Old Books: The Facts of Electronic Fishing – I

The Facts of Electronic Fishing - 1961

The Facts of Electronic Fishing – 1961

As a continuing follow-up to some of the history behind Lowrance and their early electronic units, and since Terry has been on me to post about the old Lowrance books that were published in the 1960s, today we’ll take a quick book review through the first in what became a small series of published documents, “The Facts of Electronic Fishing.”

I have an original first edition copy of that book which was published in 1961 (opening pic). The company (in 1961) was operating under the name ‘Lowrance Electronics Manufacturing Company,’ or LEMCO for short. At the time, they were still located in Joplin, Missouri. The book is approximately 124 pages long, and broken down into 5 chapters. They are as follows:

  1. The Sonic Boom – A short introduction that introduces the company and the story to come, and states up front, “Our aim in publishing this book is to provide an entertaining, non-technical guide to better fishing.” This becomes quickly apparent as you read through the book since all the pictures used in the book are hand drawn “cartoonish” diagrams to get the information across.
  2. From Submarines to Sardines – A brief history of depth sounding and the development of sonar apparatus. How the FISH LO-K-TOR has developed from these beginnings.
  3. Nature Re-Visited – A digest of the findings of various researchers who have used the FISH LO-K-TOR in the field. Some new and interesting facts about fish and their environs, including a section on several popular game fish.
  4. The Inside Story – A nomenclature of the FISH LO-K-TOR demonstrating its basic features; and the reasons for its unexcelled performance. Included is a closing section on batteries.
  5. Seeing With Sound – Using the FISH LO-K-TOR in the field. How to read the dial and interpret the signals. How to mount the transducer. How to spot and recognize fish, and underwater obstructions such as brush, logs, weeds, etc. How to contour and mark a good fishing spot. How to fish through the ice, using a LO-K-TOR.
The original Lowrance company logo (LEMCO)

The original Lowrance company logo (LEMCO)

One of the many "cartoon" drawings, this one from Chapter 4 explaining basic features and nomenclature.

One of the many “cartoon” drawings, this one from Chapter 4 explaining basic features and nomenclature.

The basics of sonar cone angles from Chapter 5 - Seeing With Sound.

The basics of sonar cone angles from Chapter 5 – Seeing With Sound.

Even the flasher interpretations in the book are hand drawn.

Even the flasher interpretations in the book are hand drawn.


To a reader now days, the cartoon diagrams that fill the pages take a little getting used to, but the overall content in the book is pretty good. We have to keep in mind that this was likely the very first introduction of the general public to ‘personal’ sonar units, and trying to explain how they work and what their benefits are to the unknowing angler likely wasn’t an easy task. Now days, all this would be taken for granted. The book sold for just $1.00 and provides a great glimpse into the earliest beginnings of portable and compact sonar units for anglers and boaters – a wonderful piece of bass fishing history.

Coming next week in Part II, the 1967 version of this book from Lowrance.

  • Ralph Manns

    One of the biggest problems with initial instruction on the use of flashers ( and subsequent chart-type sonars) was the absence of discussion of the impact of boat movement. A stationary boat sonar paints all bottom and submerged objects over and over again. thus showing no-change. On a chart recorder lack of movement draws a thin or solid line.

    I first learned this when a man I sold a sonar came in to compllain. He dropped a brush pile and then couldn’t see /find it. A series of questions revealed that he anchored over the brush. It paintetd again and again as a solid bottom. Bottom contours and changes in depth or bottom cover are revealed as the boat moves over new areas. The boat speed forward greatly changes the appearance of major bottom contours. Fast speed exaggerates depth changes while slow movement smooths out major drops.

    the newest down-and-side-lookers a seem to have modified these problems, but speed still effects sonar imagery.

  • Bruce W.

    I really enjoyed the hand drawn pictures. Do you think FLW and BASS will go back to flashers only! LOL That would blow some of the Pro’s minds!
    thanks again
    Bruce W.

  • Tom Shockley

    I have the complete set of the second edition of books published by Lowrance. Plus, the original 35mm slide presentation I developed and used for Lowrance sonar seminars I taught across America and Canada during the mid 70’s. Still have the prototype Ph meter developed by Dr. Lauren Hill and Lowrance.
    My association with lowrance dates back to 1968 as a fishing guide on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, when and where Carl Lowrance was a frequent customer. I worked for Lowrance from 1975 until 1981. My budget for building a “Pro Staff” program in 1976 was 48 LFG 360 “Locators”.
    The “LFG 610” flasher graph was in prduction when I came on board as an employee; but the “Stright-line graph” , inter-changeable and “shoot through-the-hull” transducers, OEM boat installation program and Ph Meter were all developed during my time and these are programs I was in charge of at one time or another. Oh how the stories are flooding back in.
    Tight lines,
    Semper Fi,
    Tom Shockley