Skip to main content
Home West Central General Fishing & The Outdoors

Fishfinder opinions wanted

suprastevesuprasteve Posts: 187 Deckhand

Hi all, gonna try to keep this short as possible.  Repowering/generally overhauling our 24' center console and looking for fishfinder recommendations based on what we typically do.  A bit overwhelmed by the options on the market.  We primarily fish offshore, up to ~180' deep on this side and several hundred feet on occasional Keys trips.  Used to have an old Furuno (don't know model #, easily 15 years old) that worked great til the transducer wire corroded through.  Then we put on a Humminbird 598SI, which has been decidedly underwhelming.  Looking to replace the Humminbird while we are redoing the other stuff.

While the side imaging stuff is cool in up to about 40' before it starts fading, we're rarely that shallow, and even the lowest frequency non-SI setting on the 598 isn't cutting it in deeper water (120+), spotty returns and no chance of getting a useable read while on plane.  I think this is due to lack of transducer power/possibly transducer type (back of hull mount).

What I'm looking for:

1. Sufficient transducer power for several hundred feet (again).  Understood this may be a balancing act between power/frequency.  I liked being able to tell what was "hard bottom" based on color returns in 150'+ and that's no longer happening.  I get that there's tuning of the unit that needs to be done, but hard to tune when returns are spotty to begin with...

2. Something that will provide reliable readings while on plane (of course assuming weather is cooperative) in those same depths.

3. Advice on transducer type.  Looks like most mfr's are going to the all-in-one, 5 types of signals in one transducer type hanging off the stern, but not sure if this is the best option.  Are through-hulls still a thing, thought they were considered "better" a couple years back and read better on plane?  I can live without the super high frequency options if need be.

4. Not overly concerned with chartplotting capabilities, happy with my separate GPS.  If it has a good one, fine, but not picking this at the expense of the transducer capabilities.

5. Size-wise, still a smaller center console and 7"-10" is probably sufficient for screen size.

6. Budget not really set, more interested in unit performance.  I wouldn't think that I'd need commercial fishing boat grade stuff to get what I'm looking for, but the bass boat grade stuff (like the 598) definitely isn't cutting it.  Expecting I'll be somewhere in the $1-2k range, but I could be mistaken.

7. Finally, any particular makes/models you'd recommend based on the above? I've done quite a bit of online reading and gone in circles, but if there's a link that's useful, please share.

Thanks in advance!


  • drgibbydrgibby Posts: 2,012 Captain
    I have a B265LH 1 kw Chirp transducer thats paired with Garmin XSV MFD`s. I have yet to find anything it won`t read.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Posts: 3,498 Moderator
    I happen to like stand alone units, a serious commercial machine would be the Furuno FCV 295, might be a little big for your helm, the 588 is another choice.
  • CountryBumpkinCountryBumpkin Posts: 1,893 Captain
    What name brand is found on most boats doing it for a living?
    Why has that name brand been slow to jump aboard all the got to have latest greatest does it all bandwagon?
    You already know what works, nuff said. ;)
  • suprastevesuprasteve Posts: 187 Deckhand

    Thanks all, this is def helping to confirm what I was suspecting.  I'm not going to find what I want in a single box off the shelf at the local Bass Pro or anything...

    Seems my best approach is to determine the transducer, then pair that choice to a display.  Unless I'm mistaken, looks like Airmar is the primary manufacturer, and they make the same models with different "plugs" depending on the display manufacturer?  I'm realizing how little I knew on the topic.

    Since (relatively) deeper water bottom fishing is the primary goal, I'm leaning towards a 1kw, narrow beam transducer, thinking this is best for that purpose?  Since the boat stays on a lift or occasionally a trailer, a little concerned with knocking the fairing block on a thru hull B260.  Options appear to be M260 (in hull), TM260 (transom mount), and SS264N (2-piece flush-mount thru hull). 

    Any opinions on in-hull (M260) performance?  Looks like I do have a flat area in the bilge where I could mount, boat is a mid-90's Mako and quite solid, if that affects things one way or another.

    Anyone know if there's "special" wiring required if going the route of the SS264N with 2 separate transducers?  That's my biggest concern with that one, not sure if more hardware is needed/2 transducer inputs required on the display?

    Backup plan for those two would then be TM260, but I'd think this one would be most prone to interference from air while on plane, hence last place on this list.

    Old Furuno is a FCV-600L.  Looks like it was rated for 350W, so likely not going to work with a new 1kW transducer.  Funny how it still way outperformed a 500W Humminbird though. 

    Staying in the Furuno line, looks like the 588 requires a $350 part (MB1100) to play nice with the 1kW, putting it closer to the 295's price.  I also see the GP1971F that's supposed to work with 1kW.  Lower cost of entry and added navigation (I can take or leave an included GPS, standalone fishfinder is okay by me), but assuming there's a tradeoff somewhere with the lower cost? 

  • Mango ManMango Man Posts: 13,570 AG
    Look at stand alone's and forget the price for the moment.

    Where do you live?

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
    Abraham Lincoln
  • Mango ManMango Man Posts: 13,570 AG
    **** crappy website. Won't let me edit a post.

    Go here...these guys are great.

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
    Abraham Lincoln
  • conchydongconchydong Posts: 15,381 AG
    Stick with a Furuno stand alone within your budget. The transducer is as important as the actual machine so factor that in. 

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • suprastevesuprasteve Posts: 187 Deckhand
    Gotcha on the standalone unit, will stick with that route. Live in Bradenton, work in St Pete. I checked out the HWH website, and looks like they may resolve two issues as we need to redo the instrument cluster on the boat anyways. Looks like that's right in their wheelhouse from the website. I'll check them out this week. Thanks everyone!
  • E.R. A/CE.R. A/C Posts: 116 Deckhand
    I have Furuno Fcv588 with a 260 transducer and it’s been great at finding hard bottom. 
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 2,102 Captain
    Furuno with an airmar 1kw transducer
  • suprastevesuprasteve Posts: 187 Deckhand
    edited November 2018 #12
    E.R., were those two plug and play with each other? One website I saw says you need a MB1100 box for any 1kW with the 588, but another suggests that's only required if pins don't match up.
  • BottomFedBottomFed Posts: 29 Greenhorn
    The most important part of a FF is having a transducer board.  Newer CHIRP transducers are so sensitive it typically takes (according to industry experts) a half dozen or more mouting attempts before a transducer hits its correct mouting position and provides advertised readings.  The boards are typically 1"+ thick allowing the transducer to mount further back in the water flow for quieter water.  My Humminbird Helix 5 SI/DI took many attempts before getting good readings.  The menus and features were frustrating so I reverted back to my Garmin 540S for features, menus and ease of use.  The Helix didn't even have Tides and current info on it.  Just to get the features and ease of use of the old Garmin requires paying over a thousand dollars.  From what I understand most FF software is developed in India now. 
  • E.R. A/CE.R. A/C Posts: 116 Deckhand
    E.R., were those two plug and play with each other? One website I saw says you need a MB1100 box for any 1kW with the 588, but another suggests that's only required if pins don't match up.
    Yes they are two plug and play. No box needed. 
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.


Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now