Fishfinder worth it ?

eastfly66

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Do you guys think it is worth it for fly fishing on the yak ? I am mostly hitting the local ponds (40' depth/avg. 10'-15'). I can see it having some value for the few inshore salt trips when I have a 350 grain full sink but for SMB/LM on the ponds with a fly I'm not so sure it will provide any info of value ?
 

karstopo

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I think a lot of the kayakers that fish in my area use them, but most of those aren’t using fly tackle. From what I can piece together, there’s an art to using them. The only experience I have with them is on a friend’s boat. His fish finder is not the latest and greatest, but it’s pretty good for picking up on drop offs and other bottom structure and we’ve spotted fish and bait on the device. I think on his boat it’s been pretty useful identifying depths where the fish might be holding on any particular outing.

I’ve never put one in a kayak, but I fish floating fly line 99% of the time from the kayak and in shallow water.
 

eastfly66

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I think a lot of the kayakers that fish in my area use them, but most of those aren’t using fly tackle. From what I can piece together, there’s an art to using them. The only experience I have with them is on a friend’s boat. His fish finder is not the latest and greatest, but it’s pretty good for picking up on drop offs and other bottom structure and we’ve spotted fish and bait on the device. I think on his boat it’s been pretty useful identifying depths where the fish might be holding on any particular outing.

I’ve never put one in a kayak, but I fish floating fly line 99% of the time from the kayak and in shallow water.
Thanks, that is where i am having a hard time seeing the value, I would prefer to fish top water flies or maybe just below the surface and even if it does work on soft bottom I'm not so sure a bass is going to come up from 10' to hit a popper.
 

ia_trouter

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I see them on yaks and canoes sometimes. I use the one in my boat a lot, but not for the fish finding capability. They are handy for finding structure as karstopo says. Unless technology has changed, you are looking at a very small part of the bottom due to the cone angle. In shallow water you just about have to float the transducer directly over a fish to graph it.
 

eastfly66

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I Don't think much has changed Dewayne , maybe in the high end stuff but I'm not in that ball park. I read in shallow water they don't always read the bottom all that well. There are several small ponds/lakes (100 - 400 acres ) within an hr. of me that claim some decent bass fishing I'd like to explore , thought this might make the recon a little more productive......have to give this one some thought I guess.
 

ia_trouter

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I used mine for warmwater spin fishing 99% of the time. Find the ledge where it suddenly drops off form 10ft or whatever. My Lowrance cost $300, so not top end. It's pretty useless in shallow water. The audible bottom alarm feature will inform me I just wiped the blades off my prop on a rock bar two seconds ago, but I already knew that lol.
 

wthorpe

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I use one on a western lake mainly to keep me in a few feet of water. I have it on a 17' Whaler. i do not have one on a 15' Gregor aluminum boat. In weedy water the finder gets confused between bottom and top of weed bed sometimes. I fish almost entirely on surface and down to about 5'. Folks who are stripping and bobbering deeper find them useful as i understand it. i keep tell myself i should learn to use the fish/depth finder better, but after 13+/- years i probably wont.
 

fffl

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I have a fishing buddy that I use when rafting on lakes . It gives me water temp , depth and also spots fish. When you are going backwards it lets you know when you'r getting too shallow , also shows structure , old creek channels and submerged weed beds. Just another tool to make things a bit easer.
 

tpo

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I use one all the time while fishing Trout lakes in my float tube or pontoon. I think it's invaluable, but many people have unrealistic expectations. I use it for knowing water depth and bottom structure, and adjust the lines I use and retrieves accordingly. I don't think it's very good at "finding fish", although I will say I do see a correlation between marking fish in an area and getting hits. Meaning, if the finder is not marking any fish for awhile, I think the water is pretty much fishless and I don't get grabs. If it's regularly marking fish, notice I tend to get hookups. But I don't have much confidence in it finding specific fish and me catching them.

Tom
 

tcorfey

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The pros for a fish-finder are in finding structure, and water temp. The cheaper fish-finders do not have really good transducers and the quality of the transducer is what gives you the best images and fish/structure finding capability. If you learn to read the terrain around the pond you can usually determine where the drop offs are but a fish finder will get you to a more accurate boat placement. To read the water in a pond you learn to read the terrain that surrounds the pond. For example in a pond that is a just a round depression you can expect uniform depths around the pond. But if the pond is stream fed then many fish will congregate in the old creek bed so knowing where that creek bed goes is very helpful. If one side of the pond has cliffs then that will have deeper water there as opposed to the side of the pond that has a gentler slope leading up to the pond. You can also look at the surface vegetation to get a clue as to where the water is deeper and where it is shallow. Shallower water grows more vegetation, is usually warmer and usually has more food. Just like fishing a river you can learn to read the water in a Stillwater situation also.

As an example when I was fishing Snag Lake in the Gold lakes region of Northern CA I noticed that the launch area was surrounded by cliffs on one side and a long very shallow shelf with dead wood on the other, but the far end of the pond looked more like a mountain meadow. I did not know much about the pond as it was my first time there but, I immediately went towards the far end and was rewarded with a lot of great structure in the form of boulders that sat a couple of feet below the surface about 100 yards from shore and in 10 or so feet of water. I was able to get some really nice fish that day working the various boulders and rock piles just below the surface.

The cons for a fish finder to a fly fisherman is that it is just one more thing to get your line wrapped around, you have to find a place for the battery and you have to be careful not to put your transducer in to the bottom of the pond in very shallow water especially when exiting or entering the yak. Personally I do not use a fish finder on my pontoon boat, canoe or my kayak. I do use one on my powerboats which I use when fishing large lakes and the ocean. On those larger bodies of water I use it to find structure/dropoffs or suspended baitfish and in the case of tuna especially water temperature. But even on the ocean you use your eyes to look for birds and wave patterns to look for shoals/channels.

Regards,

Tim C.
 

dakotakid

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I use a fairly inexpensive fish finder(Garmin Striker 4) on my kayak. I fish a lot of stained freshwater in Florida, that's like a strong tea in color. I only fly fish the shoreline and any weed bed that I can find that's near the surface. You can't see very far into those waters, so I find the fish finder is very helpful in finding the weed lines and marking shallow subsurface structure. When fishing shallow water, it's not helpful at all to mark fish, because most fish will scatter as the kayak passes over.

My kayak is a SOT, so the battery is inside the kayak. The transducer is mounted on the front side of the kayak, so my fly line never even touches the mount. There's lots of options for mounting, so you can flip your transducer up when beaching or launching.
 

justahack

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Eastfly,
I use sonar for finding lake depth and temp from a pontoon or float tube in lakes and ponds. I use that info for setting up or adjusting my rig during hatches for trout fishing. If that’s not helpful for your topwater bass game, then I’d say save the cash. Fish finders don’t really find fish unless they are deep.
 

mjkirshner

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I use an iBobber. It's good for checking depth. Pairs with a smartphone so nothing to tangle your line. It finds fish, but turns out they swim, so they're never there when you cast at 'em.

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fr8dog

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Sonar units will let you see what the bottom contours are and can help you eliminate nonproductive areas. I’ve found many creek channels that cut next to a bank where fish move in. Ditches, potholes, humps that you have no idea that they exist just by looking at the bank.

A high end unit is not necessary but there are some nice 2D machines for little money. Humminbird Helix and Lowrance Hook are what I use. Not expensive but are darn good units. I can see fish laying on the bottom, can distinguish different bottom types, see bait fish, etc. It does apply to the fly pole because you can choose the more productive looking spots based on structure. Do I use it all the time? No. Will I be without one or two on the boat? NO!
 

Matt4.0

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I use one all the time while fishing Trout lakes in my float tube or pontoon. I think it's invaluable, but many people have unrealistic expectations. I use it for knowing water depth and bottom structure, and adjust the lines I use and retrieves accordingly. I don't think it's very good at "finding fish", although I will say I do see a correlation between marking fish in an area and getting hits. Meaning, if the finder is not marking any fish for awhile, I think the water is pretty much fishless and I don't get grabs. If it's regularly marking fish, notice I tend to get hookups. But I don't have much confidence in it finding specific fish and me catching them.

Tom
This summarizes my experience using one so far from my pontoon. I recently picked up a Deeper Pro after looking into all the options. In the end I decided I didn’t want one more cumbersome piece of gear to mess with loading and unloading the boat (i.e. the finder and a battery, not to mention the mounting hardware/equipment needed to set it up in the first place). The Deeper is small and convenient, and while it doesn’t have the features of the high end sonars, it seems to work well for me so far.

One thing it’s really driven home for me so far is how many fish I passed over without a shot in the past by not fishing deep enough. A sinking line and a little sonar help showing how deep they’re holding makes a difference.
 

clarkman23

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As stated by some, I use mine just to find structure. I don't know that I've caught specific fish I've marked with it (I mostly musky fish lakes), but it does a great job locating drop-offs, underwater structure and bait fish (I HAVE caught muskies on the periphery of these bait-balls. It also indicates surface temps which can be really helpful.
 
J

joe_strummer

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Fishfinder is a bit of a misnomer imo. I run a Helix 7si on my boat and it is invaluable. If you are fishing surface or edges or less than 5 FOW there's not much use for one but as soon as I move off the edge the TV is my eyes. Most of the lakes I launch on are not charted, and I'd say understanding what's under the surface is more valuable for fly fishing than for trolling or bait fishing since we are going to cover less water in a day's fishing. Pretty easy to drop your worm 10 feet deeper or adjust a planer board, trolling speed or lure depth. Much harder searching the depths even with a Type VII sinking line. Where's the bait? Where's the weedline, drop-off or hump? GPS/sonar helps answer these questions and helps you find fish.
 

The Mad Duck

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I fish a lot of black water creeks for Bream and Bass. These creeks are gin clear,BUT, the water and bottom are very tannin stained, but the water is clear. its kind of hard to explain if you havent seen it. Anyway, a depth finder is a real help in locating drop offs, channels and structure. Bass, in the area where I fish are very structure oriented and the larger Bream tend to gravitate to drop offs, so thats what I look for. I fish a Popper/Dropper rig a lot, so I am able to cover topwater as well as drop offs. I am using a Garmin Striker4. That is a pretty small unit and doesn't take a lot of space up in my cockpit. If you're flyfishing, you're going to find something to hang your line on regardless of how compact it is. ;)
 

jiffysand

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I occasionally bring mine to locate suspended crappie schools and occasionally structure if I’m fishing new waters. I could definitely live without it but sometimes its nice to know that you’re right on top of the fish when they aren’t aggressive and refuse streamers


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I use the HawkEye Fishtrax 1C. Pretty sweet in that it runs off AAA batteries and can be attached to a lanyard and hung around my neck. Transducer can be mounted to boat or cast into water with a float. As others mentioned, this at least helps me fine the depth, shelfs, etc...but it has also narrowed me in on schools of fish in a lake that I was then able to catch with a streamer and nymph.
 
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