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Old 07-09-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
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Depth/fish finder experience

Not "trawler" related but at least it has to do with fish, which is more than we can say for the "trawlers" most of us here have.

We need to replace the 25 year-old depth recorder that we installed on our 17' Arima fishing boat when we bought it new in 1987. The depth sounder/fish finder, a Lowrance X-50, has served us well but now the display--- which is not adjustable for brightness or contrast--- has started to fade to the point where it is becoming difficult to read on even overcast days.

So we're going to replace it. Even if it was fixable the cost of doing so would be a big chunk of the cost of a new, state of the art unit with all the technological advances that have occurred sine the mid-80s.

The question is with what. My inclination is to go with a new Lowrance unit since our first one worked so well for us all these years. We do not need a plotter function--- the Arima has a new-last-year Standard Horizon C-Map plotter which is terrific. So we're just looking for a fish/finder-depth sounder.

If anyone has had good or bad experiences with makes of fish/depth finders I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Remember, this is for a small, trailerabe fishing boat that is used exclusively for fishing. It is not a cruising boat. The fishing is done at depths ranging from 50' to 350.'

Thanks,

Marin
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:47 PM   #2
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A friend of mine bought this one early this year for his center console and is very happy with it. Has great clarity and a 5 inch screen. If I where in the market, I'd purchase one.

Lowrance® Elite-5x DSI Color Fishfinder | Bass Pro Shops
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the input. The Elite 5x-DSI is only good down to 250 feet. However the Elite 5x (which does not employ the DSI imaging technology) is good down to 1000' which is more the sort of thing we would need.

The main thing I find disappointing in Lowrance's current lineup is the lack of a speed sensor. Our old X-50 has a paddlewheel sensor on the transom so it can display the boat's speed through the water. The current Lowrance units don't have this. So while we can get our speed over the bottom from the GPS plotter, we couldn't compare it to our speed through the water which gives us important current information.

If someone made an inexpensive, stand-alone transom-mount-paddlewheel-driven speed indicator we could get that but so far I haven't found anything like that on the market.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
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The fishing is done at depths ranging from 50' to 350.'
That last 100 feet would be a guessing game on the unit I recommended
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:05 PM   #5
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Most of the "fishfinders" seem aimed at the bass-fishing crowd and the like. So the most interesting depth range to them is between 10 feet and maybe 50 or 80 feet. Most of the screen shots of the units on the websites show the depth reading 37 feet or thereabouts.

A depth limit of 250 feet is fine for salmon fishing up here. And we don't expect to have bottom and fish detail at 250 feet-plus which is where we're often fishing for halibut and ling cod.

But we do need an accurate reading of the depth and at least a good picture of its basic countour at the 250-400 foot range. The old X-50 did fine with this which is why we've kept it as long as we have. If it wasn't for the dimming screen we'd probably continue to use it.

But I suspect the 5x and the 5x DSI share a lot of the same components so it's good to hear that someone is having a good experience with the 5x DSI. I appreciate your input.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:42 AM   #6
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We installed the Lowrance HDS-5x 3 years ago and it has worked flawlessly. The detail is very clear. I know you don't need the depths that we use ours for but the depth penetration at 50 kHz is amazing. Our transducer is 200/50 kHz and in shallower water at 200 kHz you can see the fish sitting on the bottom.

It has more options than we will ever use. The menu was (still is) a little complicated/confusing. I'd still buy another though.
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:00 PM   #7
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Thanks much for the input Larry. We don't need a plotter function so the HDS-5x is more than we need. But I am starting to focus on the Elite 5x which is a finder-only unit with an 83/200 khz transducer that Lowrance says is good to 1,000 feet. But it's very helpful to hear that people are having good experiences with Lowrance's current products since I've had no reason to pay attention to their evolution until now.

I've looked at Humminbird and a few other makes and I keep coming back to Lowrance, partly because of our good experience with our old one and because they have at least one unit that seems to match exactly what we need (other than not having a speed-through-the-water sensor).
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Old 07-10-2012, 02:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
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...We don't need a plotter function so the HDS-5x is more than we need...
Marin; The HDS-5x does not support any plotter function. That is on model HDS-5. http://www.lowrance.com/ProductCompa...ds=33639,33484

I think what ever unit you end up buying, it will have more functions than you will need or use.
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:22 PM   #9
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I looked at the info on the HDS-5X and it seems to be an excellent and very capable unit. But from what I could determine it is designed for use with through-hull transducers. And we don't really need to reach down 5,000 feet. Any halibut that deep are going to be squished flatter than they already are and will be a real bugger to filet out. For a larger boat it would be an ideal unit, I think.

But for our little Arima it seems a bit of fairly expensive overkill. So I'll continue to evaluate the Elite 5X which I think is more in line with what we need.
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