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Fish Finders Again....

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I just picked one up at xmas.  Currently have a Garmin Striker 7 at the helm with DI and SI but no mapping.  PITA but will probably move it to the front and mount the Lowrance at the wheel for the mapping.

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A few of the best fisherman I know on this lake have not ever paid much over $100 for one so I got to wonder just how much they help folks

 

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This is what i have at the helm paid 125 bucks for it 2 years ago... 4 inch screen...problem is hard to read without my reading glasses on and with glasses on everything else is blurry.

 

36e090863d124547d3eff86aefb5998c_large.jpg

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57 minutes ago, Old plug said:

A few of the best fisherman I know on this lake have not ever paid much over $100 for one so I got to wonder just how much they help folks

 

It depends on what you are fishing for and how much time you spend on one body of water. If you are looking for stripers in open water it sure helps to know what is off to each side for 50 yards. If you are fishing tree tops in 75 feet of water it helps to know what tree tops have fish and shad. 

If you beat the bank all the time for bass then they are of no use, but how do you find a brush pile at 35 feet without one?

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They don't help as much as people think they do.  I have a 10" HDS graph and I used side scan every trip out. I have my screen quartered up so I can use sonar, GPS mapping, side scan, and down scan.  All on one screen.  It's nice but its not the magic tool everyone expects.   You also have to know what you are looking at in the display.  If you can't tellif that mark is a fish 50ft on the side near the bank or if it's a rock ledge and not a fish, its not doing much good. I doible back all the time to see if I found fish only to find a rock or nothing at all.  

 

It has its place but it's primarily for locating structure and underwater features to fish, not fish on underwater structure.  Sonar and downscan can be used in unison to determine what you are graphing.  Sonar is best to use when jigging spoons or vertical presentations. 

 

Panoptix is another conversation entirely and I understand the theory of it but not the use.  It' essentially live data like the old flasher units of yesteryear. Just using higher frequency and a different display. 

 

My last trip out, I will say the side scan located the stripers I needed but if you don't stay with them, they will completely disappear. Side scan will only work within so much range before they can roam out of its effective cone angle chasing bait so sometimes you need to move around more at a faster pace to stay with the bait they are chasing.  I'e caught several stripers that were in a clear graph with nothing around.  Simply appeared out of nowhere. 

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I thought the same way before really trying to learn and understand what I was seeing.  I can't guarantee what species it is I'm seeing, but I can certainly weed out if it's likely the target species or not by size on screen and location or depth in the water.  Several times this year I would criss cross a point with sonar and downscan on, locate fish on bottom and pitch out the back of the boat and catch those fish (bass) and they are not always on a boulder or brushpile, current can and will position fish and we can't see current in a lake usually.

For the crappie fisherman you can go from spending hours to find productive water to just minutes with sidescan.  I have idled past 10 docks showing nothing and then bam...find a shool of 50+ tight under 1 corner.  Without sidescan I would have spent 5 minutes each at those useless docks not to mention the time trolling between them.  It's also pretty clear if I'm seeing panfish, or larger fish like bass under docks by size and location.

 

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27 minutes ago, shrapnel said:

I thought the same way before really trying to learn and understand what I was seeing.  I can't guarantee what species it is I'm seeing, but I can certainly weed out if it's likely the target species or not by size on screen and location or depth in the water.  Several times this year I would criss cross a point with sonar and downscan on, locate fish on bottom and pitch out the back of the boat and catch those fish (bass) and they are not always on a boulder or brushpile, current can and will position fish and we can't see current in a lake usually.

For the crappie fisherman you can go from spending hours to find productive water to just minutes with sidescan.  I have idled past 10 docks showing nothing and then bam...find a shool of 50+ tight under 1 corner.  Without sidescan I would have spent 5 minutes each at those useless docks not to mention the time trolling between them.  It's also pretty clear if I'm seeing panfish, or larger fish like bass under docks by size and location.

 

The more you use the better you read.  If I am actually searching I run full screen SI and flip over to map periodically to make sure I am where I want to be relative to structure - I can see much more detail that way.  Once I see what I am looking for I switch to half 2D and half map on the next pass to get more detail and drop electronic markers.  You learn to identify fish by the color and shape of their returns on 2D and their relative position in the water column. 100%, no, but most of the time you can make a good ID.  I normally have just 2D and map up on screen when fishing unless I am after striper/hybrids and want to keep an eye on the schools while trolling and will flip back and forth.  Shortcut buttons are set to full SI, half map and 2D, and the last to map -DI-2D split 3 ways.  This works for me.

Plug, once you run one of these newer units you can’t go back...they are truly great.  Do I have to have? No, but I don’t really need a boat either to catch fish...but searching for and dialing in on them is half the fun.

Mike

 

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For sidescan I almost never use both sides, I will full screen one side of the boat for whichever side I'm looking.  Finding cover or structure over 12' I will split screen sonar and DI, shallower water I will run SI and sonar split as I prefer not to get on top of them.  I have learned to like the white spots on my Garmin :)

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The best way I have come across for finding cover and or fish it to drive by an area using 2d, down, and side scans and recording as I go.  Then I pull off into open water and play the recording showing 2d, down, side, and chart.  When I see something that I want to fish I mark it with a wpt.

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44 minutes ago, shrapnel said:

For sidescan I almost never use both sides, I will full screen one side of the boat for whichever side I'm looking.  Finding cover or structure over 12' I will split screen sonar and DI, shallower water I will run SI and sonar split as I prefer not to get on top of them.  I have learned to like the white spots on my Garmin :)

I am normally deeper offshore on structure looking for walleye or hybrids/stripers but if I am cruising docks or a bank I just use one side.  I need 2D to have any chance of species ID on the white spots on SI when just any old green fish won’t do..😉  I dont really mind catching them(unless he is pulling like a big walleye) but rarely target them.

Mike

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