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 Post subject: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:15 pm 
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So I'm looking to buy a fish finder for my PA 12 and I'm looking for suggestions. I've never owned one before, so they are new to me. Searching the web is just getting me confused as to which one I need, hence my need to turn to the forum.
I'll be using the unit primarily for lake fishing and may one day venture into they bay, but for now, lakes like the Monksville Resevoir in NJ (505 acres, 90-100 ft. depth). I'd like it to have a GPS so I can pinpoint areas I've located previously. I don't think I'll be needing side scan imaging, down scan imaging looks nice but is it practical?
Any suggestions on what to look for or suggestions on make/model?


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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:55 pm 
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Location: Santa Rosa Beach Florida
Hello Rock,

That is a tough question because there are so many out there with different capabilities and price tags$$$. I am an ex tournament bass fisherman and my electronics where my life line. Now that I fish the salt more out of a kayak, I use it mainly for depth changes, bait balls, and the occasional structure. If you are targeting fresh water species I would get one of the mid-level Lowrance depth finder/chartplotter (GPS). Check out the Elite series which are a great size for the yak but have all the functionality you are looking for. You also have the option, which I use, is have a handheld gps unit and a depth/fish finder. One thing I have learned is electronics and water dont always mix. Atleast if one of them goes down, I still have the other to rely on. That being said.......I am about to purchase and Elite series for a PA14. You can always upgrade if you outgrow the functionality of whichever one you go with. I started out with the Lowrance X-4 for my first one and worked up from there. It served me well as a basic unit.

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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:35 am
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Location: Ogden, Utah
I'm completely happy with a Humminbird 170, which is a gray-scale display with two sonar "look" angles. Your basic $125 unit. It does everything I need it to do in the lakes I fish and shows a good deal of bottom detail in addition to fish of all sizes. If I think I need a GPS, I'll get a basic handheld unit.

Because the PA12 comes prepared for a Lowrance unit (with adapters available for H'bird) I'd look at a Lowrance first. Frankly, I wouldn't overbuy at first. Opt for the fancy features only if you find you really need them. You can always get most of your money back re-selling the basic unit.

Edit to add: The ultimate feature that I'd pay through the nose to get? The ability to tell me if that's a giant walleye down there - or a carp.

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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:05 am 
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Location: Ogden, Utah
What luck. I stumbled across this pretty good tutorial on another website!

http://www.lowrance.com/Support/Tips-an ... -Tutorial/

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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:29 pm
Posts: 2092
Location: High Point, NC
After using most brands on the market, I prefer the Garmin FF units. The clarity and sensitivity is the best I've found on any of the various makes.


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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:06 am
Posts: 735
Location: Amelia Island, FL
Tom Kirkman wrote:
After using most brands on the market, I prefer the Garmin FF units. The clarity and sensitivity is the best I've found on any of the various makes.

I agree on the garmin units.... after using Garmin for years and just installing a Lowrance :cry:


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:03 am 
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Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 4:01 pm
Posts: 449
Years ago my wife gave me the Lowrance M68 C as a gift.

I have used it on prams, a jon boat and yaks. We have a transponder attached to the John boat, and I use a portable suction cup held transponder with other boats and my Yak.

It uses very little battery juice and the little 12 volt rechargeable batteries from Cabela's work for days without recharging.

The one draw back is the inability to update the GPS charts. Out here on lakes used for irrigation/city water, the level is never the same so there is no way to have an accurate map. Our local tidal river is never the same due to tides and changing river flows. Again, it would be impossibe to have an accurate chart of where you are.

Cons: In direct sunlight the glare makes it tough to see the screen.

I would recommend one to most people and would buy another one.

The non problem of lack of new and accurate GPS charts which is not a problem for me and most users.



It had a unplanned trip to a bottom of a lake while attached to a Pram, everything else that was electronic failed after that dive. The Lowrance worked well.

Rockpig wrote:
So I'm looking to buy a fish finder for my PA 12 and I'm looking for suggestions. I've never owned one before, so they are new to me. Searching the web is just getting me confused as to which one I need, hence my need to turn to the forum.
I'll be using the unit primarily for lake fishing and may one day venture into they bay, but for now, lakes like the Monksville Resevoir in NJ (505 acres, 90-100 ft. depth). I'd like it to have a GPS so I can pinpoint areas I've located previously. I don't think I'll be needing side scan imaging, down scan imaging looks nice but is it practical?
Any suggestions on what to look for or suggestions on make/model?

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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:12 am
Posts: 7
Thanks for the suggestions folks. My first thought was to get a basic lower end unit but this goes against everything I do, I never go small only to have to spend additional money later. I could have gotten any other mid level sit on top yak but decided to get the best, hence my PA12. I was torn between the Lowrance HDS-5 Gen2 and the Elite-5 DSI. My thought was to possibly add the side scan feature by buying the LSS-2 for the HDS-5 Gen2 later down the road but from what I can see from Lowrance's site, I'd have to get it now in order to have DSI. From what I can figure the HDS-5 Gen2 doesn't have DSI unless you add the LSS-2.
If this is the case I can't justify $1,200 for the HDS-5 Gen2 and LSS-2. If the HDS-5 Gen2 had all the features of the Elite-5 DSI I'd get it, but again, I don't think it has DIS capability without the LSS-2.
Am I right in this or am I reading it all wrong?


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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:17 pm
Posts: 537
Location: Auckland NZ
My previous unit was an Eagle Cuda sMap 250 and it did the job just fine til the salt water got to it (after a couple of years of good hard use). When the money arrived to replace it I listened to the siren call of the Elite 4 DSI but having bought it offshore (i.e. no return/refund option) and sight unseen I have seriously regretted the purchase (see my posts and others' about this unit on these forums). I should say that it is at least partly my own stupid fault for buying something in this way. Also I have not yet installed my Elite 4 DSI on the boat (see below) so I cannot say anything about the images that the unit presents.

The card slot is a very weak point for water ingress on the Elite 4 DSI as it is only covered by a wimpy little rubber flap - IMHO not suitable for use on a kayak which might get flipped and/or encounter waves and wave splash (mine WILL encounter these things). If you have a chart-card in the slot and get water in then you risk your loss becoming even more expensive than just for the unit - I doubt Lowrance's warranty will extend to replacing your chart if this happens!

The other consideration is how/where to fit the transducer. If you choose a unit which requires an external transducer then you are going to have to start drilling and then sealing some serious holes in your P&J to allow the cables to pass. An internal transducer requires only one cable hole (for the cable to the head unit). N.B. the manual for the Elite 4 DSI recommends against an internal transducer installation - internal installation may work but what is the point of paying a premium for a fancy image if you are then going to install it in a way which the manufacturer recommends against for the reason that the signal might be impaired?!.

If the transducer is going to be external then you need to find some way of attaching it to the boat - some people attach it to the rudder; others have succeeded in attaching it through a scupper hole (there is a very expensive Lowrance kit for this but some - me included - have tried/are trying home-made solutions because the Lowrance kit apparently does not do a particularly good job see *) - if you attach through a scupper hole the challenge is to get the ducer to sit tight enough up against the hull that it isn't going to tangle your fishing line or suffer damage when you beach your boat (*apparently the Lowrance kit results in the ducer hanging well down below the hull).

Finally - look at the fittings on the cables of whatever device you choose - the bigger the fitting the bigger the hole you need to drill in your boat in order to pass the cable (and if you drill it you are gonna have to seal it back up again once the cable has been run though it)

So why has it taken me so long to get round to installing the device on my boat?

Funny you should ask...
...here are the reasons:

1. I have been trying to work out how best to waterproof the card slot properly before I go out;
2. I have not yet worked out a good solution for installing the transducer;
3. The hole I drilled for my last unit is too small for this ones' cable fittings so I now need larger holes. Because of this I need to resite the original cable hole which means sealing it up and drilling another larger one for the new unit some where else on the boat plus one for the cable to the external transducer.
4. I need to source suitable deck glands for the 2 big holes I now need in my boat.

FWIW I would strongly recommend a gps as well as a ff (or a gps/ff) especially if you are playing in tidal or windy waters - GPS gives you the ability to put the boat on a direct course across wind/tidal currents rather than the line-of-sight course that you would probably adopt otherwise; this will probably save you hours of pedalling/sailing the wrong course over the life of the device.


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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:43 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:02 am
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Location: Central New York
I have used both Lowrance and Hummingbird products and have also had to use both companies customer support. Both make good products but Hummingbirds customer service is far superior. I encourage you to ask around about this cause I know that I am not the only one with this opinion. You will get a great product from either one but if there is ever a problem that requires the company's assitance you will regret having choosen a Lowrance.

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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:27 pm
Posts: 548
good thread, with some good info on others' experience.
I'm saving up for a Lowrance Elite 4 which is a bit cheaper than the DSI model mentioned above. Looks like good value for the price and the size is right.
As soon as it is in stock at my local basspro, i'll be purchasing.


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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:48 am
Posts: 192
Location: Portland, OR
Here is my 2 cents. My previous sonar was a Lowrance X70A which I loved. I recently bought the Humminbird 597ci HD DI (you can see the review I wrote on here if you are interested as to why). I use the 2D mode a lot. I think I would be hesitant to buy a DSI or DI only model. However, the combination of the two is killer! If I had to pick between DI or 2D only I think I would go with the 2D sonar.

As to installation:

The DSI will work extremely well shooting through a kayak hull. You can search the internet (especially the NWKA site) and see examples of it being used. Based on the physics you will only lose few percent of your signal strength. Unless you using your sonar at the limits of its capabilities this is not an issue.

Here is from the FAQ at the Humminbird site:

***

Can I epoxy the Side Imaging transducer in the hull of my fiberglass boat and allow the sonar to shoot through the hull?

Side Imaging transducers like those used on the 797, 798, 898, 981, 987, 997, 998 and 1198 have beams that shoot out to the side the transducer therefore they cannot be epoxied into the hull and work properly. Down Imaging transducers like those used on the 570 DI, 596c HD DI, 597ci HD DI and 788ci HD DI, can be. However, it is extremely critical that you use a slow cure (24 hours or longer) two part epoxy. Quick cure epoxy can cause air bubbles to form in the epoxy that will inhibit the transducer signal. 9 out of 10 times that we have complaints about a transducer not shooting through the hull properly tie directly to the epoxy and actual installation of the transducer. For further details see our instructions in the FAQ section

***

With a water well type installation (foam puck, duct seal, etc) that has a wide enough well even an SI transducer should work with no problems shooting through a thin kayak hull. The frequencies are the same as for DSI (or DI) only the width of the beam is different. With an epoxy install it is hard to get the epoxy to make contact through the entire beam width for an SI transducer which is why Humminbird recommends against an epoxy shoot through install.

I would venture a guess that Lowrance recommends against shoot through hull installs to reduces the support on bad installs.

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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:48 am
Posts: 137
Jcanracer wrote:
good thread, with some good info on others' experience.
I'm saving up for a Lowrance Elite 4 which is a bit cheaper than the DSI model mentioned above. Looks like good value for the price and the size is right.
As soon as it is in stock at my local basspro, i'll be purchasing.



Check out cabelas, they have a lowrance 4 DSI B/W on sale.

I just purchased a humminbird 581i with down scan from hodges marine. I found them to have the best price at under $300.


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 Post subject: Re: Fish Finder
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:27 pm
Posts: 548
saltfisherman wrote:
Jcanracer wrote:
good thread, with some good info on others' experience.
I'm saving up for a Lowrance Elite 4 which is a bit cheaper than the DSI model mentioned above. Looks like good value for the price and the size is right.
As soon as it is in stock at my local basspro, i'll be purchasing.



Check out cabelas, they have a lowrance 4 DSI B/W on sale.

I just purchased a humminbird 581i with down scan from hodges marine. I found them to have the best price at under $300.


Thanks, but I have $80 in basspro credit that I've saved up for almost a year to help in the fishfinder purchase :lol: after all that waiting, I hope the damn thing comes with the transducer included!


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