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Old 01-03-2010, 03:33 PM   #1
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Fish Finder/Depth Sounder

*Opening a separate thread for this*

I need an inexpensive depth sounder or fish finder. Not for fishing, but to see a graphic representation of the bottom and not just a number. We currently only have a digital depth-only gauge (Hummingbird) and I'd be more comfortable with a graphic readout. The next few years of boating will be almost all in the ditch and I have a terrible fear of running aground. So I want to take every precaution.

I've seen some as cheap as $90. What do I need to know and what should I look for? Features like dual beam, wattage, etc. If I am using it just as a nav./safety device, which of these features do I need and which can I ignore? Will my current (unknown details) transducers work?

I'd also like to mount it as far forward as possible. There is a place under the V-Berth but the slope of the hull is very steep there. Can it still be mounted there?

At this point, I'm looking for in-hull transducer only.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:09 PM   #2
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RE: Fish Finder/Depth Sounder

You can mount your transducer almost any where. You just have to make a fairing block to put under it to make it point down. I would be carefull that you don't get it into too much turbulence from the bow. I have 3 depth sounders on our boat (all different frequencies) Two give a graphic representation of the bottom the third is strictly digital. The newest is a 777c2 Garmin. I recommend you figure out what you want and then look for a unit that does that in a price range the works for you. Stay with name brand stuff and you probably won't have a problem.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:19 PM   #3
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RE: Fish Finder/Depth Sounder

As mentioned before a concern is to much turbulence from the bow.* We have two thru hull mid boat, and we still get some turbulence in rough seas.* We have a Raythone color depth/fish finder and a Hummingbird flashing light.* I prefer the Humming bird with the flashing light as its simpler adjust and easier to see on a bright sunny day.* A sonar shooting forward might be better suited for your concern about running a ground. ***
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #4
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Fish Finder/Depth Sounder

If I do the 4" PVC tube mount, can I point the beam forward and use the built-in compensation of the unit the have it read the correct depth? I guess my question is: Does anyone else do this or am I just being stupid and paranoid? (n00b)

-- Edited by GonzoF1 on Sunday 3rd of January 2010 09:57:44 PM
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:23 PM   #5
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Fish Finder/Depth Sounder

I assume your talking about the ICW? Are you twin screws? If your a single then running aground means nothing, just back up or wait. The transducer needs to be mid ship to stay in clean water. The transducer has to be mounted in a vertical position. The angle of hull will effect the fairing block size which is also limited by the length of the transducer. I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off with a transom mounted transducer to compliment my thru hulls. The transom mounted are throwaways and can be easily cleaned, sometimes that isn't the case with the thru hulls. Gonzo didn't realize your in Cary, our dirt home is Raleigh.


-- Edited by Daddyo on Sunday 3rd of January 2010 10:25:00 PM
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:14 AM   #6
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RE: Fish Finder/Depth Sounder

Single screw.

>>running aground means nothing
Not totally sure what this means, but I assume that there will be no real damage to my running gear. In that regard, I suppose you're right.

I think I'll just try the PVC tube mount. Or perhaps the transom mount. I mean really, is there ever really a place in the ICW where the depth changes so rapidly that a 15' advantage in transducer placement would have saved you from a grounding? I was thinking it might prevent hitting stumps and trees too, but you would have to be staring right at the display with your hand on the throttle (or only be making a knot or two) to avoid something like that.

Any other recommendations for a brand/model/features I need to note during my shopping? So far all I can do is narrow it down to models with 200MHz beams to cut through some of the interference.
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:12 AM   #7
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RE: Fish Finder/Depth Sounder

I mean if you run aground in the mud/sand that is the ICW then you can't harm a single screw boat with it's protecting keel. I have never heard of anyone hitting a stump in the ICW, if you do hit a stump then you are on the hard and no longer in the ICW. Seriously it's really nothing to be concerned about when you have a keel and a single screw. There are three kinds of boaters: Those who have run aground, those that will and those that lie about it. I'd recommend a duel output for all water depths.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:21 PM   #8
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RE: Fish Finder/Depth Sounder

BTW... Whenever you want to get together for Mexican food and margaritas to discuss other boating stuff, let us know. We're in central Cary near Kildare Farm Road.
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