View Full Version : Recommendations sought for Fishfinder on my boat

04-21-2010, 11:39 AM
NOTE: I posted this on the general boating forum before i realized there is a board dedicated to Marine Electronics so sorry for the dual post....

I have a 2001 Bayliner 2452 (24') used primarily for fishing.

Boat sits in the water year-round. Will be used within SF Bay & SP Bay for halibut & striper (70%) and right outside the gate for crabs during winter (10%). The rest of the time is used for pleasure cruising w/ non-fishing friends. I do not plan no using it in the open ocean for salmon or tuna (at least NOT in 2010).

I THINK (but am open to your advice) that i need an electronics unit that will (a) read bottom to show changes in depth & rip-rap, (b) show baitballs, and (c) show suspended fish. I DON'T THINK i need a unit that will show halibut (impossible, right?) or show detailed structure.

In addition, i have the Navionics app on my iPhone so it's really good at GPS coordinates, tracking, marking spots where i drop crab pots and catch fish. Thus, i don't need a separate chartplotter in my electronics unit. Or do I? The iPhone display is a bit small, but that's my only complaint. It almost always finds a 3G signal in the bay and the display is daylight-readable.

Also, i don't think i need radar, sonar, or anything that shows bottom weeds, the weather, etc. What say you?

I went to my local electronics shop & they directed me to a low-end Furuno. Forgot the model, but the display is about 5" diagonal. With transducer (Airmar), tax, and installation, the estimate is $1500. I was hoping to get away with $800, but that looks out of the question since install will be $300 so how can i get a unit + transducer for $500?!?

I plan on keeping the boat for a while (+2 years) before i make a move or upgrade (at which point I'll sell).

So, what are my options? What do you folks who fish in the bay use for electronics? Should i think about upgrading? Buying used and having the shop install? I'm a rookie so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

04-21-2010, 02:33 PM
I'm very partial to the Lowrance HDS units. You can get a HDS 5 for about what you've indicated you want to pay. I don't care for the smaller screens, I have a HDS8 primarily because I'm using it split screen most of the time. If you do get the HDS5 or smaller screen, plan on using only one screen most of the time. Later if you do decide to upgrade to a different boat, this unit could be used at a second location. Perhaps at the transom in conjunction with a larger HDS8 or HDS10.

As for the installation, only you can determine if your ready to install one. Look at similar boats and see how they've installed the transducer and routed the cable. This will give you some idea of what's required. I've installed at least five units on various boats including friends and haven't had a problem.

04-22-2010, 08:32 AM
Dennis is spot on here. I love my HDS. I'm using the 10 because, well I like large screens. On your boat, always in the water, I would get the HDS-8 or 10 with Insight but without a transducer. I suggest a 'thru-hull' transducer from Airmar, model DT800 which is retractable. Makes for easy year-round cleaning on a boat always wet. Hardest part of installation is the wire run, and transducer sealing. If it's your first time you may require outside help.

I believe for any open water fishing/boating, GPS redundancy is a plus.


04-22-2010, 09:12 AM
Thanks, guys.

Skally, i've read your posts on other boards/forums & know you like the HDS.
How much does the option you mention run? Any retailers you recommend?

I like the thru-hull option because it doesn't require a haul-out (and $300) to install. I'm bringing my boat in for repair May 1st and thought i'd get a unit installed at the same time (2 birds, 1 stone), but i feel like i won't have done all my marine electronics research done by May 1st. Your thru-hull option gives me more flexibility.

I'm glad i mentioned in my original post that i keep the boat in the water. Several of you have mentioned that thru-hull may be a better option so that the transducer does not sit in the water. Is that just a general rule-of-thumb? "Boat in the water, thru-hull transducer" Or is this merely a preference of several experienced boaters out there? Thanks again, i appreciate all of your input & I truly use the advice on these boards to make a lot of my purchase decisions on gear, tackle, bait, boats, etc.


04-22-2010, 09:59 AM
You will get better performance from a thru-hull as opposed to a transom mounted transducer. The key feature about that particular thru-hull is that the element is retractable for cleaning and storage. Also consider the deadrise on your boat. You might need a 'tilted element' in the same ducer. Here's a link for the people I use. Ask for Jim.