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Need help selecting a fishfinder / chart plotter

Looking to purchase a fishfinder/chartplotter for my 16 foot Hewes. I figured this would be the best place to get some advice since most people on here will be fishing the same areas as I will. I will be inshore 99% of the time so places like mayport inlet, little jetties, shallower areas in the ICW ect. Once and a while I might go offshore on a calm day and fish the beaches but I wont be heading out very deep in a boat like mine.

All that being said, what you do guys recommend. I really do not want to spend over $500 and would feel much more comfortable the closer I get to $300. I am a total newbie when it comes to fishfinders but I've been looking at the Garmin and Lowrance models. They have some with the smaller screens for around $300 but I don't know if that is too small.

Also, maybe a dumb question but how detailed are the maps on these things and are they really necessary for mainly inshore fishing?

Any and all help is appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Replies

  • OT275OT275 Posts: 84 Deckhand
    I'll have a Garmin 541 and transducer for sale after I up grade my electronics if you can wait until about June 5th or 6th.
  • BoattronicsBoattronics Posts: 5,221 Admiral
    In that price range you'll have the best luck with Garmin and Humminbird. Like the above poster, be on the look out for a larger used unit! I would hold out and get at least a 5" screen like his 541 or bigger.... things get too hard too see any smaller, especially in the sunlight glare.

    If you decide to buy new let me know which ones you like and I can give you pros and cons, and save you a chunk off retail when you make your decision. The West Marine @ Town Center has the best selection to get your fingers on and see which ones stand out in your price range.
    Tony Eden-
    Certified, licsensed and insured, Marine Electronics and rigging master, and "Dream boat" build winner with 20 years of professional experience.
    Boattronics.net
    Over 80 seperate, recent reviews from captains on this forum-
    http://forums.floridasportsman.com/showthread.php?5295-Recent-Boattronics-reviews!
    Please call with any questions or a free estimate for the lowest price/best work available!
    904-545-1270
  • ThefourseasThefourseas Posts: 320 Deckhand
    I have the one in the link that I used maybe 2 times on the water then sold my boat. Been sitting in the closet since. Everything included. $225
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00927EXLE/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00927EXLE&linkCode=as2&tag=fisfinsou09-20
  • SpongkingSpongking Posts: 959 Officer
    OT275 wrote: »
    I'll have a Garmin 541 and transducer for sale after I up grade my electronics if you can wait until about June 5th or 6th.

    I had this model on old boat. Loved it. Garmin is all ill ever use. Just my bias. Craigslist and this forum you may be able to pick up a sicker model in the range youre looking for. All depends if you have to have it brand new. I honestly like gently used since itll work fine and save me $
    Kev
  • jcampbell577jcampbell577 Posts: 186 Deckhand
    Really appreciate the info guys! I think I am going to stick with buying new so I can get a warranty.

    I am narrowing down my options at the moment. I am toying with just getting a fishfinder and download the navionics app on my phone for $10. If I do go for the combo im leaning towards the Lowrance Elite 5 CHIRP. They are offering a rebate right now so I can get it for about $400 and it comes with transducer and Navonics Gold chip.

    If I go with the app and just a fishfinder I am leaning towards the Lowrance Elite5x or the Garmin EchoMap 551dv. Both will run be about $300.

    Does anyone have any experience with the side scan or side view technology? Just curious what your thoughts are on it
  • ChuckDChuckD Posts: 1,474 Officer
    Really appreciate the info guys! I think I am going to stick with buying new so I can get a warranty.

    I am narrowing down my options at the moment. I am toying with just getting a fishfinder and download the navionics app on my phone for $10. If I do go for the combo im leaning towards the Lowrance Elite 5 CHIRP. They are offering a rebate right now so I can get it for about $400 and it comes with transducer and Navonics Gold chip.

    If I go with the app and just a fishfinder I am leaning towards the Lowrance Elite5x or the Garmin EchoMap 551dv. Both will run be about $300.

    Does anyone have any experience with the side scan or side view technology? Just curious what your thoughts are on it

    I put the Lowrance E5 Chirp on my flats boat about six months ago. I'm real happy with it. Granted, I don't use the sonar and imaging much as I'm usually fishing shallow but it picks up depth at 50 mph and the navigation is great.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ChillyChilly Posts: 522 Officer
    I have the elite 5, bought new... I have no issue with the screen size. It does everything I need and more BUT the conventional sonar stopped working after 2 months (I have gotten a lot better at reading downscan now!).

    I have not had the time to send it back yet but how they handle this issue will determine if I ever use Lowrance again.

    CHEAP BAIT! Try our NE FL Bait Co-op: http://northeastfloridabaitcoop.com/

  • jcampbell577jcampbell577 Posts: 186 Deckhand
    So would you say the Navionics Gold chip that comes with it would be all that I need as far as maps go? I will be sticking to Florida inland waters mostly.
  • BoattronicsBoattronics Posts: 5,221 Admiral
    The gold is a pretty good map. The only one better is the Platinum, which I don't believe is compatible with that unit off the top of my head.
    Tony Eden-
    Certified, licsensed and insured, Marine Electronics and rigging master, and "Dream boat" build winner with 20 years of professional experience.
    Boattronics.net
    Over 80 seperate, recent reviews from captains on this forum-
    http://forums.floridasportsman.com/showthread.php?5295-Recent-Boattronics-reviews!
    Please call with any questions or a free estimate for the lowest price/best work available!
    904-545-1270
  • Reelin Rudy 09Reelin Rudy 09 Posts: 55 Greenhorn
    This really depends on what type of fishing you are trying to do. DSI is Down Scan Imaging which is great for structure fishing, if you see a plane or tree on the bottom of the screen that is what you are fishing. DSI does not make out to be the best fish finder. Sonar bounces off the fishes swim bladder and Lateral line to give you the best location of the fish. I personally have the Lowrance Elite 5 DSI with the Gold chip. I have had the unit 2.5 years it gets me there and back and puts me on the structure when bottom fishing. I think Sonar Band is becoming extinct here shortly only for the reason that structure scan can pickup fish but in the means of a squiggly line. Structure scan will by far show you way better what type of bottom you are fishing meaning hard or mud. I have a 5 inch screen on a 16 bay boat which is plenty.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPmzLRcA7Z8
  • jcampbell577jcampbell577 Posts: 186 Deckhand
    I think I've narrowed it down to 3 options. The Humminbird Helix 5 SI GPS looks to be the best option. With the additonal purchase of a Navionics Gold card im thinking it'll be around $600. A little more than I wanted to spend but it is the only unit that has side scan and is priced very well. Does anyone have any experience with any of the below units?

    1) Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp Gold - Comes with Navionics Gold Mapping $520 minus $100 mail in rebate so $420

    http://www.thegpsstore.com/Lowrance-Elite-5-CHIRP-Gold-with-83200-455800-Transducer-P4065.aspx?gclid=CjwKEAjwwN-rBRD-oMzT6aO_wGwSJABwEIkJqKSm4abXqxyDwbYwgsjb1KbXlrzHfkfblgdxs9k-VRoCiMnw_wcB

    2) Garmin EchoMap 54dv - Comes with bluechart G2 mapping $600

    http://www.thegpsstore.com/Garmin-echoMap-54dv-with-Transducer-P4216.aspx

    3) Humminbird Helix 5 SI GPS - The only unit that has side scan as well. Downside is I will need to purchase NAvionics Gold separately.
    $457

    http://www.boatersland.com/humminbird-helix-5-si-gps.html?gclid=CjwKEAjwwN-rBRD-oMzT6aO_wGwSJABwEIkJSSCpW5ar_Z7-FmIIWERB0r2GA5nGpYGaBIgqlUuYoxoCupzw_wcB
  • SpongkingSpongking Posts: 959 Officer
    Really appreciate the info guys! I think I am going to stick with buying new so I can get a warranty.

    I am narrowing down my options at the moment. I am toying with just getting a fishfinder and download the navionics app on my phone for $10. If I do go for the combo im leaning towards the Lowrance Elite 5 CHIRP. They are offering a rebate right now so I can get it for about $400 and it comes with transducer and Navonics Gold chip.

    If I go with the app and just a fishfinder I am leaning towards the Lowrance Elite5x or the Garmin EchoMap 551dv. Both will run be about $300.

    Does anyone have any experience with the side scan or side view technology? Just curious what your thoughts are on it

    Ive have the garmin 70dv on new boat. Love it. Downview last weekend at jetty was awesome. Could literally pick each rock out 1 by 1. Clear too. The sv models do require 2 transfucers if you go downvu AND sidevu. I had no need for sideview so not a problem with the dv models.
    Kev
  • jcampbell577jcampbell577 Posts: 186 Deckhand
    Update: Garmin is now offering a $100 mail in rebate for the summer making their echomap 54dv $500 after rebate. So far both west marine stores have said they personally like the Garmins the best. It comes preloaded with the g2 bluechart.

    So the Humminbird Helix SI is $500 but I would need to purchase maps separate. Anyone know how much these would run? I only really need Florida on there.

    The Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp Gold is about $400 after rebate and says it is preloaded with Navionics but some reviews I am reading says this is not accurate and you have to pay to load the map you want on there.
  • JerryAJerryA Posts: 42 Greenhorn
    I also have a 16 foot Hewes and just recently installed a Lowrance HDS Gen3 7" with sidescan. It's a little overkill for that boat, but I'll never need to upgrade. As for sidescan, it's cool to have, but I have not used it yet except testing to see if it works. Most of the time I'm fishing water less than 3 feet, so I'm using the depthfinder for security to tell me when I need to get going before the tide gets too low. The bigger the screen, the better. I didn't go with Garmin because I didn't want to be stuck with the G2 Bluechart as an only option. I like Navionics and also have that on my smartphone as a backup.
  • Bam BamBam Bam Posts: 544 Officer
    7" Raymarine Dragonfly with Downvision. They come with a transducer and WM has a decent sale price on them right now.
  • bigcalbobigcalbo Posts: 5 Greenhorn
    I'm also looking for a new unit as well, and will be fishing the ICW, St. John's river and other shallow inshore areas. I am really intrigued by the side scan sonar feature. When fishing shallow waters, I think this is a more important feature to help find fish than down scan. I'm currently looking at the Hummingbird Helix 5 SI GPS unit that sells for around $500. It has side scan out to 100 feet on each side of the boat, plus GPS and charting features. Most other combo units are allot more money.
  • jcampbell577jcampbell577 Posts: 186 Deckhand
    Bigcalbo, do you know how much the maps for our area would cost?
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