Digital and PJ and anyone else that knows depth finders, I need some help. I finally dug my kayak out of storage. I am thinking about getting a depth finder for it. I am clueless. I am looking for ideas. What features do I need? What do I not need? Any particular brands better than others? ELI5 please.
A few questions…
- Where do you plan to mount the unit and how?
- Where are you going to mount the transducer?
Things you do not want with a kayak…
If it has side scan and requires a 2nd transducer you will have to find a place to mount it. It is fairly large compared to your normal transducer. I have down scan and sonar in one transducerand it fits my needs.
As far as features sonar and down scan. Do you want GPS/Chart Plotting? Normally cost more but I love it. They have colored screens and grayscale. Grayscale will save you money but I prefer the colored screen.
Lowrance, Hummingbird, or Raymarine.
I have a Lowrance Elite-4 HDI. Small but clear screen, it is color so you can change color palettes so you can see better in the sun, has GPS and chart plotting. I also bought the chip for it with pretty much every lake in the USA. Lowrance has added some new tech since I got mine like CHIRP and HOOK. @Wikidpoke may be able to tell you more about this tech as he gets to test it for a living.
@LanceHung may be able to tell you more about them in general as he tournament fishes.
Here is a link to the mount I am ordering.
I will probably get one of those adjustable arms that hang over the side to mount the transducer to. I know I want color. Gps sounds cool. That would be nice for marking spots.
If you can swing it, don’t go smaller than a 5" screen. Your old man eyes aren’t as good as they used to be.
I’m assuming all sonars are now color? If that’s not the case get the color.
A sonar/gps combo is worth the money as well.
I use the RAM arm mount. It hooks to a ram ball mount. It works fine just know that your transducer is never in the same location each trip you take. Also make sure you tighten it good. Mine will move since it is on the ball mount. The plus is it will never get damaged.
I really want mine mounted in the front scupper hole but I would have to modify my trailer so I don’t damage it when loading it.
First thing I would figure out is what do you want your transducer to do? Meaning if you want to see if there are any fish under that fallen tree then side scan is what you want. In a kayak that makes it a little more difficult to mount that type of transducer but not impossible.
@D1G1TALC1PHERS has a pretty nice setup for his and you might want something similar except add in the chirp feature which comes on the most newer models anyways.
Chirp will give you a higher resolution image while reducing the clutter or noise on the screen. You will see a better seperation between multiple fish and fish hiding off the bottom. I have seen a big blob echo on the screen and when I switched to chirp from a single frequency I could see the individual fish clumped together in a school.
What is you experience with sounders?
As far as the HOOK series sounders from Lowrance. This is a brand new model this year that I don’t have a lot of hands on experience with it yet. This sounder was designed to be easy to use by anyone. Now once again I haven’t played around with this yet but It does have the downs scan and chirp capabilities at a good price.
If you want the side scan technology then you will need something like the Elite5 ti which is also a new model this year. Some features I like about this one is first off it’s a touchscreen. I find it much easier to navigate then using the buttons. Smallest this new sounder comes in is a 5". May or may not work with your setup. Other feature is the wireless and Bluetooth feature. This will allow you to update your sounder or maps from your garage without having to use you computer then transfer it over.
I don’t have a lot of experience with the hummingbird products so I would refer you to @LanceHung about those.
Any others questions about sounders or transducers let me know.
Geez, you’d think this guy works for a transducer manufacturer or something.
Interested in reading about CHIRP technology? Here you go!
GRG uses DERP technology.