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Hello everyone, Im seeking advice on choosing a fish finder. I am going to purchase my first boat once I get my tax return back. Im looking at an Alumacraft mv1648. I want to have one mounted on the bow and one back(Im not good with the technical terms lol) but anyway I was hoping yall could help me find a good combo without breaking the bank. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. 

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Last spring I acquired a Raymarine Dragonfly. We mounted this on my buddy's boat, a fellow I fish with

regularly on the Tennessee River. Pickwick has a wide variety of cover and structure which makes this

a perfect place to put this bad boy to the test.

 

My friend, Rick Caldwell is a commercial contractor with a degree in Engineering. Early in his career Rick

worked for the Tennessee River Valley Authority during the initial construction of a nuclear facility and

later NASA. The NASA facility was designed for testing booster rockets during the Apollo era. I thought

a review from a "rocket scientist" might be of particular interest! So, here ya go:

 

 

I have used the Dragonfly for several months now. The Dragonfly is very user friendly and extremely easy to use. The menus are simple and setting up the basics was very easy and straight forward. The joy stick allows easy movement of the cursor and zooming in and out is made simply by the turn of a rotary knob. The unit came with Navionics Gold Charts which provides all the detail needed. The Dragonfly’s dual “Chirp” technology and extremely clear screen (even in bright sunlight) make it invaluable in finding structure and fish. The downscan is second to none for clarity and detail, while the fish finder is equally as good.

 

I use my unit in conjunction with a Humminbird 598 HD SI. I generally use double screen downscan and the fish finder on the Dragonfly due the superior quality of it’s very high quality high def screen while simultaneously using the sidescan and navigation chart on the Humminbird. The combination of these two units provides as much, or more information as the larger units that cost three times as much as the total of these two units. Although the sidescan on the Hummingbird is nice at times, I find myself depending more on the downscan of the Dragonfly. The sidescan on the Humminbird is nice to initially find objects on either side of the boat then to turn the boat and pass over the object to allow the Dragonfly’s great picture like downscan to determine what the object is and if there are actually fish suspended around it. However, if I had to give up either unit, I would keep the Dragonfly. Thank You Raymarine for an outstanding product at a very reasonable price.

 

If I had any constructive criticism about the Dragonfly it would be about the mounting bracket. It is difficult to

remove and replace the unit in the bracket. This would be important to those that want to remove their unit from

their boat on a regular basis. Personally this does not bother me as I leave the unit on my boat permanently.

 

Bottom Line, Yes, I would recommend this to a friend. Dollar for dollar I believe the Raymarine Dragonfly

to be the best value out there in fish finders. It will remain a permanent fixture on my boat.

 

 

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How big is the bank you don't want to break and what are your needs? Color? GPS? Down imaging?, Down and side imaging? Ethernet capable? Screen size?

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I'm willing to spend about $800. I don't really have any requirements for it. Although I've installed fish finders and my brother has one on his boat we never really use them. I'm open to anything and willing to learn. I'd prefer a larger screen.

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Here's what I would do. I have experience with Humminbird so those will be the models I give you. I'd get a 859ci HD combo and a 678c HD. I'd put the bigger unit where I spend the most time. If you plan on spending time searching, put it on the console. If you want to utilize it for jigging or dropshotting, then put the bigger screen on the bow. OR get (1) 698(might even be able to still find a 798) and get a second mount, power cord, and transducer. This unit has a quick release on it which would allow you to move the unit back and forth from bow to console.  Here's my experience, When I had lower end electronics, I used them primarily for bottom composition, depth, and temperature. Higher end units have opened a whole new world of fishing for me. Locating fish on ledges along with structure you'd never know was there unless you passed directly over it. I have the ability to find stuff I wasn't looking for. If you go by the adage that 90% of the fish are located in 10% of the water, and SI gives you the ability to cover more water during the same time period, it's a no brainer.    

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Here's what I would do. I have experience with Humminbird so those will be the models I give you. I'd get a 859ci HD combo and a 678c HD. I'd put the bigger unit where I spend the most time. If you plan on spending time searching, put it on the console. If you want to utilize it for jigging or dropshotting, then put the bigger screen on the bow. OR get (1) 698(might even be able to still find a 798) and get a second mount, power cord, and transducer. This unit has a quick release on it which would allow you to move the unit back and forth from bow to console.  Here's my experience, When I had lower end electronics, I used them primarily for bottom composition, depth, and temperature. Higher end units have opened a whole new world of fishing for me. Locating fish on ledges along with structure you'd never know was there unless you passed directly over it. I have the ability to find stuff I wasn't looking for. If you go by the adage that 90% of the fish are located in 10% of the water, and SI gives you the ability to cover more water during the same time period, it's a no brainer.    

I would not recommend the 698ci HD SI Combo, The discontinued 798ci HD SI Combo or 598ci HD SI Combo would be a better choice. The new 600 series units have narrower dispays which is exaclty what you do not want with the Side Imaging technology.

BIGGER is better with Side Imaging or Structure Scan, smaller is worse.

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That is a good price and has more than the description indicates. It states it has Uni-map and it actually has ContourXD background mapping which is 3000 locations with contour lines. Plus it is Ethernet capable.

They used an old 798 model description.

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I have the 798 on my bow, at $650 that's a steal with all the perks it has. Of course bigger is better, but at $800 budget I'd say u found ur fish finder.

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Thank yall for all the advice and support. I think I'm gonna go with the 798. 

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