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Picture Of The Month

Danr realizes the dream with a 30lb Chetco Bubble Chinook!

Topic: looking for a fish finder.  (Read 1203 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

ppwack02

  • Krill
  • *
  • Location: Eagle River, Alaska
  • Date Registered: Feb 2018
  • Posts: 12
Anyone got recommendations for a fish finder? Won a Gift card at a ducks unlimited banquet the other day and figured now's the time to find one. Any input would be Great!

Thanks,

PP


kardinal_84

  • Sturgeon
  • *******
  • Perseverance Pays!
  • Kayak Fishing Southcentral Alaska
  • Location: Anchorage, AK
  • Date Registered: Mar 2011
  • Posts: 4216
Summary: Expensive fishfinders are cool.  But you only need the cheapest one to catch fish here in southcentral Alaska (At least the fishing I do)

I am typically the type of person who says "Buy the best you can afford."  However, not with fish finder here in southcentral Alaska except in a few specific cases.

In southcentral Alaska, you rarely fish structure.  You also almost never see fish on the sonar prior to a strike.  You also rarely fish in over 200 ft of water. 

The fancy high end sonars are pretty cool.  They give you something to look at when the fishing is slow.  But reality is that 99 dollar fish finder is going to give you all the information you need.  I used to run a hummingbird pirhana max.  Stepped up to Lowrance hook 4,  I am back using a Lowrance hook 3 model. 

The color monitors tend to use a lot more power than a black and white.  The lower end monitors as long as you turn off the fish ID will show the bait.    With many of the surf breaks here in Alaska, you WILL get your sonar wet.  If you flip your kayak in the surf, you will be glad its a cheap sonar rather than a 1,000 dollar one as an example. 

I can see getting larger more expensive sonar if you have poor eyesight or need to mount it further away.  Or if you fish a lot of Prince William Sound and fish clearly defined structure a lot.  Or if you have the funds and want something to look at.

I will say the higher end models with the GPS are pretty cool.  You can mark spots where you have caught fish for example.  I have really never needed that because I know the locations fairly well and I can also rely on my navionics app on my water resistant smartphone.

After saying all of that, I am tempted to pick up a commercial grade sonar with side scan.  But at the end of the day, if I see fish off to the side, is it going to help me catch more fish?  I am not convinced.  I will keep running my hook 3 until it dies...which for me is probably another year. 


Personal Chauffeur for Kokatat & Hobie Fishing Team member, Ryu .

Personal fishing sites of Alaska Kayak Angling adventures of my son and I. I am NOT a guide.
guidesak.blogspot.com
AlaskaKayakFisher.com


the quadfather

  • Herring
  • **
  • Location: Seattle, WA. USA
  • Date Registered: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 41
I think it comes down to what your fishing needs are.  If the OP comes back on here, maybe you could say more about what kind of fishing you will be doing.
In some circumstances, absolutely, all you need is to see the bottom contour, maybe bait balls, etc.  In my fishing, I want to see a 2 oz. jig as it bounces directly in front of a fish @ 100+ ft.

But if I was just trolling trout in 30 of water, then bring on the black and white, and keep it simple.


jmbx2ditto

  • Rockfish
  • ****
  • Location: Fairbanks, AK
  • Date Registered: Jun 2015
  • Posts: 193
Glad for the tread, my Lawrance Elite 4 HDI gave put as well this year. My first thought is to downgrade as Rudy has. Being without a GPS on the water for 3 trips to a lake what I missed the most was ttacking speed. Resolution was going to lighter rod, gauging rod bend wors well. As for troling with the downrigger I have to admit I hit bottom afew times but I did not miss electronics as much as I thought I would. I will replace next year but GPS is not nessasary since I have two more taterproof and reliable souces that would survive the surfing that I've done in the past.


ppwack02

  • Krill
  • *
  • Location: Eagle River, Alaska
  • Date Registered: Feb 2018
  • Posts: 12
The fishing I do is restricted to lakes currently. I am in the Anchorage area. I bought my outback this year and my focus was getting some safety items first. I am now ready to start rigging the outback up. Pretty new to the whole kayak fishing thing.

Ideally I would like to try out some ocean fishing in 2019. I love being out in a boat on the ocean, but I'm not sure how the kayak will feel. Realistically I will probably be on a lake 90% of the time because of the convenience. The type of fishing doesn't really matter to me I just love being out in the water. I guess I'm just looking for something I can play with while I figure out what I want to do long term.

pp


jmbx2ditto

  • Rockfish
  • ****
  • Location: Fairbanks, AK
  • Date Registered: Jun 2015
  • Posts: 193
PP,
Your on the right track. Safety equipment and comfort will keep you on the water longer than the best electronics.


Swartz

  • Herring
  • **
  • Location: Soldotna
  • Date Registered: May 2018
  • Posts: 20
I've gotta say that I am really digging my Dragonfly 4. Although, like everyone else says, it is kind of up to you how much you want to spend and it wont really effect your fishing too much. I also am rigged up to a Pilot, so the mounting might be a little different on yours than mine.

IF you do decide to spend a little more, here are some pros and cons with the DF4:
https://www.amazon.com/Raymarine-E70294-US-Dragonfly-4-Sonar-Essentials/dp/B00TX532O4

Cons:
-The transducer was a little big, so I had to do some shopping around amazon for the right size mount (ended up with the Lowrance metal one and modified it abit) to make sure the transducer didn't stick out.
-The SD card has to get sent in to get whatever map pack you want which could take awhile, but since winter is here its a good time to do so anyways.
-You probably won't use all the features you are paying for. It has a lot of options with WiFi and apps, but I dont find myself using them much yet.
-It has a somewhat slow start up and updates for about a minute every time.
-The kit for the transducer did not come with an inline fuse. You need to DYI and put it in the provided shield.
-You have to go ahead and purchase the RAM mount if you have a track system for it. IF you don't have a track system you have to get that too, or risk a fixed mount somewhere.
-You have to consider moisture will get into everything, so when connecting all the ends, I decided to go with shrink wrap connectors as well as tape for everything.[/li][/list]


Pros:
-If you like options, this thing is pretty well loaded.
-Chirp is cool to look at if you do like to fish structure somewhere.
-The GPS is pretty good and you can have thousands of waypoints set in.
-Screen is nice and big and everything is really visible.
-So far its been submerged while connected and has been in the rain and surf without any issues.


All in all, these guys are absolutely right when they say you DON'T need to spend money on a fancy finder. Get the best safety stuff and other gear that will actually get your fish to the yak.
Imagine being in nasty weather with a trash bag for protection instead of nice insulated, waterproof bibs. Imagine getting that big pig of a fish up close and your reel falling apart or pole breaking.
Other items to consider are tools that you can take with. Good pliers, a knife, poon, bouey, hex wrench/very small channel locks, VHF radio, small dry bag for phone, leashes, extra reel  etc.

It was my first year and I only made 8 trips, but I learned a lot even while having good resources here on this forum.
Pescador Pilot 12.0
Raymarine Dragonfly Pro 4
Scotty holder on Mighty Mount
Scotty Flush mounts x 2
Yak Attack carry handle x1 off back.


Matt M

  • Sturgeon
  • *******
  • The fisherman formerly known as Iairj84
  • Location: Tigard
  • Date Registered: Mar 2016
  • Posts: 1050
Cons:
-The SD card has to get sent in to get whatever map pack you want which could take awhile, but since winter is here its a good time to do so anyways


I am not sure if it's just the model you bought, but the Dragonfly 4 with Navionics (came with the unit) it is not at all that way. I can update the latest maps (free for a year) by plugging into my PC with the SD card adapter, this updates the maps to the latest and adds sonar charts as well as any specific notes you have added. You also can download your waypoints in the software as well.
-Matt

Hobie Outback with GTT Pedals and Sailing Rudder


Swartz

  • Herring
  • **
  • Location: Soldotna
  • Date Registered: May 2018
  • Posts: 20
Thanks Matt!

I think I need to play with it a little more, but that's the route I took too instead of sending it in. I didn't know if it was the "right" way to do it since the instructions say to send it in, but so far so good on my end too.
Pescador Pilot 12.0
Raymarine Dragonfly Pro 4
Scotty holder on Mighty Mount
Scotty Flush mounts x 2
Yak Attack carry handle x1 off back.


ppwack02

  • Krill
  • *
  • Location: Eagle River, Alaska
  • Date Registered: Feb 2018
  • Posts: 12
The gift card is for is reeds sporting goods. Here's a few I've been looking at. Has anyone had or used one of these? I have a 2017 Hobie outback.

Hummingbird - Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2

Garmin - echoMap Plus 43 CV CHIRP

Lowrance - Hook2-5x GPS Splitshot HDI

Hummingbird - Helix 5 DI G2

Lowrance - Hook-4 Chirp w/Lake Insight and Cover

I don't know much about fish finders but it seems like they are pretty limited on their selection. I'm looking to stay between the 100-300 dollar range for my first one.

Thanks,

PP


kaz

  • Perch
  • ***
  • Location: kingston wa
  • Date Registered: Oct 2018
  • Posts: 70
I purchased my last FF/GPS about 10 yrs. ago,  therefore all of the "new" sonar upgrades are a mystery,  but I've been reading/shopping for a new kayak-friendly unit.  Since you've settled on a 4-5" monitor the big price point difference involves mapping.  All of the units with GPS will have chart plotting and waypoint capacity (will record your movements and mark specific locations),  but the more expensive models typically come with internal maps for coastal or lake navigation.  These models can also accept more detailed navionics by downloads or chip. 

I understand that you are mostly in the fresh water,  but for $60-$80 dollars more you can get a unit with mapping.  I'll be almost exclusively in the salt,  therefore I've chosen the Lowrance Hook-2 Splitshot w/Navigation bundle ($259).  My brother,  who is brutal on electronics and fishes like a madman (fishes the Atlantic coast),  claims that the new Lowrance models have stood up well. 
Cape Falcon F1 (homemade, skin boat)
Trident 13


C_Run

  • Salmon
  • ******
  • Location: Independence, OR
  • Date Registered: Apr 2011
  • Posts: 995
We have four kayaks with fish finders. The two that have gray scale are about impossible to read when the bright sun beats down. Stick with a color screens.

I think I caught more fish before I had a fish finder.


Tinker

  • Sturgeon
  • *******
  • Tales of Oregon
  • Location: 42.74N 124.5W
  • Date Registered: May 2013
  • Posts: 2313
I own 2 on your list - a Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp DI GPS G2 and - well this isn't exactly what you listed, but it's a Lowrance HOOK-5 (with CHIRP and mapping).

Both are good units but both have way more features than I need (or have much use for).  In my humblest opinion, they're for boats not for kayaks, but everyone's mileage will vary.

Of the two, I prefer the display of the Humminbird - it's sharper and more detailed but the wide-screen format seems to make it more difficult to get a lot of information at a glance.  I prefer the Lowrance for ease of use - the Humminbird menus are deep and it's easy (for me) to put it into a mode that won't work and not be able to get back out of it while I'm still on the water.

I used the Humminbird just the other day.  It was set for river fishing with a lower depth range of 25 feet.  I spent way too much time trying to reset it to a depth of 60 feet for ocean conditions.  I use a lower depth limit with the Humminbird because, for me, the rectangular wide screen can be very hard to use when the unit is changing the depth scale every ten or fifteen seconds.

I keep the Lowrance set for auto depth because (for me, again) the more square screen it doesn't make much difference when the unit changes it's depth scale.

Or: I'm not a fan of wide-screen units.  Your mileage will vary.

 
"I think I think too much"


bb2fish

  • Sturgeon
  • *******
  • Location: Oregon
  • Date Registered: Feb 2013
  • Posts: 1296
The Hook2-5x model does not have GPS, just the Hook2-5 has GPS.  X is the model designation by lowrance that means NO GPS.
** correction:  the x designation does not have mapping, it does indeed have a GPS to create waypoints. 

I own both the Lowrance units you mention: 
I've used the Hook 4 Chirp (with Navionics card) since I bought my new kayak (Hobie Revo11) in 2013.  I think this FF is ideal for the kayak - it does have small numbers, but I have good vision and the display is mounted within arms reach. It's been flawless in performance with about 2 days use on a 9Ah 12V blue brick battery (a DIY project).  Used for kokanee, spring chinook willamette/Columbia, ocean rockfish, fall chinook coastal rivers.  I have ball mount adjustment so I can keep the sun from reflecting on the display, so it's always easy to read.  I mount the transducer inside the hull (foam puck method), so I don't get an accurate reading for water temperature, but everything else is great.

A brand new 2018 kayak (Hobie Revolution 13) just got a Lowrance Hook2-5  GPS splitshot DSI.  Mounted the transducer in the Hobie Lowrance Pocket - all functions work great. about 1.5 days use on a 9Ah 12V blue brick battery.  Display is mounted on a ball mount within arms reach.  Don't like the wide screen layout, but so far in a few trips this has done it's job. 

Former Hobie kayak had a Humminbird 581i mounted within arms reach on a 1" ball.  2 days use on blue brick battery, and mounted the transducer inside the hull in a foam puck, sometimes used the suction cup. http://www.northwestkayakanglers.com/index.php?topic=20888.msg219853#msg219853   Still for sale if you're interested send me a PM.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2018, 11:45:48 AM by bb2fish »


 

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