Ins and Outs of a Depth Finder

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by tank3544, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. tank3544

    tank3544 New Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    I'll be honest .. I didn't do a search for this topic but I'm not so sure I've ever seen it .. Considering how important an item this is for the majority of catfisherman out there I'm surprised to see how little they are discussed. I thought I'd start this thread to help out those with little knowledge of how to actually use a depth finder and like myself who knows nothing about what the terms mean. I'm thinking of getting myself a better depth finder but when I went to look for one I realized I had no clue what anything meant.

    Things I don't understand:

    200kHz skimmer .. is this the standard? Most seem to have this. Is a higher number better? Most websites say that 50kHz is better for deep water. How deep tho? 50ft? 100ft? 1000ft?

    5" diagonal .. Not really sure what this means but I would tend to assume that the bigger that number the better. Does this have an affect on the cone angle?

    Peak to peak power .. there's some out there with 1000 and some out there with 4000. Seeing as the ones that have 4000 I would assume that is better but again I have no idea why.

    Anyone have any secrets on how to obtain the right combination of sensitivity and greyscale?

    I want to be able to use my depth finder as more of a fish finder. It does OK for finding out how deep I am or seeing structure on the bottom. I would certainly like to purchase one that will identify structure better. A jumbled mass of grey really means nothing to me. Is it a tree on the bottom or a rock? Is it big or small? I guess I need alot of answers before I run out and buy a new one.

    A new one needs to be able to seperate structure from the bottom and if it is on the bottom it needs to be defined better. I also want to be able to see fish. A mark on the bottom could be a catfish or it could be a rock. I have no idea how to tell. A mass in the middle of the water column could be shad or a cloud of dirty water. Once again I have no idea how to tell the difference.

    I'm hoping some of you out there can shed a little insight and maybe give me a recommendation for a good depth finder. I'm not interested in some $1000 unit, but a good $500 or under model that will give me a better reading and more confidence to drop the anchor.

    I'm sure there's lots of you out there with the same questions as me, and I know on a board with so many intelligent members, someone is going to have an answer for us.

    Thanks guys!
  2. crazy

    crazy New Member

    Kansas CIty, MO
    Good questions! I'll be watching this thread my self I'm in the market for a new one as well. Also I want to be able to see the bottom depth change and structure while going 30-35mph.

  3. Redtick

    Redtick New Member

    Neoga, Illinois
    Fellows, I like my Hummingbird Matrix 37. It has a lot of built in features, can be hooked to a computer and updated, and has a lot of attachments that can improve your fishing like a GPS attachment where you can mark your "honeyholes" for the next time. I reaaly like my unit and wouldn't fish without it.
  4. jim

    jim New Member

    Jacksonville NC
    Tank and all the rest of you with depthfinder questions.GO TO THE LOWRANCE website.They have every type of tutorial,glossarys of definitions and you can actually play with most of the Lowrance finders.If you go there and can't get your answers then the question just cant be answered.I'M not pushing Lowrance BUT that website has taught me more than any other place about fishfinders ,sonar, GPS etc.Give it a try
  5. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    I agree with Jim. If you go to that website you'll find just everything you need to learn how to use a depth finder, of any brand. They even have or used to have an online class/tutorial on how to use them that is great.
  6. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    BTW - the 5" Diagonal bit refers to the size of the display, just like the way they market monitors and televisions. Bigger is better in most cases.
  7. TOPS

    TOPS New Member

    I really need to study my owners manual on mine. I am not using it to it's potential. mine has a GPS in which I have never used. I know I should. :eek:
  8. Leakyboat

    Leakyboat New Member

    Yep,if you have a Lowrance or Eagle,they have Demos for each unit,you can download and play with.It's just like your out on the lake.
    Really i think,it's like the more you want to pay,the more you get on a dephtfinder.I have just a basic Eagle Fishmark 320,i pretty much learned
    everything from the demo they have on it.

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Ernie you are rite about the Eagle 320 tutorial. Don't have much patience for a book myself. Hell,for years the 12:00 was flashin on my VCR. LOL!
  10. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Supply NC
    Hey George, what'd you do, put tape over the blinking light to finally fix it :p

    It worked for my check engine light :rock-big: :rock-big:
  11. Mutt

    Mutt Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    one thing i would recomend if its in your budget on a good depth finder no matter what brand it is. a color screen it is a lot eaiser to see in the sunlight.
    as for what Jim and others have said go to the lowrance site great tutorials online for leanring the basics and will anser any questions you may have. i have a lowrance now on my bassboat ive ran hummingbirds and eagles and lowrance really dont have anything bad to say about any of them.
  12. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member


    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Rite you are Robert! LOL! Thank goodness for black electrical tape. Finally found another use for it besides tapein up worn baseballs! LOL!
  14. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    marion kentucky
    Like the guys say go to Lowrances website and check out their troubleshooting guide and tutorial page. The main thing with a fishfinder is to get one that has high peak to peak power. 4000 watts is a awesome finder. The wider screen is just like a TV, you can see the details better. I had to experiment with my lowrance until I had it set for the Ohio river that I was fishing. Set your greyscale to determine the bottom, it also helps to distinquish fish off the bottom as well.