give you a quality sonar return and coverage as well. The ability to be able to switch the degree angles for the transducer is really what allows anglers to find fish in tight cover or steep drop offs.
The skimmer type transducer (which has a built in temperature sensor) will read depths up to 1,000 ft. The 83/200 kHz frequencies in the Elite 5′s transducer will also work well in deep water or shallow conditions. Auto or manual depth settings can help you keep your screen where the fish are in accordance to the bottom.
Another great feature for the Elite 5 is the ability to scrollback you sonar history, using TrackBack, so you can go back and look at previous GPS and sonar screens to find and mark your waypoints.
Does your current fish finder give you viewing problems in sunny weather? Reflections and non viewing angles should be a part of the past with the Solar MAX display. The backlit keypad will also give you ease of use in low light conditions, perfect for the early risers, or late arrivers out there.
You will be able to store up to 3,000 waypoints 100 routes, and 100 retraceable plot trails with the Elite 5. If you typically fish only a couple bodies of water a year, you can save up enough waypoints every year to pattern fish locations. If you take that one summer trip every year and want to create waypoints for that magic spot where you caught your limit, the Elite 5 will perform great.
This combo GPS/Sonar fish finder has a 16 channel internal antenna which will give you a great satellite connection. Don’t worry about losing your GPS reading with the Elite 5. If you find that the fish finder doesn’t lock on to GPS very well, you have the option to add an external GPS.
If you are interested in using lake maps, which I highly suggest you use them, the Elite 5 uses a micro SD card slot to accept map chips. Compatible brands include Fishing Hot Spots, LakeMaster, Navionics Premium and possibly some select others. Here is a blog post about how I used my lake map on my fish finder to find structure that held muskies on a lake I’ve never been to.
The overall easy use of the Elite 5 is great for a beginner fisherman that is looking to buy their first GPS fish finder, and it also works great for elite fisherman. You can’t really go wrong with purchasing the Elite 5. Here is a link to a Cabelas, a reputable dealer that will give great customer service ensuring your satisfaction with your new Lowrance Elite 5.
Click here to see prices for a Lowrance Elite 5
The above review is for the standard Lowrance Elite 5. Below briefly explains other options with the Elite 5 fish finder.
DSI stands for DownScan Imaging. Popular in the Lowrance HDS units, the Elite 5 DSI utilize the DownScan Imaging feature which allows fisherman to get a picture like image below. Compare your sonar readings with the DownScan image to learn more about the structure below. Don’t be surprised when you see fish in the imaging either!
This fish finder includes DownScan Imaging, but it also includes a special-issue Navionics Gold chartcard covering coastal U.S. and Canada plus major Canadian lakes and Great Lakes.
This is the same fish finder as the original review above, but includes the Navionics Gold chartcard.
The Elite 5x fish finder is the same as the Elite 5, however it does not come with GPS/chartplotting capability. If you are interested in the Elite 5, but only for it’s sonar, this fish finder is for you.
The same as the 5x, but it also comes with DownScan Imaging.
The Elite 5m is a GPS/chartplotter. It does not come with sonar.
Same as Elite 5m, but includes the Navionics Gold chartcard.
The Elite 5 IceMachine is a portable fish finder/chartplotter that comes with a ice fishing transducer, but has the ability to be used in the boat with a skimmer type transducer. Ice fisherman who do not like traditional flashers may be very interested in buying this fish finder.