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Should I invest in a nice fish finder?

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Here's my situation, I got a heck of a deal on a 16' Crestliner fish hawk, tiller boat with a 25hp Johnson. I recently picked up a used ulterra and mounted it, and I'm looking at fish finders now. This will be my first "official" boat, as I've had 10-12ft jon boats in the past. Am I getting carried away or should I invest in a high end fish finder too? I guess my other option would be to put a budget unit on my "budget" boat.. and more than likely upgrade my sonar when I upgrade boats.

 

For the record I still feel the boat is worth more than I've put into it, but who really even knows.

 

And the unit I'm interested in is a Lowrance HDS 9 Gen 3 (half price at my local scheels…$1299 instead of $2499) pretty hard to look away from 50% off.

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Lowrance lists the HDS 9 Gen 3 on their site for $1249 without a transducer, $1499 with the Total Scan and $1999 with the Structure scan 3d.  If you're getting the Structure Scan setup then its a decent price, if not, there are probably better deals out there.

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7 minutes ago, redmexican5081 said:

Lowrance lists the HDS 9 Gen 3 on their site for $1249 without a transducer, $1499 with the Total Scan and $1999 with the Structure scan 3d.  If you're getting the Structure Scan setup then its a decent price, if not, there are probably better deals out there.

Looks like this has built in structure scan and is advertised as the Locator Bundle, so I'm assuming it will come with everything needed, transducer w/ mount etc.

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I don’t think the cost of the boat you’re installing it on matters that much.  What matters is how you use the FF.  I know guys with high end units that spend most of their time fishing the bank and just use the FF as a depth finder.  If you fish off shore then good electronics make a difference otherwise save your money.  

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I say yes. 16ft Lowe with a 25 as well and I run a Garmin 7cv. Got it $250 with everything new as it was the display model. Anyway, it was worth it. More than just ‘finding fish’, it gives me a much better complete feel. As far as depth and water temp is concerned. If you fish mostly shallow, it’s not as big a deal as if you fish offshore but it will open your eyes to either how much of nothing is down there or how much of a lot. Whatever you purchase more is better than less IMO here. No one ever said I wish I didn’t have so much detail or info. Get lake map or the chip! I didn’t. I should’ve. 

some other things to consider:

bow mount? Transom mount? Additional battery. Running the wires.   If you get another one will it be able to talk to the one you already have?Harness to mount it on etc..

hope this helps

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1 hour ago, Tennessee Boy said:

I don’t think the cost of the boat you’re installing it on matters that much.  What matters is how you use the FF.  I know guys with high end units that spend most of their time fishing the bank and just use the FF as a depth finder.  If you fish off shore then good electronics make a difference otherwise save your money.  

That's a good point, I'll want a quality unit regardless of what boat it's on. But the majority of lakes I fish are relatively small compared to what most consider "big water" and I really enjoy pitchin' the shoreline. I guess it all comes down to if I want GPS mapping or just a plotter.

 

1 hour ago, 813basstard said:

I say yes. 16ft Lowe with a 25 as well and I run a Garmin 7cv. Got it $250 with everything new as it was the display model. Anyway, it was worth it. More than just ‘finding fish’, it gives me a much better complete feel. As far as depth and water temp is concerned. If you fish mostly shallow, it’s not as big a deal as if you fish offshore but it will open your eyes to either how much of nothing is down there or how much of a lot. Whatever you purchase more is better than less IMO here. No one ever said I wish I didn’t have so much detail or info. Get lake map or the chip! I didn’t. I should’ve. 

some other things to consider:

bow mount? Transom mount? Additional battery. Running the wires.   If you get another one will it be able to talk to the one you already have?Harness to mount it on etc..

hope this helps

Awesome, that definitely helps. I know I want at least a 7" screen, and GPS maps would be a plus over the basic plotter. But I know that the difference in price between the two is another $150-200, which makes me wonder where I draw the line. It will be back toward the transom, and I would like to run it on my cranking battery which makes wiring easy too. Like I said above I fish relatively small lakes and enjoy pitching the shore quite a lot, but almost all of the lakes around me hold walleye as well so the unit may get put to use out in deeper water too. Nothing over 30' I'd say though. I think I'd like to stay under $500 for this unit, no need to go overboard. No pun intended.

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Go with what your budget allows and what you "need" vs "want".  Electronics are a slippery slope and no matter what you buy, it will be outdated in 1 or 2 years.  I have a frugal side so I like to buy used units that someone who has to have the latest and greatest is selling trying to upgrade.  Since you do a lot of shore fishing, a good unit with mapping will help you locate dropoffs, points, etc., and may even get you off the bank to humps and other open water structure.  Side scan and down scan are now basic requirements for me even if I am fishing shallow.  GPS maps and waypoints are also requirements.  As long as you can get those functions, you will have a good basic unit.  

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56 minutes ago, TOXIC said:

Go with what your budget allows and what you "need" vs "want".  Electronics are a slippery slope and no matter what you buy, it will be outdated in 1 or 2 years.  I have a frugal side so I like to buy used units that someone who has to have the latest and greatest is selling trying to upgrade.  Since you do a lot of shore fishing, a good unit with mapping will help you locate dropoffs, points, etc., and may even get you off the bank to humps and other open water structure.  Side scan and down scan are now basic requirements for me even if I am fishing shallow.  GPS maps and waypoints are also requirements.  As long as you can get those functions, you will have a good basic unit.  

I have no problem buying a used sonar if it’s in good shape! Thanks for the help guys I’ll have to narrow down my options at this point.

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Check your pm.

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Well, I dont regret buying quality electronics at all. I also feel that the mapping is as important as any other feature. It really helps you eliminate water that you dont want to fish and shows where the humps, points, holes, and breaks are. Then you check those spots with side imaging, 2d, and down imaging. 

   People can say what they want, but I know I catch more fish with the electronics than I did without it. I always just fished the banks. Now I can fish deep water structure that I never knew was there. I really feel that I could not regularly catch smallmouths and walleye without my graphs.

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I feel like if you will actually put the time in to learn the unit u buy and get great use out of it...its the most important thing you can have on the water. A guy in a 16ft boat that's effective with his electronics will beat the brakes off the guy in his 60k boat that has his electronics because everyone else does but beats the banks all year. I've caught a lot of fish using mine that I would have never knew were there without em. Plus mapping is a huge deal if you fish any type of bigger water. Good luck

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3 hours ago, Shimano_1 said:

I feel like if you will actually put the time in to learn the unit u buy and get great use out of it...its the most important thing you can have on the water. A guy in a 16ft boat that's effective with his electronics will beat the brakes off the guy in his 60k boat that has his electronics because everyone else does but beats the banks all year. I've caught a lot of fish using mine that I would have never knew were there without em. Plus mapping is a huge deal if you fish any type of bigger water. Good luck

That’s what I wanted to hear! Kind of feel like I’m getting in over my head with this “little” boat but it’s a tool and I’m gonna use it as such.

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Side imaging is awesome for finding structure. You can find and mark every transition, bolder, and weed edge on a huge piece of structure in less than an hour. Good mapping (anything with 1' contours) is also important, especially for smallies. If you didn't have these tools, it'd take weeks or months to figure it out. I'd never skimp on electronics.

 

 

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Keep in mind you need 2 units, console unit for general navigation GPS and a front trolling motor unit for fishing. 7" units are more then adequate. Navonics 1' maps are all you need unless the lakes you fish are not availble for map chips. With GPS and a good map you don't need side scanning unless you are tournement fishing. Saving time is less important then learning how to use your sonar unit.

Tom

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I have allot in my electronics right now... So all I Al doing is learning and messing around with the stuff rather than fishing.   That's what I will be doing tonight... playing more with the livescope, just added a ultra high definition sonar last night,. Etc.  Electronics help, but they get in the way.  I have a greyscale fish finder on one of my kayaks that I just plan love.  It tells me all I need to know and I do the rest.  What I am finding with my electronics is that I am doing waaaaay too much of everything but fishing.  

 

I find myself thinking about all the fishing I use to do and I fish I caught when I just used what was in my head.  

 

Why do I do it?  Because I know it will pay off on the end.  I need to expand my fishing skills.  The electronics are giving me more information than I can understand at times, but I just keep grinding, learning and applying.

 

If anything, I would buy better than cheap.  I personally like Garmin and have been using them for years... I have yet to find a lowend Garmin.  Not the same with lowrance, I have and had units that were just not up to snuff.  So I'd you choose lowrance, don't buy the low end.

 

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On 3/25/2019 at 2:02 PM, Tennessee Boy said:

I don’t think the cost of the boat you’re installing it on matters that much.  What matters is how you use the FF.  I know guys with high end units that spend most of their time fishing the bank and just use the FF as a depth finder.  If you fish off shore then good electronics make a difference otherwise save your money.  

Where and how it's used should make the decision.

 

My 10' tinny has a Garmin Striker 4 (can't get lower end than that) to see the bottom. I didn't need GPS or maps or side scan  in 12' wide canals and small lakes. Any more would be an exercise in waste 🙂

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