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Aardvarking

Suggestions for a kayak fish finder

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I'm looking to buy a fish finder to put onto my Hobie Mirage, but I have no idea where to start looking. I tried doing some research, but I have no clue what I'm reading in terms of what I do and don't need. I'd be fishing mostly in depths around 1-15m (20m at a push), targeting standard estuary fish (bream, flathead, jewfish etc.) in places like Sydney Harbour and Middle Harbour.  I'm really just worried about getting accurate water depths and accurate readings, not too fussed about any bells or whistles. My price range is probably around 150-300, but I would prefer it to be in the lower ranges of that. I'm happy with advice on what to look for in a finder, or suggestions for a finder that will do what I need it to do, cheers.

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I Fish out of a runabout so I Have a marine battery power source just out of interest what power source do you have in a yak

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9 minutes ago, blaxland said:

I Fish out of a runabout so I Have a marine battery power source just out of interest what power source do you have in a yak

None at the moment, I'll have to install one with the sounder.

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I have done a bit of research, gotten my head a bit around what I do and don't need in a sounder. I have narrowed down my search to the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro, Garmin striker 4+ or Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 45cv. I know that Hobies are designed with Lowrances in mind, but the contour mapping is something I really want, and the cheapest Lowrance with that feature is way out of my budget. Has anyone had any experience with these models, or whether they could be installed easily in a Hobie?

As a bit of a different option I was thinking of the Deeper Smart Sonar Pro as it looks pretty easy to use and packed with features. The only thing I'm concerned about there is the 4 hour battery life, because when I go out I'm normally out for 6 or 7 hours.

Also thanks for the link Regan, I'll give it a read.

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I had a $600 dollar sounder in a yak I recently sold but truthfully never used it apart from to see if it worked. Most of the fishing I did from mine was flicking lures away from the yak and not dropping bait or jigs straight down, with that in mind I would recomend not spending to much on one.

If you aren't in to much of a rush I maybe able to get my hands on a small garmin unit, will need to check with the owner who's just bought a boat and is going to replace his Garmin with a Lowrance hds unit I've offered him in return for the odd trip in his boat when he relocates it to far north QLD.

By the way you can buy small 12 volt battery's that can easely run small sounders all day.

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Thing is, for me my kayak is my boat, so I use it for pretty much everything, flicking lures, jigging, live baiting etc. The main reason I want a sounder is to find holes and structure on the bottom for dropping live baits, and seeing fish activity is always nice of course.

My dad installed a Navman depth sounder onto our boat when we still had it (that depth sounder doesn't work anymore) and it was awesome, made our fishing so much easier. I'd be using the kayak in pretty similar areas, so I don't see why it wouldn't be equally useful. I'm not gonna go overboard, I'm thinking more and more I'll just go with the $200 garmin striker 4.

Edited by Aardvarking

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Hello,

I own a 2010 Hobie Revolution 13 and have installed a Humminbird on it years ago. I helped another two friends install fishfinder on their kayaks (another Revo and an Outback) so I have had some experience. You state Hobie Mirage but not which model or year. The newer ones have a pocket designed for the Lowrance transducer but mine didn't so I put together a through the hull arrangement in front of the drive well. The bad thing with the Humminbird is that the connections are permanently connected to the mounting bracket so I had to work out how to stow that when not in use. I use the rear hatch for the battery compartment and with a 7.2AH SLA 12V battery I can get a comfortable 10 hours plus use.

On the whole I feel having the Fishfinder hasn't dramatically improved my catch rate as the majority of the time we are sight chasing the schools. I can use it for finding structure and baitfish. Mine has a GPS too which makes it easier than taking lines from local structure to find specific fishing spots.

Unless you get a free or cheap second hand unit if you intend to use it as much as you say you will then worth spending a little more money on the unit as you will likely be using it for years to come. One of the other gentleman on this site has set up his kayak with the Lowrance Hook 4 and I think he has CHIRP sonar, down imaging and GPS for a RRP of $390. I believe he was pretty happy with it.

Don't try and save yourself $100 just to find you spend more money upgrading.

I have a shopping list for the all the gear I picked up for my installation which I'll post as soon as I can.

Regards,

Derek

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I'm not 100% sure which year my hobie is, as it was my dad's. It is definitely an older model, maybe around 2007 or 2008. It doesn't have the lowrance transducer slot, but it does have some scupper holes on the bottom, I'll try take a photo of them when I get home.

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What ever head unit you go with, you can either go with an SLA battery or save weight by going with Lithium Ion. As long as you put them in a waterproof case neither will present any safety issues.

I have been using one of the old blue wrapped LiIon CCTV batteries for a number of years but most now seem to go with the 18650 batteries & make up a battery pack to run in series.

Google search will give you plenty of info re wiring, box etc.

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Firstly I wouldn't use the scupper holes. Like me I think you will have to use the through the hull mounting system.

Working on the basis that I didn't want to drill any holes in my Hobie this was the shopping list I came up with when installing my Fishfinder. Anything you already have you should just tick off. I used the mast hole for a Ram ball on which my Fishfinder sits. I had to put a second ball on my mast pole for out of use storage.

P1020912.JPG

Cables coming up underneath the hatch. The mounting bracket is in its operational position. I just have to clip the head unit in place.

P1020915.JPG

Mounting bracket in its stored position.

I've included where I got some of the equipment as I believe that it shouldn't be a conflict of interest with the site sponsors.

1x Fishfinder

1x Ram Fishfinder Mounting kit to suit mounting bracket holes - Hobie agent at Mona Vale should have these. I went to Whitworths for the shorter fastening bolts and domed nuts.

1x Ram ball mast mount to match mounting kit. I think it will be the smaller 25mm ball – Hobie agent

1x tube of Goop – Hobie agent

1x foam transducer pocket (Polyethylene foam should be the stuff)  – Hobie agent or electronics packaging

1x Battery holder for rear hatch (Hobie now do fit for purpose but I prefer my option as it is sealed from water) – Hobie agent

1x U-bolt Ram ball (for storing mounting kit in kayak when not in use) – agent for Ram located in North Sydney

1x fuse holder and rated fuse (see fishfinder manual) – Jay car

1x extension power cables to reach battery – Jay car

1x Heat shrink tube to protect joins of Fishfinder power cable to extension power cable

Some cable ties for cleaning up loose cables

 Some time to install it all.

P1020913.JPG

I placed the transducer between the mast pole and the mirage well. I didn't want it behind the well as I didn't want to disturb the signal with water coming off the drive fins. I made a pool with the foam and locked it in place with Goop. I then warmed up the remaining Goop and carefully poured it into the pocket and then worked the transducer into place trying to rock out any air bubbles.

P1020914.JPG

Battery storage in the rear hatch as it is not usable under normal operation. Water will get in the kayak so make sure any joins have been soldered and sealed in heatshrink. Don't forget the fuse. I wouldn't want a 12V battery shorting out.

 Regards,

 Derek

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I had a look at the bottom side of the kayak, I realised that the only scupper holes are located on the bottom most part of the bottom, which means that method is out. What you posted seems like a great solution, I'm just worried about signal loss with an in hull mount. Is there any significant difference in performance of in hull vs in the water?

Edited by Aardvarking

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Short answer is I believe there is negligible signal loss with a through the hull mount if properly installed.

I actually bought two Humminbird units at the time. One for my boat and the other for the kayak. The transducer and mounting bracket for both units was the same but I spent more on one of the head units (larger screen and GPS). I switch the larger head unit between the vessels for saltwater and have the smaller unit set up for freshwater (less water density and on a river I don't need GPS). Where I am heading with this is on the boat the transducer is out the back and immersed in the water. On the kayak the same model transducer is through the hull. I use the same head unit on both so I have eliminated most other variables. It still amazes me the detail I can see and I have reduced the sensitivity so as to eliminate the really small stuff the unit picks up. On the kayak I can see down 36m comfortably (deepest part of Sydney harbour is about 46m just off pier 2) when I am near Clifton gardens. The deepest part of middle harbour that I know of is about 35m. When the kayak goes over waves the unit is sensitive enough to pick up a 10cm rise and fall by the kayak.

I suspect that the down imaging (more detail but less sensitive than CHIRP sonar) is better (only slightly) when fully immersed. My reason for thinking this that I seem to see more detail of the mooring lines when head over them with the boat than with the kayak but I have never had the chance to look at the same object side by side. The details I get from down imaging is impressive. On the sonar I can see there is an object down there but on the down imaging I can see the cabin and curve of the roof of say the Middle harbour wreck.

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I think another difference  in-hull vs  in-water - is temp readings.

Just wondering   - did you make your mind re model?

Striker 4 are now below $160 in a big fishing camping store. New Striker Plus models with map  Quickdraw Contours were recently released in AU, so the old model price might drop even further. Though new Quickdraw Contours (+ GPS function on current Strikers) feature seems more interesting than a  basic map for close-to-the-shore fishing on a budget.

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8 hours ago, savit said:

I think another difference  in-hull vs  in-water - is temp readings.

Just wondering   - did you make your mind re model?

Striker 4 are now below $160 in a big fishing camping store. New Striker Plus models with map  Quickdraw Contours were recently released in AU, so the old model price might drop even further. Though new Quickdraw Contours (+ GPS function on current Strikers) feature seems more interesting than a  basic map for close-to-the-shore fishing on a budget.

I'm still tossing up between the Garmin Striker 4dv plus ($230), or whether I should invest a little bit more and get the Garmin Echomap 45cv ($400). I was also considering the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro, but have seen some negative reviews and think it's better to stick with Garmin.

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Only thing I'm concerned about with the Echomap, which generally looks pretty good, is that it has the clearvu instead of the downvu on the older models. Garmin says it's an upgrade, but it's pretty common knowledge it was just because of a lawsuit not allowing them to scan directly down, so I'm not sure which is better in practice.

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Actually I just found the Garmin Echomap 45dv with CHIRP on sale, seems like the absolutely perfect depth sounder for me. The sale only lasts until the end of the day, I might do a bit more research but I'm pretty much ready to pull the trigger on it.

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5 minutes ago, Aardvarking said:

Actually I just found the Garmin Echomap 45dv with CHIRP on sale, seems like the absolutely perfect depth sounder for me. The sale only lasts until the end of the day, I might do a bit more research but I'm pretty much ready to pull the trigger on it.

what is the sale price? Are you happy with its map? The replacement was also announced for echomaps.

 

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1 minute ago, savit said:

what is the sale price? Are you happy with its map? The replacement was also announced for echomaps.

 

The price is 400 down from 500. I can also get the cv for the same price, but from what I've read the Downvu is a bit better than the Clearvu, with the ability to actually scan under the boat. The maps on it do look pretty good from what I've seen.

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I have read about the law suit in the past. I think there was also a transducer model/part change, the older one was a bit more popular.

I am not sure about dearer Echomap, however Strikers non-touch screen is a bit annoying in the beginning.

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I have narrowed down my selection to the striker plus 5 ($430 new) or the echomap 55dv (600 new, found for 500 on gumtree with warranty still in place). The echomap has the GT-22HW-TM transducer, the striker has the GT-20-TM. What is the advantage of the echomap over the striker plus? I would ideally like to decide by the end of today, as I need the sounder by the weekend and postage will take a few days.

Edited by Aardvarking

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