New release from Humminbird puts forward-facing sonar on target

A crew from Johnson Outdoors arrived at Carl Jocumsen’s East Tennessee home last month to install a new Humminbird feature called MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock that allows a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor and the transducer for MEGA Live forward-facing sonar to work independently from one another.

Hearing about the feature certainly piqued Jocumsen’s interest.

Then he saw TargetLock in action and realized a new era in fishing was about to begin.

“I was out on Chickamauga with one of the Humminbird technicians,” Jocumsen says. “He said, ‘Oh, you might like this feature.’ That’s when he just touchscreens a brushpile on 360 and TargetLock immediately swings across and locks onto it.

“I was still Spot-Locked in place, but Live was facing exactly where I wanted it to be. It was that moment that I knew this was one of the greatest pieces of technology anyone has come out with.”

The phrases “revolutionary” and “gamechanging” have been used a lot in the fishing industry the past few years — and with good reason.

In 2009, when Minn Kota unveiled Spot-Lock — a button on the trolling motor that keeps your boat in place as long as you want —it was definitely a revolutionary moment in boat control. Then when live forward-facing sonar came along a few years later, it literally changed the way many anglers played the game.

The problem was, those two features often worked against one another. With a live transducer mounted to the foot of the trolling motor, the boat literally had to be pointed at the fish you wanted to cast to. Since Spot-Lock wasn’t sensitive to that, the feature was often rendered useless as anglers stayed on their foot pedals to chase fish or manually remain positioned on structure.

That’s not the case anymore.

“You can find a brushpile or a rockpile or whatever type of structure you want to fish, then TargetLock on that structure and hit Spot-Lock,” said Braeden Harris, Johnson Outdoors associate brand manager for Humminbird products. “The boat may spin and move in different directions to keep you locked on the spot you’ve chosen, but TargetLock won’t move from that structure.

“That means you can even walk to the back of the boat, away from your foot control, and catch multiple fish using MEGA Live without stopping to reposition your boat or worrying that you’ll float away from the spot.”

MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock was designed specifically to work with the Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor. It is compatible with all Humminbird graph models from the APEX and SOLIX lines as well as HELIX 8-12 G3N models with MEGA Imaging and HELIX 7-15 G4N models with MEGA Imaging.

For those who like chasing fish with forward-facing sonar and want to continue having the trolling motor head pointed in the direction they need to cast, TargetLock has a function called Minn Kota Steer. It basically works the old way, allowing an angler to control both the Ultrex and MEGA Live Imaging TargetLock together with the traditional foot pedal or i-Pilot link.

When an angler chooses to use TargetLock independently, he or she can do so with special foot controls or the One-Boat Network Button — a programmable soft key that allows you to activate TargetLock, Minn Kota Steer or Minn Kota MEGA Live Sweep.

The latter of those features is another new addition that comes with TargetLock, allowing an angler to do an automatic back-and-forth search on a 120-degree sweep in front of the boat.

“Think about how much time you spend searching for the right type of structure — something that might actually hold fish,” Harris said. “This feature does all of the searching for you. As it’s doing a sweep out in front of you, when you find something, that’s when you can lock on and go in for a closer look.”

Harris said TargetLock remained in the “conversation stage” for several years, but now the finish line has definitely arrived. Not only was the product officially unveiled to the public by Johnson Outdoors today, the products are being shipped to distributers and will be in boats across America soon.

Several Elite Series pros will have the new technology for the Bassmaster Elite Series event scheduled for July 14-17, including Jocumsen, Koby Krieger, Greg DiPalma, Matt Herren, Bob Downey, Lee Livesay, Chad Pipkens, Keith Combs, Ray Hanselman, Josh Stracner, Bill Lowen, Wes Logan, Jay Przekurat, Jeff Gustafson and Brandon Palaniuk.

“Times like this are just one of the reasons I’ve stuck with Humminbird all these years,” Jocumsen said. “I know they’re always working superhard to make sure we are never at a disadvantage. When Live came out, I knew they weren’t far from coming out with something even better.

“We went from not having Live, to having Live, to Live being incredible to now we have TargetLock — and as it works out, we’re going to a place like the St. Lawrence River where it should really come into play.”

After its public debut, then its Elite Series debut, the next big moment for TargetLock will be at the annual ICAST trade show in Orlando July 19-21. It’ll be a prominent entry in the annual New Product Showcase that is sure to turn heads.

“I think it’s really important for people to realize that this is almost like a Minn Kota launch as well as a Humminbird launch,” Harris said. “It’s made exclusively for the Ultrex trolling motor. The Ultrex is the gold standard of trolling motors, and this really does make it even better.

“It’s simply going to create a better experience on the water.”

MEGA Live TargetLock, the package that includes the MEGA Live Transducer, TargetLock steering assembly, wireless foot pedal, heading sensor, ethernet cable, power cable, mounting bracket and hardware, sells for $2,999.99.

The MEGA Live TargetLock Adapter Kit that includes TargetLock steering assembly, wireless foot pedal, heading sensor, ethernet cable, power cable, mounting bracket and hardware (no MEGA Live transducer) sells for $1,499.99.

Additional Humminbird MEGA Live TargetLock accessories will be available, including a MEGA Live TargetLock and MEGA 360 Dual Mount that allows anglers to utilize both MEGA Live TargetLock and MEGA 360 simultaneously for $199.99, and the MEGA Live TargetLock remote for $109.99.