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Author Topic:   Fishfinder for new Montauk 170
fishin8tor posted 08-17-2005 02:39 AM ET (US)   Profile for fishin8tor   Send Email to fishin8tor  
I have narrowed my choice down to the Furuno 4100 and Raymarine DS400X. The Raymarine shows great detail, but the screen size is very small. The Furuno looks great, but doesn't have color. Which one do you think is better?
bsmotril posted 08-17-2005 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
The digital signal processing technology of the Raymarine radars and fishfinders really does make a difference for the better. The downside of the Raymarine gear is that is works great in automatic mode, but if you like to manually tweak parameters, the menus are a bit awkward to navigate. On a scale of 1-5 with garmin's menus being the best at a 5, and the old british made Raytheon GPS menus a 1, the Raymarine is a 3 for ease of manual use in my book, with auto mode being a 5. On the plus side, the auto adjust signal processing works so good you seldom need to manually adjust it. BillS
jmontani posted 08-17-2005 05:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmontani    
I looked at both and went with FURUNO. I don't plan on a ton of fishing, so I didn't want to pay the extra for color display.

However, I can tell you that Raymarine has outstanding warranty service and tech support. I run a full suite of their electronics (wind, depth, spd, Auto-pilot) on my sailboat as well as a handheld VHF for the dinghy. I have had two issiues in 8 years. One was just out of warranty (Knot meter was 6 months past the 1 year - this last June) and the other was in warranty (VHF - 5 years ago). Both timely replaced (10 days from ship to rec) at no charge, just my shipping cost to send it in.

BigMoney posted 08-17-2005 08:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for BigMoney  Send Email to BigMoney     
I almost bought a Raymarine 400, but that screen is TINY!! I've heard a lot of complaints about being able to read the display in direct sunlight. I was going to upgrade my Raytheon 470 on my 170 Montauk, but I'm just going to stick with it until the 500 (or comparable screen sized unit) comes down in price a bit....

I guess if you're not using it that much, the little screen wouldn't be a big deal, but I use my sonar constantly when I'm fishing (at least once or twice a week), and I just couldn't deal with that small of a screen...

prm1177 posted 08-17-2005 09:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
I don't think color adds that much to a fishfinder. Get the big screen. You'll be better able to see what's on it when your bouncing around on the water.
BigMoney posted 08-20-2005 08:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for BigMoney  Send Email to BigMoney     
The need for color depends on what you're using the depthfinder for... If you need to be able to discern different bottom types (i.e. mud, rock, etc.) then the color can make it a lot easier... But, regardless, you need to be able to see the screen!!
bigjohn1 posted 08-21-2005 08:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
If you are dead set on going with separate units, so be it but those two peices of equipment will take up nearly 100% of your already small console. Some do not like combo units for fear if one device goes out (i.e sonar) you have to send the entire unit back and your left without gps as well. If that is your reasoning, I understand but I went with a NAVMAN TF6600 combo unit and I think its one of the absolute best combo units on the market. After months of research and pricing, my "short list" was down to the Furuno 1850 series versus the NAVMAN unit. I really wanted Furuno as we always had good results using them on Navy small boats. I put that aside and remained objective in my decision. I could not get past the "funny" name NAVMAN but once I did a head-to-head comparison, the NAVMAN beat the Furuno in display quality, unit weight, unit size, and waterproofing standard. It is a high-end unit comparable in price to Furuno's 1650 and 1850 series but its chartplotter and sonar performance are outstanding. My unit gets drenched pretty good with water during Mahi season when the seas kick up and never a hickup...NAVMAN customer support is outstanding as well. By the way, I also have a 170 MONTAUK and no, I have no afiliation with Navman - just a happy customer.
fishin8tor posted 08-22-2005 01:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for fishin8tor  Send Email to fishin8tor     
Bigjohn1 thanks for the reply. I am considering what you said after looking at how small the console is and you are right. There's very little room. I saw the Eagle Seachamp 1000DF for $499 and it has GPS and a pretty good sounder. What do you think of that unit?
bigjohn1 posted 08-22-2005 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
First things first - where and what type of fishing do you do? Fresh or saltwater? What types of bottom depths are we talking?
fishin8tor posted 08-22-2005 12:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishin8tor  Send Email to fishin8tor     
Bigjohn, I fish both saltwater and freshwater and I normally don't fish beyond 100' deep, but that may change. I fish for trout and bass in the lakes and for sandbass, yellowtail, and white sea bass in the ocean.
BigMoney posted 08-22-2005 01:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for BigMoney  Send Email to BigMoney     
In that case, any of the all-in-one units would probably work just fine... The RayMarine 400 (and higher) are all SERIOUS depth finders with ranges above 1500'. You really don't need that much power, if you're rarely going above 100'.

Personally, I am not a fan of the GPS/depthfinder combos, because of the fact that if you wish to change either component (i.e., get a better GPS, or a better depth finder) in the future, you're going to have to replace both. Plus, if the unit stops working, you're out both pieces of equipment. And, I am really not a fan of the Garmin sonar modules... We have a Garmin 2010 on our 26' boat, with the add-on module, and it was a waste of $$.

On my Montauk 170, I have a Garmin GPSMap 162 (with internal antenna), a Raytheon L470, a 25 watt VHF radio, and a stereo. I had enough console space to mount the GPS and sonar on the top, and the radio and stereo on the face of the console... That setup works best for my needs, but I routinely go out dolphin fishing in the ocean, and I have deep dropped to depths of over 600' and I need to know what the bottom composition is at those depths.

I guess it all depends on your budget. But for the most value for your $$, my recommendation would be to purchase a separate GPS (like the Garmin 172 or 179, or similar) and something similar to a Humminbird Pirahna Max 20... It's a small, but decent unit that won't take up much console space, and will give you accurate depth readings up to 600'. If you decide in the future that you need something with more power, you could always upgrade, but the Pirahna Max is less than $100.00... This would give you a really good setup for about $500.00. (The Garmin all-in-one units are about this much anyway). If you're short on console space, or want a cleaner look, then go with the gps with built in sonar. If you have a less limited budget, then get the best you can afford! :) Hope that helps.

bigjohn1 posted 08-23-2005 02:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Agreed.....get the best unit you can afford. Based on the type of fishing you do, a single frequency 200kHz sonar will do just fine since you rarely go beyond 100'. That said, as long as you're not trying to find the bottom out past about 300-400ft, a single frequecy 200 will still work. If you don't mind seeing less detail, I guess those cheaper units will do quite nicely. That Eagle unit you mention looks good but its screen detail is not the best. If you can live with this, go for it.

We all have our opinions on combo units versus separate units and both sides probably have some merit. I am from the camp that says buy a high-quality combo unit with a great reputation and excellent customer service and if its breaks, you're back in the game quickly. I like the extra space on my 170's console which is afforded to me by going with a single combo unit. I am able to throw my extra "stuff" up there in that small space like gloves, suntan lotion, a bottle of Gatorade (too large to fit in the cup holder) or whatever.

One things for certain, as a relatively shallow-water fisherman, you can get a quality unit without having to spend really big money. Once you use any of the higher power units with the higher pixel screens, it spoils you from going back the other way I think. They generally give superior results in fish finding and display quality. You will be limited to a transom-mount transducer though on a 170 MONTAUK so IMHO you will never realize the absolute best performance from ANY unit used on this hull due to not being able to utilize an in-hull transducer. Just like when buying a tv, stereo, or whatever, its all about compromises and budget - good luck in whatever you choose.

BigMoney posted 08-24-2005 05:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for BigMoney  Send Email to BigMoney     
Good points, BigJohn. I just did a little research and was happy to see that a lot of the combo units now include a stronger sonar. When I was looking, it was difficult to find a GPS with a 500 watt (RMS) sounder included. (most of them were 200 or 300 watt models that would barely reach 500 feet). I guess this is another reason why I was not a big fan of the combo units, but units like the Garmin 198C look like they've improved a lot in just the few years since I bought my electronics...

I would also say go to your favorite boat supply store and talk to the sales people. If you find someone you can trust there, they can be a WEALTH of knowledge. Those guys get a lot of feedback from customers and usually (again, if you find someone you can trust) can help a lot, too...

fishin8tor posted 08-26-2005 01:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for fishin8tor  Send Email to fishin8tor     
I went down to Westmarine and checked out all the fishfinders and I have decided to get the Raymarine DS400. Yes, the screen is small, but the detail it carried was much better than all the other fishfinders they carried. Thank you to all for your input as it is greatly appreciated.

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