Recommended GPR Fish Finder for 1981 Sport 13

Electrical and electronic topics for small boats
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Recommended GPR Fish Finder for 1981 Sport 13

Postby remarksf » Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:43 am

[Moderator's note: this topic has moved to SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL because it seeks advice on boat electronics.]

I need advice or recommendation [for a GPR Fish Finder for a 1982 Sport 13].

I live on a sandy bay and will be taking my boat a few miles where it is important to stay in the channels that are not well marked, and also I will be angling for fluke and bass. While there is no real danger in the sandbars--there are no rocks and small boats can be pushed off--I really want an accurate GPR/Fishfiner so I can follow the course in more complicated conditions.

Given my boat is a 13-footer, I think I would need a handheld, as opposed to something installed. I am willing to pay a bit more for accuracy and a better product if needed.

Thank you

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Re: Recommended GPR Fish Finder for 1981 Sport 13

Postby jimh » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:54 pm

I think you are seeking advice on a electronic chart plotter and electronic charts and a SONAR device.

Many electronic chart plotters are integrated devices and also contain a SONAR and a global navigation satellite system receiver. Another factor to consider is the bundling or inclusion of electronic charts with the electronic chart plotter.

You mention two specific fish species you will be angling for, and I believe one of those species is a saltwater fish. On that basis I infer you will be boating in coastal saltwater. Electronic charts for coastal saltwater are generally available from many sources. Charts for inland freshwater lakes are not as widely available.

There is a trend today that manufacturers of recreational grade electronic chart plotters will be affiliated with or aligned with or even actually own the electronic chart publisher whose charts will work with their brand chart ploter. Because of this, you need to establish there are good electronic charts available in the brand of charts needed for a particular device.

I am not aware of any "Fish Finders" that can be hand held. If you want a SONAR device, you will probably need to get a device that installs at the helm in a more permanent manner.

Also, I am not clear what the acronym "GPR" was intended to mean.

The 13-foot length of your boat suggests you will want a smaller display. A 5-inch or 7-inch display will be suitable.

There are so many choices in modern multi-function displays with an electronic chart plotter, a SONAR, and a GNSS receiver integrated into one package, and the models are so frequently updated, that I have not been able to keep up on what might be a best choice. I am still using the display I bought about ten years ago.

SONAR devices have become very advanced. In addition to the SONAR unit you must also select a proper transducer. The transducer will generally need to be permanently mounted onto the boat transom. This further prohibits the concept of a hand-held "fish finder" device. Transom-mount transducers can vary widely in cost. The best transducers often cost more than any other component in the entire boat electronic system.

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Re: Recommended GPR Fish Finder for 1981 Sport 13

Postby Jefecinco » Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:28 am

Our 1981 Sport 13 with a wood console is equipped with a Raymarine 5 inch Dragonfly Pro GPS/Fishfinder. It is mounted to the console using a RAM mount and is powered by the boat's 12 Volt battery. It has given us about five years of trouble free service. Installation was easy but you may need the optional longer transducer cable accessory for your 13 as we did. Measuring will determine your needs.

We bought the boat and later the Dragonfly for use in Gulf Shores, AL "Little Lagoon", a shallow lagoon with no buoys or other navigation aids. It's primary use was to establish safe electronic tracks in the lagoon so we could navigate to our favorite beaches and fishing spots. We also use the boat in deeper water around coastal Alabama. The fishfinder is virtually useless except as a depth sounder in shallower waters. In deeper water of at least ten feet it can actually provide some fish finding capability as well. I can recommend this model for your purposes. No fishfinder is effective in shallow water but you need a depth sounder which the fishfinder incorporates in it's functions. The depth under the transducer can be displayed on the GPS Map screen making it very useful in the shallows.

Handheld GPS have small screens I find difficult to use for boating and as Jim mentioned they have no depth sounder of fishfinder capability.

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Re: Recommended GPR Fish Finder for 1981 Sport 13

Postby drewread » Sun Aug 16, 2020 8:58 pm

The nice thing about the Raymarine Dragonfly PRO units is that you can pair them up over WiFi with a tablet or your mobile phone (Apple or Android) that is runiing the Navionics Boating app to have a second screen.

I found that running the navigation charts on a tablet gave me a good viewing size for the charts and the fish finder screen on the Dragonfly 5 Pro was also very usable. I personally found the chart on the Dragonfly 5 Pro screen was usable but not optimal for my aging eyes.

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Re: Recommended GPR Fish Finder for 1981 Sport 13

Postby Jefecinco » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:32 am

Drew - I agree that a larger screen is very useful for viewing charts. Our Dragonfly uses Navionics Charts. I have a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses with bifocal reader lenses. The 5 inch screen would be useless to me without reading lenses. Your use of a tablet is a clever solution to having a larger display on a smaller boat.

I found the included transducer to be a very effective and accurate tool for fishfinding and reading depth.

We bought the Dragonfly because we could not find a more able MFD that would fit well on our 13's console for less money.