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Thread: Fishfinders

  1. #1

    Default Fishfinders

    Mostly I do bass fishing in local ponds (once or twice a year I go try to catch stripers in RI; no success yet, but this year will be different!). I have never used a fishfinder and wonder how useful that is for fly fishing from a kayak. I generally paddle around, find a fishy looking area (lily pads, trees fallen in the water, etc.) and cast to that. I can see how it would be helpful if you are dropping bait or a jig off the side of a boat in relatively deep water, but I don't see how it would benefit the type of fishing I do.

    If you use a fishfinder, how does it help you?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    1,989

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    I have an inexpensive portable model that was even cheaper since I bought a "reconditioned return" thru Cabela's. (It did take 4 tries to get it to me in one piece, but that's another story.)
    On flat water, I do as much prospecting with the rod and fly as I do with the fish finder. The best info I get from the fish finder is holding depth.

    "Every [child] has the right to a first fish. On this particular planet, no man is granted a greater privilege than to be present and to assist in the realization of this moment". Bill Heavey

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    quiet corner, ct
    Posts
    8,613

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    I'm a minimalist in my kayak
    I've got my tackle bag and a bottle of water... that's about it.
    Anything more just gets in the way

    ( I fish stripers in RI too )
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Eastern Iowa
    Posts
    6,528

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    Quote Originally Posted by JoJer View Post
    I have an inexpensive portable model that was even cheaper since I bought a "reconditioned return" thru Cabela's. (It did take 4 tries to get it to me in one piece, but that's another story.)
    On flat water, I do as much prospecting with the rod and fly as I do with the fish finder. The best info I get from the fish finder is holding depth.
    This is why I use one in the boat. There are days on still water, especially during mid summer, when it is helpful to know if the fish are very deep. If they happen to be 15ft deep, I can save myself the trouble of stripping streamers in 8ft of water. Kayak room is always at a premium. You'll have to decide if it is worth it to you.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    I use a Fishing Buddy in my float tube. It marks fish but I've seldom used it to track and target fish. Rather, I use it primarily for temp, water depth, and bottom structure. I use that info to target likely spots and to select line sink rate, type/ speed of retrieve, and weight of fly. I'm convinced it's improved my fishing success. There are a few times when I left it overnight in a damp cloth bag in my SUV and it didn't work for awhile until it dried out and I felt pretty lost on the water. It's become a critical tool for my Stillwater fishing.

    Tom

  7. #6

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    I have 2 on the boat. A Lowrance Hook with GPS on the console and a Humminbird Helix at the bow off the trolling motor. Nuthin' fancy, both have 2D and down image. Only look at the map when I'm driving.

    It will help you read the water you're fishing. Stream and river guys know how to interpret currents and flows. I use the sonar to do basically the same. When you look at a pond or lake you're only guessing what the bottom might be like. Put on the magic box and you can find points, drops, channels, brush, etc. With a bit of knowledge you can determine bottom type. It helps me eliminate areas and concentrate on more productive water. I really like the down image for bottom details, but the 2D is better for seeing fish. I keep the screen split between the 2 and I get a real good idea of what's down there.

    For ponds, maybe something like the HB PiranhaMAX 4. A Helix 5 2D is a good unit at a good price. Lowrance Hook 4x is also a decent choice.

    Best thing to do is go to a store and mess with the demo units. Push the buttons, look at the screens. The variety of stuff now is almost overwhelming, but I'm happy with what I have. I don't like to mess with buttons while I'm fishing and these boxes don't take much effort to use. It doesn't have to cost an arm and leg and I seriously believe it will help you.

    I know Lowrance makes a kayak battery/transducer deal that's portable. Not sure about HB. Raymarine and Garmin also have some good units. The dragonfly has good reviews. Garmin has a good rep. Not familiar with either so I can't comment.

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  9. #7

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    Whether or not a fishfinder will be of benefit to you depends mainly on how well you know the waters you fish. If you know almost every weedline and drop-off on the lakes you fish, it won't be of much benefit.

    I use a Garmin Striker4 on my kayak. The Florida freshwater lakes I fish have clear, but darkly stained water and are relatively new to me. The fishfinder makes it easier for me to find ideal fish structure. It's a great scouting tool.

    Though it's not as beneficial due to the excellent water clarity, I also use it when fishing the Gulf coast. Again, it's not utilized as a fishfinder, but as a structure check, depth finder and temperature confirmation. I'm quickly learning that water temperature change has a big impact on location of salt water fish.

    My fishfinder is mounted on the dashboard of my Native Slayer kayak, so it's located beyond my feet and therefore not at all in the way for fly fishing.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    "I use a Garmin Striker4 on my kayak."

    That is actually the one I was most considering.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Isle of Lewis, UK.
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    A guest I was working with last week turned up with a Deeper Pro WiFi plus GPS Portable Sonar
    He'd never used it before so we gave it a quick trial (without reading the instructions!). It is a little smaller than a tennis ball and weighs 100g. He connected to his phone immediately, we attached it to a spinning rod and cast it out into the loch.
    I've got to say, I was impressed by our brief trial. The given loch depths seemed plausible and at one point a fish actually appeared on the monitor! About 6 feet down, apparently.

    All in all, it seems a decent bit of kit and extremely portable. I'm sure you have the same/similar in the States.
    Hope that helps. James.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    West Palm Beach, Florida
    Posts
    586

    Default Re: Fishfinders

    I have a cheap (Hawkeye) one that I bought online, and only used once. It has been in a cabinet for more than a year, and when I took it out to try recently, it would not work. The batteries were dead, but there was no corrosion, so I put in new ones, and it still did not work. I have shied away from the bluetooth type that use your smartphone, because I keep my phone in a waterproof plastic pouch and didn't think it would be very easy to see. However, I just purchased a new phone that is water-resistant, so I think I will try one of the smartphone ones, like this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErwoXEhWSNs

    This reviewer preferred the iBobber, which is also the cheapest one he tried. Win/win!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnkE9uHF79w

    On sale at Dick's, so I will pick one up and post a review later.

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