Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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OK guys and gals, the time is approaching when I need to shop for a good fishfinder. I can go to my usual haunts and catch fish without one, but I have a huge variety of great fishin' holes at my disposal, and I like to fish new places. I don't feel the need for a real fancy one, as water depth and structure is what I'll mainly be looking for. Actually spotting fish down there is secondary, if not downright unimportant to me. It would be nice to have one with a built-in GPS, but I could always go with a second unit for that function. Since I have two boats, I need something I can easily move from one to the other. I'd also like for it to be simple to operate and read.

So, my questions are:
What specific models are you guys using?
What are your likes and dislikes about them?
Do the GPS models require a separate antenna?
Are the transducer cables hardwired, or detachable? (I'd like to just mount a second transducer on the second boat.)
What is the best way to mount a transducer on a pontoon boat?

Y'all feel free to just launch into a general discussion about these neat machines. The last one I had was a Sitex paper depth recorder, back in my saltwater days. I think I got it in 1983.

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humminbird 798 ci side imaging ,there is nothing that i do not like about this unit. i fished with it last yr and the side imaging is great ,also the gps and maps allow you to mark the good spots and find your way in unfamiliar waters, this unit has an internal gps antenna.most transducers that i know of have a disconnect on th cable,or the cables make up on a QUICK DISCONNECT shoe that the unit mounts to.
as for mounting the transducer it is best to mount it flush with the bottom of the boat,but out of the motor wash.

gators make good wallets
I have a Lowrance X96 up front and an Eagle Fishmark 480 in back. Both are monochrome and under 200.00 each.
I like the price, the vertical flasher on the right side of the screen, surface temp and battery voltage displays.
My thought on a gps is to have a separate unit, so you have lower replacement cost should either the sonar or gps fails. I'm shopping for a handheld gps.
As far as cabling, transducer and mounting bracket----buy a second set. Then you just take the unit to your chosen vessel.
To mount a transducer to your poontoon, cheap but solid-----clamp on a length of 1/2 inch conduit. Hammer one end to flatten it, then drill to accept the transducer.
Side image units are huge money. Color cost more than monochrome.
Well, here it is almost crunch time, and I still don't have a bottom machine. The situation has changed somewhat, though. I have been beset by some large medical bills, and my fishfinder budget has dwindled to around $100 or less, for the time being. My question is, would I be better off to get one of the inexpensive $79.99 rigs to hold me for a couple of years, or just do without for a while longer?
I any unit is better than none at all . try local pawn shops , boat shops rummage sales to get a used one there a lot of good deals out there

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