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Fish finder basics

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  • Fish finder basics

    Bought another boat and plan on leaving the gear in the old one for trips to smaller waters.

    With Christmas around the corner my darling said she wants to buy me a fish finder.

    Along comes the stupid question of what kind or model do you want.

    Sounds simple enough I will look some up and give you a few options.

    Yeah right seems worse than choosing a new computer with all the new options and gadgets available now days.

    Straight and simple is all I need or should I say all I know, is what is in my other boat a very basic Bottom Line fish finder I bought back in the mid 80's.

    One color, displays depth and a basic bottom contour, little squares bounce across the screen to indicate fish and it has a minimum depth alarm.

    Any recommendations for us to look at?

    My requirement list I think is small but I am sick of talking to people in stores that give you the deer in the headlight look when you ask something as simple as how long is the transducer cord.

    Yes I understand you will look it up on your computer while I stand here for 10 minutes and do the same when I ask you about the next model on the shelf but I really find it a waste of time asking advise from someone who did not even know what a fish finder was when they were hired three days ago.

    End of rant,

    Boat is a 18 foot Starcraft aluminum I/O that will be used as a fishing boat on inland freshwater lakes.

    I definitely want one that has the depth alarm and it would be nice if it would not loose it's reading when going over 20 MPH.

    Beyond that a basic display of the bottom and something to indicate the presence of fish and I would be happy.

    Any makes or models to avoid?

    Price range probably $400 tops.

    A couple I have looked at are;

    Lowrance Hook 4X and Hummingbird Helix 5

    Other than the statement of that's the only ones we got here the folks at the store were of no help.
    Online reviews a few rave about them and a few swear they would never buy one again.

    Can you help a guy that just wants to go fishing stay off the rocks?

  • #2
    The Humminbird Helix is a nice unit, buddy of mine has one on his boat and it does everything we ever need.

    As far as the deer in the headlight look, do the research on the internet, then go and buy or order it. I don't waste my time now a days, I have the answers in hand when I go look at something, I gave up on store salesmen.


    • #3
      I have the Hummingbird Helix 7, really like it, still learning all the nice features, And definitely research all the available types out there.


      • #4
        Spent the last hour on the Hummingbird website.

        Fish finders = only 55 to choose from.

        Selected buyers guide and all I did was read a whole bunch about the interesting new features that are available.

        Prices did not show up so could not even use that to narrow it down.

        It feels like my old fish finder is like the equivalent a Commodore 64 computer and everything advertised now is comparable to a Windows 10 gaming computer or better.

        Great if you have been following the technology as it has advanced but apparently I am an old idiot that does not know what half (okay 90%) of these new terms mean.

        I am not going to come back and complain if somebody recommends something and I don't like it, I just want to avoid the ones that fall into the lemon, junk, stay away from at all cost models like the OMC stringer drive on this new to me boat.


        • #5
          The Helix is a decent unit, priced in the $300-400 range.

          Don't get the SI, DI, or GPS models if you don't need them.
          Also, no need to get the G2 (generation 2) or G3 versions for what you want.
          Might save you some $$$ if you can find a the basic ( generation 1 ) version.

          Helix 5" model 401190-1
          or Helix 7" model 409590-1
          both are priced well below your target.

          Lowrance Hook models are similar, but I find the Hummingbird easier to use.

          Either one will take a few minutes with the manual in hand to set up.
          Once you do that, turn it on and it works.

          A quick search shows the best price on a Helix 5 is right here on iboats, $199 !

          Medford, WI


          • #6
            also don't forget youtube. Alot of good "user" information on the different units from all manufactures.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Neverquit View Post
              Great if you have been following the technology as it has advanced but apparently I am an old idiot that does not know what half (okay 90%) of these new terms mean.
              Most of the “terms” are marketing BS and the functions (performance) that actually mean anything are rarely mentioned.

              Do yourself a favor, visit a number of fishing blogs and ask what they think of particular units. Avoid mfg. sites to get unbiased opinions


              • #8
                Neverquit personally i would never want a fishfinder without GPS it will keep you out of the rocks much better than depth readings lowrance hummingbird garman and etc all have great units in that price range gps lets you know the depth before you get there if you have ever been caught in a fog bank it will show you how to get back to ramp and many other situations hope this helps.


                • #9
                  +1 on GPS. If your'e going through the trouble of getting/putting in a new fish-finder, I think it'd be worth having GPS. Just my .02, limited experience with new fish finders


                  • #10
                    It is going to come down to how much money you want to spend and brand preferences you might have. I have become a Lowrance fan boy but that's just me. Lowrance has a myriad of models, too many in my opinion. With your budget you will get gps and maps. I was almost hooked on the hook2 series and they are very nice but I found out that they do not have a slot for a SD Flash card. So I stepped up to a Ti9 that was on sale at BPro for almost 1/2 price. These days you have to realize that you are buying yet another computer and software updates will be desireable. If you don't have a flash card slot then you won't be able to make the upgrade, import waypoints, or new maps. You tubes are good, as a matter of fact that is where you can go to see how to use them. They have improved dramatically since 2000. There are features now that only the US Navy and commercial fishing fleets had in years past.

                    You wont go wrong with Humminbrid, Garmin, Lowrance. No lemons I've heard of. My old Lowrance LMS520 I bought in 2003 works just fine and can be found on ebay or CL for less than $200. Even it has a flash card slot. That may be enough for you. Only problem I've had with it is that some of the lettering is starting to wear off on the buttons so I have to rely on memory (personal head memory that is).


                    • #11
                      Just dropping a line to thank everyone who took the time to share their wisdom and knowledge.

                      Ended up ordering the Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2.

                      Supposed to arrive by Christmas so that should give me 4+ months to figure the thing out before the ice is off.

                      Thanks again and Merry Christmas


                      • #12
                        Hummingbird Helix 7 is my lovely boat


                        • #13
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                          I was looking at a Garmin Striker 7SV but y'all got me thinking about the Hummingbird. I feel sorry for you guys in the northern climes. I took my boat out last weekend the water was low and I saw one sailboat.