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Kayak Fish Finders

mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 15,486 AG
I am getting a 3 Waters Big Fish 120 for Christmas/Birthday.  I cannot wait, I am sort of sick of wading.  

I will mostly be flats fishing, but occasionally will want to fish bridges, edges of drop offs and deeper water.  I also want a finder to help locate baitfish in deeper water.

From what I see online it looks like there are 4 good choices. 
Garmin Striker 4 
 Lowrance Hook 4x
Hummingbird PirahnaMax 197c
Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro

Wondering if anyone has any of these units and what your opinions are.  Also any suggestions for necessities or nice to haves while kayak fishing would be appreciated.  I am also looking at a anchor pin, an anchor and one of these bait buckets http://baitshark.com/
Just dropping grenades in OT

Replies

  • dcrdcr Posts: 365 Deckhand
    There's another bait bucket like that one called the Torpedo I think.  I haven't used it.  I just keep my Frabill  onboard and occasionally dunk it to refresh the water.  Sometimes I just throw it over the side, but not if I have to drag it any distance. If that was my kayak, I'd probably put the bait bucket in the front.

    I have a Lowrance B/W that precedes the Hook 4.  I looked into getting the Hook, but the reviews scared me off.  They may have quality control issues.  People loved it if it worked, but too many hated it because it didn't.

    You might want to get a cart.  Oh and make a checklist so that you don't get to the launch site and you left your paddle at home.  I've seen it happen, but not to me because I have a checklist.  And leash everything.

  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 15,486 AG
    Yeah, I am going to need a trolley.  It's 100# kayak and I don't need back problems/
    Just dropping grenades in OT
  • dcrdcr Posts: 365 Deckhand
    100# !??!  Criminy, you're getting up there towards Hobie Pro Angler weight.
    There's a couple of threads here from a few years back about DIY leashes.  Mine cost me about a buck and a half.
    You're gonna have a ball !
  • mjrudd1mjrudd1 Posts: 282 Deckhand
    Don't have experience with Garmin but of the other brands, I prefer my Dragonfly over the others. The connection to the unit is awesome and it is easy to operate. Did not like the power cable connection to the Humminbird unit, had to replace the power cable multiple times because it would not keep a good connection. The Lowrances were hard for me to keep tuned in (different models). 
    Dittos on the "things to take list" and "leashes". Stuff will fall out, put a leash or float on everything you can. 
  • nh guynh guy Posts: 28 Deckhand
    mjrudd1 said:
    Don't have experience with Garmin but of the other brands, I prefer my Dragonfly over the others. The connection to the unit is awesome and it is easy to operate. Did not like the power cable connection to the Humminbird unit, had to replace the power cable multiple times because it would not keep a good connection. The Lowrances were hard for me to keep tuned in (different models). 
    Dittos on the "things to take list" and "leashes". Stuff will fall out, put a leash or float on everything you can. 
    I have the 4 & 5 Dragonfly I use on couple yaks....Love them.  Had couple Lowrance units, not impressed w/ user friendliness or quality.
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 15,486 AG
    dcr said:
    100# !??!  Criminy, you're getting up there towards Hobie Pro Angler weight.
    There's a couple of threads here from a few years back about DIY leashes.  Mine cost me about a buck and a half.
    You're gonna have a ball !
    I know.  That's the one thing that made me hesitant about it.  But it looks like the most stable for standing in that price range.  

    Thanks for the leash info I'll have to search that out.

    Looks like I'll be talking a good look at the dragon flys
    Just dropping grenades in OT
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 3,715 Captain
    The use of the screen space on my Dragonfly7 is better than the Garmin Echomap 94sv.  When heading to a fishing spot in split-screen mode, Garmin 9" screen has about the same amount map and downscan area as the 7" dragonfly because it fills the screen with a column of less significant information, instead of putting just what's needed up in the corners like the Dragonfly does.  Both are equally easy to use, but the dragonfly has a painfully slow processor. The Dragonfly does not like to read the bottom in less than 3ft of water which is not a problem for offshore, but for an inshore angler, it might be a consideration.   The wiring on the Dragonfly is thinner and cheaper than the Lowrance and Garmin fishfinders that I have owned.   What keeps me using the Dragonfly is a quality UW picture -- It detects the drop and retrieves of my fishing lures and the chasing fish more often than any other fishfinder that I have used.
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,656 Captain
    If you only want a fish locator I find the Lowrance units are the best.  I have the previous 4" model on a small boat and it shows stuff my Humminbird and Garmin doesn't.
  • Lake-LinkerLake-Linker Posts: 182 Deckhand
    I'm not a fan of Lowrance even though I use 4 of their units. I've Hook4 on my kayak. That has been absolutely trouble free. One thing I particularly like is that the power and transducer plugs in back are pretty darn waterproof. Add a TINY dab of dielectric grease...

    It's their customer service that turned me off. My experience has been that they HAVE no customer service.
  • KayakFishingAddictKayakFishingAddict Ormond BeachPosts: 12 Deckhand
    mplspug said:
    I am getting a 3 Waters Big Fish 120 for Christmas/Birthday.  I cannot wait, I am sort of sick of wading.  

    I will mostly be flats fishing, but occasionally will want to fish bridges, edges of drop offs and deeper water.  I also want a finder to help locate baitfish in deeper water.

    From what I see online it looks like there are 4 good choices. 
    Garmin Striker 4 
     Lowrance Hook 4x
    Hummingbird PirahnaMax 197c
    Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro

    Wondering if anyone has any of these units and what your opinions are.  Also any suggestions for necessities or nice to haves while kayak fishing would be appreciated.  I am also looking at a anchor pin, an anchor and one of these bait buckets http://baitshark.com/

    I use the Garmin Striker 4.  It does everything I need, although I do wish there was a way to upload my tracks/routes and waypoints to my computer.  That said, it works and it's cheap (relatively).  The marsh I fish isn't that deep, so the fish "finder" aspect of a finder isn't as useful as it seems.  Sure, there are parts of the marsh that are 8'-12' and I have found fish in those parts, but it doesn't work for the 3' sections that dominate the marsh.  The GPS functionality is absolutely beneficial though.  I've gotten so deep in parts of the marsh and have had to use it to navigate back out of the marsh.  Also, marking waypoints where I've found fish, structure, etc. is also extremely useful.

    As far as other suggestions, keep it simple.  I started off getting an anchor and ditched it for a stakeout pole (see my earlier comment on marsh depth)....when I started I also had lots of "things" I needed to carry separately and later attach to my yak.  I brought lots of tackle too.  I've ditched the excess and I now have a simple rig that I don't have to assemble when I get out to the marsh.   

    My goal is to maximize my fishing time out on the water.  I talk about my efficiency journey and show my setup on my YT channel if you're interested (e.g.https://youtu.be/42A8-aEJY7w ).
    Kayak Fishing Addict YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/KayakFishingAddict
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 15,486 AG
    I really should have made my first post about kayak tips and essentials since I probably won't get electronics for a while, I won't need them.  I am going to take the time getting comfortable with the kayak before making any long excursions.  Thanks for the tips so far.

    As for a depth finder I want the downscan along with some navigation compatible with Navionics so I can upload and view spots on my phone and PC.  Real time mapping is cool, but not really interested since I am in a kayak.  Who knows, by the time I am in the market there will probably be more options.
    Just dropping grenades in OT
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 15,486 AG
    It arrived today, but I can't open it until Christmas.  I'm going to need a roof rack for the car anyway.  I was hoping to not need it and just fish close to home, but now I think it would have dented the roof.
    Just dropping grenades in OT
  • Wra22Wra22 Posts: 233 Deckhand
    I have the most inexpensive black and white Humminbird. I had to get a second one because salt water corroded connection of battery cord into unit. I got some marine putty and put it around area where cable enters unit and it dried rock hard. Zero issues since then. Also got a plastic food box from grocery store and put battery in with hole for cable and sealed the hole with silicone. Keeps salt off terminals. Still need to sand battery terminal now and then with fingernail board to keep shiny. Very good to know depth. 
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 3,715 Captain
    Dielectric grease is the best friend of electronic connections on the kayak.   A fresh dab on the connections prior to use has made the difference between a working fish finder and a dead one on multiple occasions.  It is pricier in a marine store and can be found for less on Amazon.
  • KableguyKableguy Posts: 7 Deckhand
    I'm reviving this old discussion. Just picked up a new kayak and would like to put a fishfinder on it, but no idea what a good one is. Looked at the Lowarance Hook2 7 inch online. Looks pretty good but some reviews scared me. Fish the Tampa Bay area, back waters on out to the bay and out past the skyway. Looking for good bottom reading, fish finding, and GPS navigation. Nothing too fancy. Around $500 would be best. Any good recommendations? Used Humminbirds in the past with good luck, but nothing recent.
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,656 Captain
    With a kayak the Hook with be fine.  With a power boat the refresh rate, processor speed, of the GPS is so slow you're past your waypoint before you have time to stop.  I like the fish finder, locator, in the Lowrance units.  
  • talestalkertalestalker Posts: 1 Greenhorn
    I have a Tarpon 140 with a Piranha installed, no issues except I mounted on right gunnel, so I have a left/right balance problem carrying my yak.  Bought a trolley now no issues at all, In the tannin stained waters I fish it is a must to find drop offs.   
  • kellerclkellercl Posts: 10,910 AG
    edited June 2020 #19
    I ended up with a Garmin cv44 Echomap, but I changed out the transducer for an in-hull transducer.  I lose water temperature, but find it easier to have one less arm on the deck of the kayak.  I like things not being in my way.  Meaning all the wires, transducer are in the hull.

    I have had no issues with Garmin.  Works well.    
    #Lead beakerhead specialist 

    "Soul of the mind, key to life's ether. Soul of the lost, withdrawn from its vessel. Let strength be granted, so the world might be mended. So the world might be mended."
  • KableguyKableguy Posts: 7 Deckhand
    Thanks for the advice. My fifteen year old son went out and surprised me with a Garmin Striker Plus 4CV, with money he earned working at Publix. Super easy getting it mounted on my Vibe Sea Ghost with the built in space for a transducer. It may not have been the model I might have chosen with my own money, but no way that thing is coming off the yak now. I'm sentimental like that. Anyway, if anyone is interested in fishing Tampa Bay let me know. I'd like to join you. Getting the hang of the yak. Snook/Reds on the flats so far, but want to venture out further for snapper or grouper soon.
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