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pauldconyers

Bang for the buck fish finder advice?

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THIS is the year I finally buy a fish finder! Right now I am just learning about all the options, features and other points to consider when buying one. I do not want this to go over 300 bucks so I am looking for a bang for the buck recommendation. The guys over at Tactical Bassin say the Humminbird Helix 5 G2 is a really good unit for the money. Any others I should look at in that price range? I assume for under $300 I can still get a quality unit versus I am not just not going to be happy with anything at that price point?

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Save your money and spend the money on something nicer. There’s a reason Humminbird isn’t offering a 5 inch display in the future (g3). You can’t see much at all in SI or DI. Get yourself AT LEAST a 7 inch display. Just my opinion. Garmin echomaps plus are the best bang for your buck units and I’m a Humminbird guy.  

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You can get some good quality used units that guys sell for a good discount because they are always trading up for the latest and greatest.  Check out the buy sell forum.  

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In that price range look at Garmin Striker. You get it all, but you have to map your only lakes which isn't hard to do for the budget minded angler like myself.

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I bought a Lowrance Hook 4 just over a year ago, model 000-12649-001. It's now discontinued but probably replaced by something similar. 4 inch display, GPS/finder (downscan), came with transducer, transom mount and Navionics charts. New $279 but it was on sale at the time. I've used it only on the kayak where it's mounted about 2 feet from my eyes so the small screen isn't a problem. You want something with a larger display for a bigger boat especially if you're it's mounted at the bow trolling motor. It has the usual features including split screen, waypoints/markers, etc.

 

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If you can add $50 to your budget I would recommend the Garmin Striker 7cv, on sale on Dicks website for $349. I’ve had this unit for a year and a half on my pond Prowler and like it.I also wouldn’t recommend going under a 7 inch screen. 

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Well if I go with a 7 inch screen and stay at a max of $400 what features MUST I make sure I have? What are features that are really important but I would not be able to get at that price point?

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For 399 you can get a Lowrance hook 2 7x tripleshot. That's going to be your best bang for the buck. It's also the only one with sidescan for under 400. Has GPS but no maps, but no 7 inch unit under 400 does. You can always download Navionics on your phone if you need maps.

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1 minute ago, LonnieP said:

For 399 you can get a Lowrance hook 2 7x tripleshot. That's going to be your best bang for the buck. It's also the only one with sidescan for under 400. Has GPS but no maps, but no 7 inch unit under 400 does. You can always download Navionics on your phone if you need maps.

Again I am a total noob about this stuff. When you say "has GPS but no maps" is the GPS so you can make a waypoint for a specific point on the lake you want to fish? And when you say no maps I assume that means it does not have the capability to "downlaod" pre-recorded mapping of a certain lake?

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12 minutes ago, pauldconyers said:

Again I am a total noob about this stuff. When you say "has GPS but no maps" is the GPS so you can make a waypoint for a specific point on the lake you want to fish? And when you say no maps I assume that means it does not have the capability to "downlaod" pre-recorded mapping of a certain lake?

Yes, just a blank screen that you can mark waypoints. The units in your price range don't have the ability to download or add map cards.

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1 hour ago, LonnieP said:

Yes, just a blank screen that you can mark waypoints. The units in your price range don't have the ability to download or add map cards.

Roughly how much more should I have to expect to get that feature? For my education does the ability to download maps come as a free deal from the company that makes the unit you buy or is there a monthly or upfront fee for this service?

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When you have a unit that will be capable of mapping you need to buy a map card for the area that you fish.  For me mapping is as important as anything on a unit.  Mapping and 2 d sonar or mapping and down scan are the most important IMO.

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I'd go with the Garmin Striker Plus 7SV. You can get one for $400-500. This unit does not have mapping but you can create your own maps. 

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If I wanted to add mapping approximately how much more does that bump me up in price? Again, I know it is hard to say but a rough guess? 

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40 minutes ago, pauldconyers said:

If I wanted to add mapping approximately how much more does that bump me up in price? Again, I know it is hard to say but a rough guess? 

$200-300 approx

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I have lowrance elite 4HDI and I love it. Mapping, down imaging, and traditional 2d sonar. I think my girlfriend got it for $200 on a Black Friday sale at academy 

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18 hours ago, pauldconyers said:

If I wanted to add mapping approximately how much more does that bump me up in price? Again, I know it is hard to say but a rough guess? 

For the Lowrance Hook2 Tripleshoot it's $200 to go from no maps to having maps.  The 7x (no maps) is $399 and the 7 (maps) is $599.  If it were me I'd save the $200 and get the 7x model since I already have the Navionics app on my phone and use it.

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18 hours ago, pauldconyers said:

If I wanted to add mapping approximately how much more does that bump me up in price? Again, I know it is hard to say but a rough guess? 

Why don't you go over to Cabela's and look at them in person.  You can have a sales person go over the units and their features.  That should help you with your decision.

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Well, I have owned and used Hummingbird and Lowrance units while fishing saltwater. I found both to be good brands of units. I have known other more experienced users of electronics that prefer other brands some of those units cost several thousands of dollars each. What it comes down to in my limited experience is if you can understand how the unit works and if you can read what the screen is telling you. Personally I can't make heads or tails out of some very high priced brands units while others just make sense to me. While reviews are great you really would benefit by going somewhere that you can play with the various units and see their different settings. Make sure the unit you pick will work for you and the type of fishing you plan to do. Good luck and tight lines! 😎 

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7 hours ago, Jig Man said:

Why don't you go over to Cabela's and look at them in person.  You can have a sales person go over the units and their features.  That should help you with your decision.

I don't want to do that as I'm not ready to buy yet. But I wanted to start gathering knowledge so I know what to consider and what questions to ask.

7 hours ago, Hawkeye21 said:

For the Lowrance Hook2 Tripleshoot it's $200 to go from no maps to having maps.  The 7x (no maps) is $399 and the 7 (maps) is $599.  If it were me I'd save the $200 and get the 7x model since I already have the Navionics app on my phone and use it.

I've heard of this Navionics app but never tried it. What does it do, how does it work? Very expensive fee?

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11 hours ago, pauldconyers said:

I don't want to do that as I'm not ready to buy yet. But I wanted to start gathering knowledge so I know what to consider and what questions to ask.

I've heard of this Navionics app but never tried it. What does it do, how does it work? Very expensive fee?

The app is free to download and they might offer a free trial period.  For full maps there is a fee which I think is $9.99 for the year.  I think it's worth it.  It works without cell service which is great when out on the water.

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13 hours ago, pauldconyers said:

But I wanted to start gathering knowledge so I know what to consider and what questions to ask.

I was in your shoes two years ago. I at the time had planned to upgrade boats and with it get good quality electronics.

 

I started researching what each feature was, example I read all about down imaging (each company calls it something different) and watched videos. I did the same with Side Imaging, 2d sonar, and CHIRP, I read about the mapping each company provides, and about the ability to make your own maps. These are all things you'll have to learn in order to use these units to their best capabilities something I've yet to completely do.

 

So the best thing for you to do is read, watch videos, ask questions, and learn. The more information you have about each feature the better your decision will be. We can all give you our opinions but the more you know before buying the better off you'll be, and the more comfortable you'll be about your purchase. At the end of the day it's a decent chunk of change we're talking about. 

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Lowrance HOOK2-5 SplitShot Fishfinder/GPS Combo

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For the options that have "no maps" does that mean I would not be able to automatically pull up a pre-loaded map of a lake on my fish finder? BUT that I could get the same info at home on my laptop or through a website or an app on my phone while on the lake? If so any particular app or websites I should check out?

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The one I use for maps is i-Boating Marine Navigation. Shows contours and launch points on most every lake in the country. Zoom in, move around. Great site.

 

http://fishing-app.gpsnauticalcharts.com/i-boating-fishing-web-app/fishing-marine-charts-navigation.html#3.94/40.60/-95.27

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