Fish/Depth Finders

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

  1. pond monkey

    pond monkey Active Member

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    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 detail.....my 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 dots....so that is why many units come with sonar (cone) also....as 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
     
  2. LCnSac

    LCnSac John or "LC"

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    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.
     
  3. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    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.
     
  4. LCnSac

    LCnSac John or "LC"

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    Lowrance Elite 7 Broadband. Due out around March 2013. Details on the Lowrance site. It looks like a great solution.
     
  5. Eyejuggler

    Eyejuggler Beech Nut

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    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.)
    [​IMG]


    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.
    [​IMG]

    This setup works for me and I love the unit, handy info right there!
     
    Starman77 and GAT like this.
  6. IveofIone

    IveofIone Active Member

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    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.
     
  7. IveofIone

    IveofIone Active Member

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  8. Jay Burman

    Jay Burman Experienced Ne'r do well and Layabout.

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    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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  9. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    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.
     
  10. LCnSac

    LCnSac John or "LC"

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    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.

    GPS
    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.

    Sonar
    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.

    DSI
    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.

    ~John
     
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  11. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    Would one help me find halibut in a mountain lake?
     
  12. Krusty

    Krusty Krusty Old Effer

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    If you bluetooth pair a delorme inreach SE GPS with a smartphone you've got total coverage without cell coverage, and a text based emergency rescue system. Hell, you can text anywhere, anytime via satellite, to your old lady that you're gonna be late fishin. Just don't be sittin in a titty bar, because she can see where yer at on her ipad. Won't find fish worth shit though.

    I'd like a fish finder transducer that will fit down through a SOT kayak scupper hole (about 1"). It would help me master vertical flyfishing (bobber fishing without bait, but with spendy alcohol to keep the boredom at bay).
     
  13. Sinkline

    Sinkline Active Member

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    Someone mention, "fishfinder"? :) This is what I run on my tube. It's a Garmin 300c (color). I started with a Garmin 150 (B&W) but upgraded to the full function 300c after a year with the 150.

    I designed the bracket and the transducer arm folds parallel with the tube for easy transport, or backpacking on the trail. I never remove the unit from the tube so it remains easy to use.

    I power it with a LiPo RC Helicopter battery. Battery last for 22-hours (300c) fishing before charging is required. The battery lasted for a week with the 150! Battery is very light, compact, and can be carried or fixed anyway that works for ya as it doesn't need to be held upright like a lead-acid battery.

    I've only been using a FF for 2-years and now wonder why I didn't start using one on my tube decades ago! I consider this the most useful gear upgrade I have ever added to my Stillwater fishing tools by a large margin! Along with a Garmin handheld GPS I have been able to find and mark KEY bottom structure that has proven to be a huge difference in consistent catching! It's also neat to see fish swim beneath the tube at times and helps me learn at what depth the fish are cruising (or hanging) on any given day.

    If you do lot's of Stillwater angling and aren't taking advantage of what a good sounder can do for ya..., get a finder!


    Randy

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. LCnSac

    LCnSac John or "LC"

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    That is a great SFC setup. Nice work with the 'ducer PVC too.

    I think I'm going to pass on moving the Elite 7 back and forth and get a Lowrance Elite 4x for the pontoons. $100 after rebates right now, 120┬░cone, color. I can use it on the boat at the bow if I need to as well. I too have an old handlheld GPS, hate it, but for waypoints it's fine--with reading glasses ;-)
     
  15. sportsman

    sportsman Active Member

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    Ive, very clever and perfectly suited for a float tube. I bought a 140C a few years ago, it was used twice and got a Craigslist steal of a deal on it. The only reason I got the color model. It's the second FB I have owned and it is much better than the first generation ones. I have no use forit other than on my Renegade so I completely dissasembled it. I kept 12" of the lower tube and very carefully hacked the entire thing apart: lot's of work to remove the potting material where it transitions into the top of the tube. I'll post pictures on how I rigged it on the Renegade, about $2.00 worth of plastic pipe, and a couple fittings.