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Captain Jack Sparrow nee Murphy hunts for sunken treasure with Lowrance’s new Structure Scan.

Lowrance Structure Scan: with so many electronics, the fish will quietly just surrender.

When told that Lowrance’s new Structure Scan could not only find sunken treasure including wrecks and reefs, but could also distinguish what that treasure was, I was skeptical.

However, I was proven wrong, and I must say — hand on heart — this unit has revolutionised the way I fish. With sonar technology improving almost every year, fish are slowly running out of places to hide. I firmly believe that side scan and down scan imagery has changed the game.



Having a HDS unit is a prerequisite for the Structure Scan system. My boat is equipped with a Lowrance HDS 8, so I was sorted on that front. The installation is basic, but involves drilling into your boat’s hull if you plan to transom-mount it — maybe a good one to leave to the professionals.

Once the transducer is installed, it’s as simple as running the lead to the Ethernet box, wiring it to the battery and then connecting it to the HDS unit. Just make sure you mount the Ethernet box away from standing water — the inside wall of my centre-console was perfect.



Originally designed for the American freshwater bass fisherman, the Structure Scan was the perfect tool for finding and identifying submerged snags where slimy bass lurk. The unit does this through two main functions; side scanning and down scanning.

The side scanning function bounces sonar out either side of the boat, then paints a 3D image of what is on either side of your running path. This advanced technology conveys these images very accurately; boulders look like boulders, pylons look like pylons — it’s too easy. I spent a whole day simply driving around to my favourite fishing spots and inspecting what I had been dropping a line on all these years.

"Spot A" used to consist of a few red pixels protruding off the bottom on the standard sonar. This turned out to be a sunken yacht that was still relatively intact — the stanchions and lifeline still identifiable on the bow.

The down scan function operates from the same transducer, but shoots sonar waves directly underneath the boat — like regular sonar. This useful tool shows a crisp bottom display in a familiar format. The big advantage though, is a much more detailed, defined image with reduced screen clutter. Heavy weed areas, jellyfish and other potential interferences that often crowd the water column and your traditional sonar’s screen now aren’t a problem, because all that really shows up on the screen is structure. The bottom now looks as sharp as a pin — there’s no second-guessing with this gadget.



Before you run out and throw your normal sonar away, remember your standard fishfinder is still very important.

Although the Structure Scan system can mark fish, the transducer is long, narrow and oblong-shaped, and therefore sends an oblong wave as opposed to the traditional cone wave. This does find fish, but they return as a dot on the screen rather than an arch as you would usually see on a sonar system. This being the case, it’s much easier to distinguish a fish shape / arch on your traditional sounder.

By using the side scan and down scan in conjunction with your standard sonar and GPS, you have a deadly combination that has all aspects covered. Use Structure Scan to find a reef or wreck and mark it with the GPS, then use the sonar to determine if any fish are around it. The larger HDS units (8 and 10in) are capable of using a quad screen that allows the user to view all four features at once.

Personally, I can only fault the unit for its lack of range. In deep water I found it fairly impractical — it picks up the bottom but the crisp detail is lost. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, however, and I couldn’t recommend the HDS and Structure Scan combo enough.

Don’t be scared off by the unfamiliar display of the side scanner. It is remarkably easy and all it took was one afternoon to wrap my head around this incredibly advanced yet still amazingly simple unit that will have you finding all sorts of underwater gems in no time.




With this much sonar equipment attached to your boat the fish will be waving white flags in surrender.

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