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Author Topic:   Garmin sounder finder
PeteB88 posted 10-01-2006 11:14 PM ET (US)   Profile for PeteB88   Send Email to PeteB88  
Okay - I have owned a couple of inexpensive finders over the years and never depended on them for fishing. Never had to. I have an Garmin 160 on the 13 a few years old. I rely on it for depth finder but it does "mark" fish I guess.

Here's the question: last week I had the 13 at the confluence of two rivers in my hometown jammed packed with Coho salmon returning from Lake Michigan. River depth averaged say 10-12 feet with a large area immediately downstream from the confluence perhaps 3-4 feet deep over an area half the size at best of a football field - I assume formed from sediment. Both rivers have very low flow (typical flatland rivers, one an impoundment created by old mill/cooling pond dam several miles downstream from confluence).

The river is completely kegged up with say 6 to 15 pound Coho going NO where until freshet, riverlevel, cold air and nature say "go". If you observe the surface and understand salmon you see dozens "rolling" or breaching the surface within a five minute period. No question there are dozens if not hundreds of salmon below the surface.

Yet, my Garmin unit rarely shows a fish shape on the screen -very rarely. I cruised at idle or let the boat drift slowly all over that area, deep, middle, edges, shallow, bar etc hardly ever showed a fish.

How do you explain that? If I want the thing to give me a clue there are fish down there, what do I do -- Buy a better one? and if Yes which one?


Chuck Tribolet posted 10-01-2006 11:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
You probably need to tweak the sensitivity.


PeteB88 posted 10-02-2006 12:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
did that, I'll try it again. thanks

bsmotril posted 10-02-2006 10:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
If the water is only 3-4 foot deep, the salmon are getting out of your way and out from under you boat well before you drive over them. The width of the transducer beam at that depty is only about 6-8" and you'd have to find a sleeping fish to run right over him with a beam that wide in that shallow water. Since fish don't have eyelids, no marks on the depthfinder.
PeteB88 posted 10-02-2006 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
got it - need to read up on the device, but what about deep water? I really want to budget for a color GPS/Sounder/finder all in one w/ internal antennae. Suggestions? OR should I buy separate? I hear Raymarine is the best.

Appreciate any advice.


bsmotril posted 10-02-2006 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I've got a Lowrance LCX20c combo unit and the fishfinder on it is far better than that on my Raymarine DX550 standalone unit. But, the Lowrance navigation menus for the GPS are not as user friendly as those made by Garmin, which are more intuitive with the user interface. I've not played around with Raymarines charting capabilities. My personal ratings for the fishfinder capabilities as Lowrance first, then Raymarine, then Garmin. For GPS/Nav, Garmin is first, Lowrance second, Raymarine no experience. Furono also has a great reputation for fishfinder/sounders, and they have a new combo unit out too. I'd investigate that one if I were in the market right now.
ratherwhalering posted 10-02-2006 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
I have heard many old timers say that Salmon do not show up on SONAR. The tale is that they do not have air sacs, but blood sacs, and therefore don't show up. I don't know the truth, but I have heard this many, many times.

When hunting salmon in the Pacific, we look for bait balls, not individual or groups of salmon.

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