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I am getting a boat that has a lowance 3" unit on it already. On the front there is no fish finder. 3 questions:

 

1. Do I get a unit for the front?

 

2. If yes, then should I go with a lowance or hummingbird?

 

3. Does it matter if I cross brand the units on the same boat?

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Definitely have one in front.  No reason you can't mix brands. If they are the same brand with similar controls less of a learning curve but other than that no reason.

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1 hour ago, kjfishman said:

Definitely have one in front.  No reason you can't mix brands. If they are the same brand with similar controls less of a learning curve but other than that no reason.

What would you get? trying to stay under $500, so helix 7 or 5, lowance 5, or 7?

 

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One on the front?  Yes, definitely.  That one gets used way more than the one on the console.  As for the quality, that's going to depend on your fishing style.  If you are primarily a shallow water fisherman, less than 10' or so most of the time, it will probably be used more for just keeping track of the depth and looking for abnormalities and obstacles that might hold fish, so the quality can suffer a little. 

If fishing deeper, where you are actually watching for fish holding next to the bottom along channels and structure, then you need as good of a color unit as your budget will allow and I would look at one of the side scan units.  I run a 5" mounted in the console, a 10" on a Ram, swing arm on the gunwall beside the drivers seat, and a 7" up front, all networked together so I can see any one from any position.

For the past 25 years or so, I've used nothing but Lowrance so I can't comment on what brand or model would be best.  When it comes to that, it's like ice cream, everybody likes a different flavor, that's why there are so many.

 

Oh, I also forgot to mention, there are tons of Sonars, depth finders, LCD's, flashers, etc, but the only true "fish finder" is the proper lure on the end of your line, presented properly in the right place.

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seeing that most of us are on the bow 90% of the time a bow graph is a must unless you always fish very shallow. the brand is a personal choice. the truth is there are no bad graphs. these old eyes can't see a 3" screen. you can get a goon 5 or 7" graph for under 500.00. go as big as budget allows. you will probably upgrade anyway.

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On April 15, 2018 at 1:31 PM, AustinHellickson said:

I am getting a boat that has a lowance 3" unit on it already. On the front there is no fish finder. 3 questions:

 

1. Do I get a unit for the front?

 

2. If yes, then should I go with a lowance or hummingbird?

 

3. Does it matter if I cross brand the units on the same boat?

1. You spend more time fishing from the front so most bass anglers have a bow mounted sonar unit with the TD mounted under the trolling motor. The TM mounted TD unit should have a temperature probe and screen large enough to see standing. 5" would be the smallest to consider.

2. Your boat has a 3"? more then likely a 5" measured diagonal. If you plan to upgrade the console unit it doesn't matter which brand you choose.

3. Never mix sonar brands on the same boat, they may operate at a different frequency interferring with each other when on at the same time.

 Use a Ram ball mount, makes it easy to remove for storing and adjusting position to see.

Tom

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Bump your budget up to $600 and you can get a 9" Garmin Echomap.

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The important features to look for in a sonar unit is enough power to separate fish from cover and structure. All modern sonar units can accurately display bottom depth, bottom structure that soft or hard, aquatic plants and wooden cove. Only the good units have good bright color clarity, easy to read screen in sunlight, GPS maps and chirp multiple frequencies to clearly display fish from clutter.

I am familiar with Lowrance units with GPS and Chirp that are user friendly and can be found within your budget range. I see no need for a unit with map making feature you may never use, today's map cards like Navoinics are very accurate with 1' elevations.

Tom

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21 hours ago, WRB said:

1. You spend more time fishing from the front so most bass anglers have a bow mounted sonar unit with the TD mounted under the trolling motor. The TM mounted TD unit should have a temperature probe and screen large enough to see standing. 5" would be the smallest to consider.

2. Your boat has a 3"? more then likely a 5" measured diagonal. If you plan to upgrade the console unit it doesn't matter which brand you choose.

3. Never mix sonar brands on the same boat, they may operate at a different frequency interferring with each other when on at the same time.

 Use a Ram ball mount, makes it easy to remove for storing and adjusting position to see.

Tom

It has a 3" lowance unit on it. Should I look into a lowance 7" with di and si for the front?

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Side imaging sonar TD's are difficult to trolling motor mount IMO. The Si TD mounted on the transum doesn't move every time the TM motor is turned. Some pros have a seperate post on the TM to mount the Si TD to eleminate this situation, that's a possibility. 

Keep in mind everything displayed on the sonar unit screen is a history of what the TD has passed bye, the only real time data is displayed on the far right edge of the screen.

As long as you realize everything is behind you it doesn't make much difference if the Si images are behind the boat if the TD is transum mounted.

I would get a sonar unit that is affordable because last few years old technology is less expensive but still state of the art. In a few years you may want to upgrade the units after becoming more familiar with it and know what is right for you. The 7" is good for both the console and bow. What ever you get get GPS.

Tom

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Although my experience is limited, I feel like an expert on this subject. Go with size, and bigger at the bow. Try not to let $$ be the final determining factor. I started with a 3 or 4" on my new boat 2 years ago. I upgraded to a Lowrance Elite5TI shortly after getting the boat,  mainly because I was watching the $$. Although the unit worked perfectly fine, I could not see the screen details unless I was right in front of it at the console. It didn't do me a lot of good when fishing from the bow. I have upgraded again, bit the bullet on the cost, and put 2 Lowrance Elite9 Ti's, one at the bow and one at the console,  and have the linked both to my Motorguide Xi5. The upgrades weren't cheap, but I wish I hadn't done the in between step. If you can wait and save some money, I'd hold off so you don't make the same mistake that I made.

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On 4/17/2018 at 6:40 PM, 12poundbass said:

Bump your budget up to $600 and you can get a 9" Garmin Echomap.

I agree, I have the 73sv and the 93sv up front. Great GPS, very easy to learn, and best overall unit for $600

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On 4/17/2018 at 5:04 PM, WRB said:

Never mix sonar brands on the same boat, they may operate at a different frequency interferring with each other when on at the same time.

 Use a Ram ball mount, makes it easy to remove for storing and adjusting position to see.

Tom

Bryan Thrift uses both hummingbird and lowrance electronics on his boat one of each front and back. He is top 3 bass fisherman in the world its ok for him i think it will work for you.

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On 4/17/2018 at 6:04 PM, WRB said:

3. Never mix sonar brands on the same boat, they may operate at a different frequency interferring with each other when on at the same time.

Different frequencies is what might actually keep them from interfering with one another. Interference usually occurs when transmitters/receivers are operating within the same band. One of the biggest disadvantages to mixing brands or sizes is having to learn two different setups (menus, configs). On the other hand it lets you try two different setups, and you may find one works best for the console, the other for the bow.

 

If your boat is small enough and you're on a tight budget don't rule using a single unit at the console for both the console and bow operation. I mounted a 4" finder at the console on a 14' jon, on a pivot, so when I'm at the bow, I just turn it towards me. Haven't tried it yet.... we'll see how it goes.

 

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Sometimes a boat near me with Hummingbird interferes with my Lowrance unti, that is why I made that commit. Today's units use Chirp a variable frequency pulse and they don't interfere with my older units, probably filtered better.

Tom

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