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Sonar Newb with Questions

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Sonar Newb with Questions
I know almost nothing about Sonar - Fish Finders. My only float tube is a UL 3.2 lb model I use for high lakes but I am interested in putting a fish-finder on my Water Master Kodiak raft. I've been searching around the site but threads about sonar for tubes appear to be getting a bit dated.

The low lakes I fish are generally pretty shallow, maybe 35', but most are under 20' deep. In my Water Master without a motor I am going to be moving in the stern direction. The Water Master has an 18" front to back wood seat platform about 10" or so above the water so I think I can install a surface mount for a removable transducer at the rear of my seat that I can secure in an up position near shore and also minimize interference from my legs.

DI or SI? Should I care?
DI sonar devices have a fairly narrow cone at the depths I fish.
Am I going to be scaring fish off as I approach above them so DI generally won't spot fish?

Does SI work effectively with your legs in the water?

GPS-Mapping, should I care?
Do most GPS-equipped users take the time to map an area and return to likely spots?

Horizontal or narrower vertical screen orientation for a PWC?

What else should I know?

Thanks in advance for the help

__________________________________________

Brian

Job 41:1, 2

`..`..`..><((((>`..`..`.
`..`..`..`..`..><((((>`.
`..><((((>`..`..`..`..`.

When another man is caught up in a branch he disengages his fly; I jerk at it till something breaks...
Perhaps no other man's average of lost flies in proportion to taken trout was ever so great as mine.
Angling Sketches - Confessions of a Duffer, by Andrew Lang
(This post was edited by BrianMiller on Mar 30, 2017, 2:05 PM)
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Re: [BrianMiller] Sonar Newb with Questions In reply to
Welcome to the site Brian, I'm sure the moderators and others on this board will give you some up to date info but until then, have you read this:
http://www.bigfishtackle.com/...d;page=unread#unread

It might be a little out dated but I think a lot of it will still answer at least some of your questions.
WH2


BFT administrator and moderator
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Re: [BrianMiller] Sonar Newb with Questions In reply to
Welcome aboard. You sure do gotta lotta questions.

You state that you have no experience with sonar. For that reason I might suggest starting simple and learning as you go. For float tube fishing a lot of the bells and whistles are non-essential extra expense with little added benefit for tubing.

I have probably gone through at least a dozen different sonar models on my float tubes in the past 15 years. Plus, I have fished on quite a few boats with different systems. I don't know it all but I have a pretty good feel for what I want and need...for my style of fishing.

Most tubers and tooners fish in water less than 30-40 feet deep. So a wider cone is better...to give a broader footprint in shallower water. I like the dual cone models with 20 and 60 degree.

Side scan can be a help if you are casting to fish cruising above the bottom...like fly fishing for trout. But if you are fishing for species that stay closer to the bottom the side scan is not as helpful when fishing from a tube. On the other hand, when you are motoring along at slow speed in a boat...looking for fish...the side scan can be very helpful.

Unless I am positioning myself over bottom hugging fish and vertical jigging I seldom see the fish I will be catching on sonar. But I can see at what depth they are holding or cruising so that I can present my bait or lures at the right depth...or keep my tube in the right zone.

The primary info I want to get from my sonar are depth, bottom contour and composition...and temperatures. And, of course, seeing that there are or are not fish present. You can't catch them where they ain't. But finding fish is no guarantee that you will catch them. But the pulses from sonar has never seemed to be a detriment. I catch plenty of fish right under my tube...even in shallow water.

GPS and mapping are good to have...if you want to spend the extra $. These are especially good for learning new waters and for safety...in the event you get stuck in a fog or other impediment to finding your way back. Also helpful if you have a chance to note waypoints of underwater structure during low water periods on your fave pond...or for finding that special spot you clobbered the fish on another trip.

I am using a Humminbird Helix 5 right now...bare bones model. No SI, GPS, etc. It's color, which I like. The display is different than I have used in the past but once I learned to read it I have been happy with it.

If you are going to be packing it in to high lakes, you might want to look at a "Fishing Buddy". They take smaller batteries and are fairly lightweight. You don't want to carry several pounds of battery to power a sonar. And they will give you all the info you need on those small lakes.

Feel free to pop back in with any new questions.


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Re: [TubeDude] Sonar Newb with Questions In reply to
Thank You for the warm welcome and the detailed response. I occasionally do one-day trips into high lakes where I might be able to take a self-contained unit like a Fishin' Buddy, but my backcountry lake trips are typically 3 to 4+ day trips of sixteen miles or more with 2000 to 4000 of elevation gain where I am really trying to keep the weight of my pack to a minimum. The decision whether to carry a 6 lb float tube kit that includes NOS Red Ball waders, neoprene socks, (Sockwa volleyball) beach shoes, fins, and an inflatable PFD that takes 15 liters of precious pack space is carefully considered. For example if I am going to an area with a very high density of lakes of 15 acres or less, the disadvantages of a tube (i.e. time spent rigging up and packing up if I want to visit multiple lakes in a day) outweigh the advantages. Generally even on one-day trips the water in these lakes is so clear that structure and cruising fish can be seen down to perhaps 10+ feet. And the fish are often very aggressive as environmental conditions limit the bugs and crustaceans these lakes contain so they vigorously attack imitations. A sonar device would be of little value.

Generally I am not very successful at fishing lowland lakes. I usually target trout but spending a lot of cash for a gadget that isn't going to really help me be a more productive angler would just increase my frustration and probably decrease my desire to fish lowland lakes, even though I realize they can contain bigger fish.

I use an Android fishing log app often to log my trips with time, weather, GPS data, and other observations so GPS might not add a lot of value unless it could be used to feed a logging app.

So the biggest questions remaining are, what type of scan provides the best bottom detail and other data for a tuber?
Also is that level of detail TMI for the payback in catch rate and value for the money spent?

__________________________________________

Brian

Job 41:1, 2

`..`..`..><((((>`..`..`.
`..`..`..`..`..><((((>`.
`..><((((>`..`..`..`..`.

When another man is caught up in a branch he disengages his fly; I jerk at it till something breaks...
Perhaps no other man's average of lost flies in proportion to taken trout was ever so great as mine.
Angling Sketches - Confessions of a Duffer, by Andrew Lang
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Re: [BrianMiller] Sonar Newb with Questions In reply to
I have not researched it but there are a couple of sonar systems available that operate on your smart phone. Not sure about what is used as a transducer. I have seen some comments on them but the general consensus is that they provide only minimal detail.

Most sonars that have good "grayscale" will show you the bottom contours...and composition. That is generally sufficient for me. There are times I would like to be able to count the spots and fin rays on the fish but that is non-essential if you know the basics. Still, a matter of personal wants, needs or preference...and the budget to back it up.

I understand the tradeoff between floatation and flexibility...in areas with a lot of fishing venues. I used to pack into the Sierras in California. There were some treks where I targeted one or two larger lakes. Others where I moved quickly between several smaller lakes in one or two basins. In those (olden) days my float tubes were of the truck tire inner tube persuasion. Bulky and heavy...especially after adding the waders and fins. So I reserved going afloat for short day trips where I could pack the inflated tube on my back and carry the other gear wrapped and stowed inside.

I cannot remember many high lakes on which I would have likely done much better in a tube than fishing from shore. Some, but not many. I usually did best at the inlets or outlets...or sometimes around narrow points or points extending into the lake. And, as you pointed out, it was usually easy to see the fish and observe what they were doing.

Here are a couple of pics from the past...distant past. Been a long time since I have been able to run around in them thar hills. One is a few golden trout kept for dinner. The other is a rogue brown that was hanging out in a tiny lake full of brookies. Kept him for the taxidermist. Pretty fish.






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Re: [TubeDude] Sonar Newb with Questions In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
...In those (olden) days my float tubes were of the truck tire inner tube persuasion. Bulky and heavy...especially after adding the waders and fins. So I reserved going afloat for short day trips where I could pack the inflated tube on my back and carry the other gear wrapped and stowed inside.

I cannot remember many high lakes on which I would have likely done much better in a tube than fishing from shore. Some, but not many. I usually did best at the inlets or outlets...or sometimes around narrow points or points extending into the lake. And, as you pointed out, it was usually easy to see the fish and observe what they were doing.

Here are a couple of pics from the past...distant past. Been a long time since I have been able to run around in them thar hills. One is a few golden trout kept for dinner. The other is a rogue brown that was hanging out in a tiny lake full of brookies. Kept him for the taxidermist. Pretty fish.
Sweet Pics!! Thanks for sharing. I can relate to the truck tire tube era of float tubes. My 1st generation U-Boat was a beast to pack in. I'm still in pretty fair shape for an old retired guy, but a bit more discerning.

I am primarily a fly angler. In the Washington Cascades trees and brush even at lakes over 5000 ft combine with steep talus banks restricting room for a backcast and limits where I can make a presentation to fish just cruising the shore. That's where humping in a tube is valuable. Google Maps/Earth helps with that intel. If I decide not to pack a tube, I may use the weight and space savings to pack an UL spinning rod in case I decide to go to the "dark side" Wink .

Thanks again for your all your thoughts. If anyone else wants to chime in with an opinion on the level of bottom detail they like or need to be effective, I'm all ears-eyes.

__________________________________________

Brian

Job 41:1, 2

`..`..`..><((((>`..`..`.
`..`..`..`..`..><((((>`.
`..><((((>`..`..`..`..`.

When another man is caught up in a branch he disengages his fly; I jerk at it till something breaks...
Perhaps no other man's average of lost flies in proportion to taken trout was ever so great as mine.
Angling Sketches - Confessions of a Duffer, by Andrew Lang
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Re: [BrianMiller] Sonar Newb with Questions In reply to
Since you are from Washington, you might want to get in on this contest:
http://www.bigfishtackle.com/...d;page=unread#unread
Good luck
As far as the sonar question, I'm not sure if down scan will help you any. Where I fish the most, it is 30 ft max depth and I have a Hummingbird down scan and can't see any benefit in it. Side scan might be of some help but from what I have read about it, you need to be going a certain speed for it to work properly.
WH2


BFT administrator and moderator
(This post was edited by wiperhunter2 on Apr 3, 2017, 8:34 AM)
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Re: [BrianMiller] Sonar Newb with Questions In reply to
Just for the record, I am "bi-fishual". I use both fly fishing gear and spinning gear. Bait casting too. I grew up in Idaho, among a bunch of fishing fanatic relatives. Learned how to fly fish and tie flies at an early age. But in later years I discovered that there were times and places where a fly rod was not the best tool for the job.

Over many years of fishing many waters...fresh and salt...throughout the country, I have both learned and discovered new ways of fishing flies with spinning gear. Most folks are familiar with the old bubble and fly thing. But I also incorporate flies into various tandem rigs...jig and fly, spinner and fly, plastic and fly, crankbait and fly, etc. I also fish them "dropshot" style...with a weight on the bottom and one or two flies above. Lots of places I catch fish on these "hybrid" rigs when a "fairy wand" just won't get the job done. I am attaching a writeup on same.

I have hiked and fished in the high country of several western states. It is amazing how similar some of them are to others...in terrain, fishing conditions, etc. I well know the frustration of trying to get a roll cast out to the risers with your back up against a rock cliff or shoreline trees and brush. That's why most of my back country trips include both fly and spin gear...or a combo rod with the handle interchangeable for either.

Good luck in your reviewing and decision making. Let us know what you chose...and why.