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billdz

Please help a non-fisherman find the right shallow water fish finder to find lost object in canal

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Hello,

Would appreciate some advice about shallow water fish finders. I'm not a fisherman, my hobby is model rocketry. I launched a rocket that is 7' high and 5" in diameter and it landed in a canal, about a mile from the launch site. The canal is about 30' wide. It's only about 4' deep but the bottom is soft mud. The water is so cloudy I can't see the bottom. There's also a pretty big drop from the bank to the water, so I was not able to cover much ground trying a to drag the bottom with a long rake.

 

Someone suggested going in the canal with a kayak and using a fish finder. Some say it will find the rocket in the water, others say no, it won't work, the water is too shallow, the beam is too narrow, etc. I went to Bass Pro Shop and they said it would work, although of course they wanted to sell me something. They recommended the Lowrance Hook with 5" screen, which they said would be on sale on Black Friday for around $250. I've seen second hand devices, like the Lowrance 5X, on eBay for under $100.

 

Anyhow, what do you folks think, would a fish finder find the rocket at the bottom of the canal? Are there any particular features I should look for? Bass Pro Shop said to get one with "side view". Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Bill

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What is the value of the rocket that your trying to find.  The better fish finders that have side scan or other high definition functions are going to cost more than a little coin.  You may do better with a metal detector if there is metal in the rocket.  If it was very light and a shute or streamer deployed then it may be much further down stream than where it landed.  The more information you provide the better people would be able to help you reach a good plan....

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I would think after this amount of time, the astronauts have probably died.  This sounds like it has changed from a rescue mission to a salvage operation... 

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Wish I lived closer, I'd help you search. Maybe someone local to you with a good sonar could do some looking. You could try putting an ad in local media, offer a finders fee. It would be easier than buying a sonar and learning to use it just for this one thing.

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Thanks for the replies. The rocket is only worth a few hundred dollars but it has great sentimental value, as I built it with my 10 year old son and flew it to get my L3 rocketry permit. A finder may be worth more than the rocket but that's OK. There's no current in the water so the rocket probably hit the soft mud on the bottom and stuck there, hopefully at least the fins are above the mud. There was  30' line attached to the parachute, which apparently failed to open. Usually the parachute floats on water so some doubt the rocket is even in the canal, but that's what the GPS tracker was indicating and the signal was lost on impact, probably because the tracker was in water. Tha canal is in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, definitely a reward for anyone who finds it. 

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It might be more efficient and less expensive to hit a local diving board or shop.  I'm sure there are plenty of local divers that could find it.  If you know the approximate area and it's small/shallow with no current like you say...Should be a pretty straightforward recovery even in low-vis water.  Lots of experienced divers in FL for sure.  

 

I'd be willing to do it if I were local.  

 

 

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In light of the pre-impact GPS readings we have, the rocket should be quite near a specific area of the canal, at most 50 yards in each direction. How could a diver find it in the low-vis water? I went into the canal in an inflatable and a waterproof flashlight, could not see even close to the bottom, even sticking the flashlight as deep in the water as my hand would reach. 

 

How would I find a diver or a fisherman with sonar who might be able to search for a fee?

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Find the nearest boat ramp or tackle shop and explain your quandary ; I'm sure they will know someone who knows someone who can help . Good luck and keep us posted !

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Boat with a submersible metal detector unit is your best bet unless someone with 360 scanner sonar unit is willing to help.

I found a lost shotgun in a canal years ago with a metal detector.

Good luck,

Tom

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To find a diver contact the nearest diving club-stores that sell diving equipment most likely can help.

 

There is most likely little to no metal in it, right?

 

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Yes, not much metal, unfortunately, just a few screws, washers, and nots . The rocket is made of fiberglass. Thanks for the replies. So it's a no on the fish finder?

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A cheap one will not do what you need.  Another idea would be to book a fishing guide that would have top end equipment, and if a finder will locate it, they should have the high end gear.  The bonus is someone would handle the boat while you go in after it.

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19 hours ago, billdz said:

How could a diver find it in the low-vis water?

Search & Recovery and Rescue Divers are trained for that.  Many divers get the S&R certification without actually 'needing' it...Divers tend to collect certifications much like fisherman collect tackle.  It's not an 'easy' dive, but it's one that an experienced pair for divers should be able to handle no problem...And they would probably enjoy it as a real-world test of their training.  Scuba Board forums has a FL section, probably a good place to try.  Not sure how willing people would be, but I'd imagine it'd at least draw some interest.  

 

I also agree with another poster who said to see if you can find a local fisherman with nice graphs on his boat already to help you.  Assuming there's a boat ramp and the area is accessible.  This might be an easier first step than the diver option honestly....Not hard to convince a fisherman to hit the water for a day ;)...Surprised this wasn't my first thought.  

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Hi folks,

Just to let you know, I still have not found the rocket. As you recommended, I tried calling local tackle shops and dive shops but they could not suggest anyone who might be able to help. Maybe they thought I was joking or something. A large boat with graphs would not fit in this canal, it is only about 40' wide and 4' deep. Would have to be a flatboat or kayak or raft.

 

Any other ideas?

Thanks,

Bill

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40 minutes ago, billdz said:

Hi folks,

Just to let you know, I still have not found the rocket. As you recommended, I tried calling local tackle shops and dive shops but they could not suggest anyone who might be able to help. Maybe they thought I was joking or something. A large boat with graphs would not fit in this canal, it is only about 40' wide and 4' deep. Would have to be a flatboat or kayak or raft.

 

Any other ideas?

Thanks,

Bill

Move on? 

 

When I was a kid I got a helicopter for Christmas that ran on nitro methane, once it ran out it would slowly decend. The very first time my dad and I did it, it took off never to be seen again. We looked for almost two months for it with no success. It was hard to give up the search but we did. 

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19 hours ago, billdz said:

Hi folks,

Just to let you know, I still have not found the rocket. As you recommended, I tried calling local tackle shops and dive shops but they could not suggest anyone who might be able to help. Maybe they thought I was joking or something. A large boat with graphs would not fit in this canal, it is only about 40' wide and 4' deep. Would have to be a flatboat or kayak or raft.

 

Any other ideas?

Thanks,

Bill

Is there a ramp nearby to launch a boat?  4 ft of water is plenty for a bass boat if you can get the boat in the water.  It would be difficult to impossible to find it without side scanning sonar.  Those units start around $700 and better ones are over $2K.   Personally,  I would help you out if I was close.  I think many fishermen would enjoy the challenge.  You just need to find an avid fisherman with the right equipment.  

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Sorry for your loss.  You say it’s most likely with 50yds or so of where it lost signal.  I’d just borrow/rent a canoe or kayak and go poking around with the rake you spoke of.  Sometimes if you want something done,  you gotta do it yourself.  

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If the bank isn't crazy steep a small Jon boat will have no problem hand launching. Muddy bottoms down here are typically very smooth on my DF, with only the odd branch or stump showing.

 

Among some of the problems might be if the rocket sank horizontal to the surface it may have sank in the mud and may not present a sufficient profile to any DF side scan or not.

 

Also at only ~4' deep the transducer beam angle of a typical DF may be so narrow that mapping an unknown area greater than 50 yards may not be possible at all.

 

OTOH, I don't know the math, but I "think" if you could find the transmission rate of the GPS, and could guess at the rate of speed that it fell you may be able to narrow down the actual location rather than +/- 50 yards. But, that's above my pay grade 🙂

 

At any rate if you were closer to me than the hundred miles you are, I just might take my 10' tinny and make it a recovery / fishing day 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have you tried another forum?  Florida Sportsman has a good one. I'm sure you could find some one local to help you out.

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Does the canal level ever fluctuate? If so, maybe you can search when it is at a lower level.

 

Maybe you can run a drone over it with a camera pointing down, review the footage and just see if you spot it.

 

Use polarized sunglasses when you search as that is what us fishermen do to reduce glare while looking at the water. This could help you see deeper into the water.

 

Maybe some kind of net. I doubt you know how to throw a castnet if you are not a fisherman, but this is a circular net that can pop open into a circle anywhere from 10 to 20 feet in diameter and sinks to the bottom. Not sure how much room you have to cover but someone could throw one randomly and possibly luck out and grab it. Also you can use a seine type net where it's long and you drag it through sections and see what shows up in the net.

 

When I was a kid I also shot up cheap rockets. All of them had a pointy cone that popped out for the parachute. Did yours blow the cone out? If so I am wondering why that would not be floating since they are usually secured with a cord of some sort to the main body of the rocket.

 

Just some ideas...

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A long shot, but maybe a cast able sonar would possibly work. I say a long shot because any debris on the bottom could easily be mistaken for your rocket.

 

https://www.lowrance.com/lowrance/type/castables/list/

 

You could probably just tie the string on and throw it out there by hand.

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