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Portable fish finder/GPS


Big Cliff
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I am looking for a portable fishfinder/gps and looking for some suggestions. I don't need anything too fancy but some base charts would be nice. Or if anyone is upgrading and has a used one they want to part with for a reasonable price I might be interested in that. 

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I have a Helix 5 as a portable.  I agree it's excellent for the purpose.  I had an opportunity to buy a 7, but found it to be far too large when I took a close look.  Just my opinion, but the 7 certainly can't hurt if you don't mind the extra size and weight!

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I also use a helix 5. The portable unit fits perfectly inside a bucket for protection while ice fishing and running miles by machine, runs for days off a small portable battery, and marks the exact same fish as any larger screened unit. You will want to put a mapping chip in it if you want detailed charts. The larger units are just that, larger. I have bigger units on my boat, and wouldn't go smaller, but for PORTABLE, i prefer the 5" screen. 

S. 

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Helix 5 Sonar / GPS is prefect for price, portability, weight, and functionality for back lake trips and ice fishing. Also Battery life is usually an issue when you start to for with 7-9" screens. Unless you are going to go lithium... but then price point can start to get out of control.

 

 

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always go with the biggest you can afford is how I look at it. You will never regret having "too much screen" just like boats, you dont ever hear anyone say "dang i wish I had less horsepower and a smaller boat" lol

By the way, you can run a 9" garmin with panoptix effectively all day on one lithium battery. They were on sale with the charger last winter for $100 and save you a lot of weight vs carrying 2 lead batteries to power a 7 inch screen for a full day.

Edited by AKRISONER
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I disagree entirely.  The minute I saw the 7, I said there is no way in heck I want to drag that giant thing around on the ice and I went with a 5.  Not everyone wants the same thing.  Nothing wrong with a big sonar but they aren’t for everyone in all circumstances!  Your mileage may vary!

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I use and love a 9” screen plus livescope 

but I ride not walk

walkers may  want smaller size if they are carrying it in their hand but if it’s on a sled your pulling , then  I say go big 

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im going to disagree about going with a 5 because a 5 in a boat feels very very small. I personally believe that you are best to get something that is dual purpose to get more bang for your buck. You wont regret getting a unit that doubles up as a GPS that has autochart functionality and doubles as an ice unit. 

I brought my helix 7 up with me to Capreol and spent my time autocharting around our fishing holes and it allowed for us to dial in our stuff much more effectively. I didnt find it to be a burdon at all, it still fit in my Ice unit bag.

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Some of those units are the same physical size, just have bigger screens.  Don't the Helix 7/9 use the same housing?  Or is it the 5 and 7?  I dunno.  

I'm going to bring my Helix 12 out on the ice this year, lol.

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I kind of wonder when society is crying about how they can't afford this or that but say go with the biggest you can afford.   I have visions of 20 inch monitors, but wait my boat is now too small.  Unless you spend an inordinate amount of time on the water and it's your income like charters, I don't think the average Joe "needs" a large fish finder. 

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Well, the "Needs" will differ quite a bit from someone that simply wants to see how deep it is to someone that may want to see the depth plus downscan, split screen, mapping GPS screen, or any one of the other available screens. It is true that in most cases you can simply change which screen is being displayed and on most of the small screen units today they can provide a 2 in 1 display but when you have the larger screens you have more real estate that allows for much larger more detailed images. When ice fishing you are often far enough from the display that having a larger screen can perhaps be much easier to see in detail. If you are also going to use the unit on your boat, then that larger screen can play an even bigger role because you may want side imaging or any of the new forward-looking sonar options that are now available. Most boat mounted units are at minimum displaying traditional 2D sonar along with a mapping GPS screen. There are plenty of examples where instead of a single large screen multiple screens are used each one dedicated to a specific type of image. If all you want is depth and occasionally a GPS screen along with a highly portable light weight unit then a small 5" might be the best for you but if you are interested in being able to see more on one screen, then a larger screen is what you should probably be looking at. I'm guessing that no one really "needs" any of this stuff but if we want to use the technology that is available today then yes, we "Need" it. For what it's worth I think for most of us this falls into the "wants" and not in the "needs" catagory.

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19 hours ago, Fisherman said:

I kind of wonder when society is crying about how they can't afford this or that but say go with the biggest you can afford.   I have visions of 20 inch monitors, but wait my boat is now too small.  Unless you spend an inordinate amount of time on the water and it's your income like charters, I don't think the average Joe "needs" a large fish finder. 

No one “needs” a stereo in their vehicle either. 
 

it’s all about what you like spending your money on. As a guy that lives completely “vice” free, no smokes, no coffees, don’t drink much, don’t gamble, I effectively spend my surplus cash on my favourite hobby. 
 

as described above, I’ve grown from having two 7 inch screens on my boat to now setting up 3 10’s.

can the two 7’s I started with do some of the stuff my 10’s do? Ya, but definitely not everything. 
 

if you are running forward facing sonar on your boat I quickly realized that the single 9 inch screen at the bow left me wanting a second screen so that I could see a map and 2d sonar still. 
 

You may or may not believe it but electronics without a single doubt if you use them well will put a heck of a lot more fish in the boat. I’m not just saying that, ask the guys that fish in my boat, nearly every trip I go out I manage to catch a fish that I watch eat on livescope. Never mind just locating fish with it. My spring laketrout program that I run with livescope puts me at an absolutely ridiculous advantage over anyone not running it.

Edited by AKRISONER
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On 11/22/2022 at 11:40 AM, Chrispy said:

Hey Cliff,

Cabelas has the Garmin Striker 4 portable on sale for $230.00.  I just picked one up at CT for $300.00 so it is a good deal.  Haven't used it yet, but planning on taking it on all my northern trips.

https://www.cabelas.ca/product/134498/garmin-striker-4-portable-bundle

 

This looks like it just might do everything I need, it's only for occasional use, ice fishing and a few trips this summer I am going to order one and play with it a bit. Can't do better on the price, I checked Amazon and even Garmin's own website. That $229.99 is by far the best price I can find for the unit and the freight is only $20.00 so I will just have it shipped to me.

Thanks for all the replies, if I was going for a mountable unit I would be going with the Helix as it is a  great looking unit! I will let you know what I think after I have played with it a bit.

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According to the Cabela's listing it comes with a suction cup mount, which should be fine for casual use...especially if you're using it on different boats.

Sounds like a great deal...I can't believe how much the technology has come down in price for what you get. I remember buying my first Hummingbird over 40 years ago (which had the resolution of Atari PacMan in black and white) for which I spent a small fortune compared to my salary back then.

Some of you may even remember further back...the Lowrance Fish-Lo-K-Tor...the famous "Little Green Box" that started it all.

Edited by CrowMan
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It comes with the suction cup for the boat and a piece of foam to float the transducer for ice fishing.  Also has a flasher in it, haven't tried it but this was a nice inexpensive unit that will work perfect for my applications.  You can also order a different transducer for it.

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7 hours ago, CrowMan said:

According to the Cabela's listing it comes with a suction cup mount, which should be fine for casual use...especially if you're using it on different boats.

Sounds like a great deal...I can't believe how much the technology has come down in price for what you get. I remember buying my first Hummingbird over 40 years ago (which had the resolution of Atari PacMan in black and white) for which I spent a small fortune compared to my salary back then.

Some of you may even remember further back...the Lowrance Fish-Lo-K-Tor...the famous "Little Green Box" that started it all.

funny how it works right, because the newest tech is still insanely expensive. 
 

it’s absolutely nothing these days to be running 10k+ worth of electronics on a boat!

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