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Thread: Fish Finder utility for fresh water lake fishing

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithmal View Post
    What's the deal with the lake maps that you can DL to your FF? Are they worth it.?

    smitmal
    The answer to this is yes.. to a degree. It depends if you have a FF with wifi capability and a wifi enabled device such as a phone with mobile hotspot. Otherwise you can use your card to either record and log your sonar maps, save them and/or upload them to the cards web site. This would depend on the card your using. Navionics you need a paid subscription, Insight Genesis you don't. With both of those you can download mapping from others who have mapped the area thereby having the latest information. As with others if you fish a place often enough you don't need to use it. Some places like the Susquehanna and upper parts of the flats are affected by strong currents at times so some structure and obstructions can change so I find I use it even though I know that area well.

    Outside of just using a fish finder's 2D, Downscan and sidescan to find fish, having a fish finder with a card makes it easier especially for places you haven't fished as yet. You can go to web sites select any area your going to fish and download that area's mapping. That mapping will not only give you the nav chart but more importantly the bathymetric mapping, along with previous mapped obstuctions etc. others have logged. With the bathymetrics there is a wealth of information once you learn how to read it on where to start searching for fish. Also with a card you can pre plan your fishing trip by downloading that mapping information store it on your card then pre map your route(s)and set waypoints for the areas of interest That way your more prepared for your fishing trip. Even if you don't pre plan, with an updated card you can download the updated maps, look at the areas bathymetric mapping and pretty much know where to start looking.

    Of course many lakes as soon as you get there and see with you own eyes the tell signs that we know usually hold fish are a great way to start but for unknown areas a fish finder and a mapped card can be a really handy tool.
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  2. #12
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    Oldbayrunner,

    Thanks for the reply. It is much appreciated. Are there any primers that I could read or videos I could watch to instruct me on how to properly analyze these maps as it relates to finding fish?

    Thanks,

    smithmal

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithmal View Post
    Oldbayrunner,

    Thanks for the reply. It is much appreciated. Are there any primers that I could read or videos I could watch to instruct me on how to properly analyze these maps as it relates to finding fish?

    Thanks,

    smithmal
    Yes there are a lot of instructional videos by users and manufacturers on youtube
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  4. #14
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    Like others, I do not rely on my FF to find individual fish, but rather I use my FF to find the clues that make one particular geographical area "more fishy" than another. Structure has already been addressed, but I would like to add two more items to this discussion that I feel are just as important: Bait and Marking Waypoints.

    We have all heard the adage: "Find the bait, find the predators." Many times I will mark bait on my FF without marking the actual predatory fish feeding on them. I know sooner or later the predators will show up so having this piece of information contributes to my overall knowledge about the particular body of water I am fishing that day. BL: I consider marking bait just as important as marking a piece of structure.

    Which leads me to my second point - Marking Waypoints. Fish Finders with GPS mapping software (commonly known as "chartplotters") permit the user to mark waypoints. The first thing I do when my rod bends over is to drop a waypoint on my chartplotter. If I find bait, I drop a waypoint. If I find an interesting piece of structure, I drop a waypoint etc... Over time I have a slew of waypoints on my map. The waypoints can be refined further with different symbols to denote fish, bait, or structure. Over time this "shot grouping" of waypoints paints me a picture of where I should be focused on in a particular body of water. Additionally, it's important to keep in mind this picture could change slightly, or significantly, based on seasons and time of year. A heatlthy group of waypoints on one's chartplotter also helps remind you of seasonal variations - it's like having a virtual log book at your fingertips.

    By nature, kayak fishermen are a nomadic bunch. A portable fishing platform like a kayak affords us an advantage over our powerboat brethren - even those with trailerable powerboats. As kayak fishermen we are not beholden to a boat ramp, dock, or boat slip - we can put into the water just about anywhere. Because of this, kayak fishermen like to travel and explore new places to wet a line. As one builds up their repertoire of fishing spots, it's nice to be able to call up a location on your chartplotter you may have fished months or even years ago and get an idea of where to start.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by baitball; 06-24-2017 at 07:15 AM.
    -manny

    Hobie Outback
    Wilderness Systems 130T

  5. #15
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    Manny,

    Thanks for the advice. It is very helpful. I think I will change my tune and add a FF to my list of yak equipment.

    What is considered a good FF that can provide waypoints, SD card, good structure/bottom detail and won't break the bank. I'd even be interested in a model that is somewhat old on the market, but was done very well that I might be able to find used and/or cheap.

    Thanks,

    smithmal

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithmal View Post
    Manny,

    Thanks for the advice. It is very helpful. I think I will change my tune and add a FF to my list of yak equipment.

    What is considered a good FF that can provide waypoints, SD card, good structure/bottom detail and won't break the bank. I'd even be interested in a model that is somewhat old on the market, but was done very well that I might be able to find used and/or cheap.

    Thanks,

    smithmal
    Many Hobie owners go with a Lowrance-brand FF out of convenience. Hobie struck a deal with Lowrance and now include a purpose-built, transducer cavity in all of their fishing kayaks. This makes installation (and a future upgrade) a breeze - no gluing or shooting through the hull.

    Some folks on this forum seem to prefer Hummingbird and yet others like Garmin. They are all equally capable and good units. If you stick with these three, you will find they have specific offerings for the kayak fishing crowd.

    However, I'm not an expert on the latter two. I have a Hobie and as such I've gone with Lowrance. I had Raymarine on my powerboat for many years and that worked fine as well, but I would not recommend them for kayak fishing. I started with a low-end Lowrance model on my Revo years ago and it served me just fine. I recently upgraded to a CHIRP-capable unit for my Outback, but frankly I haven't had an A-ha! moment with it. Stay with the low-end for now and it'll work out fine for what you need. The very high-end stuff on the market right now is Side-Scan technology. Although nice to have, the cost is outside my budget. I will be waiting for the price to come down.

    TIP: Go online to the Lowrance, Garmin, and Hummingbird home pages and download the respective instruction manuals for the unit you are interested in. Ask yourself these questions: Q. How can I navigate from one menu page to the next? Q. How many button pushes does it take? Q. Is the logic intuitive? etc... This way you can form an opinion (without purchasing the unit) as to what is going to work for you and the type of fishing you are interested in.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by baitball; 06-25-2017 at 05:15 AM.
    -manny

    Hobie Outback
    Wilderness Systems 130T

  7. #17
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    In addition I recommend going to a place close to you that has models out for display and take some time to actually go through the demo menus. Then you be able to tell by" hands on" which seems like something you prefer. A lot of people go with the cheapest price and smallest at first. Think of yourself sitting in your kayak 3-4 feet or more from the screen, picture what that screen will look like if you have one, two, or three menu items up. Even better, It's easy at a place demoing to step back and look at what your seeing on the screen. Will you still adequately be able to look at important detail. Most times when trolling I am looking at my Navigations bathymetric mapping in addition to at least my 2D fish finding. Sometimes I am running those two plus my Downscan and/or sidescan. That can get mighty tiny detail on a 3,4 or even 5" screen. I went through a 4 & 5" screen to a 7" for that very reason. The reason is because of the way I like to fish. I rely heavily on bathymetric mapping and route my kayak according to what I see on the mapping contour or what I have pre planned using routing a with waypoints. Of course I don't consider myself one of the best fishermen on here but I do ok, have fun and catch fish most of the time.
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldbayrunner View Post
    In addition I recommend going to a place close to you that has models out for display and take some time to actually go through the demo menus. Then you be able to tell by" hands on" which seems like something you prefer. A lot of people go with the cheapest price and smallest at first. Think of yourself sitting in your kayak 3-4 feet or more from the screen, picture what that screen will look like if you have one, two, or three menu items up. Even better, It's easy at a place demoing to step back and look at what your seeing on the screen. Will you still adequately be able to look at important detail. Most times when trolling I am looking at my Navigations bathymetric mapping in addition to at least my 2D fish finding. Sometimes I am running those two plus my Downscan and/or sidescan. That can get mighty tiny detail on a 3,4 or even 5" screen. I went through a 4 & 5" screen to a 7" for that very reason. The reason is because of the way I like to fish. I rely heavily on bathymetric mapping and route my kayak according to what I see on the mapping contour or what I have pre planned using routing a with waypoints. Of course I don't consider myself one of the best fishermen on here but I do ok, have fun and catch fish most of the time.
    Holy cow...I have to say that sounds complex.

    I'm sincerely glad it works for you and evidently it works for many other kayak anglers.

    However, I could never enjoy fishing if I relied that much on technology. Note that also I never could successfully program my VCR -- for those of you who remember them.

    One of the reasons I kayak fish is to enjoy the setting -- to observe nature's miracles that surround me on the water. The last thing I want to do is to be fixated on a video screen while I'm on the water paddling from one point to another. I'm bombarded now with visual and oral electronic signals in my daily life. The water is one place I can escape them...except for my damned cell phone.

    And let's remember, folks caught a lot of fish on a hook before Lowrance, Hummingbird and other companies marketed their wares. They did that by learning to read the water either through experience and/or a basic knowledge of the lifecycles of the fish they sought to catch.

    There is no doubt that electronics help us to locate fish, or more precisely areas where they may be. But I am equally certain that they (electronics) will prove more valuable to those who first learn how to fish without them.

    For that reason I would never consider a fish finder to be a necessary accessory for kayak anglers, especially those new to the hobby. I would suggest to them to learn to fish from a kayak first.

    Again, I do not wish to appear harshly critical. I likely sound like the old guy (which I am) complaining about the kids at McDonald's who cannot make change when the cash register dies. What I'm saying is that kayak angling is an avocation that we can pursue while keeping it simple. And we can become very good at it by understanding nature's forces on the fish we are trying to catch. I think if you learn to fish by those basics first, technology can indeed enhance your results in the long run. But in my opinion, it's never good to rely on that technology as a substitute for your own on-the-water experiences and intuitions.
    Mark

    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Holy cow...I have to say that sounds complex.

    I'm sincerely glad it works for you and evidently it works for many other kayak anglers.

    However, I could never enjoy fishing if I relied that much on technology. Note that also I never could successfully program my VCR -- for those of you who remember them.

    One of the reasons I kayak fish is to enjoy the setting -- to observe nature's miracles that surround me on the water. The last thing I want to do is to be fixated on a video screen while I'm on the water paddling from one point to another. I'm bombarded now with visual and oral electronic signals in my daily life. The water is one place I can escape them...except for my damned cell phone.

    And let's remember, folks caught a lot of fish on a hook before Lowrance, Hummingbird and other companies marketed their wares. They did that by learning to read the water either through experience and/or a basic knowledge of the lifecycles of the fish they sought to catch.

    There is no doubt that electronics help us to locate fish, or more precisely areas where they may be. But I am equally certain that they (electronics) will prove more valuable to those who first learn how to fish without them.

    For that reason I would never consider a fish finder to be a necessary accessory for kayak anglers, especially those new to the hobby. I would suggest to them to learn to fish from a kayak first.

    Again, I do not wish to appear harshly critical. I likely sound like the old guy (which I am) complaining about the kids at McDonald's who cannot make change when the cash register dies. What I'm saying is that kayak angling is an avocation that we can pursue while keeping it simple. And we can become very good at it by understanding nature's forces on the fish we are trying to catch. I think if you learn to fish by those basics first, technology can indeed enhance your results in the long run. But in my opinion, it's never good to rely on that technology as a substitute for your own on-the-water experiences and intuitions.
    You fish your way for your pleasure I'll fish my way for mine. I don't or knock anyone's way or method of fishing. The OP asked for advise on fish finders so I am giving him advise as to how one can use them effectively to find fish. I've been fishing rivers, lakes and ocean since I was 6 years old, I'm 69 now and have caught everything from rainbow trout to marlin & swordfish so I think I know a thing or two about the basics.I fished for many years without technology at at this point in time I happen to enjoy using it as I enjoy my time and sights out on the water. I don't know why you guys feel you need to interject your minimal ways when folks are discussing technology, ok you don't like it we get it.
    Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 06-25-2017 at 11:57 AM.
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    Minn Kota 45 Riptide
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldbayrunner View Post
    You fish your way for your pleasure I'll fish my way for mine. I don't or knock anyone's way or method of fishing. The OP asked for advise on fish finders so I am giving him advise as to how one can use them effectively to find fish. I've been fishing rivers, lakes and ocean since I was 6 years old, I'm 69 now and have caught everything from rainbow trout to marlin & swordfish so I think I know a thing or two about the basics.I fished for many years without technology at at this point in time I happen to enjoy using it as I enjoy my time and sights out on the water. I don't know why you guys feel you need to interject your minimal ways when folks are discussing technology, ok you don't like it we get it.
    I'm sorry you took offense. That was not my intention.

    Minimalist me.
    Mark

    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

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