I have been using the same model as you just got for most of the last ten years or so. It is inexpensive, doesn't draw much juice from the battery and it provides the basic info I need to locate structure and determine the depth at which fish are suspending...or hanging on the bottom.
More expensive and higher wattage units also give temperature readings and water speed. Some will even show your lure, in real time, when you are jigging within the "cone" of vision. The little EAgle doesn't do any of these. Speed indicator is not important...obviously. You can monitor temps by hanging a cheap swimming pool thermometer over the side. And third, the real time lure display is nice...but costs about $250 more on most units. It also sucks small batteries dry fast.
If you will shoot me an email, or PM on this forum, I can send some writeups and diagrams to show you how I do it. In a nutshell, I mount the "skimmer" transducer on a piece of half inch PVC pipe, and then snap it into broom handle clamps on my wooden rod rack. I'll edit a pic in below. The transducer is the trickiest part. Everything else is simply a "lash down"
The display unit comes with a mounting bracket. It has 4 holes, for screwing into a suitable spot on the boat. Not recommended that you screw it into your tube. I just run 1/4 inch nylon cord through the mounting holes and tie it securely to a good visibility spot on the craft. By the way, what kind of craft do you have? Round, pontoon, U-boat or what?
The final consideration is a battery. The good news is that you do not need a big 12 volt deep cycle marine battery. I started out using small 12 volt motorcycle batteries, but didn't like the weight, the acid and the short life. I had to mount a special holding box to keep them upright and then carry them separate to my launch sites. I discovered the SLA (sealed lead acid) rechargeable batteries a few years ago and it has made life easier.
I use a 6 amphour SLA battery. That means your Eagle...which draws only about 1/2 amp per hour...will run up to 12 hours of continuous use. I have used them over a two day trip without running out of juice. With no worries about acid spillage, you can tuck the battery into any available pocket that you can reach with the electrical lead from the display unit.
You will have to decide if you want to leave the transducer cable intact, or cut and splice it to remove some of the excess length. If you are going to use it interchangeably on a boat, do not cut the cable. Roll up the excess and stash it in a pocket out of the way. If you are not handy with things electrical, don't attempt cutting and splicing. you can mess up your new unit and void the warranty.
Like I said. Let me know if you want some writeups and diagrams. I can attach the chapter from my book which deals with all kinds of add-ons, from rod racks to live baskets to sonar.
MY KENNEBEC...WITH SONAR DISPLAY ON LEFT FRONT, AND ROD RACK WITH TRANSDUCER PIPE IN THE MIDDLE. BATTERY IS IN A REAR POCKET.
Here's another pic that might help. It shows the battery I am currently using, and it also shows how I attach the transducer to the bottom of a piece of half inch pipe. I will send a diagram on that to your email address, along with some other writeups. Feel free to email me back if you need some technical assistance. It's always more difficult the first time, but surprisingly simple once you have done it and understand the principles involved.
Hey there Lector,
I made my mount for my all-in-one buddy III fishfinder but you could use some of it for your finder. Go to a thrift shop and buy a straight walled cooking pot that has a circumfrence a little smaller than your tube. Cut the bottom out of it with a hack saw then cut out a section you feel would serve as a solid mount for your finder screen/box. Go to Home Depot and look for parts (strap iron, this, and that) and have fun.
Even if your tube deflates a little as your mount follows the contour of your donut, u-boat or pontoon bladder it won't slip or droop into the water. That looks funny unless it's yours.
There is a site that sells mounts and the eagle mount is on this site. Check here first and if not do a search with Google.com with keywords such as tube, fishfinder, mount. I don't like the mount because the 'foot' of the mount is, I feel, too small and you're asking for disaster if your tube suddenly deflates.
Hope this helps
By the way, how do you like your Fishin Buddy? I haven't heard many good reports on them. But as long as they serve to keep you in the fishy zone, you really don't need much more. "Newbies" tend to want the electronics to find the fish and hook them too...and serve drinks...and play music...and ???.
"What is the difference between genius and stupidity? Genius has limits." - Albert Einstein
Hey there TubeDude,
My Buddy III is fantastic. It has the true side scan feature which most others didn't have a few years ago unless you let them put a lean on your house. Depth and contour, Fish size, Temprature,Present fish position both vertically and horizontally in relation to the source, distance of scanning scope, Compass! It all works and I got mine for less than $150 at Turners. And that's with a super boat/dock mount. Lost part of my manual and they sent one no charge. Used it for 5 years.. no problem. It doesn't even chew up battries. I have nothing bad to say about mine. My model has been discontinued.
Those silly 'D' rings?! I haven't sent you a picture of my tube fully rigged as yet but believe me I have every D ring, keeper snap, buckle, and Velcro patch doing double duty on all my stuff like the live bait net w/air, fish bag, anchor, and all the other stuff I described before. ha ha ha
I ought to model it for a cartoon here on bigfishtackle. I practice C&R in part because the weight of a fish might sink the ship! ha ha Actually it's quite safe.
I wasn't saying nasty things about the Buddy. I have never had the pleasure of trying one. My only input has been from others who have found it not to their liking, by comparison to something else. But, all of life is a matter of personal opinions. When it comes to anything to do with fishing, there are likely to be as many opinions as there are fisherfolk rendering them.
I also believe that most people get into "comfort zones" with what they are used to...and have a difficult time making the leap to something unfamiliar. I plead guilty to that in many areas...rods, reels, line, lures, etc. But, I do have the same insatiable curiosity most fishermen have too. That's why I have lots of stuff I have tried once and relegated to the "maybe someday" category in my storage room.
I would like to see a pic of your setup. If you will send one, I will upload it and post it for you. It's always interesting to see the new and creative ways us kinky tubers find to go afloat.
Hey there TubeDude,
You're right! I will put it on the board after the rain stops this time. Problem is, everytime I start playing with it, I get the itch to take it out. You've shown me yours, so I'll you mine. ha ha
Boy the beach is going to be a mess again for a few days with those famous local brown croakers all over the place. ha ha yuk!
On a serious note, I expressed my dislike for the Eagle FF screen/box unit MOUNT offered on the web site we both know. From the picture, I see a block of rubber or some other material ( a base) about 4 inches square with a rather narrow strap that runs through this block and around the bladder. With the bladder air pressure low, I can see this dipping into the water with no other support. Any ideas?
I have rigged my sonar displays in a variety of ways, including some exotic wooden addons to my rod rack. I have also attached the mounting bracket to a thin piece of wood or plastic, to which I secured either lengths of nylon rope or adjustable straps. Right now, I use a double wraparound of yellow nylon cord, ehich I cinch up before topping off my air chambers so that it is very tight. Then I insure it with a piece of velcro over the top of the cords.
I tell ya, it really challenges our creativity sometimes to try to adapt gear to our floatation systems that was designed to be installed on a boat. Those danged screws really mess up your air chambers.
Hey there TubeDude,
The website where all the float tube stuff is on is www.scotty.com. They feature rod holders and fish finder mounts for Eagle, Hummers, etc. You'll see what I mean on those designs if you haven't seen them before.
On another note: I tried using those inch or inch and a half ratchet cargo straps you buy in a set. They don't work as no matter how you position them over or under your tube there is a chance the ratchet would be released as they stick up ready to be caught on something. I guess you know but others might want to know.
All we can do is keep trying out those flashes of brilliance!!!!
I dropped in on Scotty's site, and I must admit I am underwhelmed. I did get kinda excited by those downriggers though. I'll race you to see who can get one on their tube first. Next come the planer boards...or outriggers. That would mean I need to think about installing a flying bridge. Geez, I think I'm gonna run out of D rings for mounting all that stuff.
I'm with you on those adjustable strap add-ons. I tried a couple of the early models of rod holders and lost a good rod when the strap slipped. I started playing with my own designs in PVC pipe about twenty years ago. Now you can buy pretty decent multi-tube rod holders for a reasonable price, and they mount easily on tubes too.
What is it they say about invention? Necessity is a mother...or something like that.