Yes, another fishfinder thread!

bebopbebop Posts: 50 Deckhand
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.


  • ProduktProdukt Posts: 592 Officer
    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.
  • bebopbebop Posts: 50 Deckhand
    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.
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,267 Moderator
    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!
  • PottymouthPottymouth Posts: 1,547 Officer
    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(****). 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.
  • quatinquatin Posts: 593 Officer
    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.
  • 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.
  • Lt.FireDogLt.FireDog Posts: 1,112 Officer
    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)-

  • bebopbebop Posts: 50 Deckhand
    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.
  • uno--masuno--mas Posts: 346 Officer
    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.

    Cathedra Mea, Regulae Meae.
  • quatinquatin Posts: 593 Officer
    My first Lowrance Mark IV was fine after I did some short freshwater soaks after a fishing trip. However, a friend of mine flipped his kayak in the surf with the Mark IV and had saltwater intrusion that shows up as a foggy screen afterwards. After that, I stopped soaking the head unit and just rinsed it.

    I suggest you do some "test dunks" with the head unit soon after purchase so if it breaks, you can have it replaced. The Mark IV seems to have production issues where some real lemons are being sold. Also, the connectors are very corrosion prone. I would leave the cables connected the entire trip and use copious amounts of dielectric grease on the fittings.
  • taymagtaymag Delray Beach, FLPosts: 708 Officer
    I'm testing out my new Humminbird PiranhaMAX 150PT tomorrow. Ill let you know how it goes.
  • Captain YakCaptain Yak Posts: 679 Officer
    I have the Humminbird 597ci HD DI. I have had it over a year now and I am losing depth readings past 180ft. It's probably due to the way my transducer is mounted or my transducer is bad. I also don't see much for fish in the ocean and mainly use it for depth. I've tried many different settings and still lack results. However, it pics up everything in fresh water. The down imaging feature is cool looking and has helped a few times. It works great in fresh water lakes and inshore waters to locate grass beds. The GPS/Map is great. No need for a chip. You can get all the coordinates for local wrecks on the fwc website and enter then in manually. I want to love this Fishfinder, but with a hefty price tag of $650... I should probably be getting better results.


    If you don't lose, you will eventually win.
    - Helio Gracie

    YouTube - SoFlo Kayak Fishing
    Valente Brother's Jiu-Jitsu Fort Lauderdale
  • CookinmanCookinman Posts: 880 Officer
    385c1 HD is like 289. FF GPS all in one and has the HD Down-imaging. I have the regular 385 ci. Cant go wrong w the unit or Humminbird Cust SVC. Replaced my unit ( within warranty period ) no q's asked. Also both units have a removable SD Card so you may input #'s from your PC then insert card to unit - super convenient....The 5 Series is basically the same features as their corrolative 3 series cousins -but w bigger screen.

    If I sold the yak and needed to buy another Id get the same thing in a minute.
  • KevinTolman999KevinTolman999 Iowa.Des MoinesPosts: 5 Greenhorn

    If you need the fishfinder, it's better to take Laurence, but if it's just the GPS, then it's Garmin. I also looked for new fishfinder, but with the finances, I have some troubles, If I will buy so it is Lawrence 125. According to one of the best fishing models
    I will apply it mainly for winter fishing, the depth is not very large about 6 feet to 12. The most important thing before buying it's desirable to clearly represent for what purposes take!
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,193 Officer
    I find the Lowrance fish finders to be great but not the GPS.  I fish Lake Lanier all summer and have a bunch of waypoints that I can usually find.  My buddy has a Humminbird Helix that I like better than my Lowrances.  Do they even make a gray scale fish finder anymore?
  • skankin pickleskankin pickle Posts: 35 Greenhorn
    funny you bring this up. my dad just replaced his his garmin (after 10yrs) with a garmin ECHOMAP Plus 44cv. mind you it was for his boat but the guy that did the rewire job said a lot of the new lowrance models he had been installing were crapping out. he spoke highly of garmin and if anybody knows what brands last (or don't) it would be an installer. 

    and on a side note, after playing with the 44cv for a week, it's pretty sweet, takes up almost half the space of the older model and connects/disconnects in a snap (literally).
    rise and shine, it's fishing time!
  • mjrudd1mjrudd1 Posts: 267 Deckhand
    I've had Hummingbird 385 & Lowrance Elite - now have a Dragonfly and like it best. I especially like the wiring connection for the back of the unit: easy on and off, water tight, snug and comes with a waterproof cap for when not hooked up. No corrosion issues at all.

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