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MEGA Dwell vs LiveScope: What’s the Finest Ahead Going through Sonar?

MEGA Dwell vs LiveScope: What’s the Finest Ahead Going through Sonar?

Ahead-facing sonar has modified the sport in skilled bass fishing. Whereas some anglers and pundits have blended or damaging emotions concerning the comparatively new know-how there’s no query that it’s turning into extra prevalent amongst non-pro anglers too.

FFS shouldn’t be essentially simple to be taught or implement, however the very best items from corporations like Humminbird and Garmin are more and more “plug and play.” Simply by organising your beam appropriately, it’s attainable to see fish, and even a small lure, 60 to 80 ft in entrance of the boat — or farther. Apart from serving to you find fish, Humminbird’s MEGA Dwell and LiveScope may help anglers make changes to lure types, colours and retrieves in actual time. If you happen to’re able to make the leap into FFS, you’ll first need to determine on which unit to run. I in contrast two of the preferred items, MEGA Dwell and LiveScope, that can assist you determine.

See It

  • Down Mode, Ahead Mode, and Panorama Mode
  • Appropriate with TargetLock, which permits anglers to maneuver the transducer independently of the trolling motor
  • 2-Yr Restricted Guarantee
  • Sonar Protection: 20 x 120 levels
  • Value: $1,500 (transducer solely)

See It

  • Ahead Mode, Down Mode, and Perspective Mode
  • Sonar Protection: 20 x 135 levels
  • Constructed-in stabilization
  • Value: $1,700 (transducer and sonar module solely)

Testing MEGA Dwell and LiveScope

I owned Humminbird items on my previous two boats, and switched to Garmin items on my present one. I’ve additionally beforehand owned Lowrance items, so I began this testing course of with a reasonably strong understanding of the highest corporations’ lineups. I supplemented that by stepping into boats with high event anglers, practitioners and instructing guides together with Texas professional Keith Combs, New York rookie phenom Kyle Patrick, and former competitor, now a supplier of electronics classes, Chad Morgenthaler. All of them answered my questions straight and truthfully. We fished water 2- to 60-feet deep, for largemouths, smallmouths, and noticed bass, in varied seasons and water clarities. With out insights from the professionals, I wouldn’t have discovered half as a lot as I did, and I nonetheless have a protracted method to go to turn out to be wherever close to as proficient as them.

Whereas I used to be launched to each the Humminbird and Garmin items within the boats of the various bass execs, a lot of my testing got here in my very own boat. I needed to see if somebody with out these skilled benefits may be taught these items and maximize their effectiveness. I did get some hints via YouTube and the occasional calls stemming from frustration, however I discovered that simply getting up and working was not that arduous. The problem is in maximizing their effectiveness.

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Megalive vs Livescope: Ease of Use

I discovered Garmin’s menus to be extra intuitive and simpler to scroll via and discover what I wanted. With Humminbird, generally it was much less apparent. As soon as I understood the terminology and placement, they had been shut, however I’d nonetheless give the sting to Garmin.

Nonetheless, by way of hooking up all the wiring, notably at a darkish boat ramp within the pre-dawn hours, I discovered Humminbird’s setup to be higher. I may “really feel” the position of the wires and work out the place they need to be. I don’t like leaving the items connected whereas trailering — not solely is the vibration probably an issue, however it’s too simple to pry away these high-dollar electronics even with some form of locking system. Accordingly, I do numerous hooking them up at odd instances and unusual angles, and the Hen will get the nod right here. I’ll say that Garmin’s wires are higher at staying linked in tough water. With each of them, watch out that you just don’t bend any of the pins.

It was additionally simpler for a relative Luddite like me to get the Garmin to select up objects at a distance. Sure, I wanted slightly little bit of steering on settings, however the course of was comparatively painless and semi-universal. Each manufacturers want some changes primarily based on circumstances, however the Garmin wanted much less. That’s a giant benefit for somebody like me.

MEGA Dwell vs LiveScope: Readability and Accuracy

Learning to use and read LiveScope takes time, but it's a worthwhile investment.
The writer prefers Garmin’s readability and accuracy over Humminbird. Pete Robbins

Humminbird has come a good distance by way of image high quality. That was a significant distinguishing level up to now, when Garmin’s picture decision was vastly superior. Now it’s near a tie, with Garmin getting a slight edge. When Garmin items are dialed in correctly, you’ll be able to see the route a fish is going through and different small particulars that may make a giant distinction.

If you happen to fish lengthy days, each items will possible require a devoted energy supply. A drop in voltage past sure ranges tends to degrade the image high quality. I discovered it to be a minor annoyance with each, however barely extra troublesome with the Humminbirds.

Earlier than stepping into Garmins, I’d been advised that Humminbird’s side-imaging know-how was higher, and after utilizing each, I’d are likely to agree. I can nonetheless decide up extra objects extra clearly at a larger distance with Humminbirds than with my Garmins. I do know that this overview is about forward-facing sonar, not side-imaging, however I feel it’s nonetheless related as a result of if it’s important to select one model or the opposite, you’ll need to take into account each makes use of. On offshore fisheries, I nonetheless spend as a lot time scanning to the facet as I do really fishing, so give Humminbird a slight edge there.

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Garmin vs Humminbird: Buyer Help

Total, I discovered my Humminbird graphs to be slightly extra buggy and delicate to vary. I needed to ship one again after a brief time period as a result of it flipped out on me. Whereas the corporate took care of it instantly, it was an inconvenience and never a confidence-builder. The one issues I’ve had with my Garmin had been a transducer not arrange appropriately from the corporate and a compass that wanted to be recalibrated after two years.

I like the truth that LiveScope has a wide range of transducer choices at a number of completely different worth factors, however notice that it may be a cash pit. You’ll want to select the ducer you want for the best way you fish, to not simply to maintain up with the Joneses. 

Humminbird needed to play catch up for some time, however they’ve executed a superb job, making their transducers extra manageable and dependable. Furthermore, they’re suitable with Apex, Solix, and Helix fashions.

MEGA Dwell vs LiveScope: Further Options

Garmin LiveScope in perspective mode.

Photograph by Scott Einsmann

Selecting which of those applied sciences you need to make use of may contain different merchandise. In a perfect world, you’d run the identical model of trolling motor and graphs to benefit from their “one boat” compatibility. Sure, you’ll be able to run completely different ones, however it could put you at a slight drawback. I’ve a Minn Kota Ultrex with my Garmins slightly than the Garmin trolling motor as a result of I feel the previous is definitely extra exact with my foot actions than the latter, which permits me to remain targeted on a transferring goal. That will not matter as a lot you probably have the Humminbird graphs as a result of their “Goal Lock” system takes care of that electronically. It’s a much-needed enchancment over manually locking and I assume that each one manufacturers could have unbiased motor management sooner or later.

Humminbird’s 360 mode offers an entire view of surrounding construction and fish.

Moreover, there’s the matter of Hummingbird’s 360 versus Garmin’s Perspective Mode. Whereas I’ve chosen to run Garmins, and would achieve this once more, I do really feel that the Perspective Mode is a bit more tough to dial in than 360, a particular notch in Humminbird’s belt. The truth is, if I needed to spend some more money, I feel that the very best entrance deck answer could be a 12-inch display screen for LiveScope and a 9- or 10-inch display screen adjoining to it with 360.

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MEGA Dwell vs LiveScope: Issues to Think about Earlier than Shopping for


If you’ll be utilizing the unit completely for “scoping,” then you’ll be able to and probably ought to plan to purchase a smaller unit. You received’t have to subdivide it to accommodate extra views. If, nevertheless, you propose to make use of your graph for a couple of objective more often than not, you’ll want the bigger display screen and processing energy to see what’s happening and to know it in actual time.


It’s simple to spend some huge cash on marine electronics, and there’s an inclination to need to overdo it. Realistically, assess the way you’re more likely to fish more often than not and what you’ll be able to justify to chase that dream.

Further Add-Ons

Don’t overlook, in lots of instances the top unit itself is expensive, however that’s typically simply the tip of the iceberg. It’s your decision a selected transducer, or perhaps a transducer mount or pole that can assist you maximize your ahead going through skills. Some anglers additionally spend money on expensive mounts, not simply to guard their investments, however to have the ability to alter them upward to cut back neck ache and enhance visibility.

Ultimate Ideas on MEGALive vs LiveScope

I’m 54 years previous and never essentially technologically savvy, however I’ve liked integrating forward-facing sonar into my on a regular basis fishing when applicable. I haven’t gotten to the purpose the place I am going out and “scope” all day, each day, however it has undoubtedly added some fish to my every day and yearly catches — fish that I’d not have caught in any other case. I perceive the grievances of those that oppose its use in tournaments, however I’ve been thrilled and shocked by how a lot it has taught us about fish habits and places, however I actually like having and utilizing it. For now, I give Garmin a slight edge however it is going to be fascinating to see how each techniques evolve because the know-how retains getting higher.