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Sketty55

Fishfinder recommendations

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Hi all. I've been looking for my first fishfinder and there are a lot of options out there. I think a basic unit like the garmin striker 4 is cheap and a good value including the gps, ability to mark waypoints. However, the sales guy mentioned that I would get a lot more value out of a Humminbird Helix 5 with built in maps, down imaging, etc. Ofcourse it's a few hundred bucks more. I don't have my own boat now so that I thought the portability of the striker 4 would be great, but appreciate any advice on what I should ask myself to determine if i should make the extra investment for a better unit. Appreciate any advice. 

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I have an older Lowrance HDS 7.  Good unit. But the newer ones are way better and can link to your electric trolling motor. Something to think about.   I’m thinking next one will be Humminbird linked to a new MinnKota motor. 

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What are you trying to do with this and why get a graph if you do not currently have a boat? These are the first questions I would ask myself.

Out of those two units, I would lean towards the Helix. But you do not need DI unless that is what you want. I would assume a Helx 5 sonar/GPS would be equivalent to the Striker 4 with a little larger, yet better laid out screen.

 

As stated above, the bigger, the better. I had a Lowrance Elite 5 DSI years ago and it was a good unit for the price. I currently have Helix 10's and that extra screen size (almost double) makes a huge difference. The helix units are pretty easy to use as well. I have no experience with Garmin at all so can't help you out there.

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I have a herd of Garmin's on my boat and they are excellent units.

As has been said, go up to a 5 or bigger. The 4" units are just too small when you want to use the sonar and GPS in split screen mode.

You're better off going with an Echomap Plus or Echomap Chirp unit with the Canadian Lakeview maps built in rather than the basic GPS of the Striker units.

These are the 7" and 9" Echomap Chirp units on my boat.

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You don't have a boat so what are you using this unit for.

Electronics is very competitive market there are really no deals.

If hummingbird has big sell off they changing the product and the new one will be much better.

Same for Lowrance.

So ID needs. Funny story took buddy to Angler Outfitters intro to Monty

Lowrance guru . Buddy said can't decide on 7 or 9. Monty pressed power

 7 and the 9. Decision made. 

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Buy used from the states...

 

the new helix 5’s and 7’s double as a flasher/graph for ice fishing with an actual “ice fishing mode” now with the update that came out last year. Best bang for your buck bar none.

i personally run two helix 7’s at the console and a helix 9 at the bow of my boat and absolutely love them. Best imaging in the game.

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If your looking for a good portable unit the helix 5 is a good deal.  I have a G2 as an ice unit and portable.  I don’t need much more than that.  I actually bought a 7 this winter thinking I’d replace my older raymarine with it but once I took it out of the box and fired it up it the unit took up too large of a footprint for the actual screen size compared to my raymarine A78.  I moved the humminbird along.  I have been very happy with my 5 so much so that I replaced my gen 1 with a gen 2 on clearance from Canadian tire this winter.  I’m sure the Garmin is a good unit but 5 inches of screen is the minimum I want to look at.  If you don’t need the absolute latest and greatest you can get some great deals on the last generation of electronics.

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As one that started with the original Lowrance green box Fish-Lo-K-Tor flasher, really,  if you don't have your own boat and probably will just suction cup it on a rental, all you really need to do is locate structure , I'd cheap out at this point and wait until you get your own boat for all the bells and whistles, probably too you will have a better idea by then about what you want in a fish finder.

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Helix 5 is the easy answer here.   Can use it for anything.  Ice fishing, fly-in trips with a portable pack and suction cup mount, kayak, whatever.   You can get them loaded with all the bells and whistles (SI/DI/Chirp, etc) or just a basic one with sonar.

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12 minutes ago, BillM said:

Helix 5 is the easy answer here.   Can use it for anything.  Ice fishing, fly-in trips with a portable pack and suction cup mount, kayak, whatever.   You can get them loaded with all the bells and whistles (SI/DI/Chirp, etc) or just a basic one with sonar.

I,ll stick with my 598. Still learn,n it.LOL

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Think about it.  Do you really need GPS on your sonar unit?  Usually, what a fisherman searches for is structure.  There is visible above water structure that can almost always give you an idea of where to wet your line.  Depending on what type of fishing you want to do and for which species, you can easily spot with your eyes, good fishing areas.  I always look for that odd visible feature that is like nowhere else on the body of water.  An island, a large rock just out from shore, a rock face, a rocky point, weed beds, rapids, inlets and outlets etc etc.  Or, you can just slowly roam about and spot fish on the sonar.  Up here where I live, finding fish on the sonar means brook trout since there are no other species of fish in most of the lakes.  I have a GPS but it is a handheld model that I also use for hunting and even finding lakes near the lumber roads that criss-cross all over my region.  I often bring along my GPS in case my sonar shows me interesting structure surrounded by fish far out from shore.  I can  then register waypoints and be able to quickly find that structure again.  I have been using sonars since Hummingbird brought out the 3004 in the 70's and GPS units that only showed my trails and waypoints on a white blank screen. Fishing from shore, I would surely buy a sonar that I could cast out on the end of my line in order to see depth and bottom type and maybe a few fish.  I have yet to see if a GPS or a sonar has been responsible for catching more fish.  From what I have seen, the Helix 5 with down imaging seems to be what I would buy.  While ice fishing, my old Humminbird 3004 would detect brook trout almost crawling on bottom and my old Lowrance flasher unit from the 60's shows me smelt passing under my ice shack.

Edited by Dabluz

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My fishing circumstances are vastly different than yours.  I use my GPS constantly to mark schools of fish and structure.  I wouldn’t be without it and don’t miss landmarking at all!  That said a simple sonar is sometimes all people need.  

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I've been using a dual beam Humminbird 160? I think. It's great but my buddy got a Striker 4 and it's much better. We could pick out bait clouds and fish arcs were much higher resolution. If you fish rentals, the Striker 4 is fine and the backtrack GPS lets you hit those drift fish and trolling fish that you find on unfamiliar water. Helix 5 is much better, i've not used it but if if it's your first unit, I would spent 200 bucks more eagerly than 500. 

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Run a gps/di helix 5 at the console and a basic helix 5 up at the bow, cheap and simple setup.. its been great.

A helix 7 si will probably happen next year.

Edited by boombap

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On 5/30/2019 at 8:45 PM, Hack_Fisherman said:

I’m looking at the helix 5 for its ice fishing capabilities too

I've used the Helix 5, gen 1 and now gen 2 for 3 seasons on the ice.  Before that I used the Humminbird 385.  They've been excellent for the intended purpose, and they make a pretty good portable as well.

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If you ever want to link two units down the road I would recommend the new Simrad Go Series units. The new units will link via wireless so no cables are required. Check out the Simrad website if you’re interested. 

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4 hours ago, rockin-steelhead said:

If you ever want to link two units down the road I would recommend the new Simrad Go Series units. The new units will link via wireless so no cables are required. Check out the Simrad website if you’re interested. 

Humminbird G2N and G3N units network very easily as well :)  Although the wireless on the Simrad is slick! 

Edited by BillM

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