We recently tested the Lowrance Hook 7 FishFinder and found it to be well-designed, easy to use, and it comes with some of the latest fishfinding/chart plotting technology, and is reasonably priced compared to similar devices.
Lowrance Hook 7 Fishfinder Technology
The Hook 7 uses Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse (CHIRP) technology, which is the sonar and radar tech that the military has used for decades. CHIRP is good for use in fishing because it processes and displays two-dimensional sonar in much more detail and with much more accuracy than standard sonar.
The reason is that CHIRP fires bursts at different frequencies (kHz). Since different objects reflect different frequencies, CHIRP technology provides the clearest picture of the various objects, fish, and structure under your boat. CHIRP is so much better because it lets you see not only the sizes of the fish below you but also your bait and how those fish are reacting to the different baits you use. The CHIRP sonar is good up to a depth of 1,000 feet.
The Hook 7 Fish Finder also advertises that it uses Hybrid Dual Imaging™ (HDI) which combines two of the company’s previous technologies, Broadband Sounder™, which can see smaller fish better, and DownScan Imaging™, which gives detailed picture-like views of the structure and lake bottom. The DownScan is good to a depth of 300 feet.
Lowrance also includes several other technological features with this product. DownScan Overlay™ allows you to clearly distinguish fish from structure. TrackBack™ lets you look through your sonar history and retrace your path. This chartplotter feature permits you to mark your waypoints.
The Lowrance Hook 7 FishFinder is GPS enabled and comes already loaded with a United States base map that includes 3,000 lakes and rivers and coastal contours to 1,000 feet. For more detailed maps, you can purchase an SD card and add any of the following: Lake Insight™ and Nautic Insight™ HD and PRO cartography, Navionics® Gold, HotMaps® Premium, Fishing Hotspots® PRO, and Jeppesen C-Map Max-N Wide Charts.
If you upgrade the maps when you initially purchase the unit, it will cost you less than if you do so at a later date, and If you want to create your own maps from sonar data, Insight Genesis™ will allow you to do just that.
Lowrance Hook 7 Fishfinder Usability and Design
Because the Lowrance Hook 7 has so much technological capability, it does take a little while to learn to use. With so many options, there comes a level of difficulty. However, with a little practice and exploration, the design, options, and interface are quite usable.
It has a seven-inch, high-resolution display that has great visibility. The brightness adjustment allows you to increase or decrease the brightness setting as lighting conditions change throughout the day.
While I do tend to prefer touch screen technology, the user interface is simple and relatively intuitive. The buttons remind me of my TV remote. The menu and page selector buttons are clearly labeled, and the cursor arrows allow you to easily move your cursor to make your selection. My favorite part of the unit’s design is that it is not overcrowded with buttons, making the device simple to use.
The Lowrance Hook 7’s Advance Signal Processing lets you see detail beneath you automatically with limited manual adjustment. The company recommends a fully charged 12-volt battery to run the unit for a full day. I ran the unit off of the main starter battery in his boat for a full eight hours at a time. However, the Hook 7 does have a Standby mode, which will let you save your battery life if you want.
My favorite feature of this device is the Pages button. Pressing this button brings up a list of all the possible views along the bottom of the screen. Here are the available options.
- Compass Navigation View lets you set your unit for a specific path or waypoint. This view tells you ETA, distance traveled, speed over ground, closing distance, etc. You can use this mode to set overlay data.
- DownScan gives you a view of the bottom as you pass over it. It also shows fish, water temperature, power left in your battery, and the time. You can set it to “auto range” so that it will automatically find the bottom for you. DownScan also has a green screen option that can be seen easily on a bright day or with polarized sunglasses.
- The Traditional Fishfinder view allows you to set the contrast and the depth in which you are going to fish.
- The Map View has zoom functions, contour lines, and chartplotter capabilities. It also allows you to choose whether you want the map to be “North Up” or “Navigation Up.”
- The remaining Pages options let you combine the above views on one screen. So, for example, you can fill the screen with half DownScan and half Map View or half Fishfinder and half DownScan.
However, the Hook 7 does not come with a cover. You will have to purchase a $20 to $40 cover separately.
Lowrance Fishfinding and Chartplotting Capabilities
The Hybrid Dual Imaging™ combined technology lets you track more than just when there are fish underneath your boat; it also lets you track the arches in which the fish move and the action of your lures.
The Lowrance Hook 7 gives a clear picture of what specific structure is beneath you and where the fish are located. You can use the unit to set waypoints over structure or at locations where the fishing has been productive. You can name or place an icon on the maps so that you can return to an area and fish it over and over again.
PROS and CONS
The Lowrance Hook 7 FishFinder offers a lot of options for the price. With a little self-training, it is easy to use, and its fishfinding and chart plotting capabilities make it a good buy for the avid fisherman. The unit helped me discover the contours, depths, and structure of Lake Lanier, ensuring that I caught my fair share of fish.