The Garmin Striker Cast is a GPS unit with built-in charts for the US and Canada. Most of the value in this device comes from being able to chart your course via its included basemap. This feature alone makes it a great choice for anglers who frequently fish in unfamiliar areas, or who tend to spend their time on large bodies of water.
The base map is a major strength of the device, and it serves two purposes: for fishing, you can use it to make a quick compass heading or course line when you don’t have time to reference the entire chart area. For navigation, you can plan your route via waypoint/route/track etc., mark waypoints and save them for future reference, and track your course.
For more on this see the following section:
The main menu of the Scout has two primary functions at any given time, which you can switch between quickly using the up/down buttons. The first is Map Mode, which shows a chart of your current location with your speed and heading overlaid. To the right of this is your sonar screen, which shows what’s below you as well as any fish you find. You can switch back and forth between these views by pressing the up/down buttons on the side of the device.
Both screens have a menu bar at the top that changes according to what mode you’re in. For example, in map mode it gives you options to change chart area (you can also do this quickly via the up/down arrows on the right side of the screen), but when you’re in sonar or GPS modes it offers access to your sonar history and settings.
The speedometer is accurate for what I’m using it for. I usually run a fair amount of current, so it doesn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already figured out. It does have a trip odometer which is nice, and also shows your course line distance which can be very helpful for navigation.
Garmin Striker Cast GPS
One of the best features, as far as I’m concerned, is that you can overlay your sonar screen onto the map. In detail mode it shows a small view of what’s below you on top of the map, and if you switch to satellite mode it shows a larger overhead image with a smaller inset on top. This was especially helpful when I was in unfamiliar areas and wanted to check for structure without having to stumble around looking at the sonar.
The other primary function of the map is a course line, which you can set by either waypoints or a track log saved from another device. You can also plan your route on a full screen map using “Go To” mode. This was a feature I used a lot, as it’s really easy to see where you’re going and plan the best way there.
The Scout lets you create routes or courses with up to 1,000 waypoints each. You can set it to follow the course exactly, or if you want some leeway, you can select “track up to” and it will give you a little arc around each waypoint. When you’re done, just hit “Save Course” and you’ll have your route on the map. I also liked that you can name each segment something that’s easy to remember, or if your whole route doesn’t fit on one screen, you can scroll through the segments using the arrow buttons.
In addition to saved courses, you can show a track log from a compatible device. This is great for those of us who use a handheld Garmin Striker Cast GPS as well as a fishfinder for navigation and fishing. The only drawback here is that I found it difficult to see your exact position on the map while looking at a track log, but that might just be my eyes.
There are a few other features I would have liked to see in the Scout: it doesn’t come with a carrying case or belt clip, and I couldn’t figure out how to mark waypoints on the map itself (you can do it from sonar mode, but not Map Mode). Some of these things I could live with, but the lack of a carrying case really frustrated me. The device is almost identical to my Idiot Plotter (which has a great carrying case), and that makes it easy to misplace this thing when you’re not using it.
It also doesn’t come with any mapping software, so if you want something to print out and mark up you’re going to have to go look for it yourself. And that’s about all I can think of that I’d like to see changed in the Scout. It’s definitely a good starter fish finder, easy to use and simple enough for anyone who doesn’t know what they’re doing (like me), but powerful enough to satisfy a more advanced fisherman.
On the technical side, this unit was just as good as my Humminbird 597c DI. It’s going to cover all of my needs for now, and I’m happy with it…I even found some new spots. Definitely worth the money!