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Toon/Tube sonar

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Toon/Tube sonar
I'm shopping for a sonar system to use on my tube and toon. I'd prefer one that hooks up to 12V... because most of them can display "input" voltage and it gives me a sort of fuel gauge for the motor battery.

That isn't a "must" but it is pretty handy to have that right on the finder.

Any recommendations?

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
I really enjoy my Lowrance elite 5 for the reasons you mention below. the voltage meter works great as a "gas" gauge. plus the option to use it ice fishing, I use it year round. extremely versatile unit, and accurate.

I opted for the GPS for speed, hotspots, and for foggy mornings. the GPS option will cost more, but worth it if you think you'll use it.

Also, I spent the extra coin for the RAM mounts, they aren't cheap, but are strong, versatile, and can be easily changed from one setup to the other quickly.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Most "fish finders" are 12 volt...but not many of them have a battery meter. Some do. Some also have GPS, speedometer, side finding, etc. You gonna pay for anything more than the basics.

I have been happy with the low to mid range Humminbird sonars. I like the dual cone feature...a 20 degree and a 60 degree...especially when fishing shallower waters. The wide angle cone makes a bigger "footprint" when you are trying to find fish and see what depth they are using.

Good "grayline" function is important if you are trying to figure out the bottom and structure. And a temperature reading is also valuable. After that, you have to decide what is necessary, nice for nice or nonessential...and how much you want to pay for it.

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Re: [TubeDude] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Thanks for the responses. I'm still looking into options and will probably go with something I can find used in good condition.

One thing I did run across that I may try (because I like tinkering with new stuff) is the Sonarphone stuff from vexilar.

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
It all comes down to what do you want it to do, and how much do you want to spend – anywhere from $125 to $2,000.

For basic depth and structure and ease of use, it’s hard to beat the Fishin’ Buddy. Color is fun but not essential, and the front-projection sonar feature is great for finding fish within casting distance but outside the cones of the down-beam sonar. I think the Fishin’ Buddy is 9 volt, but you can buy a voltage converter for $10-$15 that will let you run the FB off a 12-volt battery. I’ve also used rechargeables for radio controlled vehicles that output 9.6 volts. Two of them will last you all day.

My biggest frustration with most sonar is that the coverage beam is usually only equal to the depth (e.g. if you’re in 20 feet of water, your sonar cone is only covering 20 feet of bottom. You can pass within 30 feet of a fish pod and they won’t show up on the sonar. Other than side-imaging sonar, there is not much that can be done if your fishing in shallower water.

You can add GPS and mapping for an extra $100 but you will likely want to add a map chip with bathometric data for another $150. The newer maps have 1-foot depth resolution and cover the many popular lakes in Utah.

Next up is down-imaging sonar that gives a very detailed image of the bottom so you can distinguish mud, rock, sand, weeds, sunken trees, etc. Down imaging is fun and interesting (especially if you regularly fish the same areas of a lake), but it does not per se find you more fish. Starts around $350.

Next is side-imaging sonar that shoots a wide beam 100-150 feet on each side of the boat that gives detailed images of the bottom and can help you spot fish and good structure from that distance. Starts around $700.

My two cents is start with a basic B&W Fishin’ Buddy with side-sonar (not the same as side-imaging). If you really get into sonar (like I did), the FBs are easy to sell and you can always move up. If you just want basic depth, structure, and water temp, the Fishin’ Buddy may be all you’ll ever need.
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Re: [kandersonSLC] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Fishing Buddy did have a bad reputation when Bottom Line owned them, and unfortunately, that bad reputation is still sticking with them.
Hummingbird now makes Fishing Buddy's and has for a few years. They are AWESOME and have advanced features for a decent price. Or so I hear, I am still using my old 300.Smile



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Re: [MasterDaad] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
I had a lot of fun with my FB, and being completely self contained (display, battery, and transducer all in a single housing) made it very convenient to use and learn with. I upgraded because I'm an electronics nerd and found the technology of sonar to be fascinating. However, I do miss the side-scan feature of the FB for seeing fish coming in line with my fly 40-90 feet behind my 'toon.

If one wanted a bigger screen (5"), it would be hard to beat the Humminbird 561s for $160 or less.

I only have experience with Humminbird, but most of the brands have more or less the same features for the same price.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Hi, MD.
That sonarphone is cool and versatile, just wonder about how rugged. My only repair to a FF has been to replace a transducer when it hit something at low impact in the shallow water I fish.
In theory, a transducer can work shooting thru a hull. So now I'm wondering if the tranducer can be placed inside the wet area behind a float tube for protection and to keep from collecting debris.
Also, since I don't use a FF much, I'm wondering if a cheap unit can be converted to "scan" mode by tilting the transducer angle at various angles. It would be nice to expand the cone and even go to side scan without using separate transducers.... That would make it more useful for me.

Pon



MasterDaad wrote:
Thanks for the responses. I'm still looking into options and will probably go with something I can find used in good condition.

One thing I did run across that I may try (because I like tinkering with new stuff) is the Sonarphone stuff from vexilar.
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Re: [pontoonman] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
"Also, since I don't use a FF much, I'm wondering if a cheap unit can be converted to "scan" mode by tilting the transducer angle at various angles. It would be nice to expand the cone and even go to side scan without using separate transducers.... That would make it more useful for me."

Not an easy fix by moving the transducer around. They don't even work well on slanting slopes. They need to get a good straight shot at bottom...running at a 90 degree angle from the beam. If you pick up the transducer and start waving it around you get nothing...at least on the ones I have tried.
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Re: [kandersonSLC] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
For the toon I'm looking to stay around $100 -- but I'm also looking at the second hand market and so far I think I've found all the ones mentioned (minus the GPS part -- which I don't need because I have GPS on my phone which I take with me).

So far I'm leaning hard toward the dual beam of the Hummingbird 120, something the Lowrance Elite 5 (minus GPS), or the SonarPhone thing.

I'm going to take the tube out for an early morning Deer Creek run tomorrow sans the sonar. Hopefully I find some fish anyway.

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [kandersonSLC] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Kanderson: I dont want to hijack the thread, can you telll me more about how side imaging works? My finder has it, but I have no idea how its used.
Visit: http://www.speckledcartel.com
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Re: [TubeDude] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Thanks for your comments, TD.

I didn't know sonar worked better with flat bottoms. Mine shows slopes clearly as far as I can tell while I am trolling. What happens on slopes, and is it when you are stationary or in motion?

My idea of "scan" was to tilt the tranducer angle by having it mounted on the end of flexible post that holds the new position it is moved to. Transducer would remain in the water at all times, and could be readjusted from above to new "hold" angles. If you remove the transducer from the water, you get errors due to air readings which are too close to the surface of water to be resolved with my unit. Angle adjust would be handy with the transducer pointing slightly forward when trolling, as you could see schools of fish or obstructions coming and quickly adjust your lines as needed. When you are anchored, it would be nice to see what is in the cones slightly off of your position, to see if you are missing anything. What do you think?

Pon

TubeDude wrote:
"Also, since I don't use a FF much, I'm wondering if a cheap unit can be converted to "scan" mode by tilting the transducer angle at various angles. It would be nice to expand the cone and even go to side scan without using separate transducers.... That would make it more useful for me."

Not an easy fix by moving the transducer around. They don't even work well on slanting slopes. They need to get a good straight shot at bottom...running at a 90 degree angle from the beam. If you pick up the transducer and start waving it around you get nothing...at least on the ones I have tried.
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Re: [pontoonman] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Not all sonars are created equal...or perform the same. My experience has been limited to "low end" units I have selected mainly for showing bottom conditions, temperature and fish locations. Most of these units do not have the wattage, sensitivity or side-finding functions to show more than what I use them for. Whenever I move quickly over bottom that slopes up or down, I see that on the screen okay. But if I mess with the transducer mount...trying to "see ahead"...I just get wierdness on the screen.

I have had a few attempts...while shooting in toward an upward sloping shoreline...that I was able to see some fish between myself and the shore. But trying that out in open water doesn't work well because the systems are designed to ping off the bottom...and not just to show other objects within range.

I have been using "fish finders" on my float tubes for about 30 years...beginning with an old Lowrance flasher. That first machine was big and bulky and I had to balance it on the front of my tube. The power was supplied by two 6 volt lantern batteries rigged in series to put out 12 volts...and they didn't last long. Expensive to operate. Later I graduated to acid-filled motorcycle batteries that had to be kept upright to avoid spillage.

Since then I have tried a whole lot of sonars. The explosion of modern electronics and new sonar options in the past few years has been amazing. I wish I had the money and ability to try them all. But I don't. As long as I get good readouts on bottom conditions, structure, fish and temperature I am good with it. Too many more bells and whistles and I would spend all my time playing with the toys instead of fishing.

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Re: [pontoonman] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
I've experimented with this idea by swinging transducer on PVC pipe so instead of shooting sonar vertical, it shoots horizontal. The PVC pipe can be rotated to see 360 degrees around the boat -- which is what the side sonar does on the Fishin Buddy.

It will will give you good distance to fish targets out from the boat, but it will not be very accurate as to their depth because the sonar cone gets wider the further from the boat. You can address this somewhat by using the narrower sonar cone -- the higher the sonar frequency, the narrower the cone, so 200kHz is a 20 degree cone while 83Khz is a 60 degree cone.

If you spot fish off to the side, you can paddle over and then use down sonar to determine when you are over fish and their depth -- again, the FB will do both at the same time.

When the fish aren't biting, play around with aiming your transducer in all directions and angles and see if it helps you find fish.

Just my two cents
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Re: [atvaholic] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
What is make and model of you FF? I can then direct you to some good videos showing how it works and what it shows.

I got my side scan sonar for Christmas so it's not been out on the water, but took it ice fishing and by rotating it on a PVC pipe (and carefully looking at image), you could see fish some distance out from the drilled hole.
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Re: [kandersonSLC] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Kanderson: Mine is a hummingbird 587 CI HD. Sounds fancy but im not sure how to use it yet.
Visit: http://www.speckledcartel.com
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Re: [kandersonSLC] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
Thanks, that is good info kanderson.
I found a piece of PVC pipe that has just the right flexibility, and was thinking of attaching a string to pull the transducer into a partial horizontal bend to get any angle from the vertical. Just to see if the concept works, anyway.

On the FB what shows for a bottom line depth when set on side scan? I'm guessing there isn't one in deep water far from shore, but would you see a slope in shallow closer to shore? Also does the water surface line show somehow on the display?

The FB does get good ratings by most users FWIW, and good bang for the buck IMHO.

Pon

kandersonSLC wrote:
I've experimented with this idea by swinging transducer on PVC pipe so instead of shooting sonar vertical, it shoots horizontal. The PVC pipe can be rotated to see 360 degrees around the boat -- which is what the side sonar does on the Fishin Buddy.

It will will give you good distance to fish targets out from the boat, but it will not be very accurate as to their depth because the sonar cone gets wider the further from the boat. You can address this somewhat by using the narrower sonar cone -- the higher the sonar frequency, the narrower the cone, so 200kHz is a 20 degree cone while 83Khz is a 60 degree cone.

If you spot fish off to the side, you can paddle over and then use down sonar to determine when you are over fish and their depth -- again, the FB will do both at the same time.

When the fish aren't biting, play around with aiming your transducer in all directions and angles and see if it helps you find fish.

Just my two cents
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Re: [pontoonman] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
I use an OLD Hummingbird 300 Tx. It has a Tri-beam and a Wide Side Beam. No temp, speed, GPS, but if it shows fish I can get them.
You can mount this to the inside of the Haul on fiberglass boats, but you will loose sensitivity. Also, WAVES effect sonar(depth)
I am pretty happy with mine. The screen broke so I pulled it apart and replaced the plastic then silicone it up. That was three years ago.



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Re: [MasterDaad] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
This reply is to no one in particular. My fish finder is a Eagle fishmark 480. I never really had that much luck marking what fish in trout areas. I have had decent luck with crappie and perch. It marks Catfish very well, but with out a doubt when I see sturgeon that is the most impressive. In these pictures they are surgeon. Some are bigger and they show more body.












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Re: [idahoron] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
I had a Fishmark 320 on my toon last year. It ended up back in a boat over the winter -- which is why I'm shopping.

My experience with it matches yours (they use the same transducer)... it would locate a BIG trout, but it wasn't very reliable. It was better with Kokanee and other species.

I've been playing with the sonarphone stuff and I think I'm going to have to try one of those. The ratings are very high (but minimal) online and I'm a sucker for new tech.

Give a man a fish and he's fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend his life squinting at invisible thread.
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Re: [MasterDaad] Toon/Tube sonar In reply to
I use a himminbird 565 on my toon and put a 570 in my boat. I like the 565 and what it shows. Both are dual cone. When it comes time
To upgrade I may get a down imaging one.

Albinotrout
Fishing and trains...what else is there? BASEBALL.......