Chartplotters for the Mississippi and Missouri...are they worth it?

Discussion in 'Gateway Catfishing Club' started by DWB, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    So I am doing research on electronics for the new rig and am getting overwhelmed by the options available. My las boat had a cheap eagle fishfinder. It worked OK I suppose but was pretty bare bones. At the other end of the spectrum are the 2K+ SI chartplotters. They look cool but I just can't drop that kind of scratch right now. So here I land, somewhere in the middle.

    I just looked at the 798CI which seems to a "less expensive" way to get into SI technology with integrated chartplotter. These are still pretty spendy at about 1K. I'm wondering if those with units with the chartplotter technology find it usefull on the rivers around here. Are there charts available for our rivers? Are they at all accurate with wingdams and such?? If not would I be better off with another option?

    I'm sure there have probably been lots of threads on this but the technology seems to be advancing so quickly I'm finding it difficult to keep up with.
     
  2. FREESPOOL

    FREESPOOL New Member

    Messages:
    1,234
    State:
    Edwardsville, Illinois
    I have the 797 and I love it. I only wish it were a 997 or 1197. I've found the chartplotter to be pretty accurate as far as locating wing dikes and such.
    It's nice to have around after dark so you can follow your trail, or saved route and feel pretty confident your not going to run into a dike, sandbar, or bouy. :crazy::smile2:
    I say, spend as much on one as you possibly can. Because unless your like Skipeye, it'll be quite a while before you get to purchase another one. :wink:

    What's the difference between the 797 and the new 798's? :confused2:
     

  3. FREESPOOL

    FREESPOOL New Member

    Messages:
    1,234
    State:
    Edwardsville, Illinois
  4. FREESPOOL

    FREESPOOL New Member

    Messages:
    1,234
    State:
    Edwardsville, Illinois
  5. poopdeck [patrick]

    poopdeck [patrick] New Member

    Messages:
    1,215
    State:
    ofallon il
    As you may of read, I just bought me a used 997 si off of ebay. I paid 1190 for it with out the transducer or gps antenna. Yesterday I ordered the transducer for it, 158 bucks, free shipping. to my suprise I got it today, talk about fast shipping. Tomorrow I will finish hooking it up and probaly take it out sat or sunday. Mine is a nvb model which means its soppossed to be preloaded with inland rivers ect. I have yet to test that feature or any other. So like you, I am waiting to see what the fellows with the units have to say. if you want to know more yahoo has a good hummingbird side imaging group that knows all the answers. I think they even have a couple guys that work for hummingbird there. here the link. Check out the photos while you are there, thats what sold me on it.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sideimaging/
     
  6. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    My question exactly. They look to be the same unit and are the same price...so many options I just want to be sure I make the right choice.
     
  7. poopdeck [patrick]

    poopdeck [patrick] New Member

    Messages:
    1,215
    State:
    ofallon il
    The 798 is the newer version of the 797 which is being phased out. I believed I read on the yahoo group site the screen was bigger too.
     
  8. RIVER-RAT

    RIVER-RAT New Member

    Messages:
    3,128
    State:
    MO / MT
    Dan, I bought a Humminbird 917c last year and put a QuadraBeam transducer on the transom. It has been great for me and has the gps/chartplotter as well. It was reasonably priced too, as I didn't have the dough to drop on a 997 or an 1197. I am wanting to upgrade to the 997c so I may be selling my 917c, let me know if you're interested! :wink:
     
  9. poopdeck [patrick]

    poopdeck [patrick] New Member

    Messages:
    1,215
    State:
    ofallon il
    There you go dan. i believe bill also said he will leave his secret honey holes on it.
     
  10. Cuz

    Cuz New Member

    Messages:
    7,241
    State:
    DeSoto, MO
    It can be confusing Dan thats for sure. Here's my best attempt at confusing you further.

    Both the Lowrance, and humminbirds are great units. Its smart to be budget minded, just as you are. That being said, I'd recommend getting the best unit you can possibly afford. Even to the point of waiting a month or two so you can save extra. Good Electronics, when used properly, will help put more fish in your boat. No question.

    I've had experience with both Manufacturers and I like them both.

    If you held my hand to the fire right now, and said pick the best unit for my money, I'd say the Humminbird 997 or 98, or Humminbird 1197. The 997's can be had for a 'decent' price on ebay etc, but a grand is a grand is a grand too. I've had top of the line Lowrance Units for years, but a few trips with the new Side Imaging humminbirds is the Cats Meow, bar none.

    Lowrance
    Pros - Vivid Two dimensional lookdown sonar technology. Very simple and easy to use, and identify fish from structure, thermoclines, etc. Great Navionics mapping capabilities for rivers and lakes. Head to head with the humminbird, the two dimensional views are better than humminbird. They make great GPS/sonar bundle units that can be pretty friendly on the wallet. They will serve you well once you learn there capabilities. They have the easiest learning curve, and are probably the most friendly on your wallet right now for a nice GPS/Sonar bundle with some decent mapping.

    Cons - Its 'lookdown' technology, so all your seeing is a small cone beneath the transducer. If you see a fish at 20 feet, it doesnt mean the fish is in 20 feet of water, just means the fish is 20 feet from the transducer. This can be a problem in deep water like the oceans, however not to big a deal on our rivers. Your waypoints will always be "close enough' for the most part.

    Humminbird
    Pros - Biggest Pro, Side Imaging Technology. Capable of scanning several hundred feet to both sides of the boat which is THE BOMB for finding kitten related structure, especially on lakes. The ability to set waypoints directly on top of structure you see is UNPARALLED. These units allow you the ability to split hairs.

    Cons - The Two Dimensional sonar view isnt as vivid as the Lowrance units. (not a big deal really)
    Price is a con. They are PROUD of them. Not as user friendly as the Lowrance units, and requires a little bit of time to learn what you are seeing. Someone familiar with the units can help your learning curve with this tremendously

    You can always go up and play with all the units at Cabelas and Bass Pro. My best advice, take a couple of trips with guys from Gateway here that run one or the other unit your looking at and go check em out first hand. Then you will be narrowed down to one unit, and you bargain shop for the best deal to be had.

    I'm sure I've dorked you up good now. :smile2:
     
  11. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl

    The screen size is bigger 640x640 pixel vs. 640x320, 50 channel high-accuracy gps vs. 16 channel gps, Dual SD card slots vs. single slot, ability to interface with the new subscription service real-time weather radar maps (XM NavWeather???).

    Plus the 797 is being phased out, made no more, kaput, bye-bye.

    You know my opinion, don't eat for a month or whatever you gotta do to get the 1197, it is the BOMB!!!
     
  12. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    797 vs 798

    The main differences are the screen resolution and 2nd memory card slot.

    The 797 resolution is 480 x 640, the 798 is 640 x 640. The higher resolution should provide greater detail, and you will notice a slightly different screen shape, the 798 screen is wider and not as tall.

    The 2nd memory card slot allows you to have a map card and still have a card to save screen shots on, a very nice addition that the 797 did not have, IMO.

    I've also noticed in both Cabelas and Bass Pro that the 798 appears brighter... Humminbird doesn't mention that as a selling point, it's possible that the 797's have simply lost some lumens from being on for a year on the display case.
     
  13. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    I'll differ from Cuz in that Lowrance's menu system aggravates me to no end - birds' menus seem more intuitive to me, but that's probably because I've used them a lot more than Lowrance.

    The small screen size of the 797 is a handicap in deep water or large bodies of water - cramming over 400' of river or lake bottom into a 4" (or whatever) wide screen makes it tough to decipher what you're seeing:smile2: It works for me on the MO, though, where the river's not that wide or deep.

    I like the GPS with the map chip. I mainly fish the MO and the issue isn't the accuracy of the chip or the GPS with wing dam locations, it's the age of the charts the chip is based on. The COE hasn't updated the river charts since '94 so it's hard to tell where any discrepancies come from. If you're like me and fish primarily at night the GPS is a lifesaver and well worth the money.
     
  14. Todd Strong

    Todd Strong Active Member

    Messages:
    1,023
    State:
    Cambridge, Ne
     
  15. Michael Jake

    Michael Jake New Member

    Messages:
    808
    State:
    Troy, Missouri
    Dan, I can’t say enough good about the GPS and charting that is available… It is a tool that has guided me at night and gave my location to aid me in my whereabouts… I use the waypoints heavily for marking fish and structure… have found and marked some underwater currants breaks that have produced fish, marked brush piles on lakes as well as underwater hazards… a buddy of mine goes to Canada every year, where it’s flat and every turn in the water looks the same plus a prop eating rock was only to get him once… I love the large color screen, it’s much more visible under bright days but is more costly. I have the 3d unit and only use the 3d along with the 2d while scouting, other wise it’s all 2d… have an old si unit… don’t have anything good to say about em… you can go to the websites, the seminars and reread the instructions and still have it completely usless while trying to read what your seeing rather than instantly knowing what your seeing, guess after a while under right conditions, at the right angle you might be able to decifer a piece of structure… I wouldn’t spend the money on em, a tool is only good if you know how to use it, just look around at all the how to's on em and the classes that keep poppen up... any piece of equipment should have a small learning curve to go through... Yes, I highly recommend a good GPS charting system with a good 2d bottom detecting system.
     
  16. DWB

    DWB Member

    Messages:
    984
    State:
    Missouri
    Wow!! I guess I never knew they scanned that wide of a swath. I figured that side imaging refered more to how the sonar energy was directed (i.e. multi beam from differing angles) and the resolution of the returns. I had no idea.

    Wrt the chartplotters though you all have sold me. It sounds like whatever I get I will need to have a chartplotter incorporated.

    Thanks to everyone for all of the great information. I have a couple of weeks now to chew on it and come up with a decision...and the scratch!
     
  17. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Michael, that's weird. The thing I found so great about the SI was that the first time I took it out, a rock on the bottom looked like a rock, a brushpile looked like a brushpile - there was very little learning curve on how to decipher images. The curve for me was learning to use the features to their best advantage - dropping cursors on structure so I could anchor a specific distance away and cast back to it, etc.
     
  18. Michael Jake

    Michael Jake New Member

    Messages:
    808
    State:
    Troy, Missouri
    I’m glad you had a good experience with it Branden… My point being, just look around here on the BOC about the multitude of post for individuals or groups that need to brainstorm on this product … Had somebody awhile back was thinking on getting one, I mentioned the same thing to him… If I were to purchase a product and pay that kind of money then I would expect it to be user friendly… I love my 3d but the si sucks in my opinion…
     
  19. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl
    I don't understand either..... the SI is the best thing that has ever been developed for sonar units. You can id structure and even how fish are relating to it. You can even pass a hundred feet to the side (and more) from fish and structure, find it, mark it with the cursor and navigate right to it. It works for me. You can also measure the distance to the waypoint you created after you anchor up so you'll know the exact distance and heading from your position to where you marked the fish.

    You can even see the ripples on a sandy bottom, a sunken barge looks exactly like a sunken barge, trees, rocks, brushpiles, baitfish all easily identifiable. Troughs, ledges on and on and on........
     
  20. poopdeck [patrick]

    poopdeck [patrick] New Member

    Messages:
    1,215
    State:
    ofallon il
    Heres why I bought mine. With the little experience I had with conventional finders I always had a hard time figuring them out. I was always useing real cheap senders. I figure you get what you pay for so decieded to go with a higher end finder. I did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people ect. What really sold me was the photos I was seeing on some of the si websites. Even my dumb butt can figure them out. Having said all that I just got mine hooked up today and I have yet to try it out. I am hoping skipeye will give me a lesson:smile2: In the mean time I may try it out tomorrow or sunday. Dan do you want to meet me at columbia bottoms maybe tomorrow or sunday and you can see for yourself?