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I Need Fishfinder Help

Old 04-06-2003, 12:23 PM
  #1  
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Default I Need Fishfinder Help

I have a 21' Wellcraft CC and fish mainly in Galveston (Texas) West Bay. It is fairly shallow throughout (2 - 10'). We will occasionaly fish East Bay which is a little deeper and once or twice a year go offshore in the Gulf with a buddy boat. The wife is constantly bugging me about running aground. I have been reading and studying the various brands and models of fish/depth finders on the market and am now more confused than ever.

My understanding is that I need a 20 degree cone, 200 megahertz unit. The budget is set at $600 or less. Does anyone have any suggestions? Also I have heard that transom mount transducers aren't worth a flip if you are going faster than trolling. Is a thru hull the way to go?

Thanks for any enlightenment y'all can give.
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Old 04-06-2003, 03:17 PM
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its 200 kilohertz, not megahertz.

A fishfinder wont save you from running aground at planing speeds. You should have seen the color change in the water long before you notice it getting that shallow.

you should be able to spend much less than $600 for your typical use. $200 should be the max you should spend.
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Old 04-06-2003, 05:08 PM
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Thru hull is always better...that is a thru hull, not a "shoot" thru hull. having said that, if you mount your transom mount where it gets a good laminar flow of HOH over it at speed you'll be fine. It is pretty easy to get them to mark at 35-40 knots on a smaller boat.

YOur two main choices will probably be Garmin or Lowrance. YOu have proponents and detractors of both- I would only suggest you get the one you are most comfortable with.

If you look at Lowrance don't forget Eagle. Lowrance in a different color box and substantially less money.

Finally, if your budget is $600, think about a combo unit. Even if you already have a GPS two of them is not too many. Moreover, I believe you can get a Lowrance/ Eagle combo piece for under $600 that has 320 vertical lines, 300 watts RMS, as well as a chartplotter and mapping. last years model was 2400 don't know if they have changed it for 2003.

Oh yeah, you are correct in your thinking i.e. 200kHz for the shallow HOH you normally fish.

Tom.
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Old 04-07-2003, 07:46 PM
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HEY BEACHBUM, I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT PERSONALLY, I LIKE THE RAYTHEON 470. I USE IT ON A 23 FT HYDRASPORT WITH A TRANSOM MOUNT TRANSDUCER. MY BOAT WILL RUN 50 MPH, & IT HAS ALWAYS PICKED UP JUST FINE. I THINK IT RUNS AROUND 325 BUCKS AT MOST PLACES.I DON'T BELIEVE YOU WOULD BE DISSAPPOINTED. CAPT DASH
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Old 04-07-2003, 08:51 PM
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Maybe a jackplate would help the grounding problem.
Personally, I stay out of the West Bay because it's so shallow. Seen lots of boats hang up on the shallows there when I was a wader. A push-pole is required equipment, IMHO.
One thing about fishfinders is that they mainly look straight down. In the shallows, the fish aren't going to be under your boat. That's why I believe you want to look at "side-finder" technology, or that new wireless castable Humminbird for fishing the shallows.
Personally, I'm using the Humminbird TX 400 on my v-hull CC, and it shows a 90° cone with it's triple-beam transom mount transducer. I lose bottom at 35 mph when it's calm and about 25 mph when it's choppy. The problem is that the transducer is at the back of the boat --- and the shallows are up front. Maybe those tunnel-hulls are the solution.
Ed
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Old 04-10-2003, 10:19 PM
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thanks for sharing with us that you are using a,shudder, h-bird. i'm also interested in sidefinder technology. are you happy with your ff's quality? would you do it again? did you consider the bottomline or raytheon ff/sidefinders? would you share some +'s and -'s with us? if you wouldn't purchase another h-bird what would you buy? would you opt for color? thanks for enlightening us.
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Old 04-11-2003, 04:55 AM
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The one I've got (400TX) is OK, but it's not a side-finder. It came on the boat I bought used. It's 90° tri-finder transom mount transducer shoots mostly straight down, although it's instructions use this anolgy: "In 20 feet of water you're viewing 40 feet of bottom." That's pretty wide if you're trying to pinpoint fish.
I needed to send it to the factory at first, there was a crack in the display glass. The replacement was $63, and it took one week plus a few days to ship. It functions great.
I am currently looking at replacement... The leader presently is a combo unit, the Eagle SeaCharter 320 (same as the Lowrance LMS 320) to add a nice mapping GPS, temperature, speedo, and plotting.
As far as positives and negatives, the H-bird has a nice big screen, sees lots of fish, and is easy to use. I like the voltage display and the backlight. No shortcomings in the product quality. Negatives are all those fish shown don't seem to bite, and I lose bottom when running fast. Mine doesn't have the temperature option, which I would like for finding rips.
As for a color unit, I would save money there and get a B/W FF. It doesn't make that much difference to see blue fish or red bottom. Color would be far better used (IMHO) on the GPS unit, where red/green markers and brown shore would be nice for quick, easy identification.
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Old 04-11-2003, 05:21 AM
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Take a look at these units for true realtime side scanning. http://www.interphase-tech.com/ Very sophicated. Having said that, I personally didn't like the one (Probe Model) that I had six years ago. I found the screens too small. I never felt confident in what I was seeing. But if your talking side scanning/forward scanning these units should be looked at. A an aside, why don't more people down there use jetoutboards?

Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage, twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros. Snowball, the cat...
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Old 04-11-2003, 05:41 AM
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Haven't found anyone who got theirs to work. My brother-in-law has one on his boar and he hates it. Salesmen convinced him it was just the ticket for offshore trolling. Oh well, live and learn I guess. The up and down isn't that great either.

If you do a search in the archives on Interphase you will see that it wasn't just his unit. We couldn't find any one who found it to work as advertised. If you do find someone we'd love to talk to them to see what they did to get it to work. If it only worked like they said it would it could be an awesome unit.
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Old 04-11-2003, 05:44 AM
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Those are nice - but jeez - they're priced like a radar unit.
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Old 04-11-2003, 06:14 AM
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Take a look at the Lowrance X-87. 200kHz, 20 degree cone, 320x320 resolution, holds bottom at 40+ knots, and marks fish really well, very easy to use interface and good screen viewability in sunlight. I got mine for under $300 at brokenlegdave.com. I'm very happy with it. Beats the pants off the Humminbird that came with the boat.
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Old 04-11-2003, 06:40 AM
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flashover... that's exactly what I was trying to say! I wonder if they ever get feedback from the user (other than and employee)? Sad ( ), but you'll notice that no othe major has picked up on their technology.

Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage, twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros. Snowball, the cat...
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Old 04-11-2003, 09:08 AM
  #13  
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Absolutely no reason at all to spend $600 if you'll mostly use the finder to keep from running aground. I got the Garmin 240 for $250 installed and I use it exactly in the same way as you will- more to check water depth than to find fish.

Nice resolution, doesn't take up too much room, reads water temp, and does find fish when I need it to.

No sonar will keep you from beaching if you're running on plane...but you knew that already!!

Pacific 19CC, Yamaha F100
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