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BridgerM

Looking For Resources That Can Help Me Read My Sonar Correctly

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I have a HB 561 sonar unit that I installed on our 14ft aluminum boat a couple of months back. Due to work and health issues, my brother(fishing partner) and I have not been out as much as planned. We are in the Salt Lake City area and probably only have until the end of the month to take the boat out before winter sets in. Bummer man.

 

Honestly, I suck at interpreting what is on the screen. Except for reading the depth. And I know the bottom and whether it is a hard bottom or soft. But its all those things that aren't the bottom. Some images look like rocks, some have the arch like fish. some look like Christmas trees standing straight up. I generally try to find dramatic depth changes or 'interesting looking' stuff by the bottom, even though I have no idea what it is. I tried to take a pic of the screen with my phone but its unreadable.

 

Needless to say we have found only one productive spot, by accident. But turns out its a series of ledges and drop offs.

 

 

 I was hopping someone knew of a link or resource, or step by step setup guide on how to optimize the settings on an HB 571. with explanations on how to interpret the wonderful gray scale images.

 

Also, boat positioning in relation to what the graph says. This is a separate issue, but any information on the subject would be very helpful.

 

Thanks for reading. I appreciate all responses

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There's all sorts of videos on youtube about using and interpreting sonar 

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Yeah, i've watched flukes videos and random ones online. Some are more helpful than others. I went out today and think i have the settings better, there is more detail at least. But what i see on my screen isn't quite the same as the vids and pics i've seen. So again, im not really sure what im seeing.

 

a couple questions

1. having a simple 2d sonar, there isn't a way to read the bottom when stopped, right?

2. does SI or DI allow you to see whats below without moving?

 

when going about 1.5/2mph the screen shows a lot of bumps and christmas tree looking things on the bottom and arches. I try to stop and fish to the area I just passed without drifting off too much. without markers or gps, is this the way to do it?

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Sonar units in any technology are not video cameras and monitors. They only transmit a sonar pulse and record the return echoes one row of screen pixels at a time. What you see recorded is history. The farther away from the edge of the display a subject is displayed, the older that history is.

You have to determine how far you have moved from when a return was first recorded.

If a certain object is not continually being recorded on the very first row of screen pixels, it is not within the coverage of the sonar pulse.

When sitting still the unit records what is within the sonar pulses just like is does when you are moving. The bottom is still there and any thing between the bottom and surface will be recorded too as a continuous line as long as it stays within the sonar pulse coverage and does not move.

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Sonar units in any technology are not video cameras and monitors. They only transmit a sonar pulse and record the return echoes one row of screen pixels at a time. What you see recorded is history. The farther away from the edge of the display a subject is displayed, the older that history is.

You have to determine how far you have moved from when a return was first recorded.

If a certain object is not continually being recorded on the very first row of screen pixels, it is not within the coverage of the sonar pulse.

When sitting still the unit records what is within the sonar pulses just like is does when you are moving. The bottom is still there and any thing between the bottom and surface will be recorded too as a continuous line as long as it stays within the sonar pulse coverage and does not move.

 

 

Cool. The bold is something I've wondered about and haven't read before. That helps. Some of the DI looks like video screenshot though. But DI best utilized when moving I take it?

 

I have read and understand what you said in the first paragraph. But Im having a hard time making the connection in my head, putting it all together when im on the water. I haven't caught a fish for longer than i care to admit and am second guessing everything. I feel like a retard.

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But Im having a hard time making the connection in my head, putting it all together when im on the water. I haven't caught a fish for longer than i care to admit and am second guessing everything. I feel like a retard.

 

You are not alone, and not a retard. I'm still learning my unit (and it's a cheap Garmin at that). I'm using it more to identify depth and various structure I already know is there. I use that "knowing" to then go over it a few times and try and interpret what I'm seeing on the screen.

 

So to repeat, you are not alone! :smiley: At least you have DSI!!

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Cool. The bold is something I've wondered about and haven't read before. That helps. Some of the DI looks like video screenshot though. But DI best utilized when moving I take it?

 

I have read and understand what you said in the first paragraph. But Im having a hard time making the connection in my head, putting it all together when im on the water. I haven't caught a fish for longer than i care to admit and am second guessing everything. I feel like a retard.

Yes, the DI works best when moving. The 2d works sitting still or moving. As far as the second paragraph, The only thing current you are seeing on the 2d and DI is what is to the far right of the screen. Everything else is history or behind you. So, if the transducer is mounted on the transom, you have already passed over what you are seeing. What WayneP is saying is you need to determine how far you've moved to gauge where what you are looking at on the screen is really located. If you go over a school of bait with fish feeding, you can troll and cast in the general area either circling it or going back and forth across it. Bait is moving anyway. If you go over some structure which may be permanent, here is where gps is your friend. As you pass, mark a waypoint. 

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If you have Scan/Imaging equipment, you need movement so the sonan pulses can pass over the bottom/subjects and the unit can record it.

It is similar in function to a CAT scan used in the medical industry.

With a side looking unit, you can get usable images with the transducer on the trolling motor when sitting still and turning the motor. That would be the movement that does the scan.

Equipment that is Down Imaging/Down Scan, takes movement of the boat to do the scanning to produce the usable images.

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Cool. The bold is something I've wondered about and haven't read before. That helps. Some of the DI looks like video screenshot though. But DI best utilized when moving I take it?

 

I have read and understand what you said in the first paragraph. But Im having a hard time making the connection in my head, putting it all together when im on the water. I haven't caught a fish for longer than i care to admit and am second guessing everything. I feel like a retard.

 

Dude I have had my 1198 Si for almost a year now and I still am trying to get it tuned so that I can understand what I am seeing.  Hang in there and listen to Wayne.

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Thank you all for the responses. It helped a few things click in my head. I hope I have the chance to take the boat out again before winter. Open water is just too d**n short in utah. If I do, i'll update this thread and report back on my interpretation.

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