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  • HD or flasher?

    I am wanting to upgrade my electronics = planning out what set up to get front and rear. Which led me to the next question? Just how important is the front depth finder to a bass fisherman? Mine is always on and it's a security blanket for me whether it's applicable to the situation or not. Unless I am vertical jigging blades or using a vertical drop shot it's being used more for depth control, discovering structure and cover, and bottom content.
    It's not a question whether or not to have one on the bow because I do need one there, and bigger is better. It's a question of how to best employ it to achieve my fishing goals.
    I have a flasher and I want to keep it. In certain fishing situations a good Flasher offers advantages that a HD unit doesn't have, like in thick grass and depths of 5 foot or less. So I am leaning towards linking a good bow unit to the console unit and keep the flasher on the TM.
    Advantage or disadvantage, Any thoughts on this?
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper


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  • #2
    Definitely an advantage to have a HDS unit up front. I cut my teeth with a flasher but with today's technology I can think of dozens of applications where an HDS unit would help a Bass fisherman. A flasher has no history, if you are not looking at it "in the moment" you won't see it. If I wanted to see fish over my 50 plus years of fishing I don't think I have ever seen a fish in five foot of water under the trolling motor and was able to catch it. My trolling motors spook fish in that skinny of water. Now, with a HDS unit you can adjust your depth range and sensitivity and see blades of grass, contours, etc. exceptionally well. The HDS has a Amplitude scope feature on it so you can view the HDS screen as well as the scope which is the same as a flasher just to the right of the HDS. And if you don't like that, there is a flasher mode so that you can split the screen and have the best of both worlds. That is a great way of interpreting what your flasher is telling you. Now once you have the HDS up front you can link it to the console unit and share information between the both. Mapping is a great choice in a multi screen view. You can follow highlighted contours easily, waypoint structure with the touch of the screen, realize by waypointing exactly what depth the fish are relating to, then search for similar features without leaving the bow of the boat. With your bow unit tied into the rear you can have a view of sonar and side scan and also mapping. If you are dock fishing for example and are catching fish on docks nearby deep breaks you can locate all the docks on the lake that have similar features therefor eliminating unproductive areas. While up front fishing you see on your side scan fish out to the right, cast to them. If there is a stump, rock, brushpile, grass or whatever out to the side of the boat, touch it on your screen and put a waypoint on it. You can navigate back to it at any time and your unit will remember it forever. With structure if you are going over something you are unsure of you can always scroll back in history and mark it or review it. With Down scan it will show that structure more clearly as well. Gosh, the advantages of a front HDS are endless if and only if you use them. Too many anglers have them and don't experiment with them. They paid for it but are intimidated or too lazy to use it. Some of them would rather watch you find fish then crowd you or come back after you leave to catch fish. I have a HDS up front and installed a structure transducer on the trolling motor so I can simply turn my trolling motor any direction and look "over there" to see 360 degrees around the boat. Again, the uses of an HDS up front are endless. If you fish with partners it also help an angler in the rear of the boat, they can see what you are looking at on the console unit. If you still are undecided on what to do get on my boat for 10 minutes. It will open your eyes to the advantages of HDS.
    Jim Hemby - Lake Anna Striper Guide
    [email protected]

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    • #3
      Advice taken Jim. A guide trip with you is on the list this year for myself and Jim Sutton. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom on electronics. I know what direction to go and I can now put this issue to rest.
      2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
      2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper


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      • #4
        When do you go to Fla.? I will get you out for a few hours before you go if you have time. Check with me before you buy anything. There are rebates on some units now. I also know Greentop make a good buy on Gen 2 HDS-10 combo with Structure. They are selling them for $1999. They only have 4 or 5 I think. That unit is not touch but I used it for 3 years and Loved it.
        Jim Hemby - Lake Anna Striper Guide
        [email protected]

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        • #5
          I can echo the same with Humminbird Side Imaging at the bow. It is actually a better system than Structure Scan since the Humminbirds are adjustable for the boat speed and they have better coverage in shallow water.
          I know several fishermen that prefer Lowrance, BUT they have Humminbird Side Imaging at their bow since they are not only search tools, they are fishing tools also.

          Then there is the 360 transducer that does the searching for you.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Wayne P. View Post
            I can echo the same with Humminbird Side Imaging at the bow. It is actually a better system than Structure Scan since the Humminbirds are adjustable for the boat speed and they have better coverage in shallow water.
            I know several fishermen that prefer Lowrance, BUT they have Humminbird Side Imaging at their bow since they are not only search tools, they are fishing tools also.

            Then there is the 360 transducer that does the searching for you.
            I just switched from HB to Lowrance and I agree with Wayne P. here. If I setup another boat, it will likely be mixed. HB is much better at slow speeds and shallow water than Lowrance. I am installing the Lowrance Spotlight soon and can give feedback on that. Lowrance does a great job on (I have 2 12 inch touches) seeing things while idling pretty quick and the clarity, so as a Tx fisherman this works for me as I spend alot of my pre-fishing idling around and covering water is better with the Lowrance unit. On the bow, I miss the HB units alot. I play with my settings constantly as well and you should as well and really need to understand scroll speeds and how that might distort what you see.
            cheers,
            Steve

            2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
            Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.

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            • #7
              So on a scale of 1 to 10 just how much better is HB over lowrance at slow speeds and shallow water?
              2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
              2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper


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              • #8
                Originally posted by just1more View Post
                So on a scale of 1 to 10 just how much better is HB over lowrance at slow speeds and shallow water?
                9.99999

                The light area on the right is a weedbed along the shore. I caught the bass that is on the lower left side:




                I caught several of the bass in the creek channel on the right side at the top. The black streaks are shadows from stumps and trees:



                Sort of slow speed with a shad school, you can see their direction change in the DI view when I tapped the trolling motor:




                Checking along the edge of a dollar pad field (on the left) in muddy water looking for spawners:

                Last edited by Wayne P.; 02-10-2015, 11:21 AM.

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                • #9
                  Concur - 9.999999+. Until Lowrance released its touchscreen models, HB was hands-down easier to use, tons more effective/detailed at slow speeds.

                  Jim - so much more detail to capture, retain w/ HD. The ability to take snapshots and store them (larger units have dual SD card slots!!!) gives you a data storage/retrieval capability that no flasher ever will. The quality of the images you'll see (as Wayne shared in his examples) makes near-instantaneous when it comes to reading cover and what's holding on it. There's very little learning or guessing to it. Not the same w/ your flasher. There will always be some subjectivity and uncertainty to your interpretations of flasher imagery. Not so w/ HD. What you see is what you see.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 31Airborne View Post
                    Concur - 9.999999+. Until Lowrance released its touchscreen models, HB was hands-down easier to use, tons more effective/detailed at slow speeds.

                    Jim - so much more detail to capture, retain w/ HD. The ability to take snapshots and store them (larger units have dual SD card slots!!!) gives you a data storage/retrieval capability that no flasher ever will. The quality of the images you'll see (as Wayne shared in his examples) makes near-instantaneous when it comes to reading cover and what's holding on it. There's very little learning or guessing to it. Not the same w/ your flasher. There will always be some subjectivity and uncertainty to your interpretations of flasher imagery. Not so w/ HD. What you see is what you see.
                    Well, I wouldn't say it quite so strongly and I think I have a right to have an opinion. I'll take some shots and upload them soon...
                    cheers,
                    Steve

                    2011/2013 St Jude's Charity Tournament Champion
                    Bass East Big Bass Challenge winner of 11-12 and 12-1 hours.

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                    • #11
                      When I was ya'lls age and fished in air temps 20 to 25 degrees routinely the "mechanical" flasher proved to be much more reliable than LCD units in cold conditions. It's one of the reasons I went to it years ago. When I mark fish with my flasher I normally catch what I see = a great deal of confidence. Flasher have the signal strength to punch through heavy grass at most depths and still read the bottom. It shows me bottom content and ditches that other wise would go unnoticed. Other advantages are visual. It's easy for me to see the signal returns under any conditions. Precise depth control and the unit is immune to speed and motion of the boat. I have a high and low power option, multiple cone degree (11 to 19 degree options) etc, a bottom lock feature and so forth. Depth Finders are tools we use to catch more fish. So I believe that there is still a time and place for old school technology in this new golden age of electronics. That being said its time to embrace the new technology. If I am going to make a 5000.00 investment I want a reliable unit that will withstand the conditions and elements we often put it through. I want factory support for at least 7 years or more and great customer service. Gen 1 is no longer supported by lowrance. In two or three more years gen 2 won't be either. Then there is the functionality of each manufacturers units. Visual clarity, screen size and shape, plus capabilities and limitations of each ones technologies. Not all HD, Imaging, and chirp technologies are the same. Each one is different and each manufacture has patent rights to it.

                      What's going through my mind right now is which technology and or manufacture has a unit who's picture quality is the least impacted by "motion". A pontoon boat is pretty much a stable fishing platform. Bass boats get rocked by wakes and waves etc. so when I am an area and the boat is bobbing up and down by waves and wakes how much picture distortion am I going to experience? It's something I need to dig into a little more.

                      Lastly: my purpose of any investment like this is to catch more fish and be more competitive. Influencing factors are where and how it will be used the majority of the time IE: lakes and reservoirs, shallow river systems etc. what will be the best configuration and employment of said technology. HB and flasher up front and lowrance at the console etc? Capabilities and limitations of each manufactures technology. User friendly? Comprehension of the technology and how best to use it and employ it. Then there's the learning curve to get up to speed with it. I admit I am in the catch up mode and I have a lot of work to do. Thoughts?
                      2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
                      2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper


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                      • #12
                        For what's it's worth.

                        Planes, ships, and tanks don't win wars. People do.
                        Knowing human behavior and how we interface with, and use technology is the overwhelming factor in determining how successful we are at getting the most out of it and using it to our benefit. Depth finders are no different. Jim Hemby totally gets it. He integrates the technology into his vast knowledge and fishing experience, then uses it to enhance what he already knows= more fish in the boat and consistency.
                        So many buy the stuff for its entertainment value or perhaps for social status. I don't know. What I do know is there are very few that are willing to learn it and use it effectively. I don't plan on being one of em lol.
                        2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
                        2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper


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                        • #13
                          Nothing beats a flasher unit for showing multiple depths at the same time. LCR units have to record depths as they change and that takes movement to do so.

                          You have four choices with the imaging technology.
                          Lowrance, Garmin, Raymarine, and Humminbird have units that image downward and sideways.

                          The best benefit of the imaging technology is showing you what the bottom really looks like and why you catch fish where you catch them. Using that information, you can quickly look for similar places to lessen the time developing a pattern.
                          With the side looking imaging you can cover a lot more bottom with each pass and not be limited to what is directly below you. You can quickly check potential areas and not waste time fishing where there are no fish. You can practice for a tournament without doing any catching.

                          Additionally of you want the side looking imaging, get the largest display you can afford since display width is the most imporatant factor. That is because what is displayed is based on the coverage range you set. Down looking imaging and 2D sonar is based on the depth.

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