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Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

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Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Old 10-23-2006, 08:45 AM
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Default Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

My friend has a Furuno LS6100 and he has to constantly adjust the gain on his machine in shallow water. I called Furuno and the tech told me their machines are not set up for shallow water.
I often fish shorelines for Red Drum and I need a sounder that operates well in 2 - 5' of water.
The Raymarine DS500X looks interesting.
Any help would be appreciated.
Old 10-23-2006, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

The Furuno RD30 with smart sensor will read down to two feet in a in hull arrangement. It produces readings only so it cannot be used as a fishfinder. Great for tracking the bottom however when depth is critical.
Old 10-23-2006, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Try looking at the 700 series Humminbirds. My friend just bought a 787c2 and it read right up to 2 ft without a problem. My Garmin also has no problems in shallow either.
Old 10-23-2006, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

I believe it has much to do with the transducer. If you can find a 200 mz with 20 or more degrees you will be in good shape. I have a RM C80 with their only transducer which is (I think) 12 degrees. I once had a Lowrance LCX-15 and switched (from a 12 degree) to a 200/20 and had great shallow water readings. In shallow water on my RM C80 at 20 feet depth I think I am looking at a 4 foot circle on the bottom (very small area). On a 20 degree I could possibly double my view at 20 foot depth. I am not sure who makes a 20 degree or larger 200 mz transducer (besides Lowrance) ?? Elusive or Jim (BOE), what is your advice? I like my RM but wish I could see a larger area of the bottom. In the Chesapeake we do not have too much deep water. I had asked the RM factory guy last year about RM coming out with a larger degreed transcducer and he told me that he did not know of one in the works. I think most the the mfgs buy their transducers from the same outfit. However, the transducers are not interchangable with different mfg. in most cases.
Old 10-23-2006, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

I was on a guides boat earlier this year. He had a Lowrance unit that he chose for the shallow water performance. I think he referred to the wide cone angle of their transducers being good for shallow water


Old 10-23-2006, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Hi Elusive, Yup Ritchie Gaines talked me into a Lowrance. Gary Neitzey and I had the same one (LCX-15 with 12 degree) and had problems. We would lose the bottom and it would just flash 999. When we switiched to the 20 degrees it cured our problems and we received great readings in very shallow water.

(Both Ritchie and Gary are top Chesapeake Bay fishing guides, Ritchie is also a Lowrance Sponsored Guide). (Note I switched to RM on my new boat).
Old 10-23-2006, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Lowrance is the sounder I choose for my shallow water speck fishing skiff. Currently,I have a x-45 unit. They are cheap,bulletproof & work in less than 2 feet of water,plus it gives water temperature.
Old 10-29-2006, 09:13 PM
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Default RE: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

South Point - 10/23/2006 8:45 AM

My friend has a Furuno LS6100 and he has to constantly adjust the gain on his machine in shallow water. I called Furuno and the tech told me their machines are not set up for shallow water.
I often fish shorelines for Red Drum and I need a sounder that operates well in 2 - 5' of water.
The Raymarine DS500X looks interesting.
Any help would be appreciated.

get a humminbird 987c side scanning sonar. It shows a picture of bottom like a tv camera down to 100' Great for finding anything under water.

http://www.thehulltruth.com/forums/t...85667&posts=17

http://www.humminbird.com/products.asp?id=621
Old 10-30-2006, 08:03 AM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Lowrance sounders are the most common for shallow water down here.
Old 11-06-2006, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

The best one I have found is the Lowrance X135. It reads until .7ft.
Old 11-07-2006, 08:31 AM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

How do these read in deeper water? Say to 200 feet? I realize it's all a compromise.
Old 11-07-2006, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

I'd say it is hard to beat a Lowrance for shallow water. One of the main reasons so many bass fisherman use their units. I have an LCX-105C that I just love for shallow water.
Old 11-07-2006, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

This thread is a little confusing to me because of terminology and I guess also because I may be a little brain dead. To me “sounding” is the reading for depth. “Fishfinder” is a display that shows you fish. FF’s also do sounding, i.e. they tell you how deep it is under your boat. Sounders do not do any ff’ing.

Furuno’s RD-30 with a 235khz transducer will do “soundings” in a little less than 1-ft of water. It is what I have for my shallow water sounder. It will not show you where any fish are because it is not a fishfinder.
Old 11-07-2006, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

eye - you raise a good point, but since he was talking about LS6100 and DS500X which are both fishfinders, most people probably were thinking FF. Only South Point can answer that.
Old 11-07-2006, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Of course you are not going to be marking fish in .7 ft. However, I find it quite useful to have a finder that will also tell me the depth when I get shallow. It is nice to set a shallow water alarm at 2 ft or 1.5 ft. If your FF stops working at 3 ft, you don't get the advantages of the shallow water alarm feature.

ETA: I can't say how the X135 performs in deeper water. I live in the big bend area of FL. I would have to travel 100 miles off shore to test it. I am not going that far in my Montaulk or my flats boat.

ETA 2: The X136DF is a dual frequency version of the X135.
Old 11-08-2006, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

As mentioned above, it all depends on the angle of the 200 MHz transducer. You can not get good readings in shallow water with a narrow beam transducer (10 or 11 degrees). A few units like Lowrance offer a 20 degree transducer as well as a narrower beam transducer. Just imagine a cone under the boat from the transducer. With a 10 degree transducer you are just seeing maybe a 2 or 3 foot or less circle in 12 feet or water. With a 20 degree transducer you will see twice as big an area in shallow water, maybe 4 or 6 foot circle in 12 foot of water. Even a Lowrance will not work well in shallow water without a 20 degree transducer. I used to have a Lowrance with a 200/50 MHz transducer. It would not work well in shallow water and received false signals and lost bottom readings. I put the second transducer on that was 200mgz 20 degrees and it worked great. I kept the 2 transducer on the boat and put a switch on the Lowrance to switch between the 2 transducer. Bottom line is that you need a wider beam transducer (Lowrance or other brand) to work effectively in shallow water. Problem is most fish finder mfg. do not have a wider beam transducer available. Only Lowrance and a few others offer it. I have Raymarine C80 and in 12 feet of water I am looking at around a 24" circle at the bottom. Not very good for fishing in the shallows constantly but a good unit. Raymarine does not offer a wide beam transducer. If they did I would have 2 transducers on my boat in a minute for use in the shallow Chesapeake.
Old 11-08-2006, 05:40 PM
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Default RE: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Try this link.

These are awesome.

http://www.thehulltruth.com/forums/t...85667&posts=17
Old 11-09-2006, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

q3131a - 11/8/2006 4:48 PM

It is nice to set a shallow water alarm at 2 ft or 1.5 ft.
When it gets that shallow, a bamboo pole works great for doing sounds off the bow. Just poke 'n move, poke 'n move, poke 'n move ...
Old 11-10-2006, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Eyeball - 11/9/2006 5:47 PM

q3131a - 11/8/2006 4:48 PM

It is nice to set a shallow water alarm at 2 ft or 1.5 ft.
When it gets that shallow, a bamboo pole works great for doing sounds off the bow. Just poke 'n move, poke 'n move, poke 'n move ...
2 ft is regular or even deep with winter tides in Ozello. In fact for my skinny water boat I set the deep water alarm at 7 ft to find holes.

I use the shallow water alarm for my Whaler when floating.
Old 11-13-2006, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Who makes the best shallow water sounder?

Here are the secrets to finding the right fishfinder/sounder for shallow water.

1) If you want to read bottom in shallow water, use a single frequency (200 or 235) transducer....do not use a 50/200 - the electrical and acoustic characteristics are very different (this is from an airmar engineer as well as from my personal testing ).

2) This is one case where you want a sounder with less power....that's why you get better results when you turn the gain down.

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