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Best $500 Fishfinder

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For around $500, give or take, what is the best complete fish finder on the market? I have looked at the Lowrance Hook2 with Tripleshot Transducer for DI, SI, and Sonar, plus GPS

 

The Garmin Striker sv7 looks good

 

So does the Humminbird Helix series....

 

I'm new to the electronics game. What I really want is down imaging, sonar, and gps so I can mark waypoints for tournaments. Side-Imaging and Navonics/Lakeview would be a plus is possible. 

 

I feel a bit overwhelmed when looking at so many units in Cabelas or Bass Pro. I've tried to play around with each to see what I like the best but I just cannot decide. Can someone will a little more experience help me out lol 

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What type of boat would you be mounting this on? While I can get away with a smaller screen on my kayak (and get more features for the dollar) that small screen might not be right for a bass boat.

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The best $500 unit for you is the one you choose after researching the units and you deciding what's best for you. Everyone can and will give you their biased opinions. What are opinions like? I know my response sounds like a copout but it's the truth.

 

Knowledge is power and you'll be the most happy with the units you picked based on what YOU read. Plus the more you research the better you'll understand what each unit can and cannot do, and IMO will save you some time when you finally get it on the water. 

 

Good luck, give us a review when you get one!

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Do you want GPS or mapping? They are not the same thing. The Striker series has GPS but no maps. You can mark your position, but it is just a dot or a trail on an empty screen. Mapping shows those marks and trails in relation to depth and the shorelines. Mapping costs more. Some brands like Garmin come pre-loaded with thousands of high definition maps at no extra charge. You can even record your own maps on lakes that might not have a map. Humminbird requires you buy map chips which can add hundreds of dollars to your final cost. 

New models are coming out all the time so it is hard to keep up with all the changes. Good deals are often found on last years models so a unit that wa $800 last year can sometimes be had for $500. You have to decide what you have to have and shop around. The biggest price differences usually come when you move up in screen size. 2 units can have identical features but one has a 7 inch screen and one a 5 inch and the price difference might be $2 or 3 hundred dollars. 

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Somewhat misleading post, above.  Humminbird Helix models are pre-loaded with base maps overlaying the GPS.  The base maps are pretty detailed.  You aren't required to buy a separate chip, but the chips add more detail.  The Lakemaster chip gives you 1' depth lines and is around $120.  Garmin Stryker series don't have any map overlay, unless you jump up to the $250 echoMAP line.  So to say that one makes you pay, and the other doesn't isn't really true.

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I will be mounting at the dash of my 17' Triton Aluminum. 

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32 minutes ago, J Francho said:

Somewhat misleading post, above.  Humminbird Helix models are pre-loaded with base maps overlaying the GPS.  The base maps are pretty detailed.  You aren't required to buy a separate chip, but the chips add more detail.  The Lakemaster chip gives you 1' depth lines and is around $120.  Garmin Stryker series don't have any map overlay, unless you jump up to the $250 echoMAP line.  So to say that one makes you pay, and the other doesn't isn't really true.

Interesting. I too was always under the impression that the basemaps didn't have contour lines. How many maps are on the basemaps? That was pretty much my only hang up with the Helix models. 

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7 minutes ago, 12poundbass said:

Interesting. I too was always under the impression that the basemaps didn't have contour lines. How many maps are on the basemaps? That was pretty much my only hang up with the Helix models. 

my Helix 5 SI GPS basemap didn't have contour lines. it only showed the shoreline, that's why I bought a lakemaster chip. maybe they've updated them on the newer models?

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You can see what they look like right on the Humminbird site.

https://www.humminbird.com/technology.aspx?id=19620

 

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24 minutes ago, J Francho said:

You can see what they look like right on the Humminbird site.

https://www.humminbird.com/technology.aspx?id=19620

 

this would likely depend on lake as to weather it is included in the base map though which you can check in the link on the page 

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49 minutes ago, J Francho said:

You can see what they look like right on the Humminbird site.

https://www.humminbird.com/technology.aspx?id=19620

 

So it's for the Gen2 units. That's good to know, thank you. I looked through it and my lakes are on there and my assumption is they're the same as the Garmin Echomap lakes as far as detail. This might change things for me come spring. 

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If I were going to be buying a fish finder today it would be the Lowrance Hook2 7x Tripleshot for $399.  Seems like the best bang for the buck right now.  I would be gaining sidescan but losing maps from my current finder.  I have the navionics app on my phone so I can use that instead of spending an extra $200 for it on the finder.

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6 minutes ago, Hawkeye21 said:

I have the navionics app on my phone so I can use that instead of spending an extra $200 for it on the finder.

Be careful, and watch your battery life.  You can run a phone down quick with this.

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Just now, J Francho said:

Be careful, and watch your battery life.  You can run a phone down quick with this.

I've had it for over a year now and have noticed.  I found that I really don't use the maps on my current fish finder that much so I see no reason to spend an extra $200 on them.  I can check my phone occasionally to look at the map if need be.

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That's what I do when decide to fish "blind."  I also like the routes feature for planning out a tournament run.

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On 1/29/2018 at 11:41 AM, Scott F said:

The biggest price differences usually come when you move up in screen size. 2 units can have identical features but one has a 7 inch screen and one a 5 inch and the price difference might be $2 or 3 hundred dollars. 

I can buy a $50" tv for $250 so that's a great deal for a 2" larger screen.  

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Maps are the most important asset on my helix 7. I would much rather shell out 120 bucks for the lakemaster chip than mess around with my phone all day. Seems penny cheap pound foolish.

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Did you check out this graph at Bass Pro?

 

https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/Garmin-EchoMAP-93SV-CHIRP-Fishfinder-and-Chartplotter-with-LakeVu-HD-Maps

 

It includes maps. $100 over the $500 you mentioned but it is a 9" screen instead of 7". I am in the market for a new graph myself and would ideally like to stick around same price range you mentioned. I just would like to have a 9" at console and eventually go after a similar size for front of boat next year. Just not in budget to get two right at moment.  

 

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I just got a garmin 74sv for 450$ it's not touch screen but it rocks side scan clear view mapping 1'contours plus pre loaded maps heat images and panoptix but the panoptix cost another grand but worth it 

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Not sure if someone else already said this, but consider a unit with network capability.

 

I have a helix 7 DI G2N, i think this is close to your price range.  It may be a few years, but eventually you may want to add a unit to bow, and the ability to share waypoints is huge.

 

I assume the other brands offer network options too

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Garmin Striker 7sv is $399 at Academy, and there's a 20% coupon to make it $320.  Amazing price for a 7" with SideVu.

 

 

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Thanks Junger, just ordered that. Didn’t even use the coupon, but they automatically had $40 taken off it

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I am debating between a Humminbird Helix 5 and the Raymarine Dragonfly Pro? Any recommendation from users here? I would like to have a fish finder with built in GPS +maps. (link shows the exact models I am considering)

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If you're interested in Lowrance, call them and ask about the refurb units. They have all new guts and the same warranty as new. A friend just bought two refurb Hook7's for less than a new Hook5.

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