Interested in buying a fish finder for my son who just got the Tarpon Angler. He fishes on lakes. Looking for good advice on the product. Thanx…
I can tell you what to avoid
any one of Hummingbird’s “smartcast” series, with the wireless transducer that you tie to your line (looks like a little green submarine). I and everyone I have talked to who had tried these things has found them to be complete junk. The rest of Hummingbird’s conventional fish finders are fine, as is the stuff Eagle, Garmin, etc. produces.
I use fish finders a lot when I am fishing from power boats, but not kayaks or canoes. I have tried it before (hence the smartcast) but then found I didn’t need it. When I am fishing from kayaks and canoes, I am generally fishing really shallow water - targeting redfish and flounder in the flats, where the water is maybe knee deep. Fish finder isn’t all that useful for that kind of fishing, better to just read the conditions, and sighcast for the reds. Now if I am fishing over reefs in the middle of the bay, yeah, a fishfinder is useful, but then I’m going to fish from a powerboat, for more range, etc. The paddle craft are saved for water where power boats can’t get in. I do occasionally take my kayak out into the gulf to fish, but since I’m paddling out through breakers, I try to keep the equipment, especially expensive stuff that would be ruined if I ditched in the surf, to a minimum. I rely on birds and water color changes to fish out there.
Not to say that you won’t find a fishfinder useful for your paddlecraft, just explaining why I can’t give a lot of advice on best unit for paddlecraft, though I did want to save you the hassle and wasted money of buying a Smartcast product.
Think size and features.
HI, The tarpon is a very popular choice for fishing. I have one myself. He should be pretty happy. As for finders, the general trend is towards narrower screen units to save some space in teh cockpit. Some screw them right into the foot well , some onto teh console or via a RAM mount. Eagle Cuda and Huminbird 300 series are the most popular with yaks. As for a specific model, it depends on wants and budget. However, if you can afford it and /or your water is big the units with internal GPS are well worth the extra cash. They will get you home and or to your best fishing spot without fail in any conditions( GPS allows you to mark fish holding spots as well as channel markers, waypoints. your car, etc. Very popular with may who rig their yaks.
As for batteries to drive it, most of us either use AAA’s ganged togeather (in a case from radio shack) or a small gell cell as used in computer back-up devices or as sold by Cabelas. Transducers can shoot right through the hull on a PVC tarpon) so install just requires a little goop/ silicone.
There are several good video’s/instructions on installing a sonar in a yak on the web. Do a search for “kayak fishing forum” and you’ll find some of those sites specificly dedicated to fishing and rigging fishing yaks. I’d post direct links for you but i’m not sure that’s allowed here.