Depthfinders for Dummies?

Old 08-02-2013, 01:29 PM
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Default Depthfinders for Dummies?

I'm sure there has to be a thread or twenty on here to cover what I need, but I'm looking for a basic understanding of all the generic settings one would find on a depthfinder. I have a Lowrance Elite 5 that I've had nearly 3 years, but other than being able to note the depth with great accuracy the bottom finding capabilities have been lost on me.

I know different transducer settings should be used based on what type of fishing you're doing, depth of the water, etc, but I don't know which mode should be used in which scenario. If I'm trying to identify structure on the bottom vs. fish in the water column, would the settings differ and how so? I've never once noticed a nice, distinct arch to ID a fish like I see pictured on screenshots all the time. Could be the unit I have just isn't that good, but my hope is that I just don't know how to use it or don't have it set up properly.

I'm not asking someone to dumb down the entire owner's manual, but perhaps point me in the direction of a thread here or an off site link to at least help me grasp the overall concepts of all the various functions I have available. I would be much obliged!
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:19 PM
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I don't know your particular unit but there are plenty of DVD and videos available on how to use fishfinders. Invest a little time.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:53 PM
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Here's a start from Lowrance

Knowledge base> Sonar tutorial
and perhaps the video library .

But I would suggest keeping automatic depth range but switching to manual sensitivity gain set high to just below where too much "noise" shows up on the screen , to keep it clear for fish viewing. Make sure chart speed is set to at least 3/4 full in oder to spread out fish returns to make them visible as arches.

Then when out on the fishing grounds , go through everything sonar related in the manual and try the various higher or lower , on/off setting for each option and observe the results on the screen. Kind of like getting your vision tested...."Better?" "Worse?" .
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:12 PM
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Get the e-book Fishermans Guide to Sonar by John Easton (fishtec here at THT). It's written for Lowrance HDS, but HDS and Elite are quite similar so if you use the Elite manual together with the book it will learn you how to take full advantage of your fishfinder.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:49 AM
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Thanks guys, those links should definitely help and I'll try messing with the settings a bit when I'm out on the water next.

One other quick question, will restoring factory defaults only impact menu settings or will that wipe out any waypoints I've added?

Thanks again.
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