Fishfinders...who uses them?

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by JMitchell, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. I have used the older Bottom Line Fishin' Buddies and they are not very reliable; I've had to send several of them back for repairs. I now have the Humminbird 140c and it is a far superior product, even though it looks very similar. As already mentioned, the electronics are sealed from moisture, which was a design defect in the Bottom Line models. The SideFinder feature is very, very useful and well worth the extra cost, in my opinion. The only problem is that when the SideFinder view says that there is a fish out there in front of you, maybe 38 feet out, you don't know how far below the water surface that fish is, but at least you have some confidence that there is a fish out there. However, it may mark a fish, when what it is spotting is actually a floating weed clump or a floating piece of reed or your fly line, so don't take it as gospel. Also, there are many, many times when you'll hook a fish that never showed up on the SideFinder view or straight down view. As others have mentioned, this unit is very useful for determining depth, especially when exploring a new lake. Even though the 140c has the color screen, I'm not sure that it is worth paying extra for the color screen, which uses more battery power, but it looks nice. I've never used the unit for determining the thermocline, as Kevin has done, but maybe I should look into that. When I fish lakes where the thermocline has set in, I can usually determine where the thermocline is located because all the fish are located at that depth, which is usually in the 18 to 24 depth range. I have had no problems using the Fishin' Buddies on either float tubes or my pontoon boat. For the pontoon boat, I attached the included C-clamp to my seat frame, on my left side next to my left knee and that seems to work out well, although my seat frame has square tubing so if you have round tubing it might be a problem. Some fly fishermen will accuse you of cheating if you use a fish finder, so be prepared for that. I have a friend who thinks using a sinking line, sink tips or weight on a fly are all cheating, so there are all levels of cheating in this sport. :)
  2. Tracy, Ive makes a good point. Sounds like those Humminbird Fishing Buddies are the way to go if you don't want to rig up a custom transducer mount and deal with running battery cables from the stern to bow (I had my battery in the bow of my 13' sq stern canoe, and ran the cables along the inside of one rail, attached with zip ties). A deep cycle battery in the bow really helps to balance the canoe, if you are sitting in the back operating a trolling motor.
    My unit is a portable Humminbird Piranha 4, and still works well. The transducer had a large suction cup on it, which held the transducer well on the square stern of my canoe. The suction cup mount seems to work best on the stern of a boat. I don't think they make this model any more,though. It has been replaced by a younger, er...I mean newer model, and probably upgraded in the process (mine is about 7 years old). It gets the job done: shows trout beneath my boat, and gives a good reading of the bottom structure.

    My portable unit runs on 8 AA batteries that are in a sealed housing built into the base. If you ran your sonar off the deep cycle battery, maybe you'd want to put a fuse in between. I wouldn't know. I'd probably do that just to be safe.

    I now shoot right through my hulls on my fiberglass mini-drifter and tupperware fishing canoe. I glued a foam "donut" (closed cell foam that is a little thicker than the transducer) down to the bottom of the hull. I fill it with water, and press the transducer down into it firmly. No air bubbles...I still get a clean and accurate reading.
    I also fabbed up some custom transducer mounts for my SOT yak and my aluminum john boat. I move the one sonar unit from boat to boat.

    I'm probably going to get a new one that also has gps, one of these days.

    By the way, thanks for the great photos in your first post, Ive. Thats a cool looking battery box and mounting base .You do clean work! Ditto for Blue's pics.
  3. I have the Humminbird 120; greyscale w/sidescan. Find it invaluable for scouting new waters. Like the sidescan. Graphics are excellent in bright sun, don't think I miss the color, but I've not had it, so I cant say. Mounts on my Scadden 'toon on the front edge of my rear deck, right next to my seat (with the stock C-clamp arrangement). Battery life is great with 6 AA (or AAA), I like that set up as if I'm not using the trolling motor, it's self contained and I don't need a 12 volt supply like some of the other units. Cabelas had one of the Humminbird models on sale in the last Bargain Cave flyer I got about 2 weeks ago. Very rare to see them discounted.
  4. There are electronic devices that help you find fish, depth and temperatures? I've been using flies, lead weights on alligator clips and a thermometer. You all are awesome! I've got to look into these fish finders.
  5. Yep, that's how I do it when I'm fishing alone. The deep cycle battery goes in the bow, and I run a set of jumper cables from it back to where I sit. They clamp on part of the wood seat, and I just pinch the wires from the trolling motor between the clamps and the wood seat.

    This morning, I bought the Fishing Buddy model that I linked to above. (the 120). I used it out on Offut Lake this morning. It worked well, and I was glad to know the electronics were sealed, as it was pouring rain at times.

    Kind of handy to spot where the dropoffs and shallows are. I still got skunked, but oh well.
  6. I don't really want to mess with the battery box/tranducer ext. I am leaning towards the fishing buddy. I have seen the little side holders from Cabelas to mount it, but doesn't look that sturdy. Will have to figure out where to mount, I like the idea Ive had of the left foot rest with pic. Thanks again for info, will let you know on it's maiden voyage.

  7. I have a Humminbird 565 portable on my pram. Nice unit, has its own soft carry case that holds the finder, the bracket, and the 12v battery. You can operate the finder while still in the case, the front panel rolls up like a curtain and even has a keeper to keep it rolled up. The transducer is a suction cup type and I stick that on the transom.

    All that said, I am not convinced it helps me catch more fish. I mark fish with it I don't catch and I catch fish I don't mark. I have been fishing primarily in relatively shallow lakes (mostly 3-10 feet). When I see a fish on the 565, it is pretty much directly under the boat. But I am not fishing directly under the boat, I am generally casting to surface action or casting to fish a sinking line along the edge of weed beds. The finder doesn't really help me with either of those.

    I personally find the constant readout of water temperature more useful. After using the 565 a lot on my pram, I have no intention of getting a finder for my Outlaw Rampage 'toon. For my particular type of fishing, the finder doesn't gain me anything. If I was fishing gear with downriggers on a lake I wouldn't be without one.
  8. Lots of interesting view points and's my two cents.

    I have an original fishin buddy and about the only thing its any good for is determining depth. Two years ago I added a Humminbird finder to my toon. Yes it takes some effort to mount the transducer and the unit but I haven't looked back since.

    Here are what I see as the advantages:

    1. I can determine the edges of drop offs and contours and stay on the edge much much easier than with the old fishin buddy.
    2. I really like color for bright sunny days. Just easier for me to see. But a GOOD quality B/W with high resolution is close to as good.
    3. Success rate has gone up mostly I believe from #1 above. Knowing the depth is great but being able to follow an edge is much more productive.
  9. Here's a pic of the display on the new unit I bought. I snapped this pic this morning on Offut Lake:


    This shows a depth of 13 feet, but there's a nice dropoff just out a bit further, and I was frequently casting over the dropoff , letting my fly sink and then retreiving it back. I would never have known the dropoff was there if it wasn't for the depth finder.

    It was marking fish right below me (you can see them at 11/12 feet in the display) as well as some blips in front of me at 42 and 23 feet with the sidefinder.

    I still got skunked unfortunately, but at least I think I was fishing in a decent spot.
  10. Tracey, turn off auto, and learn how to read the fish arches and the intensity of the grayscale to let you know if you see a mud bottom, grass or rock. Go to and read some of the articles.
    You will learn to use your depth finder for locating the height of weeds to fish your fly at the right depth. you will locate humps, creek channels, etc: you wont be able to get along without it.
  11. Thanks Kevin, I will. I'm still trying to learn the basic functions of this unit, but I'd really like to get it dialed in and figure out how to fine tune what it can read so I can get more info out of it.

    Are there any particular articles there you'd recommend? I read the one about finding the thermocline using a depth finder tuned to show density, but there's a lot of other articles I plan to dig through. If there are any in particular about tuning depth finders that you'd recommend, please let me know.


  12. Tracy, see the link attached to a good Lowrance tutorial for depth finders.
  13. i think it depends on how much weight you want to have onboard as well
  14. A small pvc pipe run the length of the canoe and riveted to the rails will take care of hiding the wires. If you put a 1/2 - 1/4 inch bushing inbetween the pipe and rail it will give you something to clamp rod holders and the like to as well. I did this to an old canoe I had. If I remember correctly the bushings I used were off of an old buick quarterpanel. :)

    Fortunatly, the one I have now has a pipe that sits down in the keel that runs the length of the canoe. It's there for structural support but is a handy place to hide wires. I did see a blog post somewhere about a guy who used silicone to mount his transducer inside his canoe and shot right through the floor of the thing. It was a bit ghetto the way he did it but the idea was solid and could be improved if one were to make a nice mount.

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