The Lowrance LMS 527 iGPS DF fish finder is one serious piece of high tech fishing equipment! Packed with features, this is one graph that can truly help swing the odds of catching fish into your favor.
The LMS 527C is one of marine electronic leader Lowrance’s hottest graphs and it’s easy to see why. The unit is well-designed and easy to use (mostly) and gives you a clear image of what’s going on under the water’s surface.
The internal GPS receiver is one of the 527’s most attractive features — which means you’ll have no extra stuff to mount on the boat.
The sonar’s crisp 480 X 480 screen is kinda like Hi-Def for fish finders and affords you excellent target detail and bottom separation. The GPS features a built-in map of the Continental US and Hawaii and comes sock with 3,000 lakes with bottom contours. Of course, you can also buy charts for other areas all over the globe if you happen to be headed some exotic destination with your boat.
The dual frequency transducer also makes this fish finder an extremely versatile unit. Without overloading you with too much techno mumbo-jumbo, the 200 khz frequency is the the way to go for all-around applications because it gives the best detail and target separation, works best in shallow water and at speed and typically shows less “noise.” The 50khz frequency has a wider, a deeper-reaching cone that is good for saltwater and also for tracking multiple downriggers.
• 5-inch, 480V x 480H high-resolution TFT color display with LED backlighting
• 50/200 kHz dual frequency skimmer transducer
• Internal 12 parallel-channel GPS with selectable WAAS reception
• Temp, speed and distance sensors
• 4,000 watts peak-to-peak/500 watts RMS, depths to 2,500 ft. with 50 kHz
• Built-in background map of the U.S. with over 3,000 lakes with depth contours
• Waterproof memory card slots
• 5-pin Ethernet expansion port compatible for radar, video and satellite radio
• Compatible for NMEA 2000 networking
On the Water Test
With an instruction manual the size of a small town phone book, it’s obvious before you turn the unit on that the LMS 527C iGPS does so much stuff that most of us mortals will never scratch the surface of its capabilities. As a true male of the species, I quickly tossed the instructions aside and just started playing with it out on the water. The first thing you notice is the navigational buttons are pretty easy to use and understand.
Basically, you use the buttons to access main menus and then, once inside, the directional oval allows you to scroll through sub menus.
It’s not all super-intuitive, but still easy enough for most folks to use, even if you don’t have a degree in computers from MIT.
Exploring the interior pages of the unit, I confirmed my initial suspicions that this is one very powerful machine that has functions that I will probably never take advantage of.
I had one of the original Lowrance flashers on my first-ever boat and appreciated the simplicity of the thing but now that these units look like video games, I’m not sure why I’d ever use that feature.
There’s also a radar screen on the 527. This little magic black box is all gassed up and ready to be your radar with the addition of the optional radar unit.
Mount that thing somewhere above your head, plug the cable to the back of the unit…and…PRESTO! You’ve got the ability to see in the dark or fog. Pretty nifty. I’m sure we’ll be watching satellite-fed ESPN in our graphs pretty soon!
The LMS 527C gives you the ability to run several different split-screen modes. Sometimes, it’s handy to run a split of the two different transducer frequencies or some navigational data on one side and the map on the other. My favorite mode was the map-chart display. I could see where I was headed and what’s going on down below at the same time. The only draw back to the split screen is you often have to back out to a single screen if you want to adjust something — say the sensitivity or depth range on the sonar — and then you have to work through the menus back to the split.
In the GPS map mode, I also found the built-in bottom contour lines really helpful for pinpointing hot spots.
Enough of all that…so how does this thing really look out on the water? That’s the bottom line, right? Well, I have to say I was extremely impressed with how much I could see. You’ve all seen the simulated screen shots they sales guys show you in the stores, but here are some actual photos from trips I took with the 527. This one is a massive school of stripers in the California Delta…
And then, here’s a typical screen shot from Lake Tahoe last summer. I was absolutely amazed at the detail I was able to see…on a daily basis, I was able to watch mackinaw actually bite our jigs. In this photo, you can see the jigs falling towards a school of fish and then one moves up to intercept the lure and then the fight is on!
With excellent power, screen color and resolution and a fantastic GPS map, plus loads of other features, the Lowrance LMS 527C iGPS is one bad ass fish finder. Some folks may like larger screens, but the only thing that you’re seeing live in real time on a graph is what’s on the far right hand side of the the screen and the rest is just “history,” so I don’t really have a need for a big screen unit.
The only downside is there’s so much stuff on the menus that you sometimes have to work your way through several sub pages to get where you need to go. While most of the pages are easy to figure out, there are some things that can stump you. For example, I hit the MOB (Man Overboard) button but couldn’t figure out how to immediately erase it. Of course, everything’s in the manual but if you’re like me…