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I recently purchased a Pelican Pilot 12 ft pedal drive Kayak, and plan to begin fishing my second season of tournaments in April with it. It does not currently have a fish finder.

 

I am fairly green to bass fishing, but I love the competition of the tournaments. I upgraded to the pedal drive to be more competitive in the tournaments and after spending $1300 on that I don't have much of a budget for a fish finder.

 

If you were in my situation would you spend $300 or less on a DI sonar or roll without a fish finder until you could afford a SI sonar?

 

As always, thank you for the expertise and fantastic advice on this forum!

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Any information about what is under you will be helpful.  There was a discussion in another thread about inexpensive kayak fishfinders.

Garmin Striker 4CV - 4.3" screen

Lowrance Hook2 5X - 5" screen

Humminbird PiranhaMax 4DI - 4.3" screen

Deeper or Deeper Pro+, screen size determined by device it links to

All come in around $200.  If you are looking to spend $300 your options will be even better.  If you are willing to buy used, your dollars go even further.

SI is a wonderful thing to have but doesn't do much if you aren't moving.  IMHO you will probably use DI or 2D way more often

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The Garmin striker plus 5cv is going to be right there at $300. I think that’s your best unit in the price range. No lake mapping on the unit but you can mark waypoints and make your own map information. The striker has crisp clear chirp sonar and good down imagery (ClearVü). 

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I have a Helix 5 and 7.  The 7 is easier to read, but the 5 is fine in close quarters on a kayak.  Mine both have SI as well, but honestly, I use DI and CHIRP more often. 

 

IMG_1041-X2.jpg

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The Garmin echomap you listed is preloaded with saltwater maps.  If you plan on fishing freshwater you will need the 53cv.

I am not sure how important on screen maps are to your fishing style but it is my understanding that if you want quality mapping on the Humminbird you would need to purchase the Navionics or Lakemaster cards.  The Garmin unit (53cv) comes with Lakevu charts preoaded

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B076W2N5TH/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

 

For this season I settled for the Garmin Striker Plus 4Cv . Seemed to have good reviews. Before next tournament season I'll look into a quality SI unit. Appreciate the advice. Let me know what y o.oiu think of my decision 

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For under $200, pretty good.  Like I said before, I'm most often using DI and CHIRP in the kayak.  That top and bottom split doesn't look too bad, considering the thing is basically in your lap in a kayak.

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On 2/20/2019 at 7:03 PM, Timothy Glen Vaughan said:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B076W2N5TH/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

 

For this season I settled for the Garmin Striker Plus 4Cv . Seemed to have good reviews. Before next tournament season I'll look into a quality SI unit. Appreciate the advice. Let me know what y o.oiu think of my decision 

I just got one of these for my yak as well; can't go wrong with this unit. Great reviews/features at a reasonable price

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Some really good advice!

 

I wonder if one of the main selection determinants is how deep you fish? So, if you are always fishing shallow and the "cone," that is, the scope of the image is rather small, wouldn't this make a difference what one selects?

 

A Deeper could be used to determine the basics

 

. . . but would side imaging in, say, 5 or 6 feet of water be effective for kayak anglers? 

 

Brad

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Garmin is hard to beat with their units.  You get more features that actually work SMOOTHLY for a better bundled price.  

I am currently working on a video comparison for fish finders in the entry and mid-levels.  Hummingbird is more expensive and you have to really pay for the next feature, even chirp.  Any Lowrance unit with an "X" in the model name is just not worth the purchase. Do not be fooled by the features, it performs slower and lacks the processing power.

 

Garmin units all perform for exactly what they say they will do.  The striker plus 4CV is a nice unit, I have one as well as other larger garmin units.  The 4CV has all the features but built in maps.  The contour drawing works well and the screen is plenty large to see.  I prefer the portrait screen for this screen size.  

 

Good luck!

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I've yet to pull the trigger on a depth finder. Could someone compare this to the garmin. I was decided on. It appears that it has the same features as the one I was looking at or is something different. Looks like the same thing but with maps but that seems to good to be true at only $10 more

 

Lowrance Hook-4 Mid/High/Downscan Fishfinder/Chartplotter with Insight Pro

 

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lowrance-hook-4-mid-high-downscan-fishfinder-chartplotter-with-insight-pro#repChildCatid=3841324

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Not sure if you're comparing the Hook 4 to the Garmin or if you mean you were looking at a Lowrance before. In any case that Hook 4 is a discontinued model so not sure what you'll find for availability. But the price seems right. I bought a Hook 4 with GPS and maps for $229 on sale about 2 years ago and use it on the yak. It was basically the same unit but with Navionics maps instead of Insight maps. I love this model for the yak especially for the price.

 

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1 hour ago, haggard said:

Not sure if you're comparing the Hook 4 to the Garmin or if you mean you were looking at a Lowrance before. In any case that Hook 4 is a discontinued model so not sure what you'll find for availability. But the price seems right. I bought a Hook 4 with GPS and maps for $229 on sale about 2 years ago and use it on the yak. It was basically the same unit but with Navionics maps instead of Insight maps. I love this model for the yak especially for the price.

 

I can see how that was confusing. Fixed it. I was all set until I saw this one.

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It's up to you in the end which one will work best for you.

 

If your really wanting a better unit, but just can't afford it currently there is another option. BPS has the 6 pay option currently available (last day, might be extended?) You'll be billed 1/6th to start, then every 30 days.

 

Luckily for me they quickly ran out of the $599 Elite-9 Ti's.

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I use Lowrance Hook5's on my FeelFree Lures.  The head attaches to the rail with an accessory mount.  Lowrance has a scupper mount for the transducer.  I use a Hobie grommet kit to run the wires in the hull.  They're powered by Milwaukee M12 batteries kept in a small Pelican box, velcroed inside the hull.

 

I find the screen is as big as I'd ever need on a kayak.  Anything bigger, to me, would get in the way.

 

I don't have any experience with any other brand.  Lowrance works well for me.  The menus are easy to navigate through.

 

I fish 300 acre and under waters most of the time so the downscan really doesn't do me any good, but it's there if I want it.  I use 'high-chirp' setting.  The Hook5 has GPS, which is good to leave waypoints where I find structure I'd like to revisit.  I want to say I paid $199 or less for them at season's end a couple years ago.

 

 

Best luck finding a fish finder for your 'yak.

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On 2/26/2019 at 8:08 AM, Brad Reid said:

Some really good advice!

 

I wonder if one of the main selection determinants is how deep you fish? So, if you are always fishing shallow and the "cone," that is, the scope of the image is rather small, wouldn't this make a difference what one selects?

 

A Deeper could be used to determine the basics

 

. . . but would side imaging in, say, 5 or 6 feet of water be effective for kayak anglers? 

 

Brad

I'm not sure side imaging would work well on a kayak. I may be wrong, and tweaking the settings could get it to work. On my boat the side imaging gives a distorted picture unless I'm going 2 to 3 mph. Anything slower than that and it has strange lines and almost looks warped. Once I get to idle speed everything gets very crisp and clear. That's with an elite 9 ti. The hook 2 5 I had before was the same way.

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It works fine in a kayak.  just slow the screen speed down a little.  Both of my paddle kayaks (Cossa, Commander) go around 2.5 -3 mph with little effort.  My Hobie Compass gors around 3.5-4 mph with the Mirage drive.

 

IMG_1316-X2.jpg

 

Here's what I picked up:

 

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1 hour ago, J Francho said:

It works fine in a kayak.  just slow the screen speed down a little.  Both of my paddle kayaks (Cossa, Commander) go around 2.5 -3 mph with little effort.  My Hobie Compass gors around 3.5-4 mph with the Mirage drive.

 

IMG_1316-X2.jpg

 

Here's what I picked up:

 

That looks pretty sweet. Next year's fishing classic I'll try and upgrade to a SI unit. Choosing law enforcement for a career doesn't equal alot of extra money lol

22 hours ago, kenmitch said:

It's up to you in the end which one will work best for you.

 

If your really wanting a better unit, but just can't afford it currently there is another option. BPS has the 6 pay option currently available (last day, might be extended?) You'll be billed 1/6th to start, then every 30 days.

 

Luckily for me they quickly ran out of the $599 Elite-9 

I fought the urge to do that all day yesterday.

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