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What Fishfinder for Catfishing? #14496127 10/05/22 01:51 AM
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Bluecat Bob Online Content OP
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Hey guys,

I'm looking to upgrade my fish finder and as I almost exclusively fish for cats, was wondering what units you guys favor.

My old fish finder was a Lawrence Hook 2 with a tiny 4 inch screen. Although basic the screen had great contrast and bright colors, but just the basic sonar view.

I am looking to get a 7 inch screen for a number of reasons. It will be a huge upgrade from the old 4 inch and wont break the bank compared to the 9 inch and 12 inch units. I also have a small boat. I am thinking sonar, downscan and sidescan capabilities, and also navionics where I can track my course and create waypoints. I dont need GPS tracking as I like to watch the big picture of the lakes features using navionics (currently using the app on my mobile phone), and just move to areas based on features/depth/time of year etc.

I know the cats don't show that well with them not having scales, but I believe some will show colored blobs that show the hard heads. Any opinions on which units are better for this/easier to see?

Conscious this can become a 'Dodge vs Ford' discussion, but more interested in functionality that will be helpful and any experience with the various units.

Thanks in advance.


Retired from the grind and enjoying life and the great outdoors ### Formerly Texas Brit ###
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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14496311 10/05/22 07:39 AM
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Well Bob, you know I'm a Garmin man but I would have to say a couple of things about whatever you decide on. IMO sidescan is probably the most important aspect of the big picture. You can cover a lot of water and get some pretty good ideas of where NOT to fish. I would say where TO fish, but I still haven't quite figured out what all the differences are in the different species on my graph so, if you're sidescanning and you don't mark anything at all, well....you probably shouldn't fish there!

As far as GPS goes, I think you have to have it to be able to use waypoints and tracking. I could be wrong about that though.

The only two things I have left is 1) Get the most current unit you can get in whatever brand you decide and 2) I know an old cat guy that only uses his to find out what the water temp is and how deep he's fishing and he is, without a doubt, one of the best catter's in the game!

Actually, I have one more thing. I really don't know why I'm responding here. I don't have near enough experience with this to weigh in. I guess I just like to flap my gums. I mean, type a bunch. hammer

Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14496431 10/05/22 01:16 PM
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Chevy-Ford-Dodge much like sonar they all very similar. Whichever one you have the most faith in.
Whoever you fish with that can adjust and show you how to read the one they are using.
I have a guide friend who has all three on his boat and can tell you which one works best for whatever the situation is.
I'm still on a 1199 so a few years behind the curve.


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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14496473 10/05/22 01:59 PM
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Side scan like said above is about the most important tool. I ran a 998 for years and recently upgraded to a 12" Lowrance Carbon. Side scan definition is night and day difference. As well as being able to back track on the scan and drop way points on specific groups of fish to the side. When you spend some time with the newer units you can dial them in where you can tell differences in fish by shapes and contrasts. There are also a couple of bass guides that do graphing trips. They will go out on your boat and tweak your units and make sure they are updated correctly then will give you on the water tutorials and show you what you are looking at. Its worth it in my opinion if you have new units that you are unfamiliar with.


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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14496791 10/05/22 06:38 PM
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Bob,

I am way behind on the new technology of the sonar, GPS units and the trolling motors. But I am more familiar with the Lowrance products just not the new stuff. I figure I am just going with more Lowrance since I am more familiar with their technology. I also have one that I plan to keep and just upgrade the Xducer.

The guys I go fishing Offshore in the Gulf with all run the Garmin units. I have to say the Garmin seem to me was easier to run and was really easy to see in the full sun... My cousin bought some new Garmin sonar/GPS unit here a few months ago and I helped him install it and that thing is awesome to say the least.

If i didn't have anything on my boat or was going to shotgun all the electronics I would go Garmin, just from how they are so easy for my head to wrap around the way they are used. I do have one Lowrance ti2 I just recently bought from a guy on our forsale section and plan to keep it and up grade the other small Lowrance unit that is 21 years old whatever, but figure to stay Lowrance bow and driver's console, in hopes of keeping it simple for me to use them easier. I will say that the newer ti2 unit I bought used when setup in the 455kh setting, has been really amazing, but I have not had much time with it on looking for bait and/or fish.

Tried the Hummingbird equipment and never really like it that well for whatever reason. I do think all 3 of these brands are on top of the technology, but I look at this like cell phones, some of us like the Samsung Droid 's and some like the apple, or one of the others out there...

All this of course jmho here, so just say'n my .02's worth here man and look forward to see what is tacked on this thread and what you decide to get...

Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14496907 10/05/22 08:41 PM
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Decent price for Helix 10 Chirp SI GPS G2N unit with transducer ($500) in the TFF classifieds
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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14497306 10/06/22 09:56 AM
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BCB, I am generally happy with my Lowrance Elite FS... Generally happy. It does what it's supposed to do. On the other hand, I have seen the Humminbird Apex in action and if I was to upgrade, that would be the one I think.


Catfish Tim
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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14497443 10/06/22 01:40 PM
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Bluecat Bob Online Content OP
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Thanks for the input, guys.

I hadn’t thought about hiring a guide to run through and set it up, sounds like a great idea.

I was playing with them in Cabelas yesterday, definitely a 7 inch unit for me - 5 too small and 9 too big. I guess it’s what you’re used to.

Thanksgiving sales…..fingers crossed.


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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Catfish Tim] #14497449 10/06/22 01:43 PM
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Bluecat Bob Online Content OP
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Originally Posted by Catfish Tim
BCB, I am generally happy with my Lowrance Elite FS... Generally happy. It does what it's supposed to do. On the other hand, I have seen the Humminbird Apex in action and if I was to upgrade, that would be the one I think.


Catfish Tim, I just googled ‘Hummingbird Apex’ and it came back with a tv sized device @ $3,800!!! Jeeze Louise, I could buy my own trawler for that!

hammer

Last edited by Bluecat Bob; 10/06/22 01:44 PM.

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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14497526 10/06/22 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluecat Bob
Originally Posted by Catfish Tim
BCB, I am generally happy with my Lowrance Elite FS... Generally happy. It does what it's supposed to do. On the other hand, I have seen the Humminbird Apex in action and if I was to upgrade, that would be the one I think.


Catfish Tim, I just googled ‘Hummingbird Apex’ and it came back with a tv sized device @ $3,800!!! Jeeze Louise, I could buy my own trawler for that!

hammer


Go big or go home BCB... walking


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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14497531 10/06/22 02:55 PM
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I have the Hook 9ts works great brother.... Not to cheap and Not to expensive gets the job done.


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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14497554 10/06/22 03:25 PM
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Bob,

I have had a Lowrance Elite Ti2 - 9" for 3 years or so. Just bought a Garmin 10" with the GT54 transducer this year. The Garmin is much nicer on side scan especially, than the 3 yr old Lowrance.

I know you said 7" is right size for you... but if you find a deal on the 9" with Christmas sales, etc. it makes a huge difference. I had an older HB 7" before I bought the Lowrance 9". It is night and day different. MUCH better and easier to see, make out stuff, especially on side scan. If you were just using for down image, then7" is ok... but for side scanning, need the bigger unit! Normally Bass Pro/Cabela's has some good deals on end of year sales, before then bring out the next generation.

Also might watch the classifieds as mentioned above. Those "older" HB units had very good side scan early on compared to some others, just my opinion.


Good luck
Ken


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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14502570 10/12/22 12:23 PM
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BCB, I hope you find the unit you feel comfortable with but here's my 2 cents....
I run a Lowrance Elite 12 Ti2 and have for a year. Upgraded from an HDS8.
My most used scanning tool is the side scan in water under about 20', otherwise sonar/down scan is what I use.
But.........and this is my opinion, the CHART is the most important tool in getting started in finding fish. The chart not only shows you the depth you are in, but more importantly the depth you will/can get in to. Contour lines of ledges, creeks and flats give you an idea of what you are really fishing. You can make a mental picture of what the bottom actually looks like. I often look at my chart page as I am running down the river and picture what it looks like in relation to a field or parking lot. We all know what a parking lot or field looks like, so I just add what depth change i feel the bottom would be making in that mental picture.
So........if you can get a unit that has a Chart built in, you can do all of this on the water, but a laptop and Navionics Chart Viewer of the body of water you will be fishing can really provide a head start. I live 9 miles from the Tennessee river/Wheeler lake and spend more time looking at Navionics on my laptop than I do on my Lowrance on the water.
I hope this helps. Get the depth finder you can afford and are comfortable with.
Another opinion I have about the size of the screen is to remember that the right side of the screen on Sonar and the top of the screen on Side Scan is "real time" and the rest of that screen is in the "past." I think too many people look at the middle of the screen and don't realize the middle of the screen on Sonar might be many many feet/yards behind the boat.
Just my 2 cents.
Good luck

Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: ccat] #14502918 10/12/22 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ccat
I live 9 miles from the Tennessee river/Wheeler lake and spend more time looking at Navionics on my laptop than I do on my Lowrance on the water.
I hope this helps.


This is exactly what I do. I find some new spots on the laptop, take a pic with my cellphone and then go fish it. ccat, I launch out of Ditto and run either way. G Dam to Triana Boat ramp are where I concentrate my searches.


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Re: What Fishfinder for Catfishing? [Re: Bluecat Bob] #14503030 10/12/22 05:57 PM
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Bob,
Search used, you will find a bigger screen for less and believe me, it does make a difference. Side imaging on a 7" screen is tough. There are several Helix 10's out there used for not much more than a new helix 7.

Also consider anything you may want to do in the furture. Certain things are compatible with certain finders and not others.

I run Birds myself. Mainly because I like the ease of use. Haven't had Lowrance, or used one, for decades. Garmin I just didn't like the settings set up, nor did I like the side vu. However I've heard they have a new ducer out that is supposed to be pretty good.

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