We’ve written about the use of Loran in bass fishing here before. It was the obvious solution to finding offshore structure in the saltwater so why not use it in the sweet water? Well, there were a couple of problems. One Loran pretty much only worked in ocean environments due to the fact the Loran stations were all positioned on the coasts and two, the saltwater units were prohibitively expensive.
The other problem was accuracy. Loran was only accurate to within a tenth to a quarter of a mile – maybe okay for the ocean but definitely not okay for the freshwater.
But these little show-stoppers didn’t stop the Santa Cruz, California company Interphase from developing the DC-1000 Fishing Sonar in 1988 – that would work both in fresh and saltwater. In fact, in their ad they stated that Loran would be placed all over the United States, coastal and inland, and their “Fishing Data Center [would] guide you directly back to the same spots.”
The unit also allowed for dual transducer frequencies displayed side-by-side, depth readings down to 1280 feet, boat speed, water temp, distance traveled and split-screen zoom. Features on all units today.
The problem with this unit from my point of view, after reading the fine print, was you needed their DC-2000 Fishing Loran to unlock the full potential of the DC-1000. Without the DC-2000, the other unit was just a fancy depthfinder.
Still, it was cutting edge at the time. To my knowledge, there was no other unit made that could operate in freshwater that offered plotting capabilities – even if they weren’t accurate.
The other interesting thing about the ad was the person in it – San Diego’s Bobby Sandberg. Sandberg was a big stick in the west and known for his structure fishing ability. I’d like to talk with him at some point about these units and see what he had to say.
Still, the use of Loran in freshwater would turn into a moot point some three to four years later with the release of the Global Positioning System or GPS. GPS was not only more accurate than Loran, it operates off of satellites, which are rarely hindered by mountains, trees or valleys.