What is a Handheld GPS and How to Use it For Fishing?

What is a Handheld GPS

Navigating on the water can be difficult when you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You can get lost pretty quickly this way, mainly when you are concentrated fishing.

Luckily, there’s a device that can help you navigate across any body of water, find your way to the deepest sea or to the closest shore, and much more. That device is a handheld GPS.

While a standard GPS needs to be anchored somewhere or demands you to connect it to a power source, a handheld GPS only needs a set of batteries and your hand. Sometimes, it requires even less than that.

So, if you are searching for a way to navigate and fish at the same time – then one of these great devices can help you a lot. Here we explain everything you need to know about it – come and see!

How To Choose And Use a Handheld GPS For Fishing?

What is a Handheld GPS?

A map is the best navigation tool we have. Being able to see landmarks, structures, paths, and so on in paper always helps us to get to our destination. It also helps to know where we are standing and gives us an idea of where we have been before.

Handheld GPS

A handheld GPS does the same work but electronically, giving you information as you walk, sometimes even in the farthest places.

Most GPS include only main roads of a city. However, a handheld GPS can consist of maps of even the innermost places in the world. Not only you’ll have more detailed maps and roads, but you’ll also have information about different waterways and detours.

Using rechargeable batteries or alkaline ones, a handheld GPS also provides more portability & comfort when using.If you want superb handiness & top navigation, then a handheld GPS is what you need.

How Does Handheld GPS Work?

The technology in GPS is called satellite triangulation. It calculates the location of the user and provides a digital map to show proof. They connect directly to satellites and using already pre-installed maps, it shows users where they are.

How Does Handheld GPS Work

The maps are generally filled with information that you wouldn’t otherwise know, including secondary & off-road paths.

A handheld GPS is also able to show information such as longitude, latitude and sometimes even barometer information.This not only gives an advantage for navigation it also helps to prevent common issues while on trips. And when it comes to fishing or navigating in waterways, a handheld GPS becomes a huge help.

Features of a Handheld GPS

Most handheld GPS are pretty similar, they have hundreds of parts & elements that make them look and work the same way.

However, not all of them deliver similar functions and designs, so it is essential to know the different factors that could differ from model to model;

Features of a Handheld GPS

    • Size & Screen

From the size of the device to the size of the screen as well as the weight, this factor changes exponentially depending on what you pick. A handheld GPS is small, with a small screen and light enough to be used anywhere single-handedly.

For fishing, the ideal device would be small enough to handle easily without leaving screen resolution behind, so you can also see everything inside.

    • Interfaces

Some GPS comes with a touchscreen so you can manage it with the touch of a finger. Others are controlled with buttons on the outside of the case or from a panel. For fishing, you may encounter either one.

The common thing in the newest versions, however, is for the device to offer a touchscreen as it is the most waterproof option.

    • Satellite Data

From a barometer to an altimeter, longitude, and other factors only a satellite can give – you will encounter GPS with all kind of information capacity.

If you are a fishing person, you’ll get a lot from those options that come with barometric data. This will help you learn more about possible weather changes and more in the ocean or in waterways.

    • Compass

An electronic compass comes with most GPS, this will give you directions in real time that you can follow depending on your needs.

Usually, analogic compasses are hugely useful, but an electronic compass may provide more accurate reads using satellite data. In the sea, for example, an electronic compass can be tremendously valuable.

    • Wireless Data

Being able to transfer data and communicate with other GPS/radio devices is one of the perks from a handheld GPS. This way you won’t only have the advantage from sharing tracks, routes, paths, maps, and specific locations, you’ll also be able to exchange voice.

    • Pre-Loaded Mapping

The ability to add your own maps to the GPS is a huge advantage you have in most handheld devices. Whether it is from a microSD, USB or directly from a computer, you can always load maps to your GPS before going on a trip.

This will give you a huge benefit when traveling or in the ocean, especially for locations that are usually far away from normal paths (the sea or large lakes).

    • Memory

Most handheld GPS comes with memory capacity, either via internal memory or microSD, you can always store data inside so you can have them later.

This function can help you save trip data in different locations, as well as your tracks or the paths you took while traveling. Some even help you save unique structures that didn’t show in the maps at first.

    • Cameras

While the camera in a GPS can be of deficient quality, some of them offer enough capacity so you can enjoy taking photos in the wild. Some of them even provide the chance of taking pictures underwater which is a considerable gain.

    • Radio Capacity

From getting radio signals to sending your own, most handheld GPS comes with the ability for real-time communication without issues. This could be either life-saving with beacon features or very useful while navigating, especially when you get radio signals from NOAA weather forecasts or similar ones.

How to Use a Handheld GPS for Fishing?

handheld gps for fishing

Knowing the different features you can get with a handheld GPS, it is time to show you what you can do with one of them while fishing. Here’s what you need to know;

    • Navigating Across Water

Using either satellite mapping or pre-loaded maps, you can use your GPS to find your way in vast waterways such as lakes or in the ocean.

It will give you the data you need to follow a path or to get to the desired place without much problem. Some GPS even come with nautical info that you can use on your advantage.

    • Mapping Out Fishing Paths

Now that you’ve found your way in the ocean or large lake, it is time to start mapping the paths you’ve been through. Whether it is the ideal fishing place or a route you can follow later, the ability to record everything you do in the water is something most handheld GPS offer.

Mapping Out Fishing Paths

The tracking option, for example, gives the fisherman an advantage that saves data wherever you go. It lets you store all the information about your trip, including longitude of the travel, weather conditions, different paths & names you cross, and the whole route you took while sailing.

This will eventually help you return to fishing spots or to find previous routes you took in your boat. Especially useful with pre-loaded ocean maps, you can use all this tracked information to eventually come back to the ideal fishing place without having to guide yourself with visual references but using the GPS.

This way, you avoid wasting your time and effort while sailing.

    • Offering Marine Cartography

From structures to specific locations that are typically excluded in maps & other GPS information, marine cartography is an advantage you can get the most of when fishing.

This will not only help you get more familiar with the place (lake, river or ocean), it will also give you the information to prevent any accident or wrong route.

Most of the time, cartography gives the ideal data about the underwater terrain which also helps to improve fishing effectiveness. Along with the zoom in option and the ability to understand terrain changes, cartography gives a huge benefit for fishermen with a handheld GPS.

    • Connecting to Other GPS or Computer

Being able to send information about routes or locations is another of the ways you can use a handheld GPS. Whether it is to a wireless computer, another GPS or even with smartphones, the information sharing capacity of most of these devices will make your path much more effective.

Some models even offer the chance to share information in real time, making it easy to track other fishermen while in the go. This way you won’t only get tracks and routes that were discovered before, but also sail and go on a trip following another person in real time.

    • Getting Alarms & Alerts

Apart from navigation, there’s also a huge advantage you get with most handheld GPS, and it is the different alarms and emergency alerts out there. Most of these devices come with a 12-channel receiver that allows emergency signals to be captured and broadcast in the product.

From a distress call to a warning message, all this information can be put through the device to help you when sailing.

Other alarms such as Arrival Alarm or Collision Alarm can help you prevent getting away from a specific path or route while helping to prevent any damage from going to places you shouldn’t.

And of course, let’s not forget about Low Battery Alarms or Emergency Alarms that help you stop the device from not working whenever you need it the most.

    • Working as a Life-Saving Beacon

Along with the radio and the signal-sending capacity, you can also use a handheld GPS to send emergency signals to shore or other GPS/radios.

Most handheld devices come with a two-way radio capacity you can use to communicate with other GPS or radios, but they may also come with a beacon feature that sends an emergency signal so other people can know you are in distress.

emergency signal

Especially useful in accidents or emergencies, this can save your life or others. Through difficult climates or weather conditions, one of these beacons can also be life-saving, making it easier for rescue teams to find you.

    • Handling Effortlessly

While fishing you always want to have your hands free so you can cast and reel fish back without much problem.

This is a huge advantage you only get with handheld GPS. While their name says you’ll have to “handle” them with your hands, you may also have the chance to anchor them in small points in boats or kayaks, sometimes making it easier to store in clothes’ pockets.

With the small design most of them come with and weight that goes from 1 to 3 pounds in the biggest options, you can enjoy a convenient experience with one of these.

    • Preventing Water Damage

While this is often overlooked of most handheld GPS, most of them come with a waterproof construction you can get huge advantages when fishing. Whether it is through turbulent trips, a splash or just a quick drop of water, getting the chance to keep using the product after it gets moist is a huge advantage.

Bottom Line

Are you looking to navigate more easily in the ocean or in big lakes? Then you need a handheld GPS without a doubt.

Using one of these for fishing will change your whole experience. You will enjoy the most accurate and useful data a fisherman could need, making it easy not only to navigate but also to get important data that could take you to the best fishing place.

So, what are you waiting for? Get one of these now and enjoy all the different features you can use when fishing. Your entire experience will be superior in every way once you use a handheld GPS!

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