This week StrikeLines, producer of high end GPS fishing charts, announced the release of a new line of charts, coined “Hardbottom HD”, which contain the most comprehensive map of fish habitat ever created along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The offshore charts were created using 10 years of high-resolution side scan sonar data. The data made it possible to outline the exact locations of natural bottom features, including boulders, rock piles, ledges, pinnacles, escarpments, potholes and spring sinks. In all, the charts mark more than 130,000 such reefs along the Florida Gulf Coast.
“It’s like the Holy Grail of offshore fishing,” said Travis Griggs, founder of StrikeLines. “These charts are the absolute best tool an offshore fisherman can have to catch more fish.”
The charts load directly onto Simrad, Lowrance and Raymarine GPS units via a MicroSD map chip. Shapes outlining the fishing areas are color coded according to the bottom type. At higher zoom levels, labels appear that describe the exact type of structure outlined in each area. The charts also include a built-in NOAA navigational chart basemap.
“Our goal was to design a simple, intuitive map that is easy enough for anyone to use. There is a tremendous amount of information there, but it doesn’t clutter up or bog down the display,” Griggs said.
Most of the fishing spots on these charts have never been published before.
Hardbottom HD charts cover Florida’s entire Gulf Coast from the beach up to 130 miles offshore. They are split into four regions: Southwest Fla., which covers Marco Island, Fort Myers and the Florida Keys; Central Fla., which covers the Tampa Bay region; Big Bend, which covers waters from Crystal River to Apalachicola; and the Florida Panhandle.
StrikeLines, which is based in Pensacola, has been scanning the Gulf of Mexico with commercial side scan sonar systems since 2014. To date, the company’s boats have surveyed nearly 9,000 square miles of the seafloor and found thousands of natural and artificial reefs.
Griggs said that he started using side scan as a tool to improve his own fishing trips after moving to the Gulf Coast. He started StrikeLines to help others learn the ropes of offshore fishing.
“I know what it’s like to load your friends on the boat and head out on a fishing trip, only to stare across the Gulf and realize you have no idea where to go,” Griggs said.
“So that’s what we do. We spend our days finding fish so that our customers can get busy catching them,” Griggs said.
StrikeLines announced the new charts in Orlando this week at iCast, the largest sportfishing industry trade show. The new Hardbottom HD charts will be on display at iCast all week at StrikeLines booth #4739.
StrikeLines Hardbottom HD charts are priced at $650. They are compatible with Simrad, Lowrance and Raymarine hardware. For more information or to purchase, visit StrikeLines.com.