Fish/Depth Finders

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by GAT, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. you know what sucks? trying to find halibut without a finder
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  2. Here is the portable ice fishing finder pack with it's own gel-cell battery and charger for larger flat screen models with gps and lake mapping chips.

    Humminbird PTC U (406900-1) -
  3. I think the most important feature for most of us is the cone degree, and that's why my little RF 35 with a 90 degree cone has been so helpful. Most of us prospect waters from shallow to deep, but fish in 25' or less. With a 120 degree cone at 12' depth you're seeing about 12' out from your transducer in any direction. With a 35 degree cone you're seeing about 3.5' in any direction. Good for structure beneath you, not so good for spotting fish to cast to.

    I have a higher end Raymarine finder on my skiff, and it's worthless for locating fish in the Delta because we fish in 12'. I have yet to graph a fish at that depth as stripers are very boat shy. People think it's odd when I throw my little green RF 35 transducer over the side to micro search a flat or promising area.
  4. I have several ways to go. I have two higher end units. One is a Raymarine DS600 with a 5.7" screen and the other is a Lowrance chart plotter/finder that is currently not being used. I want two new units, I think. One would be a chart plotter/finder with an 83khz transducer that will scan up to 120 feet, 5" screen minimum, and the other a much smaller and portable unit or one that can easily be moved to the pontoon. Or I could keep the Lowrance and just get the smaller portable unit and off the Raymarine. I think I can come out even either way, or close. The Lowrance Elite looks fine for the larger unit. I would love to go bigger on the screen but 5" will probably be OK as I sit close to that one.

    I have a handheld GPS and hate it. It's just too small for these tired eyes. I use the iPhone Navionics when I have a cell signal. That's a great app for $10.
  5. 597ci HD Combo :: Marine Fishfinder :: Humminbird

    This is more inline to what I am looking at. I, like you LOC at 53 need a larger screen. these models have dual size for 83 - and 200 wide finder scan so you can move back and forth from wide view and then narrow it down if need be with a narrower view. lake plotting already has a map of most lakes and they also take the western lake maps chips for more detail. with the soft carrying case with it's own battery and charger with suction cup transducer taking it in other boats would be no problem. I know it's a lot of money but heck how much do I spend on fly rods! and all the other gear and boats and motors.

    The technology is there for anyone that might want to use it.

    I can only imagine how important it would be in the salt. my brother and his friend got caught in an all day fog and tried to come back into the jetty at Nehalem bay from salmon fishing and missed the jetty. they spent 20 minutes in the surf after losing there 21 ft. sled in the surf. three people almost died! the only thing that saved them was an incoming tide and good life jackets. they had even called the coast guard but boats were stranded everywhere so they were told they could not respond to help them back in.

    If they would have plotted with a GPS finder on how to get back they would of been ok! We use the GPS in the columbia to get to spots in the dark when traveling a few miles. we have the safe routes plotted and just follow the arrow and the old lines we always take.
  6. The Lowrance claims a 120 deg cone, the HB says 60. Looks like my Raymarine is worth $300 on ebay. That's what I figured. I can easily swap dollars and not spend any more or little more and have two very functional units, one small and portable and the other a good chart plotter/finder.
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  7. With Lowrance, you need to get into the Mark X-Pro models to get the 120 degree cone.... most of the other models have 60 degree and they may also feature chartplotting but probably not 120 degrees.....if that really matters to you. Another feature worth having is LED backlighting....that feature is still not common but some of Lowrances models are switching over inthe 2013 models...... year end closeouts may be LCD....not LED....LED backlighting provide a easy to read stark black/ white display.
    GAT likes this.
  8. I guess the point is, no matter the make or model of fish/depth finder, it is a valuable tool for flyfishing stillwaters. It will help you catch more fish.
  9. Now I'm totally confused, and I'm pretty sure some people here can clarify some questions. I sold my Raymarine today and will probably sell by Lowrance LMS337 combo unit I salvaged from my Montauk, so I will have plenty of funds to get two units. One, a small portable. I'm not worried about that--those are easy--and two, a new GPS/Fishfinder, and that's where the confusion starts.

    Went down to West Marine today, and he was hard pitching me a Lowrance Elite 5 combo unit for $550. That's at the top of my budget, but it seemed fine. Then I came back and started looking at the net and for whatever reason the DI combo units are cheaper than Sonar?? Here are my requirements and questions.

    1. Minimum 5" screen. Even thats a stretch without reading glasses for me but it works.
    2. Combo chartplotter/finder. I can get lost in a fish pond and this damn handheld GPS I have doesn't cut it. It has a lousy base map and is just too small.
    3. Built in base map with contours, and lakes would be cool! My Navionics iPhone app has those though.
    4. Internal antenna for the GPS
    5. I like EASY!

    1. Color or B/W? I don't really care about the colors so much, but I'm told that B/W can wash out easily in the direct sun. That's pretty much what we have down here most of the year.

    2. DI or Sonar? Down Imaging is cool and seems to be cheaper in some units than Sonar, but does it serve the same purpose? I spend 85% of my time in the skiff fishing in waters 6' - 20' deep if that matters. Humminbird has a unit where you can use either. That's appealing--I guess. I would think sonar would ID fish better?

    3. Cone angle? Initially I thought a 120 deg cone would be great, but now I'm hearing that a wide cone looses a lot of detail and is better for deep water? I'd think in shallow water it would be a benefit for a greater area? I know my little SmartCast with a 90 deg cone works great in shallow water. The Lowrance unit comes with an 83/200khz dual scan, and the 83 goes to 60 deg. Didn't look much different in the simulator, but that was at 60 feet.

    4. Brand? I've had Eagle, Lowrance, Humminbird only in the SmartCast series, and Raymarine. Raymarine is nice, too complicated and overkill for my needs. I don't know what to look for other than ease of use and features. I've never been dissatisfied with any units I've had.

    Thanks, and Happy New Year!

  10. Hi John,
    I can offer a little help...maybe...I too fish out of a powerboat..... with a 12v battery....As for wide cone and question is what detail? If I were fishing for structure oriented fish like bass, crappie ect. that could be important but trout cruise mostly in open water so I don't care much about (detail) except marking fish and they are usually somewhat suspended.....nice to also make out weed growth on the bottom to see how tall and dense... but any basic fish finder does that.....too much power in shallow water can result in bouncy depth readouts....kind of an echo effect....I want to see the bottom and I want mark as many fish as possible in as big of an area as possible around the boat...that means bigger cone the better...
    DSi only works when the boat is moving and it is mainly to show structure details and dsi doesn't mark fish ( well anyway) ....only little that is why many units come with sonar (cone) for dual cone....I don't ever fish water over 25 feet deep so I would turn of the deep cone (if I have that option on my unit).....
    If money is no object then i guess I might opt for down and side imaging both along with a big 120 degree cone and color and gps chart plotting ...but it can add a lot of unneceessary complexity to the day if you ask me..
    One other newer feature becoming more available is LED backlighting. I would definitely hold out for that!
    Eagle brand is no longer I believe. Eagle was Lowrance's budget minded product line but has now been absorbed by the parent company (Lowrance)... Garmin , Lowrance and Humminbird are the main players...

    happy New Year.....PM
  11. PM--thanks! When I use the skiff I'm almost always in 12' looking for bass and stripers. Stripers are very boat shy, and I don't think I've ever graphed one in less than 20' of water and at that depth they're usually not active. You like the 120 deg cone for that scenario? Stripers are my main concern as they can be really spread out, while LMB are usually pretty predictable on the Delta.

    Your power theory is interesting. Would dropping sensitivity back correct for too much power?

    Lowrance is coming out with an Elite 7 which has a 7" screen with DI, SONAR, and a chart plotter for $600. That is a little more than I'd like to spend but I love the big screen for these tired eyes and with selling two older units I can do that plus get a $150 portable for the bow and the toon/tubes.
  12. Hmmm $600 for di,sonar, and chart plotting is a good price! I suppose it would take lake chips also. I had settled on just depth finder and gps,chart plotting for around $400 now you have me second guessing!!!
    I felt down imaging was not that important just a "would love to have" thing. I can only imagine driving down the middle of an old river bed looking at both edges with di and the structure the drop offs would have.
  13. Lowrance Elite 7 Broadband. Due out around March 2013. Details on the Lowrance site. It looks like a great solution.
  14. I have an FB 120 and the first time I tried to use it with the Cabelas holder ( on my Super Fat Cat), it flopped around like...well it flopped alot and was very annoying. So after reading the posts here and looking at it, I did 2 simple things.

    1. I took a standard boat strap with the metal cinch and ran it through the holder tube and snugged it down, flopping gone. (use it in conjunction with the strap that came with the holder.)

    2. Take some foam tube material like you get for pipe insulation (mine came from a Yakima surf board mount) and cut to the length of the Cabelas tube and snap in around the shaft of the FB. This enhances the stability even more and weighs nothing.

    This setup works for me and I love the unit, handy info right there!
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  15. No discussion of depth finders would be complete without the inclusion of the Mickey Rooney Signature Series Fishin'Buddy float tube model. A band saw or hack saw, some plastic tubing and electrical tape and you too could own one of these fine units! Seriously though this is much easier to use and transport than the original, I don't know why they haven't produced something like this just for tubes and 'toons.
  16. I have been using a Fishin' Buddy Fish finder for the last 10 years. Without it is like fishing with your eyes closed.
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  17. I fixed the problem with my Cabela's Fishin Buddy holder by using 3M industrial Velcro. I installed a length of the super Velcro on the pontoon where I wanted to mount the holder and the opposite Velcro on the holder.

    The sucker ain't moving now! I don't know if you're familiar with the industrial Velcro but it takes a D9 Cat to pull the stuff apart once it is pressed together.
  18. This thread has been orphaned for a few months, but I did purchase, install, and have now used the Lowrance Elite 7 and wanted to share what I've found so far:

    I replaced a Raymarine sonar and Airmar transducer, which I seriously hated and could never seem to read well, with the new Lowrance unit recently. I LOVE this unit and wanted to give a quick review.

    First, in the 7" screen size don't waste your time looking at competitive models around that price point, because there are none. Lowrance has broken the $1000 barrier with the Elite 7 and no one can touch it. I paid just over $700 out the door from West Marine for the unit, 'ducer, and Navionics Gold Chip including tax. It looks like some people are starting to discount the Elite 7 now so you might do better elsewhere.

    I did have to swap the 'ducer as it was missing a part, so I'm glad I bought it locally. West actually has a couple of people who really know the unit and they have been extremely helpful. I don't normally have high expectations there.

    This comes with an internal antenna, and I have had no problems with the satellite locating my position on the Delta. It does take a minute or so, but once you're found it holds. Lowrance has vastly improved the user experience with this unit, and zooming in or out is push button easy. The Navionics Gold Chip is probably necessary for the Delta--the base system is severely lacking in contours. The cursor is very easy to move around, even while running. This is a light years improvement over my previous Lowrance GPS units.

    Same as always, a little more clear, and fairly easy to adjust the sensitivity. My old transducer was mounted on the port side of the transom. My 12' skiff has a hull similar to a Whaler, and for whatever reason Whaler recommends mounting the 'ducer on the port side. After researching I decided to install this one on the starboard side and it's a big improvement. I do lose the screen at about 19 mph, but that's only about 3 mph below my top speed and I am sure I can adjust this so it won't drop out. I'm sure the Doel Fin backwash doesn't help either.

    This is an incredible feature, and based on what I had read I didn't expect it to be of much value. It's also a rare case where the actual display is better than what Lowrance shows in their pictures. It's like having a camera below the boat.

    I was fishing a skinny slough in the Delta, and wasn't marking any fish. I was toggling between the DSI and Sonar, when suddenly the DSI screen picked up dozens of stripers, 2' above the bottom. It was like an underwater snapshot it was so clear. I backed off, made two casts, two fish to the boat. I would totally have missed these with the sonar alone.

    You can view any combination of the three features on the screen. Full DSI, half DSI, half sonar, GPS and sonar, or all three at once. It's extremely easy to do this too, with one button and "enter."

    The Elite 7 can be networked with NMEA, but I no longer need that capability. The Lowrance documentation is skimpy, and doesn't explain the non NMEA installation well, but you'll figure it out or hit me up if you have questions. The other minor negative is that you have to buy a cover separately. $20 on eBay.

    I like the 7" screen for two reasons. One, there's a lot of real estate to see, and with my small boat I can swivel the unit in the RAM mount to face the bow and read it pretty well. That eliminates the need for two units for small craft. Two, my eyes aren't great and I can read this easily with my regular prescription sunglasses. With a smaller screen, I'd have to use reading glasses which is another huge PITA.

    For the younger folks, or for a setup with two units where you're fairly close to them, the Elite 5 should be fine and it's a lot less money--$350 ish now on sale not including the Nav chip. I will probably rig another RAM Mount for using the Elite 7 on my pontoon. The GPS won't help without a lake chip showing contours, but the DSI is so good it seems less like overkill now that I've used it.

    Don't think you can depend upon the iPhone/ipad Navionics app for GPS. Last year I was in the San Joaquin and missed my turn (discovered 5 marker buoys later) because my cell reception dropped without me realizing it. It is a GREAT app for contours and tracking IF you have cell reception. I am considering buying a chip for our local lakes, but for the most part the iPad/iPhone with a water proof case should be OK--it's just more stuff in the boat. The Nav Gold isn't perfect, but it's a big improvement over the Lowrance base.

    Upgrading Tip:
    If you want to sell your existing unit to help fund this one, consider parting it out. I sold my Airmar transducer and Raymarine head separately, and totally parted out an old Lowrance unit. I sold each cable, NMEA connectors, and the transducer and head separately and raised almost $1000. I paid $700 for the Lowrance in 2006 and the Raymarine came with the boat. I would have netted half that by selling them as complete packages.

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