Kenora, Ontario, based guide Dave Bennett says he’s fishing lighter than ever before, thanks in large to his electronics. “I’ve got everything I need to find fish – graph, digital flasher and high-definition GPS – in one ultra-portable pack via the Humminbird 597ci HD Ice Combo. It goes everywhere with me.”

Reducing unnecessary gear is critical to the way the affable ace rocks the hardwater of Sunset Country, whether jumping into the cockpit of his buddy’s Cub or spinning the odometer of his snow machine to chase epic multi-species bites throughout the nearly million-acre Lake of the Woods and labyrinth of unsullied backcountry lakes.

An ice fisherman in a bush plane loaded with the Humminbird 597 is analogous to a fighter pilot flying the F-35 Lightning, USAF fifth generation fighter.With these tools, it turns hamburger into steak, there are no unknowns, and the fisherman can hunt and score big against any species of fish.

“Rather than rely on a handheld GPS unit and a separate flasher, it’s all here, self-contained. It’s a great navigation tool for getting back to Sunset Country’s primo waters. Then, once we reach our spots, it’s time for on-ice maneuvers,” says Bennett.

Bennett says he’s a fan of graph mode when fishing lakers and walleyes to get a better visual ID of how fish react to specific jig strokes. Then, any time he wants to determine the relative size of fish in large groups of marks, he’ll use the digital flasher’s 6-color display palette option, which shows smaller fish in blue and green, larger fish in orange and red. “I also like the 200/83 kHz dual beam option for a good view of fish off to the sides of the hole, expanding the real estate I can scout.”

He says the 597 has also eliminated a lot of excessive drilling. “I like to mark my winter spots throughout fall via the Humminbird on my boat, then pop the LakeMaster Version 4 Rainy/Lake of the Woods card into the 597 once we’ve got hard water. That way I’ve got my A, B, C, on down the list spots ready for clients.”

Then, when searching out new “hot fish,” he’ll engage LakeMaster’s exclusive Depth Highlight feature, which allows him to label key contours in green and super-shallow, unfishable water in red. “I can eliminate a lot of dead sea with the press of a button. Makes it a lot easier to find and stay on fish,” says Bennett.

Not only does the 597ci HD Ice Combo swap seamlessly from Ice Combo bag to ATV, snow machine and truck via Humminbird’s trick Quick Connect bracket and RAM mounting … thanks to our Sunset Country buddies Dave and Kelly, it’s literally earned its wings.

Image and video courtesy Humminbird

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