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TNReb

Fish finder suggestions? (14' jon, big lakes)

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For the last 3 years, I have been fishing in a 10' Pelican Bass Raider with a trolling motor.  I had a Lowrance Elite 4-x fish finder with the transducer mounted to the trolling motor.  It was the first fish finder I ever owned.

Maybe I just wasn't using it properly, but I really had a hard time with it.  In 3 years, I rarely ever saw arcs that seemed like fish to me.  I played with all of the settings and really spent time trying to figure it out, but I just couldn't make it work the way I thought it should.  I'm generally pretty savvy with tech gadgets, but that one just about drove me nuts.  I'm not sure if mounting the transducer to the trolling motor was part of the problem or not.

 

I've recently sold the Pelican and moved to a 1448 jon with a bow mounted trollng motor and a 6hp Johnson.  I plan to mount 2 fish finders - a cheap one on one end just for monitoring depth, and a little it nicer one on the other end.

Most of my fishing is done on larger lakes around Middle TN (Old Hickory, Percy Priest, etc).  I only bass fish, but would like to get in to crappie also.  I don't need GPS, but it would be neat to be able to load maps for a lake and see the different depths/top/etc.

Can anyone offer some suggestions?  My budget on the "nicer" one is $500.  I could go as high as $700 if there was something that made a huge difference, but I would rather be at $500 or less - preferably even around $300.  Just because I have the higher budget doesn't mean I want to spend that much.

 

 

 

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so ,...did you keep the lowrance?, did you have the "correct trolling motor transducer" or did you bracket a transom mount transducer?   

 Or are you buying 2 new units all together? 

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44 minutes ago, Keith "Hamma" Hatch said:

so ,...did you keep the lowrance?, did you have the "correct trolling motor transducer" or did you bracket a transom mount transducer?   

 Or are you buying 2 new units all together? 

I sold the Lowrance along with the boat.

I simply used the transducer that came with the unit, and used the included trolling motor mount.  I suppose it could have been the wrong transducer, but I gotta think there's more to gain with side/down view instead of the standard 2d sonar.

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I'm glad you asked this question TNReB. I have about the same budget for 1 unit and am hoping for something a little newer (bigger screen) than the X51 and X71 Lowrance units on my 18ft SeaArk. I can see fish on my unit it's just they are small and my eyesight is not great. Also the screen fogs up from the inside and makes it horrible in bright daylight. 

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I really don't think absence of classic appearing arcs is a reliable indication of a bad fish finder. I've seen a few on mine at most but I can identify many other fish because that don't appear as arcs. What does suggest a bad FF to me is when I'm not marking anything and yet am catching lots of fish trolling a single rod.

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Understanding how/why fish arches are recorded has more to do with their display than whether or not a unit will record them. After all it is just sound in the water and recorded return echoes.

It is all about time and distance within a sonar pulse that is strong enough to create a return echo. The time factor is boat speed and screen scroll speed. Either or both can affect how an arch is recorded. Distance is when a fish is first within the sonar pulse until it is out of range of the sonar pulse. The top of the arch is when the fish is closest to the transducer (distance).

If you don't understand that, view the sonar tutorial on the Lowrance website.

 

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16 hours ago, Wayne P. said:

Understanding how/why fish arches are recorded has more to do with their display than whether or not a unit will record them. After all it is just sound in the water and recorded return echoes.

It is all about time and distance within a sonar pulse that is strong enough to create a return echo. The time factor is boat speed and screen scroll speed. Either or both can affect how an arch is recorded. Distance is when a fish is first within the sonar pulse until it is out of range of the sonar pulse. The top of the arch is when the fish is closest to the transducer (distance).

If you don't understand that, view the sonar tutorial on the Lowrance website.

 

That's a good explanation, and could very well explain why I wasn't seeing what I expected.  I didn't have an outboard, so I was running my sonar at about half the speed of my trolling motor most of the time - often only a quarter of the speed.  

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I just bought a helix 9 to match with my new ulterra trolling motor. for my tracker

well beyond what you wanna spend, but when i was waiting i checked out the 5's and 7's,.. less money and they still put out a decent picture. I have a little basshunter I was looking at them for it.

 Just a thought

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