Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
kinghong1970

Fishfinder / GPS: which features would you pay for?

93 posts in this topic

ok, read as much as i could on fishfinders...



some folks go the basic route, some go all out and mount 5" or even 7" with the latest and newest tech.


i'm not going to ask you brand A or brand B... rather a question based on your experience, which features you find useful and worth paying for...


my budget... well, i can go small or i can go large... depending on what i feel i am comfortable spending.


so here are some of the criteria that i've been seeing.


 



1) GPS:



you pay certain amount more for gps features...



seems to add a comfort level and utility level as to marking your wayponits.



i don't think i'll find myself in middle of the ocean with no land in sight... 


2) Map upgrades:



seems navionics gold don't seem to be worth what they are charging...



some of the high def 3D looks nice but one youtube vid shows how slow the FF processor is in rendering the images to screen.


3) SI & DI:



when watching WFN, i run across hummingbird's commercial about their Down Imaging, Side Imaging and the likes... Lowrance also have many models...



how useful is SI and/or DI in real life?  



sure it's nice to see that there's a car in the bottom of a lake... but do i really need to see it in such details?


4) Chirp:



Raymarine Dragonfly had impressive screens, dudes in WM seems to talk much about chirp... (damned transducer is just too long)



lowrance announced their 5 and 7" chirp models... worth going Chirp?


 



so for those who have fishfinders, based on your experience, if you had to buy again, which features would you feel it's worth the investment for a kayak use?


 



thank you in advance,


Al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use an entry level HB for depth and structure and it does that perfectly.

 

I'm now starting to explore a bit further and feel that a unit that has a built-in GPS with history will be my next purchase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Color and GPS for me. It's nice to have one integrated unit in the yak for space considerations. Though I do carry a cheap nongraphing GPS. In my pocket when in the bay and ocean. You might not need GPS to keep you from getting lost, but it sure is nice for marking structure and seeing your speed for trolling and knowing how much impact current and wind is having on your progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My current setup is a lowrance elite 5 color ff/GPS. Standard ff.

 

1) GPS is worth it. Being able to mark spots from ff image is huge. Finding funding drop offs, marking bait, structure.

 

2) charts are expensive. You also have to buy expensive machines to run the better chart. It is nice to look for spots on a good chart while out there, but it doesn't always translate to directly being right. That is why the GPS is important. The charts get you close, the ff finds it, the GPS marks it. I have the navionics app on my phone/tablet. It gives me the gold charts for like 10$. Apple products can upgrade to sonar charts ,10$, right now and android soon, these are much better charts.

 

 

3) Di is used more for getting a better picture of structure. It give definite images, whereas the regular sonar gives blobs. You can find the walls of a wreck and drop right in. Regular sonar is better for marking fish. Overall the regular sonar units are less expensive and do a good overall job. Di would be a nice addition, but I could justify the extra for it. In a couple years I will upgrade.

 

4) chirp is great. It will be the future. On some newer units you can tell bottom composition. They also say you can determine fish type. This is on real expensive big units.

 

If I was going to do it again I would go for a new HDS 5 with both regular sonar and di. That is if I was going to spend that much. I'll wait a couple years until they discontinue it to get a good deal. The dragonfly would be on the list as well. I'm not sure anyone kayaking would need anymore then what the hds5 new Ben's offer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big screen is nice. Would want chart plotter and regular sonar (color or B&W, OK with me). Wouldn't pay extra for DI or side scan... both are really fresh water toys IMO. Wouldn't pay more than $500... there is a decent chance that you'll probably be replacing it every three years or less.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, having the gps combo is well worth it, especially considering how relatively inexpensive the units are these days. Being able to see your route helps you fish more effectively, marking spots is great and should fog role in or at night, it's key for safety to get back to your launch location.

 

Beyond that, I would keep it simple. Color is nice but not really necessary and the gold charts are a little over rated especially with what comes on the stock lowrance charts now, for example. I had a bw eagle cuda combo for many years and it did everything I needed. Upgraded to the new elite 4 gold thinking the charts and color would be so much better, and don't really think it does all that much more for me. However, my buddy got the mark 4 bw combo and had problems viewing the screen on sunny days and upgraded to the color and said its better. So maybe there is something to that.

 

Hope that info helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree. Too many useless features for some of us! I want to know, depth with a single frequency, temp, a light, and combo GPS with navionics software. I grab the book and usually toss it....I don't care about all the other do dads. Dual frequency and fish id shapes, 20 different color settings, HDI and down screen imaging...... and so on......lol....I don't care and neither do the bass. Give me something on sale and I'm good to go. Hopefully it lasts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is great...


gives us newbies a clearer direction on where to spend money on.


i've looked at the following units...


Lowrance Elite 4 HDS @ $299 incl transducer



seems like a nice "all of the above" package... GPS, SONAR, Down Imaging (though did not seem as nice as the Garmin or the Raymarine)



personally, i liked the lowrance 4 hdi unit... like the overall "compactness" of it with a 4.3" screen was nice.



probably will not use it to split screen 3 ways though... the bottom 2 screens were too small imo.



navionics gold was not worth it... again, we have the app, and it took longer for maps to render on the screen.



i've returned it to basspro because i felt i did not want to spend the money on the "gold" package.


Garmin Echomap 50s @ $449 incl transducer? 



dude at Westmarine told me it was separate...



processor and rendering speed seemed faster than Lowrance.



only sonar & gps, no DI...


i was impressed with the speed of the Lowrance HDS gen 2... but even the 5 seems to be too much bulk on a kayak.



then there was the cost.


raymarine was nicest... but the transducer is too long and i will have to resort to internal mount... the Ultra 4.3 does not have a "great" access to the insides.



cost is something that i'm not too comfy with... 


but yea, soon i'm sure you'll get a FF/GPS/MP3/AVI player... lol



too many features... just trying to sort out what are the ones that is worth the investment.


thanks all and keep em coming!


regards,


Al


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Di is really nice if you lot of wreck stuff. It really gives a good picture of what you are fishing around. You can the sides, pockets, tower alot better. If you do fluke and tog you will enjoy it. I definitely think it will help you land better quality fish. Unless your diving down there, its the next best thing. I fish on mostly rubble or natural structure so regular sonar is fine. Im not going to pay a premium on it right now though.

 

A couple other things. Color really helps with seeing the unit screen itself. I would definitely get color, you will kick yourself if you don't.

 

The 4 inch screen is another thing you wish you went a little bigger. If you are doing ff/ gps combo the 5 inch screen is really needed. If it is just ff the 4 inch screen works good.

 

Navionics gold software just doesn't cut it for near coastal stuff. The base maps are about the same. If you want to get better charts for the unit itself, you need to get the better machines with all the whistles. They are the ones that have processors good enough to use the good charts. That is why the navionics app is great.

 

Get something you know you won't need to upgrade, or feel you wish you spent an extra 150 on. There are several units being discontinued right now that you can get color, size, function for under 300

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We all used to catch more fish without a fishfinder or a gps. Now everything is a "must have" And for very specific uses that may be true. A guy goin out into the middle of Chesapeake bay looking for a certain hole that holds fluke really needs the GPS to direct him to it and the FF to verify the edges. However you need Osprey eyes to see both on a small split screen. A super duper side scanning 72 color imaging machine may be able to see wrecks with more detail but the majority of us live and fish where there are no wrecks. I install over 50 fish finders a year on kayaks. My customers abuse the hell out of them. Many only hold up for few years before the salt and impacts destroy them. So personaly I don't even use a ff on most of boats and the one I do use is a basic black and white standard 50/200 Humingbird. I have no use for a gps in my area so don't bother with it. The less gear onboard the better the experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In terms of features, I would surely consider the IP rating, to get a good understanding of the ability o the FF to tolerate splash, immersion.  Although not a warranty, it seems to be the only rating we can use (see http://www.stripersonline.com/t/930519/dumb-question).


 


In addition to JTSurf comments on the use of another component to complement the FF...


I am too in the process of choosing a FF.  No experience on it yet.  But I am seriously considering acquiring a waterproof case for my Iphone so it can acts as the GPS unit.  I already acquire for check a little app that acts as a complete GPS.  Having the unit secured for an usage on water also meen I can use the Web site giving the exact positions of the transport ships on the St-Laurence river, give me the ability to dial 411, etc.  Finally this package can be easily reused for hunting and other outdoor activities...


I'm not an Apple software vendor... just want to share a bit with a community that gave me so much info...


Good luck


dc


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like barrel said you don't have to have a fishfinder and gps... BUT, if you're going to get something, get a fishfinder with GPS! I've been using the Elite 5 the last couple years and what I like about it is that I can do map/sonar split screen and see it comfortably. I've gone through couple Elite 4s and it's a bit small to go split screen. I spend far more time looking at maps but it's really nice to see the sonar w/out pressing any buttons.


I picked up an Elite 5 HDI this year so looking forward to see how useful DSI is to me, only thing that's bugging me (so far) is how much power it requires.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like my Humminbirds 581i and 597ci HD, and I like them even better when I hear about people having issues with other brands FF.



As for the features, here is what is important to me in the order of importance, but without justifying why, since previous posts cover it well already.


1) GPS



               



2) Larger screen (5" or bigger)


3) Color screen


4) Navionics Card slot


everything else not critical/important kind of like sunroof on the car ...


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:

Originally Posted by dcote View Post

 

 


I am too in the process of choosing a FF.  No experience on it yet.  But I am seriously considering acquiring a waterproof case for my Iphone so it can acts as the GPS unit.  I already acquire for check a little app that acts as a complete GPS.  Having the unit secured for an usage on water also meen I can use the Web site giving the exact positions of the transport ships on the St-Laurence river, give me the ability to dial 411, etc.  Finally this package can be easily reused for hunting and other outdoor activities...



 





I had a hard time to read iPhone screen on sunny days. I downloaded few apps and they are semi-useless because of the glare.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:

Originally Posted by dcote View Post

 

In terms of features, I would surely consider the IP rating, to get a good understanding of the ability o the FF to tolerate splash, immersion.  Although not a warranty, it seems to be the only rating we can use (see http://www.stripersonline.com/t/930519/dumb-question).


 





The Humminbird 597ci HD DIis rated waterproof to IPX7 standards, which means it could be submerged to a depth of 1-meter for up to 30 minutes and survive undamaged. The unit carries a 1-year warranty.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.