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Choosing fish finder? Never bought one.

Old 06-23-2013, 06:57 AM
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Default Choosing fish finder? Never bought one.

Well the fish finder that came on my boat finally quit. It was an Eagle Cuda 168. Never seemed real accurate. Though could be me. So I have been looking at some and trying to decide if I want GPS or not. They are significantly more. The only thing I believe I would use GPS for is using it to add in reef locations etc. I just have a 17' center console but think this would be nice.

I was looking at something like this:
Garmin GPSMAP 421s

Also though I see where I could get a much cheaper unit without GPS and just buy a handheld GPS unit where you plug in the coord or use sd card like:
Garmin GPSMAP 78 2.6-Inch Marine GPS Navigator and Worldwide Chartplotter

Price may come out about the same but I really have no idea. I'd like to keep my budget around $400-450. Any opinion on either path or the 421s? Something alternative?

Thanks!
Old 06-23-2013, 11:01 AM
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Both Garmin and Lowrance have units in your price range that will give you good service.
If you can get to the $500 range the Sitex SVS650 is excellent.

Last edited by semperfifishing; 06-23-2013 at 05:52 PM.
Old 06-23-2013, 11:11 AM
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The Lowrance Elite-5 Gold is $399 at West Marine right now, I think. Comes with Navionics charts.
Old 06-23-2013, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by carito View Post
Any opinion on either path ...
Well, marine electronics are carito but do not opt for a new FF plus a handheld GPS just to save a few bucks. Big mistake ... huge.
Old 06-23-2013, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Pez Vela View Post
Well, marine electronics are carito but do not opt for a new FF plus a handheld GPS just to save a few bucks. Big mistake ... huge.

Well...he does have a 17' boat (as do I). Its not like there are many transatlantic crossing in our future in them.

I bet we all boated our "usual" waters for years and didn't even look at
maps, much less a GPS. Most of the guides around here don't even use a depth finder, nuch less a GPS.


That said, if you wanted a GPS, you can get a good one on a 441S, that should be in the $350-400 range.Its a nice little unit.
Old 06-23-2013, 12:41 PM
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What do you use your boat for?

My small boat is onlly 14', but I still have both a small MFD (fishfinder/ chartplotter/ engine data) and a stand alone chartplotter in it... Guess I could live without both units, both I would feel less safe and defenitely catch less fish. Since safety is a big issue with my family, and catching fish is my main reason to be in a boat, it all makes perfect sence to me.
Old 06-23-2013, 12:45 PM
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If you want something user friendly Garmin 441s will suit well, you can upgrade the transducer at time of purchase. You can run spilt screen for when you want to be on an exact spot. If you want go to Garmin.com and check out features to see if it's what you want.Check feedback from people who own them.
Old 06-23-2013, 01:18 PM
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I'm shopping too. Here is where I am if you would like to know.

Garmin 541s for $440 West Marine until 6-30 and a p66 from semperfishing for $98.

Lowrance Elite 5 HDI Gold $399 everywhere. DJ's is a good place to check.

Lowrance Elite 7 HDI Gold $740 everywhere. DJ's is a good place to check.

I would stay away from the Lowrance Elite 5 DSI at West Marine for $299 tomorrow only. It is down scan only. Unless you are buying another real sounder. Might be a good little GPS for a cheap.

Garmin 740s w/P66 $1090 semperfishing.

Lowrance is having a reputation problem right now. But boy do they look nice. Especially the Elite 7 gold. Pretty screen, plenty big, down scan and traditional sonar, with a almost real Navonics Gold chip pre loaded. Very Nice. If you are brave enough to not be scared of Lowrance peeing on you and telling you it's raining.

If you get 2 smaller screens than 5 inch, you have 2 small screens. If you get one combo for the same money you are getting a larger screen, you need to toggle but when you do the extra real estate is very nice. Split screen is not really practical on the 5 inchers, the Lowrance is better than the Garmin, but split screen is really usable on the 7 inch screens.

The resolution is pretty poor on the Garmin 541s compared to the Lowrance. The 541s is back on the top of my list though because of the trouble some are having with help from Lowrance. The Humminbirds are nice but geared to freshwater, but if you can find one somewhere set up for salt at a reasonable price please let me know.
Old 06-23-2013, 04:35 PM
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Hmm. Thanks for the posts.

What do you mean I can upgrade the transducer any time? What would you upgrade to? This is all pretty new to me.

I was in Academy today and looked at what they had. Hummingbirds I believe. Anyhow I beleive Rob said one of the models was downscan only. I noticed one of the high end units ata Academy is Sidescan. Is that better? Is that what you guys me by upgrading the transducer? You go from down to side?
Old 06-23-2013, 05:11 PM
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Look at Humminbirds, User friendly, inexpensive models, great customer service, excellent FF.
Old 06-23-2013, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jerryclaybrook View Post
Look at Humminbirds, User friendly, inexpensive models, great customer service, excellent FF.
He is fishing reefs. Since he is in LA, I was assuming saltwater. Humminbird has reasonable basemap upgrades for fresh, but you need to go all the way to a navionics type chip for an extra $200something in coastal areas. At least that is what can be determined by shopping and asking questions. Jerry, if you know something different, please share.

The elite 5 DSI is the only one right now that is just Down scan.

I think they had or advertised an Elite 7 dsi, but I don't think you will find one.

The elite series you are looking for are HDI or for more money a Lowrance HDS.

For 400-500 just forget side scan in a decent combo unit.

You upgrade to a transducer with larger, more sensitive electronics inside. A first step for us would be from the transducer that comes with the unit to an Airmar p66 or b60. But most machines can be purchased without transducers so you upgrade right out of the box. Honestly semperfishing, BOE Jim, or some other vendors will be able to steer you straight from the get go. You will not learn much in a big box store. Once you think you have some things to look at they are a nice place to go finger fiddle and look at in person. But stick with the experts recommended on here or other known experts for real advise. They will not be in Academy, or Dicks, or any big box unless you are real lucky.

I am just a shopper like you and am trying to avoid making a mistake.
Old 06-23-2013, 06:02 PM
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Comes with Navionics charts.
Old 06-23-2013, 06:44 PM
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Thanks. I was under the impression from reading some of the threads on here that most considered the Humingbirds to be better for freshwater and if considering salt a Garmin or Lowrance would be better.

Pretty much all of this is new for me. Never used any chart, navionics or otherwise. I do understand I guess that you can purchase a unit without a chart and add it later at extra cost. Guessing that is something that the SD card would be for.

For what I am reading and looking at so far. The Lowrance 5DSI is more in my price range. The other one I am looking at is the Garmin 441s. The 441 though is approaching $500.

I'd just like to be able to go out plug in some coords, save some, maybe use one of these map things to fish some good areas like the reefs that are everywhere. Right now I dont have any GPS so kinda hard to get there. PLUS the MORE fish I catch the happier the wife. She loves fishing but loves it more when she catches some too!
Old 06-23-2013, 06:46 PM
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There are others on here that know more than me but a basic transducer is a narrow beam and not as powerful and single frequency whereas dual beam would have high and low frequency beams, therefore would be more sensitive and accurate. Side scan has a wider beam and covers a larger area. There are sponsers on here that deal in marine electronics contact them and they will be able to help you decide on the best unit for your needs.
Old 06-23-2013, 06:49 PM
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mailto:semperfifishing@ymail.com
Old 06-24-2013, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by crboggs View Post
The Lowrance Elite-5 Gold is $399 at West Marine right now, I think. Comes with Navionics charts.
It's $299 today only at West Marine.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...01&cid=E130618

I'm going to get one for the skiff

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