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Fishing from Kayaks and Canoes New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  Cheap Fish Finder
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-01-07 10:06 PM (EST)

I see some recommending an $80 unit from Cabelas. Im just concerned as it needs 12 Volts like from a car battery or the likes.

This is what Im looking at:

Its cheap I know. Just curious if anyone has tried something this cheap? Or possibly this particular model.

I like the fact this is aimed at depth under 100 feet. The deepest area I might get into is 35' shipping channels, with exception to the local quarries...

So Im thinking this might be the best choice.


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Messages in this Topic


  Never heard of it, that doesn't mean
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-02-07 1:17 AM (EST)
it isn't good. As for needing 12 volts, yes (actually a bit less), but the power source does not have to be auto battery size. It doesn't take many amps to power a depth finder. Personally, I wouldn't buy the Ebay item.
  Options from the Hawkeye thread
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-02-07 2:05 PM (EST)
for powering a regular fish finder:

While it takes 12 volts, it doesn't take a lot of amps. My Cuda 168 operates off 8 AA batteries in a battery pack from Radio Shack, it cost less than $4, and a 9-volt pig tail...the battery pack has snap connections like a 9 volt. The pigtail is wired to the finder. Many kayak fishermen use a 12 volt rechargeable deer feeder batter, about $19. Fry's sells a 12 volt battery that's rechargeable, puts out 1.5 amps, and is 1/2 or less the weight of the deer feeder battery, also several other rechargeables with more amps, but still smaller in size/wt. Some operate their finder off rechargeable AA's, though it seems to take eight batter pack, one two battery pack.
  On down the thread, you'll see
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-02-07 2:08 PM (EST)
discussion of housing AA batteries, taking Rouse's idea for making a battery pack with PVC, I made a holder out of 1 1/2" PVC with end caps. Had the pipe, so the holder cost me two end caps, 99 cents each. It works so well I'm considering making some larger containers with 4" septic pipe...its lighter than regular pipe, cheaper too.
  Sorry I couldn't resist .
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-06-07 7:48 AM (EST)
Hook and worm ;-)
  Lead weight on a string for depth.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-06-07 9:39 AM (EST)
Mark Twain!!!!. It works too.
  Yes it does
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-07-07 6:24 AM (EST)
Lots of species feed just of the bottom. I usually tie mine right onto the end of my rig then let her go. Reel up a foot or two off bottom and set my float stop. Then when i cast out I can get my lure, fly, bait right where they're at.
  Posted by: wet_dog on Aug-27-07 3:29 PM (EST)
A snorkel mask :)
  Won't work in the waters I fish.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-27-07 9:32 PM (EST)
  battery pack
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-31-07 7:24 PM (EST)
how long does the battery pack last for? thanks and happy new year.
  Its difficult to say. I've gotten four
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-31-07 9:40 PM (EST)
trips...usually 6-8 hour trips...out of my fish finder. Lately, I've used heavy duty rather than alkaline batteries and see little difference in length of time.
  Posted by: RouseD on Jan-01-08 5:58 AM (EST)
yak.canfish, I had to go to 9 batteries. I meant to use 10, but eveidently, I couldn't count. I was in a hurry and didn't realize I had only 9 until I took them out later to make some changes. Our Cuda 168s can use up to 17 volts on the supply voltage, so we could use 11 for 16.5 volts. I don't like to press things, so I would only use 10 like you. I found some gel cell battires and have mad ehem up to use now. I can keep them charged all the time until my next trip. I know you can buy them at Bass Pro Shops because i saw them at Pigeon Forge/Sevierville Tenn. They work great.
  Found a gel battery simlar to deer
  Posted by: old_user on Jan-01-08 6:02 PM (EST)
feeder type at a feed store, 12 volt. I may get it. I've a charger. Its less than what the big box store sells by about $5. Fry's electronic store has some 12 volt rechargeable batteries that are small, 3 amps or so. Don't know if its enough amperage, but light. They run about $20 though. The big advantage of the AA's, though, has been light weight and not taking up much room.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-16-07 12:44 PM (EST)


  fish finder
  Posted by: RouseD on Aug-17-07 5:01 AM (EST)
Ollie, how are you to floating the transducer? Anyone else use this fishfinder?
Ollie, how long have you been using it?
  Used to float mine by attaching it to
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-17-07 6:08 PM (EST)
1/2" PVC and sliding on a piece of pool noodle. Worked pretty well.
  Posted by: RouseD on Aug-19-07 11:58 AM (EST)
yakcanfish I can't picture how you used the PVC and pool noodle to mount your transducer.
  You can buy a mount that will allow
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-19-07 12:55 PM (EST)
mounting a transducer to a trolling motor shaft, or at least used to be able to do so. Or, you can attach the transducer with cable ties. Its been a long time, so don't remember exactly how I attached the transducer. As for the pipe, its somewhat trial and and error. As I remember, I used about 14" of pipe and 8-12" of pool noodle. Before connecting the wires for the finder to anything, I slipped them through the pool noodle and the noodle down over the pipe shaft. You may have to play with it to get it where the transducer is parallel to the water bottom. The one thing you need to know about floating the transducer is that if you paddle beyond just a slight movement each stroke, the transducer will not be as parallel to the bottom as you may want for an accurate read. The faster you go, the more off it will be.
  transducer mount
  Posted by: RouseD on Aug-20-07 5:04 AM (EST)
yak.canfish You have given me more ideas of how I can mount a transducer. My yak has a narrow flat place on the stern with screws to mount a rudder. I should be able to mount a piece of PVC onto that and use the troolling motor mount on that. I had thought I may try to do something like that before, but haven't given it much thought. Now I have a way to do it.
  I've seen several variations for SOT
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-22-07 5:59 PM (EST)
fishfinder mounting, and they work in a sit inside as long its not a polylink or superlink hull like the Old Town Loons or Dirigos. The most common is to mount the transducer to the inside of the hull bottom with 3M Marine silicone sealant. Put a gob on the transducer and press it to the kayak bottom, making sure there are no air bubbles. Some rig them through the scupper hole, but I'm not sure that will work on your kayak. Others do what's called a "wet" mount. I'm not as familiar with that. I'll try to find you a link on Another place to look is

The problem with those methods are they are semi-permanent. Also, temp readings will be off, but the transducer will read through a single layer poly hull. I don't find surface temp readings all that useful anyway.
  Here's a thread. I've seen a siimilar
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-22-07 6:17 PM (EST)
mount to the one with the PVC coming out of the flush mount rod tubes.
  Another thread on mounting a transducer.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-22-07 6:22 PM (EST)
It includes other stuff too. On the wet mount, I believe some use vasalin rather than marine goop.
  Fish Finder from Harbor Freight
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-12-07 11:11 AM (EST)
SORRY I TOOK SO LONG!!! It has its own "bobber"...a round yellow donut thing about 5 inches across. I used the same batteries all summer this year. Just yesterday the indicator said they are going out. 2 AA batteries! Not bad. It isn't wonderful, but you sure see where many of the fish are down to about 100 feet.
  Harbor Freight FF
  Posted by: RouseD on Sep-13-07 4:08 AM (EST)
Ollie, thanks for the come back. I'll have to check to see if that FF is still on sale. Do you know of other FFs that you could compare with that you feel it does just as well?
  Transducer Mounting Option
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-22-07 2:07 PM (EST)
Here's a transducer mounting suggestion.

Attach a broom clip (spring clip for hanging brooms on the wall) on your yak so it's reachable, but not in the way (two small holes for the screws, above the waterline. I used a large washer on the inside of the yak and a rubber washer on the outside). Attach your transducer to a wooden paint roller handle. That's it. Cost - about $5.

You snap the roller handle into the broom clip when you want to use your finder. Snap it out when you're just paddling (to reduce the drag) or when you want to do a side scan under the lily pads or dock.
  transducer mounting
  Posted by: RouseD on Aug-24-07 4:13 AM (EST)
yak.canfish, TY so much for all the info. The boat that was used to demonstrate the mounting, using the flush mount for the transducer is just like mine.
Thanks for all the other ideas from others also.
  RouseD, a friend has his transducer
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-24-07 12:54 PM (EST)
mounted as in the picture. It works, but the one thing I don't care for when fishing with him is the squeaking when he adjusts the transducer. Maybe graphite or silicon spray would reduce that. Its not bad, but if fishing for skittish fish, adjust before you get to the area you plan to fish.
  Posted by: RouseD on Aug-25-07 7:18 AM (EST)
yak.canfish, I think I will go with the stern mounting for now, whenever I either get my fishfinder working, or buy a new one. I do not have a rudder on my yak yet. I could see where one would help, but my yak tracks very well without one. That idea to mount one in the flushmount rod holder may be an option later for me. Thanks for the help.
  Inexpensive Fish Finder
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-30-07 8:50 PM (EST)
I found, by accident, Humminbird's Smartcast.

We have three large bodies of water and a large creek that surround our property and had to bring out an expert in water management.
She had the Smartcast from Humminbird to take depth readings; I thought that it was ingenious in that you cast the remote to where you wish for readings on depth or fish.
It's very compact and they have monitors that attach to a rod or that you can wear on your wrist.
Take a look.
  Had one, took it back after it went
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-30-07 9:31 PM (EST)
belly up the third trip. That's been the experience of about a dozen people I know who have used the samrtcast rod/wrist system. The screen is very small and really good only for structure. The may be better made now.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-31-07 6:32 AM (EST)
Had one, it was ok. However, it quit working in short order. Looking for a portable that uses double or triple A's. Shoot thru the hull transducer?
  Any finder will operate on 8 AA's.
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-31-07 8:57 AM (EST)
I'm told you can even use 8 rechargeable batteries, but it didn't work when I tried, took 10. Just grab the long 8 battery holder and a snap on pig tail at Radio Shack and wire it in. I've put my battery pack in a section of PVC capped on both ends, don't need to glue them. Drill a small hole in one end. Get some small bungies and attach to a thwart.
  8 batteries
  Posted by: RouseD on Sep-14-07 4:26 AM (EST)
Yakcanfish, you may have given me a very good idea. I used 8 batteries for my fishfinder (Cuda 168), and it would not work. The dispaly worked great and I could hear the clicking from the transducer, but it would not read depth correctly. I will try using 10 batteries instead of the 8 to see if that is the problem. I have not purchased another FF as yet.
  Cuda 168
  Posted by: RouseD on Jan-01-08 6:04 AM (EST)
yak.canfish, When I made up my 1st battery pack out of the 8 AA batteries, my 168 would not work. It had been close to 2 years since I'd used it, and I though it was on the blink. When I went to BPS I bought a new 168. I loved the old one. I'm still not convince my old one is OK. I don't seem to be getting the fish symbols the way I used to at Kerr lake. I am fishing salt water now, in mostly shallow water. It was late this year the 1st time I got it going and the fish just weren't there. I'll know more about it later. I could put the new on on to see if there is a difference, but I feel it is just the new type of fishing and the time of year I am going. It Does great on depth. I know because one of the times I went, the water was crystal clear, and the depths it was reading were very close.
  It lies.
  Posted by: kfsrmn on Jan-01-08 12:07 PM (EST)
I turned the fish id off because it gives false readings and you have to reduce the sensitivity. Mine works much better with the id off and the sensitivity on auto. You get arches instead of fish symbols and the structure or bait balls reads much better. I have a 10 pack of sub c rechargeables in a pelican box. The xducer shoots through the hull and is attached with goop.
  Agree about the fish ID not working well
  Posted by: old_user on Jan-01-08 7:45 PM (EST)
If one has an Old Town Polylink or similar multi layered hull, shooting through the hull doesn't work unless you are a brave soul and cut through the first two layers. I'm not that brave.
  In water less than about 4 ft you will
  Posted by: old_user on Jan-01-08 7:42 PM (EST)
get false readings. The sound double bounces. Mine will give me fairly accurate depth readings (a 168) but it doesn't seem as accurate for structure in shallow water. The best use I can see for a fishfinder in shallow waters like the salt bays around here...average 4 ft or less finding holes...very good to know when the water turns cold. I do not use the fish ID mode. It gives false readings. The instructions suggest it doesn't work that well at identifying fish.
  cheap ff
  Posted by: old_user on Jan-01-08 9:42 AM (EST)
I have the Zebco (same as the Hawkeye) and it works great. Just float the transducer along beside the yak. It fits perfect on the bungee on my console in the Fisherman Pro 14. Batteries last for several trips.
  Great info
  Posted by: RouseD on Jan-02-08 4:48 AM (EST)
I'm so glad I saw this info on the 168. Somehow, I must have already done something to mine to give it the arches instead of the fish symbols. I thought something was wrong with it. Yak.canfish, you are so right about the shallow water thing. One question, do the arches get larger with larger fish like the fish symbols. When I used my 168 at Kerr Lake, I was thinking there were too many symbols to be true, but I did go in placed where there were no symbols at all in very deep water. The area I was in, in the deepest places was about 80 feet. Just a ways further toward the dam, it gets much deeper. I was told a long time ago, before I got my 1st fish finder, that trash and any small debris would make symbols on depth/fish finders. That was with the ones that looked like a wheel was turing inside. I feel that still hapens with the more modern ones.
  168 sensitivity
  Posted by: kfsrmn on Jan-02-08 9:52 AM (EST)
Cut the sensitivity down in shallow water. Go to sensitivity on the menu, put it on manual and cut it down to 50%. Work up or down from there until you get what you want. Same goes for almost any ff.


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