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Jig Meister

Calling All 'yak Fishermen - Fish Finders......

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The time has come to add a new piece to my kayak and it is going to be a fish finder.

For those with kayaks and fish finders what are your thoughts, comments, recommendations, experiences?

I have searched around and have not found many answers to my questions.

I fish inland lakes, none deeper than 70 feet at the most, however I know even the cheapest pieces of equipment will go that deep.

Anyway, thanks for the input, price will be under 300, would like to ideally be in the 150-200 range.

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You haven't had any response in a couple of days, so here's my two cents. I put a depth finder on my 'yak two years ago. Other than buying the kayak, it was the best thing I ever did for fishing enjoyment. Knowing what the bottom looks like is, as you know, invaluable. I ended up going with a Garmin Echo 500. A bit over you price range, and probably more than you need. I've been happy with the Garmin, and actually my boat came with another Garmin, a lower end one that I swapped out and put on my 'yak.

Are you going to install it yourself? I'm not particularly handy, so I paid BPS to do it for me. Price was reasonable, maybe $50 to do the install. If you're handy, there are several DIY videos on the net that you can find with a Google search.

Do it, it will absolutely make your fishing, and catching, experience better.

Rick

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There's several DIY threads on kayakbassfishing.com detailing sonar installs. I use a small, color combo sonar/GPS unit, and it's perfect for what I do when I', kayaking:

IMG_4874-L.jpg

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Thanks for the reply, I have been doing a lot of searching about what type to get, and I am going to go with a basic model in the 100-150 range. For what I need those models will work great. I am just trying to decided to go with a Lowrance or a Hummingbird. Seems to be pretty equal, but I have not made a choice yet.

I will do the install. I have installed everything this far on my kayak and I like the satisfaction of knowing if it gets messed up, I personally did it :D

The one thing I am not clear on still is once I buy the system, is there anything else I am going to need to run the finder, besides maybe a mount.

If there is a "ALL IN ONE" package that would be great, but I have not found it yet, nor have I search for a "kit"

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MANY guys will vouch for the PiranhaMAX series. The 176i would be a good budget minded GPS/Sonar combo, though I porefer the color units. You can use the standard head unit mount, but I recommend the Yakattack Mighty Mount and 1" Screwball to use a RAM mount. You can also go with a Gear Trac, if you want to use more than one accessory. Luther makes great products and is a solution genius.

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Humminbird does make a kayak specific shoot-thru kit, though it's a little pricey. You can probably put together your own kit seperately, but using a lower end head unit.

http://store.humminbird.com/products/485157/385ci_Combo_Kayak

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I have a lowrance elite-4x DSI mounted on my Ocean Kayak. Lowrance sells a scupper mount that I have my scupper mounted on and it works great.

The finder was around $179 and the scupper mount was $35. I think I paid $25 for a RAM mount to mount it to the kayak.

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I have a hummingbird piranha max 170 and it works fine. All you will need to run the thing is a battery. I have installed the transducer a few different ways and I think the best way is to build a well. I buillt mine out of a 3" piece of pvc. the transducer just sits in the well, all you need to do is add water. I also built a cap for my well that holds the transducer in place. You can find more info on this on kayak forums or you can message me.

I have glued the transducer to my hull a couple times and it works great for a year then starts to peel off. Once that happens you can't get the glue of the transducer so it ends up in the garbage. With a well install there is no glue on the transducer so if the well leaks you just add some more goop and your good to go.

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I run a hummingbird 170 in my canoe. It makes all the difference in the world knowing what the bottom looks like. The only advise i can add is when you choose a battery don't feel obligated to get a big car battery or a deep cycle battery. I use a wal-mart brand lawn tractor battery because it's small and light and its 12 volt so it works great and it lasts all day. I have the transducer mounted to a 3/4 inch piece of square aluminum tubing and i carry a c-clamp to position it wherever I like and i can pull it up when I'm really shallow or in heavy weeds.

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The battery I use came from Cabela's. It's an 8 amp-hr dry cell battery and I think it was around $25 for it and a charger. My kayak actually came with a battery bag so I just put it in there....

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I have had 2 different FFs on my kayaks and will be purchasing my third one later today most likely. My first was an Eagle Cuda 300 for $59 on a price match at BPS. It was a great first FF that helped me loate changes in depths as well as structure. Where I struggled was interpreting the structure and fish when they overlapped, since the unit was the low end b/w model. The higher end Lowrance m68c would have worked best for that given kayak. My most recent install was the Lowrance Elite 5 DSI with the Lowrance Scupper Kit and the YakAttack Screwball Mount and RAM FF mount. It worked beautifully, but was a little too large for where I had it installed, so I sold it a couple weeks ago. My next one will be the Lowrance Elite 4x DSI model. With all of the installs, I used a 12v/7mah sealed (deer-feeder style) battery from Batteries Plus installed in a water proof container of some sort. For me, its about locating baitfish, depth changes and structure - the fish will be there, hence the reason a DSI is more important to me. Especially for when I venture out in the salt water and am live lining for big sheepsheads, tautogs and flounder. Being able to identify ledge systems and rock piles are critical to catching the larger fish.

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I have a 170 in my Ocean Kayak and the scupper mount for it is a free exchange from Humminbird. The OK also has sonar sun shield that i really like. i don't know if a color unit would be better than the black and white 170.

My first battery was a gel cell that only lasted one season so i replaced it with a sealed lead acid.

One bit of knowledge, that school of fish you see when you raise and lower the anchor...is the anchor not fish. I use a 7 lb hand dumbell.

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Thanks for all the help you all have offered.

I decided to go with a Pirahnamax 190c because I got a 50$ gift card, plus it is on sale at Belas for 149.999, so I feel like for 100 bucks that is a good deal. I am going to be unseeing a ram 1" ball mount with a adjustable transducer arm that I found on ACK. I explored the wet mount, goop mount and scupper mount options and I feel that having the transducer on the arm is best for my kayak. The scupper mount doesn't offer enough protection and I want it to work the best it can so shooting through the hull just is not going to fit that need.

I like that I can move the arm out of the way when I beach the kayak, and should help me get the most functionality.

I will update when everything is mounted and good to go.

Thanks again for all the help.

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I have the lower end PiranhaMAX in my yak with a transducer mounted on the inside of the hull. It does its job.

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I really like the Garmin units. They blow the rest away feature wise for the price points and they do what they are supposed to. The 100 model at under $100 is all most will ever need on a kayak. If and when one of mine breaks, I'd do the same all over again

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I hate tanking a specific brand, but out of all the units I've used, the two Garmins I ran on my Xpress were the worst ever.  Flighty, blippy, sometimes never showed fish when the front unit was.  Never got tuned into them.  Lowrance (and Eagle) was easily the easiest to learn, just plug it in, and roll.  Humminbird took some dialing in, but once setup were the most versatile.  I'm looking forward to learning about Raymarine, and seeing what they have to offer.

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