Yes, another fishfinder thread!
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  1. #1
    Member bebop's Avatar
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    Yes, another fishfinder thread!

    I'm rigging my yak and the next purchase is a fishfinder. I would prefer one with a GPS. Right now I'm looking at the Lowrance Mark-4. It's the "cheapest" fishfinder/gps unit they offer. My question is, which brands, features, and styles are working best for you? It seems the more I research, the more confusing it becomes. There are so many different technical specifications I feel you need to work for NASA to figure out what to get. My requirements are Durability, user friendly, and works as advertised. I don't need the really fancy high end stuff. I just want it to work. Also, does it matter what kind of transducer it comes with? I've seen transducers specifically made for through the hull applications, but it seems most use the transom style and mount it inside the yak. Does that make a difference, for all practical purposes? I don't need super fancy or high tech, just a plain jane F150 type of model that will get the job done. I'm also red/green color blind so color gradient is meaningless to me!! It looks cool, but gray scale is easier for me to distinguish.

    I've kicked around using a separate GPS or phone, but I'd prefer it to all be on one system. To much stuff to keep track of and I have a bad history with cell phones.

    Primary fishing will be our 80 acre neighborhood lake (max depth 18 ft), second area will be Lake Lanier (max depth 150ish and average of 60 ft), and third area will be surf launch near Grayton Beach. Max depth about 100ish ft.

    There is so much to choose from. Just trying to get some feedback and see what people are using and what to stay away from.

  2. #2
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    What kind of kayak do you have? I have a Trident 13 and I bought a 385ci, which may be a little higher end than you're looking for, but it's got a scupper hole transducer which makes installation super easy.

  3. #3
    Member bebop's Avatar
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    I have a Hobie Revo 13. That is a little higher, but sales come up or used ones are always hitting the market. How is the Hummingbird compared to the Lowrance as far as quality? My biggest concern is flipping and submerging it. I can handle dunking most everything, just not electronics.

  4. #4
    Moderator jcanracer's Avatar
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    I have a Hobie Revo 11 and I use a Lowrance Elite 4.
    I have the unit mounted on the left gunnel and have the transducer inside the kayak mounted in some marine goop shooting through the hull. I store the 7amp battery in a gear bucket in the rear 8" round hatch.

    Its been good so far, but I don't know if its Dania's sandy ocean floor or my device, but there's not much detail on the fishfinder to see aside from depth. The GPS works well and its nice to keep it on split screen so you have GPS and Fishfinder on screen at the same time. Cover any ports you are not using, they will corrode after the first splash they get. Other than that, I've been completely swamped and the unit has kept up like a champ.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pottymouth's Avatar
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    U get what u pay for! I got the lowrance mark 4 after 3 months and a few splashes(never submerged) and it crapped out on me. Lowrance made it real hard but they did replace the unit but kept my transducer(wtf). It dose not read past 500 ft. I'm switching back to hummingbird( the 300 series read up to 600ft). I guess ima need to upgrade to 500 or 700 series.

  6. #6
    Senior Member quatin's Avatar
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    I have the Mark IV as well and 32 days in, the transducer died. Lowrance CS is a pain in the butt, but Bass Pro Shops replaced the entire unit after I explained the situation to them. Performance wise, the Mark IV is good enough for shallowish waters, but the screen is pretty small. I personally would get one with a wider screen so you can tell the difference between a bait pod and a school of bass.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CrstyCptSWitherspoon's Avatar
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    Humminbird 587 ci and call it a day. Probably overkill for what you're doing so you could save $100 and get the 385(?). I like the 1" bigger screen with the 587. I beat the hell out of everything I own and this guy is still running strong a year later.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lt.FireDog's Avatar
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    I've owned a couple Humminbird products and had a positive experience the one time I had to deal with customer service, have never owned a Lowrance product so can't comment on them.
    If you want a gray scale unit with GPS and switchable Down Imaging & Dual Beam Sonar, take a look at the Humminbird 581i HD DI Combo (DI- 350'/Sonay- 600'. Looks to be a great unit for a very good price ($299.99)- http://store.humminbird.com/products...1i_HD_DI_Combo


  9. #9
    Member bebop's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great info. It definitely helps hearing from people that have first hand knowledge of the products. Is the general consensus Hummingbird quality is more appropriate for kayaking or would it be better to step up a price point for the Lowrance? I don't want to spend the money and have it start malfunctioning in a year. This is going to be a one time purchase so I need it to last. I'd rather spend $300 once than $200 a couple times.

    Is the 581i HD DI Combo worth another $100? If the quality and features are better than the Mark 4 then I'll probably start looking for deals on it. I'm still trying to figure out all the technical info for these instruments and determine what will be overkill and what will be a necessity.

    Also, do you guys do anything special with them when you surf launch? Can the unit be easily attached and detached from the base? I would think detaching them and storing them in a drybag when launching would be the best way to protect them. On my old cheap cuda, the pins were very flimsy and when installing it, one was bent, so for that particular unit it was pretty much permanently installed. Didn't know if the newer or more expensive models had a better way of connecting.

  10. #10
    Senior Member uno--mas's Avatar
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    Humminbird or lowrance is probably a ford vs. Chevy debate. Each is quality, each have similar models, each has positive and negative support stories.
    I've owned each and had similar experiences with each. But, from a standpoint of water intrusion--hands down my experiences with lowrance are basically no issues in 9 years and maybe a dozen different units on various boats and kayaks. My electronics are flush mounted in my flats boat and are exposed to water all the time. I have always washed directly with a hose.
    From a features standpoint, I am afraid to capitalize on the great features Lowrance offers, it would be an Elite series which is a little more money than the humminbird. In my opinion, the Elite-5 is probably the optimum kayak, but with the color screen, might not be what you are looking for.
    For transducer mounting, your options are wide open. Either a shoot-thru or in-water mount you will get the same resolution, but with shoot-thru you will lose water temp, if your choice is so equipped.

    Cheers
    Drew
    Cathedra Mea, Regulae Meae.

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