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View Full Version : best fishfinder for the money?



jwz4
02-13-2010, 05:25 PM
Just wandering what yall think the best fishfinder for the money would be if you could only have one on your boat, and where would it be located on the boat front/back. I'm looking to put one on a 16 foot aluminum boat that I want to setup for crappie fishing. It will have a motorguide wireless trolling motor so not sure if mounting to the trolling motor is possible. I went over my budget on the trolling motor so wouldn't like to break the bank on the fishfinder.

Thanks for you thoughts...

majflyboy
02-13-2010, 05:43 PM
I just bought a HB788ci, combo from Bass Pro for 650.00. Haven't had it long but like it so far. Lots to learn with those things.

GCD
02-13-2010, 06:17 PM
They're all good nowadays! It depends on how much money you want to spend, having said that... there are a few important considerations!

1. Multiple beam transducers will give you a bigger pic of the bottom by covering more are with the sonar, single and dual beams are ok but have limited performance in shallow water.

2. You may want to keep it simple if this is your first sonar unit, some of the newer and more expensive models have so many functions that they can be overwhelming to a newbie.

3. If you're going to fish a lot of shallow water your may not want to purchase a unit with more than 2400 watts of power. The high powered units are great for detail and definition, but can spook fish in shallow water. This isn't that important for long line trolling or casting, but if you jig directly beneath the boat or bounce bottom directly beneath the boat it can make a difference.

This is just my opinion and others may disagree... but hey!.. you asked for it!:p

Dhawk
02-13-2010, 09:34 PM
The high powered units are great for detail and definition, but can spook fish in shallow water.

How is this? Do the fish sense or somehow feel the sonar?

CrappiePappy
02-13-2010, 11:43 PM
How is this? Do the fish sense or somehow feel the sonar?

.. sense the sound wave ping, put out by the transducer. It's still an ongoing debate as to whether or not this "spooks" fish. I'm skeptical that it does ... since I've caught many different species of fish, in very shallow water (<5ft) with the depth finder running (on either/both ends of the boat).

... cp :cool:

fultondalecrappie
02-14-2010, 12:04 AM
Every now and them I can hear my 797 ping.

crappiemax
02-14-2010, 08:25 AM
They're all good nowadays! It depends on how much money you want to spend, having said that... there are a few important considerations!

1. Multiple beam transducers will give you a bigger pic of the bottom by covering more are with the sonar, single and dual beams are ok but have limited performance in shallow water.

2. You may want to keep it simple if this is your first sonar unit, some of the newer and more expensive models have so many functions that they can be overwhelming to a newbie.

3. If you're going to fish a lot of shallow water your may not want to purchase a unit with more than 2400 watts of power. The high powered units are great for detail and definition, but can spook fish in shallow water. This isn't that important for long line trolling or casting, but if you jig directly beneath the boat or bounce bottom directly beneath the boat it can make a difference.

This is just my opinion and others may disagree... but hey!.. you asked for it!:p

I think this is very good advice.
I can feel my "ping" from my lowrance when it's out of the water. I've ran over shallow structure and saw tons of fish on the graph on 1 pass, gone over it again and found nothing. I wondered if it was the boat that sppoked the fish or if it was the DF. That being said, in shallow water most people don't fish directly under their boats so it really doesn't matter.
If I only had 1 DF on my boat, I would want it on the TM. I want to know where I AM (front of the boat)at all times, NOT where I WAS (rear of the boat).

BigD
02-14-2010, 08:42 AM
So can you get a good fish/dept finder for around $150.00? I will be fishing 5 to 18 feet. All I want is for it to see the drop offs, some structure, and a fish symbol.

I don't need to see great detail because I do like the feeling of the unknown to some degree. But finding ledges / dropoffs / large tree like structure / water temperature would be nice.

Also, I have an aluminum boat and would like to install the ducer on the inside floor.


D

crappiemax
02-14-2010, 08:50 AM
So can you get a good fish/dept finder for around $150.00? I will be fishing 5 to 18 feet. All I want is for it to see the drop offs, some structure, and a fish symbol.

I don't need to see great detail because I do like the feeling of the unknown to some degree. But finding ledges / dropoffs / large tree like structure / water temperature would be nice.

Also, I have an aluminum boat and would like to install the ducer on the inside floor.


D

I would look for the most power in the price you can afford.

I WOULD NOT install the ducer inside on an alum boat. If you don't want to drill the transom, clamp a piece of 1 x 4 to the transom and mount it to it.

Just my opinion

skeetbum
02-14-2010, 09:03 AM
Under $200 my vote goes to the Hb565. It gives 3 times the coverage as those around it in price, and with HB you can buy a new machine, contact HB by phone and trade the skimmer transducer for a trolling motor mounted version. 565 has a 60 degree cone, compared to 20 in a lot of others. Cabelas had them for $169 last week in the store I was in in St.Louis.

ausable riverboat
02-14-2010, 12:21 PM
HB or Cabelas has a 565 listed are you sure 565 is the right model
Thanks

BigD
02-14-2010, 12:51 PM
Thanks for the advice guy's. I will look at a transom mnt Hb565.

skeetbum
02-14-2010, 01:01 PM
Humminbird 565 is the one on the front of my boat for 2 yrs now. 60 degree cone, and under $200. I'm sure.

BigD
02-14-2010, 01:21 PM
Skeetbum:

It say's I can use a threaded hose clamp on the 565 's skimmer transducer to install on the bottom of the electric trolling motor. What would I buy for that since it does not include hose clamp (which must be purchased separately?


Doug

brushnjigs
02-14-2010, 02:59 PM
Big D,
Everyone is partial to the units they are using. The best thing I could tell you is find a dealer that has both lowrance and birds and ask them to demo the units. Only then can you tell which one is for you. Turn the fish id Off, you want to see the arches not the little fish. After a while you will be able to tell what species of fish you are over. You can use a stainless clamp or the thickest plastic tie strap that will fit the ducer. I know this debate has been going on for many many years over the signal spooking fish. But I for one will not fish unless I see them on the lowrance. I have the bow unit set up for drop shotting and from 6' down with suspended fish to stumps to whatever depth, I actually see them bite the jig or 3" worm that I am using. Its like watching a video game. Sorry for jumping in on the thread but you look and then you decide.

Hotrod2
02-15-2010, 04:42 PM
I run a HB 535 that I purchased a couple of years ago and I believe it has a 20 degree cone and its munted to an old trolling motor that is no longer working. I cut the head off of it and left the motor so I could mount my transducer with the big hose clamp. I attach the trolling motor to the transom of my boat like you would a reg trolling motor, what im getting at is I can fish close to the back of my boat and watch my jig fall to whatever depth I want, I can bump my rod and watch it go up and down on the screen. when fish show up I can actually drop my bait right down to the fish and it has proven time and time again to work.. I've never seen anything like it for a $150.00.. I was at bass pro last week and they have the HB 550 for $150.00, that would be my pick or look for one around that price that you can switch from a 20 degree to a 60 degree cone with the touch of a button. Now to make your unit where you can actually see your lure you will have to play with the sensitivity, I run my unit sens on 8 and my fish sens on 8 also, it may vary with a different unit..

BigD
02-15-2010, 07:25 PM
Thanks for all the advice guy's,



D

Good Stuff
02-15-2010, 08:04 PM
Can you change the ducer on a HB535 from 20 degree cone to a 60?

gabowman
02-15-2010, 08:51 PM
For the money I've always been partial to the Eagle 480. When something's under the boat this unit tells you...no doubt. I think the 320 is almost as good and a little cheaper. I bought a HB 727 and an Eagle 480 both for $200 ea. I like the eagle better.

Hotrod2
02-15-2010, 09:21 PM
No you cant change the ducer on the HB535, but like I said it works very well. You need to check on the HB 550, it may switch from 20 to 60 and if so for $150.00 at bass pro it's something to look at.

skeetbum
02-15-2010, 11:43 PM
The only reason I brought up exchanging the transducer for a TM mount because of all of the skimmers I've seen broken. We all bump syuff with the TM and the skimmers don't do well with that. Any serious questions on Humminbird stuff can be answered on the electronics and trolling motor section of this forum. HumminbirdGreg is a factory rep that will give you the inside straight on any of their products. I'm not familiar with the 550 model but if you can go from 20 to 60 degrees with the flick of a switch that would be a plus.

rtark
02-16-2010, 12:12 PM
I just bought an eagle 320 at cabelas for $106.00. So far I like it. I have bought the high dollar ones before and never caught any more fish with them.I can see my sinker and both 1/32 oz jigs on it at 30 feet.
If they will show me the bottom and the cover and baitfish, I can figire the rest out. I hope they still have them on salefor you. Here is my setup for the trolling motor. I used that nylon plastic stuff and shaped it to fit the motor.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v496/rtark/100_1380.jpg

Matt Smith
02-16-2010, 12:17 PM
Big D,
Everyone is partial to the units they are using. The best thing I could tell you is find a dealer that has both lowrance and birds and ask them to demo the units. Only then can you tell which one is for you. Turn the fish id Off, you want to see the arches not the little fish. After a while you will be able to tell what species of fish you are over. You can use a stainless clamp or the thickest plastic tie strap that will fit the ducer. I know this debate has been going on for many many years over the signal spooking fish. But I for one will not fish unless I see them on the lowrance. I have the bow unit set up for drop shotting and from 6' down with suspended fish to stumps to whatever depth, I actually see them bite the jig or 3" worm that I am using. Its like watching a video game. Sorry for jumping in on the thread but you look and then you decide.

I'm gonna have to throw the BS flag on that.

NIMROD
02-16-2010, 12:17 PM
So can you get a good fish/dept finder for around $150.00? I will be fishing 5 to 18 feet. All I want is for it to see the drop offs, some structure, and a fish symbol.

I don't need to see great detail because I do like the feeling of the unknown to some degree. But finding ledges / dropoffs / large tree like structure / water temperature would be nice.

Also, I have an aluminum boat and would like to install the ducer on the inside floor.


D

Academy Sports has the Cuda 300 for 69.99 + tax. I bought one as I fish mostly stakebeds and brushpiles in a shallow lake. Works good and has tempature gage built in.:cool:
http://www.academy.com/index.php?page=content&target=products/outdoors/marine/depth_finders&start=0&selectedSKU=0177-00849-1092

Countrytime
02-16-2010, 12:26 PM
I'm with Gabowman, hard to beat an Eagle 320 or 480 Fishmark depthfinder. Bang for the buck they are great. Lowrance and Eagle are so user friendly.

Hotrod2
02-16-2010, 01:35 PM
I've got a 320 that I would practically give ya. It's what I took off and replaced with my HB 535, no comparison to me. I also own some higher end lowrance units an X-19C and an X25C and there fine but my 320 didn't cut the mustard. For the units under $200.00 stick with HB... While im on the subject I need an extra power cord and an extra transducer for my LCX-19C, I found the transducer on the lowrance website but I cannot find the power cord at all, they don't make it very easy!!! If anyone has any ideas please reply as far as to where I can find the power cord. Im not a member of the HB vs Lowrance group that S--T is childish, I JUST FISH!!!!! All help would be appreciated thanks..

BigD
02-16-2010, 08:04 PM
Thanks so much rtark and nimrod. So many good ideas, and thanks for the pic.

I think I am going to order.


D

jwz4
03-02-2010, 12:53 PM
EAGLE CUDA 350 S/MAP FISHFINDER/MAPPING GPS or the Humminbird 161 GPS Fishfinder which one would you choose and why?

jwz4
03-04-2010, 12:28 PM
Which do you think is more important in a fishfinder GPS or Color?

Redy2Fish
03-04-2010, 12:46 PM
I'm with Gabowman, hard to beat an Eagle 320 or 480 Fishmark depthfinder. Bang for the buck they are great. Lowrance and Eagle are so user friendly.

I agree with Countrytime and Gabowman. ONly problems I've had with my Eagle 320 were from my own ignorance. I downloaded the user's guide and solved that.

SteveJ
03-04-2010, 01:37 PM
I'm with Gabowman, hard to beat an Eagle 320 or 480 Fishmark depthfinder. Bang for the buck they are great. Lowrance and Eagle are so user friendly.
I have 3 Eagles, 2 Ultra III and a 480 which I love, the Ultra are very old and looking to replace the one on my console. The only trouble with an Eagle is that over on the Lowrance forum one of the Lowrance pros says they may very well be on the way out, too bad. May still get one, I'm looking to replace the 480 on my TM with a color unit and having a hard time with which one to get. I don't know a lot about HB except the old flashers which were great, have tried to get someone to put some on the water pixs of the HB 2D on here to compare with the Lowrance 2D pixs but no joys so far. Just a little uncomfortable with what I have been reading about Lowrance CS. That said the 480 is a great BW sonar.

sac-a-lait
03-04-2010, 06:35 PM
Fishmark 320 for the money is the best thing going!!!

BigD
03-04-2010, 10:38 PM
Got an eagle 245ds (http://www.eaglenav.com/en/Products/Fishfinders/FishEasy-245-DS/) today at gander for $99.00. TM mount was $14.00

I will let you know how it does once I hit the water.




D