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toddwchandler

Stupid Question About Fish/depth Finders

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I often see on TV the pro anglers using electronics to help them determine depth, structure, and location of fish. I know absolutely nothing about these devices and how they work. Is there a piece that attaches to the display that is submerged? Does this piece attach to the boat? Are these electrincs hard wired into the boat's electrical system?

I have a 14 foot Jon boat that I use in a neighborhood pond with an electric trolling motor and deep cycle battery. Are there any quality electronics that would work for my setup? I have had little luck fishing of late and would love to have a better idea of the makeup of the pond and the location of the fish. I feel like I am fishing where they aren't lately.

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The electronics come with a transducer that mounts to your trolling motor or even hull of the boat. You can use the electronics on literally any boat so if you spend $500 now you can easily move it to a bigger boat down the road. IMO unless you are on a kayak the small cell phone sized  fish finders suck and only really work for depth. I would much rather have a larger screen.

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I really don't know how to read a fish finder yet but I do have 2 on my jon boat. One is the rear that I use to mainly depth. In the front I have a down imaging one with a little bigger screen. The head unit is connected to a transducer which is what picks up the information in the water and sends it to the head unit.

 

Normally the head units are removable but the transducer is mounted to the boat in the back. In my setup the front transducer is mounted to the trolling motor which is on the front in my jon. There are also units that clamp to the gunnels of a jon boat too. They will need to be wired to a 12v power source.

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So how much do you need to spend for it to really be worth your while? Do you have some example makes/models?

How are they powered? Do you have to hook them to your trolling battery?

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Most guys power them off of the 12v battery they use to start the main engine to the boat. Hooking the sonar units to a battery being used by a trolling motor has a tendency to cause electrical interference and can give false reading or a lot of "static" on your screen.

 

That being said, for your situation I would recommend getting a small rechargeable 12v battery (similar to a lawnmower battery, Cabelas and Bass Pro carry them for around $20, charger included) which youll use just for the sonar unit. Keeping it completely separate from your trolling batteries is your best bet.

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So how much do you need to spend for it to really be worth your while?

How much you got? Finders start in the $100 range and the pro's could have 10k or more worth on their boats. I would figure out a budget first and then ask for recommendations. The bare minimum if it were me is a 2d color graph with a 5" screen for ease of reading.  

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I guess I had not really set a budget if you will, but I'd probably be willing to save up and pay anywhere from $250 to $400, preferring to stay towards the lower end of that.

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Humminbird 596c HD, 596c HD DI, You can also look into the 300 series units which will give you more options but a smaller screen. FYI online distributors will sell for a lot less than stores like BPS, Dicks or Cabelas. What I would suggest if you are near one of the big box stores is to go in and play around with the display models. Look at the screen sizes and ease of operation. You can also look at other brands like Lowrance, Garmin, Raymarine and see what features you like most.

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