Fish-finder vs. Skinny Water

Discussion in 'Power it up with Electronics' started by lopakapence, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. lopakapence

    lopakapence I Love!

    Okay, so I see the Hummingbird Side Imaging and down imaging fish-finder units, and although I have not been out in the Mosquito Lagoon, I did go out in the St. Johns River with someone.  Depths were mostly 2 feet, with some 6 foot depths in the center of the channel.  For the Indian River and the Lagoon I have a feeling most of the time I would be in shallow water.  Although I love toys, I can't believe a side imaging or even a down imaging fish-finder will be of much use.  Opinions, recommendations, experiences wanted.
  2. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    For depths greater than 2 feet a depth sounder is useful.
    Less than 2 feet, it's just another gadget using up electricity.
    Fishing channels and cuts, or open water, looking for structure
    a depth sounder is a necessity. I haven't needed one since 2008.
    In most areas where I play, I'm barely scraping by. a push pole tells
    me how deep it is, and wakes or swirls tell me where the fish are.


  3. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

    I fish tampa bay, mostly the flats and mangrove islands, and haven't bothered with a depth finder for 5 years now. The only useful reading in skinny water is depth to me, but I can tell that easy enough with my stake out pole. Imaging is pretty useless in under 6-8ft to me.
  4. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

    I'm with FC and Brett. I also think that they are useless if you can see bottom.

    If you are basically fishing a flat that is 2' deep, pretty sure the surrounding area is 2' +/- 3 inches.
  5. bugslinger

    bugslinger Practice catch and release.

    I will echo all the previously stated comments and say that mine gets used mostly for the GPS function and for water temp only. Other than that, on a skinny water skiff, all the features of depth sounding in your home water are useless. In waters you're not familiar with it may be a valuable tool for finding the channel to get home.
  6. fsae99

    fsae99 I Love!

    I've had HB side imaging since 2008, and I have no doubt that I could spot fish in less than 2' of water with it. Provided the transducers are setup right, just barely under the surface and, and the boat remains level.

    Here is the issue with side imaging shallow water, down imaging is useless in less than 6', you have to mount the transducer so high it requires 2 of them (270.00 a each) then they do not work on plane or when the boat rocks one side goes blank.

    As capt tj said if you go to a lot of unfamiliar water they are very handy. Ever venture out to deep water to artificial reef marked on a map, I guarantee I will find the structure before someone without it. If I never planned to fish anywhere else than ML I would not buy side imaging. I bought a micro skiff so I could take my boat new places economically and would hate not to have side imaging.
  7. timj

    timj Well-Known Member

    I agree I haven't had sonar on my skiff since I bought it a year ago and aside from just being curious about the depth where I am I really haven't needed it. I would like to get something for mapping though and I'm curious what you all would recommend. I think something with satelite overlay would be the ticket for shallow water fishing to show the channels and sandbars that would otherwise not be scene on a standard chart... That being said you have to spring on a higher end unit for that and add in the $150 for the navionics Hot maps platinum so you are looking at $850 for an lowrance HDS 5 with the hot maps :eek: Wooh thats alot of money for a such a lil'boat.

    what do you all run?
  8. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Seriously?  :-? I run my printer.
    Google maps satellite view, get in close and do a screen capture.
    Then I can print whatever I want in color and carry the print to use on the water.
    I know it's all shallow (less than 2 feet) and the oyster bars do show up from space.
  9. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

    I use a Garmin Etrex and love it for navigation. It's compact, easy to see and use, and very accurate. I downloaded the free Florida topo map into it and it works good enough for me. The major benefit with there software is you can view points and tracks in google earth which makes planning trips very easy.