Back in the old days, if you wanted to find fish using a specialized device you had to squint your eyes and see if you could spot anything against the pixelated background of the bottom surface. Old fish finders were in black and white and had screens smaller than most flip phones.
Fortunately, technology has advanced a lot since then, and now we have the A98 Model from Raymarine. Compared to other manufacturers of fish finders, Raymarine provides ultra high-tech gadgets that are well known for their practicality and user-friendliness.
The A98 Finder is one of the most advanced in the Raymarine line, meaning that you will get a lot more functionality from this device than you would with most others. It’s almost like having a smartphone or tablet that can also help you find fish. Let’s see what’s going on underneath the surface.
Extra Large 9-Inch Screen
Most fish finders are about four to five inches, which is okay for most users. However, if you’re trying to read your figures while you’re doing something else (i.e., fishing or piloting the boat), it can be a pain. Also, a smaller screen means that you will have to keep jumping back and forth between pages.
With nine inches, the Raymarine A98 is one of the largest devices out there. Best of all, it has touch capability so that you can navigate through the menus with ease. The display is backlit and comes with a specialized sun cover so that you can see well in both direct sunlight and at night. It even has thermal night vision to help you out even more.
Lighthouse II Operating System
Raymarine knows that fishermen don’t care about a lot of bells and whistles, so they developed a software program that puts all of your data at your fingertips. Switching between applications is a snap, and everything is laid out just as you would expect it to be.
Overall, you will notice that this software is much simpler and more convenient than most other fish finders. With some other models, you have to use the manual to figure out how to do anything. With Lighthouse II, you can probably set it up yourself without any assistance.
Swivel Mounting System
Although the type of mounting bracket that you have for your fish finder is not necessarily a deal breaker, we love the one that comes with the A98. It swivels 360 degrees in both the horizontal and vertical positions, meaning that you can adjust it however you see fit, no matter where you are on the boat.
Best of all, you can quickly remove the finder itself so that it’s protected against theft or the elements. It’s just another addition that makes the A98 such a remarkable piece of fishing equipment.
We know that you probably won’t have wifi out on the water, but once you get back to shore, you may want to download more maps or save your data to the cloud. Thankfully, with the A98 you don’t have to keep transferring information via MicroSD cards, making everything that much more straightforward.
The device will also update itself whenever there are any new additions to the Lighthouse software, meaning that you will always have the latest technology on board your boat.
CHIRP Downvision Sonar
We’ve already been gushing about all of the technological perks that you can expect from the A98, but none of that is worth it if the thing can’t find any fish. Fortunately, it comes with the most sophisticated sonar system available.
CHIRP technology is quite common on fish finders these days, and that’s because it’s so reliable and accurate. In this case, you get a down view scanner so that you can see everything that’s happening beneath the boat.
The CHIRP sonar will generate crystal clear arcs for all of the fish and enable you to get high-definition readings of the bottom surface. Best of all, you can save your readouts so that you have them on hand for your next excursion.
What we also like about this sonar is that it works well for lakes, rivers, and deep water as well. Thus, no matter what kind of fishing you want to do you can bring the A98.
Fast and Responsive GPS with Charts
These days, if you want to get the most out of your fish finder, you have to have GPS along with your sonar. That way you can plot a course and mark hotspots so that you don’t have to search as hard next time to get the catch of the day.
With the A98, you get comprehensive charts and maps installed already (more available for download) and the ability to plot them as you go. It’s also highly responsive, meaning that you don’t have to be trawling at a snail’s pace to ensure that you get accurate readings.
Things We Liked
- Durable construction
- Extra-wide 9-inch screen
- Touch responsive controls
- High-definition imaging
- User-friendly interface
- Swivel mount
- Wifi capable
- CHIRP down imaging sonar
- Fast GPS with chart plotting
- Multi-view capability
- Remote control with Bluetooth
- Analog and digital readouts
Things We Didn’t Like
- You have to make sure that you get the right transducer for this finder. They are not all compatible.
Does this finder come with any kind of memory storage?
- Yes, there is a MicroSD slot, and it comes with a memory card to start.
Can I operate this finder in another language?
- Yes, this unit comes with several other language options, including Spanish and French.
Is there a manufacturer’s warranty on this product?
- Raymarine will provide two years coverage on the A98 model. If you register online, they will add another year for free.
Does it come with a transducer?
- Yes, it is included with the finder.
If you’re looking for the most high-tech fish finder out there, we highly recommend the A98 from Raymarine. It comes with everything you could possibly need out on the water, and it has a user interface that’s easier and more comprehensive than anything else on the market.
We love the large touchscreen and the extra detail that Raymarine put into making this fish finder, and we’re sure that you will appreciate the care and attention as well.