Fishin' Buddy portable fishfinder with side-scan

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by u2ill, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. u2ill

    u2ill Playing on the Palouse

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    I was just wondering if anybody has used any of these Fishin' Buddy portable fish finders with their pontoon boat or float tube?

    They have side-scan sonar that can supposedly see fish in shallow water up to 120ft from the unit. That seems like it could be useful. But I've heard some claims that these types of side-scan units are not very reliable.

    Anyone have experience with these?
     
  2. Denny

    Denny Active Member

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    The side scan is the best feature! :thumb:

    These units are great for identifying depth and contours.
     
  3. Dick Warnke

    Dick Warnke was Pram-Man

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    I have one but havn't had a chance to use it yet. Glad to see Richards comments. As I have heard others have some pretty discouraging things to say about them.
     
  4. IveofIone

    IveofIone Active Member

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    I have been using the same one for over 10 years now with nary a problem. I don't use it as a fishfinder though and keep the alarm in the off position. For determining depth, dropoffs and temps it has been flawless. I have packed it in to many a lake with my float tube and it has been handled pretty roughly over the years. For the pontoon boat I use a far more sophisticated model with a wider cone angle which is more suitable for fish finding. Ive
     
  5. sportsman

    sportsman Active Member

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    They work just fine: reliable and pretty much bulletproof. Get a 'holder' [cabelas/outdoor emporium] and can be used on a float tube, pontoon or Watermaster. 120' range works, but better at 60'; lots of air bubbles coming up in lakes and they pick them up[besides, I can't cast a 100' even in my dreams!]. If you get 'repeat' pings, you can be sure it's some kind of fish. I think some people have problems with them because they don't read the manual or expect them to be some super sophisticated device for the $100-200 they spent on it! I've had a 1200 for 6 years[got it for bass fishing] and no problems so far; 3 C batteries will last a season.
     
  6. barbless

    barbless Member

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    I use one often while in my float tube (got a holster for it from Cabela's). I find the side finder rather annoying, but I don't pay much attention to it since I usually turn off the fish alarm. I only use it for water depth and temperature, much like Ive. I don't use it to find fish - the few times I did, I ended up being distracted by the gadget and not really paying much attention to what I was really doing.
     
  7. tippet

    tippet hardcore flyfishing addict

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    I have owned four of them over the years. Two of them were great and two were pieces of crap. I currently use my oldest one which I would guess is about 13-14 years old. It still works, but has vertical lines through about 1/3 of the screen. My second one was a gift from a friend about eight years ago. It worked great for about 5-6 years but finally quit working, probably from bouncing around in its protective case on too many 4-wheel drive trips into out of the way lakes in B.C.
    I bought a 4400 model 2 years ago and it quit functioning properly on tie second time I used it. I returned it to the factory, and it still malfunctioned when they sent it back. I sent it back and they sent me a new 4400. It malfunctioned in the same way shortly after I got it.
    Last year, I bought a simpler model, the 2202. It will not give an accurate depth beyond 12-13 feet no matter how the controls are adjusted. It is worthless to me.

    I talked to the guy at White Elephant who is the depthfinder guru. He admitted that the Bottomline units have had real quality problems the last few years. The older units were more reliable. He also said that Hummingbird has completely reworked the units and the new ones (110,120, 130, etc) have just hit the stores. I am going to wait until a few of you guys buy the new units and report that they work well before replacing my 14 year old unit that is getting hard to read because ofthe gradually increasing number of vertical lines in the screen. I love using it on my Super Fat Cat.
     
  8. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    So tell me, do you guys actually improve your fly fishing dragging this crap around?..... :eek:
     
  9. tippet

    tippet hardcore flyfishing addict

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    Absolutely! They are invaluable for chironomid fishing, assessing the type of bottom, fishing along dropoffs, etc. I don't use it to find a specific fish to cast to, but they do give you a feel for whether there are any fish in the general area
     
  10. Wayne Kohan

    Wayne Kohan fish-ician

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    I have read my manual multiple times and it says to play around with it to figure it out. Seriously! So don't give me the read the manual garbage.

    I use mine on lakes I don't know well to judge the depths and the drop offs. For chironomids, I use the attach hemostats to find out the depth stuff.

    As for the side finder thing, I have always wondered where in the water column the fish is when it tells me it's 15 feet away. Is it on the surface or 10 feet below? Who knows, and the manual won't tell you.

    I'm glad I bought it and have been overall happy with it's use. I don't like it on my pontoon as much as my hard sided boat because I have not found a good way to attach it. I have a holder that goes around the tube, but as I oar, the unit starts twisting slightly, and I find that somewhat annoying. But again, you get what you pay for and I think it's worth the money.

    Wayne
     
  11. u2ill

    u2ill Playing on the Palouse

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    Well, from the specifications, the side-sonar scan is 10 degrees at 120ft out. I'm assuming it is cone shaped as most sonar scans are. So it would all depend on how deep the transducer is in the water column to determine where in the water column the side-scan is scanning. I think the transducer only goes between 2-4 ft deep, so I imagine that would make the 10 degree cone at 120 ft out fairly near the surface, or probably the top 10 feet of water. But that's just a guess, I don't remember my trig very well these days.
     
  12. u2ill

    u2ill Playing on the Palouse

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    Yes, I've also heard that Hummingbird complete re-did the designs of the original Bottomline units, and it was a Hummingbird was was planning to get. Probably the 130 unit since the transducer can be telescoped down to 4 feet instead of the fixed 2ft of the 110 or 120 models. The only difference I can tell in the 140 unit is the color LCD screen. But you know the saying, the more complex something is, the more likely it is to break, and the harder and more costly to fix. I like to keep it simple if I can.
     
  13. tippet

    tippet hardcore flyfishing addict

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    I agree. I will probably get the 130, if a few of you buy them and like them. I'm going to wait a few months to make sure the bugs have been worked out of them. The new units just hit the market a month ago.
     
  14. Gary Thompson

    Gary Thompson dirty dog

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    I bought one last fall and started using it this spring. (FishingBuddy 1200)
    I like it, side finder is great, depth worked great and it helped put us into fish faster.
    I experimented with casting inline with the side finder and had fish show up almost every time shortly after my fly landed on the water. Some were biters, some were not.
    One draw back is that it has twicked out a couple times. Told me the depth was not what I knew it was and told me there were fish under me when I knew there were not. Both times I could see I had gone over a submerged tree or a weed bed.
    I would turn the thing off for a while then back on and it worked fine.
    We used it to find walleye at Rufus Woods around the rocks and drop offs.
    Hit'em every time. Some were caught some were not.
     
  15. Paul Stavig

    Paul Stavig Member

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    iagree
    Ditto. Sidescan feature is pretty useless to me, but I definitely improve my fishing by knowing where the dropoffs are, what the depth/water temp is, etc.
     
  16. Starman77

    Starman77 Active Member

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    I use the Fishin' Buddy all the time, and like the others I have found it very useful for determining the depth and water temperature. If you're trolling, it really helps you stay on the bottom contour that you want. It is not very good for spotting fish straight down due to the narrow transducer cone angle. The SideFinder View is very useful because it can give me an idea if there are fish in a certain area and whether I should spend time trying to catch the fish in that area. If the area is devoid of fish, I won't spend much time there and move on. When exploring a new lake, the Fishin' Buddy is a time saver in learning the bottom contours.

    However, I have had a lot of problems with the Fishin' Buddy and have returned it 5 times. My friend has two units and he also has returned them several times. The main problems have been moisture problem with water or condensation getting up into the electronics. You'd think they would have made the electronics waterproof considering where the unit is used. I have found that after every use it helps if I open the battery compartment/handle to allow the inside electronics to dry out. The keypad controls also aren't of good quality.

    I'd think that the Hummingbird acquisition of BottomLine will be an improvement in the quality control department, so I'm looking forward to upgrading in the near future. I especially like the color screen on the high-end model. I'd recommend you buy the Hummingbird model, not the old BottomLine models.

    Rex
     
  17. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    The "stealth body trout" I fish for will reject your radar! :rolleyes:
     
  18. sportsman

    sportsman Active Member

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    To Wayne Kohan: For some reason you took offense to my reply to "u2ill".... Your response: Originally Posted by sportsman
    I think some people have problems with them because they don't read the manual .

    I have read my manual multiple times and it says to play around with it to figure it out. Seriously! So don't give me the "read the manual garbage". ????? Seeing how we have never met, nor do I remember you posting about Fishing Buddies, my response would be somewhere between an "apology" and you've confused me with someone that gives a S... what you think! I'll just chalk it up to your having a bad day. Starman 77: I have a friend who has had the same problem with condesation, but he always left the batteries in it and would lay it "flat' in his truck. I always remove the batteries after using it and transport/store it vertically.
     
  19. SuperSecretCIA

    SuperSecretCIA Be Like Mike!

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    I have used a Fishing Buddy since 1994, and my original unit is still going strong. Condensation was sometimes an issue, so I simply gather some of those little silicate packets that you get with some electronics or even in shoe boxes, and toss them inside the unit. I have been very careful when transporting the Fishing Buddy, and always put a protective cover over the top of the unit.:ray1:

    I strongly believe that the Fishing Buddy is a very valuable piece of equipment. I find the depth, bottom texture, and the temperature functions more important than the fish finding function.

    My unit has a transducer with a narrow (9 degree view angle). In side view you see approximately 10 feet down at 60 feet out, 20 feet down at 120 feet out. So if you are sitting in water with a depth of 20 feet and you mark a fish out to the side at 60 feet, that fish is somewhere between the surface and 10 feet down. Also note that the side view is worthless in shallow water let say 5 feet or less.:thumb:
     
  20. I used to think it was cheating by using a fish finder but its a much better way to determine depth versus using hemostats to drop the fly down each time I moved locations. After using my fishing buddy a few times now, I don't know what I did without it. Its an invaluable piece of equipment if you're going to chironomid fish. I bought my basic buddy from GI Joes for $130.