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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:20 am 
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Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 4:01 pm
Posts: 425
Cabela's is offering this unit to their club members for $200.

Has anyone tried one in their yaks?

Any info/reviews/opinions?

Thanks

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2009 Oasis
2012 Freedom Hawk Pathfinder


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:29 pm
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Location: High Point, NC
I have the same unit minus the GPS. The DSI unit is nice - it interprets the signals and draws a very good picture, almost as if you had a camera down there. However...

There is no auto-depth available on DSI so if you have your screen set to display, say, 30, and you find yourself in 10 feet of water, you only have the view in the top 1/3rd of the screen. The view won't expand to fill the screen as it does on their regular sonar units.

The background colors are dark, and the screen is glossy so glare is a horrible problem. I even built a wrap around sun shield for mine, but it hasn't helped much.

Don't get me wrong, I like my unit but have found it very hard to see without putting my nose to within a foot or so of the screen. I think these things are still a year or two out in terms of getting them to the same point of user friendliness that standard sonars have.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:15 pm 
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The rivers I fish go from a few feet deep to 20-30 in a short distance, and my lakes are worse.

Glare on a small electronic screen often makes the electronics more like a block of wood instead of being an aid.

Tom Kirkman wrote:
I have the same unit minus the GPS. The DSI unit is nice - it interprets the signals and draws a very good picture, almost as if you had a camera down there. However...

There is no auto-depth available on DSI so if you have your screen set to display, say, 30, and you find yourself in 10 feet of water, you only have the view in the top 1/3rd of the screen. The view won't expand to fill the screen as it does on their regular sonar units.

The background colors are dark, and the screen is glossy so glare is a horrible problem. I even built a wrap around sun shield for mine, but it hasn't helped much.

Don't get me wrong, I like my unit but have found it very hard to see without putting my nose to within a foot or so of the screen. I think these things are still a year or two out in terms of getting them to the same point of user friendliness that standard sonars have.

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2012 Freedom Hawk Pathfinder


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:51 pm
Posts: 13
Here’s my experience using the Mark 4 DSI/GPS.

The good:
1. Excellent detail on bottom structures.
2. GPS accurate and consistent.
3. Easy to use.
4. Manual Frequency selection, to maximize performance.
5. Adjustable screen brightness.

The not so good:
1. Glare is a problem, but taping a piece of tinted anti-glare screen over the mark 4 screen helps.
2. No sensitivity adjustment (use the contrast setting, but it’s not the same.)
3. No fish arches. Fish are hard to or impossible see around the detail of structure.
4. The transponder works best in the water, it also works thru the kayak hull but there is a noticeable difference. If you use an in-hull wet mount, it degrades fish images mostly, not bottom structure detail very much.
5. Loaded Map is low quality and at times the GPS shows you being on ground. Comparing other GPS indicates the GPS in the unit is correct but the Overlay Map is not in sync.

Conclusion:

This is a fantastic unit if you primary use is to find structures that hold fish. And you use the GPS to mark and get back to structures, it good quality at an excellent price.

If your primary use of a fish finder is to find single fish (not schools) it’s not a unit you’ll be very happy with it. The problems with the map makes this unit useless even as a basic navigation tool (Even the manual warns you not use this for navigation).

How I use the Mark 4 DSI/GPS:

On surf launches no matter how hard you try to protect it, the life of a fish finder is not for long, the less it cost the better. I use the finder to located bait schools and the detail of the M4 DSI helps me determine what bait I’m over (i.e. sardines vs. anchovy, etc.). After loading up on bait I can get out to the structures I’ve saved as waypoints without delays. Not seeing fish consistently is not a problem since I fish where there's structure, and not fish images. Most fish I target are pelagic.

Would I buy another, Yes.

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2012 Oasis


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:09 pm
Posts: 184
Location: Perth West Australia
I have just gone for the Elite 5 DSI because of the larger screen. This way I have both GPS chart plotter (with the very detailed Navionocs Gold charts) and a reasonable size sonar screen.

It is also prety fast to change screen view from split screen chart and sonar - to sonar only - or chart only.

But like Baitman said "the life of a fish finder is not for long, the less it cost the better" so I am having to be extra careful with the Elite 5 as it was a lot more expensive.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:29 am 
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I would be using the finder mainly to find, stripers, in my local tidal river. They seem to be on the move constantly. You can hammer them in 1 spot for a few hours, and that might be it for days.

The only constant spots seem to be under bridges, and you need to find the fish to position your fly re down stream and upstream tidal flows.

My over a decade old Lowrance M68c works for the above needs. Its drawback is reading the screen in bright light. I have a portable suction cup transducer for it on yaks and prams, and we have a permanent transducer and wiring to the mount on our Jon boat. It is deadly for finding a single striper or a couple under a bridge or along the side of the river. I posted how our 11 year old grandson monitors the M68 and spots the fish and directs his Dad or I to be upstream of the flow for our casts.

The lakes I fish are water reservoirs for farm irrigation or human use. So the lake's levels and fish holdi spots change constantly from week to week. The key is finding the fish not the structure. If the big fish are chasing shad, we look for birds and the leftover shad carnage from big fish shredding and eating them. There is no need for any finder. When the big fish are gourging themselves on shad, a yak, small pontoon boat or small pram is a great tool. You position yourself upwind 50 to 60' and cast to about 10 feet from the boil and let you fly float into the boil. On the Delta, you can catch a LMB bass and then have a big striper gobble up the LMB or the reverse with a small striper and a huge LMB.


For now, I will stick with my old M68c.

Thanks again for your excellent user report and summary.

Baitman wrote:
Here’s my experience using the Mark 4 DSI/GPS.

The good:
1. Excellent detail on bottom structures.
2. GPS accurate and consistent.
3. Easy to use.
4. Manual Frequency selection, to maximize performance.
5. Adjustable screen brightness.

The not so good:
1. Glare is a problem, but taping a piece of tinted anti-glare screen over the mark 4 screen helps.
2. No sensitivity adjustment (use the contrast setting, but it’s not the same.)
3. No fish arches. Fish are hard to or impossible see around the detail of structure.
4. The transponder works best in the water, it also works thru the kayak hull but there is a noticeable difference. If you use an in-hull wet mount, it degrades fish images mostly, not bottom structure detail very much.
5. Loaded Map is low quality and at times the GPS shows you being on ground. Comparing other GPS indicates the GPS in the unit is correct but the Overlay Map is not in sync.

Conclusion:

This is a fantastic unit if you primary use is to find structures that hold fish. And you use the GPS to mark and get back to structures, it good quality at an excellent price.

If your primary use of a fish finder is to find single fish (not schools) it’s not a unit you’ll be very happy with it. The problems with the map makes this unit useless even as a basic navigation tool (Even the manual warns you not use this for navigation).

How I use the Mark 4 DSI/GPS:

On surf launches no matter how hard you try to protect it, the life of a fish finder is not for long, the less it cost the better. I use the finder to located bait schools and the detail of the M4 DSI helps me determine what bait I’m over (i.e. sardines vs. anchovy, etc.). After loading up on bait I can get out to the structures I’ve saved as waypoints without delays. Not seeing fish consistently is not a problem since I fish where there's structure, and not fish images. Most fish I target are pelagic.

Would I buy another, Yes.

_________________
2009 Oasis
2012 Freedom Hawk Pathfinder


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