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Lowrance HDS Pro review

LOWRANCE recently unveiled its long awaited HDS Pro fishfinder.

The Fishing World 535XS Bar Crusher, along with my previous 535XS, and a US-built Scout boat have all had HDS units fitted. From memory it was the 9-inch HDS unit on the Scout and the 12 inch Carbon models on the Bar Crusher. The new Bar Crusher had a HDS LIVE, and now, the brand new HDS Pro.

Before we go any further, this is only a preliminary review. Keep an eye out at and for more details over coming months.

Lowrance has made the units easy to swap over. My unit is flush mounted on the boat’s centre console and it was a simple matter of just unclipping the bevel and unscrewing four small bolts. Thankfully, my Bar Crusher allows easy access to the inside of the console. Once unscrewed, unplug the unit, add the new unit – it’s exactly the same size – screw it in, plug it in and you’re done.

Well, almost. The new HDS Pro also comes with a new Active  transducer. Like any transducer, installing it can be a little fiddly, but not all that difficult. If in any doubt, seek out a marine business who specialises in this type of work and hire them for the job.

I already had a 3-in-1 transducer fitted so I knew exactly where the new one needed to be mounted. And again, Bar Crusher cleverly created a “second skin” that allows for transducers to be fitted without drilling into the hull. The new Active Imaging HD 3-in-1 transducer is slightly larger with a different mount.


The HDS Pro is available in four sizes – 9, 10, 12 and 16 inch.

The 10, 12, and 16 inch models feature large programable keys. These are great if you want to use a combination of keys and touch screen. When things are rough or the screen is too wet and salty, having the key functions can be a handy feature.

The screen itself has what’s called Solarmax IPS HD Display. This touchscreen display allows the screen to be viewed at all angles and while wearing polarised sunnies. I’ve seen this screen technology evolve over the years and it’s now at that the point where you wouldn’t even consider removing your sunglasses before viewing the screen. And having it viewable from all angles makes it great when you’re moving around the boat and glancing back at the sounder.

The new ActiveImaging HD 3-in-1 Transducer allows for high definition (up tp 1.2Mhz) SideScan and DownScan Imagining, while CHIRP offers incredible clarity and target separation. It’s noticeable while creeping around structure in impoundments or even along bankside structure in the estuaries where the smallest details are visible on the screen.

The new transducer offers FishReveal in SideScan mode. Note: this requires an additional S3100 sonar module, which I don’t have fitted on the Bar Crusher. Using contrasting colours on DownScan – and now SideScan – FishReveal offers target separation of larger fish from bait and structure. It’s a useful feature and something I regularly use around structure and bait balls. I can se the SideScan FishReveal being a mighty useful feature and definitely worth the investment if SideScan is something you already utilise.

The ActiveImaging HD 3-in-1 Transducer supports Medium and High CHIRP (83/200kHz) and 455/700/1000/1200 KHz frequencies, while the smart transducer design boosts signal clarity.

Active Target 2 Live Sonar

Lowrance released Active Target Live Sonar a few years ago.  installed one on the Bar Crusher and have used it with mixed success on the HDS Live.

As a quick recap, Active Target offers real time sonar. That means if you can see a fish on the screen and your lure is nearby, that’s exactly what’s happening below the boat at the moment. Traditional sonar isn’t live. More importantly, it allows anglers to bypass areas with no fish and only focus on spots with fish present. It’s revolutionary and we’ll no doubt see many more technological

Lowrance has now unveiled the Active Target 2, with a number of big improvements over the original model. I’m yet to install the Active Target 2 on my boat, so the below are some details from Lowrance about the new features.

Active target 2 offers better clarity and fish definition across three modes – Forward view, Downview and Scout view.

The new version allows you to add second system for multiple views on a single display. You can combine Forward + Scout, 180, or Scout Wide. Lowrance says this requires an additional bracket.

Other features

Another feature is the built-in C-MAP navigation charts. These local charts will help you find new fishing areas via the high resolution inland and coastal maps. The enhanced embedded charts, according to C-MAP, help you find ledges, drop-offs, and ditches with precision.

It also features C-MAP Genesis Live for real time mapping.

Another interesting feature is full compatibility across other boat accessories. Whether it’s outboards, Ghost Trolling Motors, Power Pole anchors, entrainment systems and more, the connectivity makes operating these devices simple and more effective.

Stay tuned to the Fishing World website at for further updates and videos on the latest gear.

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