Help my fishfinder decision

acefuture

@acecraftco
Apr 3, 2019
646
611
Costa Mesa, CA
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Ace
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Always changing
So initially I started the search for an applicable fish finder/GPS for my bayrunner baja and thought the Simrad Go7 fit my needs the best. The instrument gauges is really what sold me on that unit as well as the total scan transducer. But after thinking about it some more I realized that on the bayrunner I already have a tach, speedo comes on just about every FF unit, my gas tanks are above deck and don't have sending units, and my fuel burn can be calculated. So my need for the instrument cluster function is pretty much out the window. So the only thing the Go7 has over say the Simrad Cruise 7 is side scan. This boat will be used to fish local So cal waters, so is side scan really that necessary? And i'll probably never have radar on this boat.

Since I started wondering if I should just pick up a Cruise 7 I went to WM to play around with the units there. After chatting with one of the employees and explaining my thoughts, he suggested the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus G3 73sv. Seems like a decent unit, has the instrument gauge function (not really useful at this point), I liked the sonar and chirp, and chart plotter is okay, and it has side scan. But it isn't my favorite display and It's just a tad more expensive than the Cruise 7, but it's only a tad less than the Go7 XSE. So now i'm stumped. Which direction do I go? I'm somewhat savvy on fish finders, but not a expert by any means. Please learn me about it em. I initially had a budget, but now seeing I can get a Cruise 7 with transducer that does pretty much everything I think I need for about $500, i've become much more frugal.
 
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Unassailable

Professional Amateur
Aug 26, 2009
1,313
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John B
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BW
I recently sold my Simrad system because my skiff doesn't need autopilot or radar. If it did, I would go Simrad all the way.

Also, I'm limited to transom mount 'ducers and for smaller boats there are none that are comparable to Garmin's GT-51M -TM. For that reason alone, I bought a Garmin 94SV with the GT-51M included. You will find GREAT deals on these from time to time so if you can wait, you can find for $599 or so.

I am happy with it and now that Garmin owns Navionics, their maps are better. I did like the Simrad interface better but unfortunately they won't make a 600w all in one transducer. If you buy a kit, be sure it's coming with the Gt-51M and not the CV-51M.
 
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acefuture

@acecraftco
Apr 3, 2019
646
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Costa Mesa, CA
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Ace
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Always changing
I recently sold my Simrad system because my skiff doesn't need autopilot or radar. If it did, I would go Simrad all the way.

Also, I'm limited to transom mount 'ducers and for smaller boats there are none that are comparable to Garmin's GT-51M -TM. For that reason alone, I bought a Garmin 94SV with the GT-51M included. You will find GREAT deals on these from time to time so if you can wait, you can find for $599 or so.

I am happy with it and now that Garmin owns Navionics, their maps are better. I did like the Simrad interface better but unfortunately they won't make a 600w all in one transducer. If you buy a kit, be sure it's coming with the Gt-51M and not the CV-51M.
Awesome, that's the response I was hoping for.
I'm in the same situation, it's a 19' aluminum skiff, so no autopilot, no radar and it'll be a transom mount ducer. Sounds like the Garmin is the way to go
 
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Unassailable

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Aug 26, 2009
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Another question @Unassailable, do you ever find the need to use the side scan features with the GT51? Or do you think the GT23 would be suitable without side scan?

To be quite honest, I haven't fished since I bought the unit. I just dunked the boat and drove around to make sure the install was good to go. I had two transducers before, a chirp and a dedicated side/down (LSS-2 transducer). I definitely used it and it helps. I can locate rock piles or unknown objects and save them as a way point and go back and investigate.

I am looking forward to just 1 transducer.
 
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acefuture

@acecraftco
Apr 3, 2019
646
611
Costa Mesa, CA
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Ace
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Always changing
To be quite honest, I haven't fished since I bought the unit. I just dunked the boat and drove around to make sure the install was good to go. I had two transducers before, a chirp and a dedicated side/down (LSS-2 transducer). I definitely used it and it helps. I can locate rock piles or unknown objects and save them as a way point and go back and investigate.

I am looking forward to just 1 transducer.
Gotchya, wasn't sure if it was worth the $300 upgrade or not, but that's a good call
 
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Shewillbemine

"should of" is NOT a thing
  • Oct 19, 2012
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    Shewillbemine
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    Chips N Guac
    Whether side scan is valuable depends on your boating and fishing habits. For me, I tend to use CHIRP far more than side scan. Side scan is great for structure fishing, and if I were still a green bass fisherman, you bet I'd be using side scan up and down our lakes.

    Structure fishing is still a thing inshore, but I hunt far more for kelp and fish marks than I do structure. YMMV.

    Some people espouse Side Scan for offshore fishing, especially checking under kelp. I've never found it that helpful, but I'm also not bothering to learn the shadows and subtle specs that might be pelagic fish 40 miles offshore. My sonar tends to just show the "noodles" underneath me.
     
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    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
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    Whether side scan is valuable depends on your boating and fishing habits. For me, I tend to use CHIRP far more than side scan. Side scan is great for structure fishing, and if I were still a green bass fisherman, you bet I'd be using side scan up and down our lakes.

    Structure fishing is still a thing inshore, but I hunt far more for kelp and fish marks than I do structure. YMMV.

    Some people espouse Side Scan for offshore fishing, especially checking under kelp. I've never found it that helpful, but I'm also not bothering to learn the shadows and subtle specs that might be pelagic fish 40 miles offshore. My sonar tends to just show the "noodles" underneath me.
    That's kind of where my head is at. I fish bass inshore on structure quite a bit, but have never had side scan or felt like ive needed it before. So trying to decide if it's worth an extra $450. For $550 out the door I can get the Garmin ECHOMAP 73sv with the GT23 transducer, but it wont have side scan. Or I can get to the Go7 with side scan for $850, or the ECHOMAP 94sv with the GT51 for $1000. Not sure if the side scan is really worth a $300-$450 upgrade to me.
     
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    Unassailable

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    Aug 26, 2009
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    It's not worth the $1,000 right now. If you can use what you got and set a price tracker on that unit if you're interested in it. When I got mine it was cheaper then the other ones you mentioned. They always go on sale around major holidays and winter. Actually, mine was $699 plus Google shopping had $100 off for first-time purchase using them. I technically bought it through the GPS store.
     
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    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
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    It's not worth the $1,000 right now. If you can use what you got and set a price tracker on that unit if you're interested in it. When I got mine it was cheaper then the other ones you mentioned. They always go on sale around major holidays and winter. Actually, mine was $699 plus Google shopping had $100 off for first-time purchase using them. I technically bought it through the GPS store.
    That would be a no brainer for that price. Thanks for the input
     
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    Dragon

    It is what it is...
    May 24, 2006
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    Paul
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    22' Pro Sport CC / 20' Skipjack Open
    I paid $500 for the 94sv (not Plus) no touch. w/ down vu, side vu at the GPS Store on sale. After my Lowrance 7" Gen 2 FF went south right after the warranty expired. I hooked the GPS that still worked to the Radio for DSC . I like the Garmin fine I miss the navonics charts. But as you said Garmin bought Navioics and I am expecting Big Things from Garmin. So I am biding my time. I like Simrad but I am waiting for some time to pass on the warranty work and see how they do since they are made by Lowrance/Simrad.

    20200731_172248.jpg
     
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    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
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    I paid $500 for the 94sv (not Plus) no touch. w/ down vu, side vu at the GPS Store on sale. After my Lowrance 7" Gen 2 FF went south right after the warranty expired. I like it fine I miss the navonics charts. But as you said Garmin bought Navioics and I am expecting Big Things from Garmin. So I am biding my time. I like Simrad but I am waiting for some time to pass on the warranty work and see how they do since they are made by Lowrance/Simrad.
    Thanks for the input. Sounds like I have to hold out for a sale on the Garmin unit. Cheapest I’ve found is $850 so far. I don’t want to wait too long but hopefully someone will have a deal on it soon
     
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    rancanfish

    wow, how deep is it here?
    Jul 5, 2004
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    Remember when a great unit was $500? I'm shopping the same units and trying to avoid a wallet implosion.
     
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    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
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    Remember when a great unit was $500? I'm shopping the same units and trying to avoid a wallet implosion.
    A great unit is still under $500. But there’s so much technology now with side scan, down scan, nmea 2000, WiFi, instrument gauges, radar, 83/200, 600w vs 1000w, plotters, navionics, Autopilot, and more all crammed into one head unit and one transducer, the question I have a hard time answering myself is where do I stop and at what price point?
     
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    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
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    Side scan in your boat that bounces around alot is useless. CHIRP is way more useful in your situation.
    Understood at speed, but at 2 knts slowly cruising the perimeter of boiler rocks or a kelp bed, it might be helpful. Who knows, never used it. I guess one day i'll find out
     
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    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
    646
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    FWIW I've narrowed it down to the Garmin ECHOMAP plus 74sv, or 94sv. If I can find a deal on the 94sv with the GT51 in the next month i'll go that route. If not the 74sv it is
     
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    mikedynp

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    Jan 30, 2016
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    mike
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    "the drain plug", 18' klamath;1979 17' Boston whaler (it's a project)
    FWIW I've narrowed it down to the Garmin ECHOMAP plus 74sv, or 94sv. If I can find a deal on the 94sv with the GT51 in the next month i'll go that route. If not the 74sv it is
    I bought the 94sv with the gt51 transducer from west marine for 699 in June. I was looking for a month or so when that sale popped up. Loving it so far.
     
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    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
    646
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    Costa Mesa, CA
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    Ace
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    I bought the 94sv with the gt51 transducer from west marine for 699 in June. I was looking for a month or so when that sale popped up. Loving it so far.
    It was $999 at WM on Wednesday, and $799 today. Hoping they continue that trend downwards into the weekend and I can scoop it up for a bit less. Glad to hear you’re liking it
     
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    Dragon

    It is what it is...
    May 24, 2006
    389
    260
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    Name
    Paul
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    22' Pro Sport CC / 20' Skipjack Open
    I think we are going to be hard pressed to find a basic affordable units these days. The minimum technology is way more now. I like that Furuno GP1971F that is compatible w/ the wireless radar for about 1K w/out the radar...I have to make a call on my project boat but I have time. I do know its all in the xducer...

    Ace I think that is the best you are going to find for the $$$ and a quality unit too.
     
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    KID CREOLE

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Sep 19, 2003
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    www.yayacalls.com
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    I have always been a Furuno fan and still am, but in all honesty on the Grady I just bought it has a Garmin 7610 xsv with dual screens. This Garmin is much more user friendly than the Furuno. So far I like it
     
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    Apr 20, 2011
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    Gil
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    Nomad
    That's kind of where my head is at. I fish bass inshore on structure quite a bit, but have never had side scan or felt like ive needed it before. So trying to decide if it's worth an extra $450. For $550 out the door I can get the Garmin ECHOMAP 73sv with the GT23 transducer, but it wont have side scan. Or I can get to the Go7 with side scan for $850, or the ECHOMAP 94sv with the GT51 for $1000. Not sure if the side scan is really worth a $300-$450 upgrade to me.


    Keep in mind the 73sv has Inland lakes and rivers Maps....and not US
    Coastal.

    the 74sv / 94 sv will have US Coastal .

    Side scan is best for structure ..bottom detail..if you troll or do not need to see structure..the GT23 of the GT15M -TM will be a good option
     
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    acefuture

    @acecraftco
    Apr 3, 2019
    646
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    Costa Mesa, CA
    Name
    Ace
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    Always changing
    Keep in mind the 73sv has Inland lakes and rivers Maps....and not US
    Coastal.

    the 74sv / 94 sv will have US Coastal .

    Side scan is best for structure ..bottom detail..if you troll or do not need to see structure..the GT23 of the GT15M -TM will be a good option
    Yea I noticed the 73 and 93 were inland waters. Thanks for the heads up though
     
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    fishja

    I've seen bigger waves in the toilet!
    Jun 21, 2015
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    fishja
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    Sold
    Since you asked- here’s my two cents.

    I’m a lowrance fan. Right now I’m mostly fishing my kayak. Have had and used various Garmin and Simrad units with almost every type of transducer imaginable. Since you will be fishing coastal- what I’m doing primarily- I think you will appreciate the ease of use and customizable functions.

    I have the HDS 7 with the total scan transducer and could not be happier. Once you get the settings dialed in you will really start to understand what’s beneath you. Also the transom mount is really easy especially if you’re using the existing holes- I’ve also used the transom saver which is very simple! Plus the navionics chart option is a HUGE bonus IMO.

    Here are a few screenshots from my finder.
    (Having trouble uploading multiple photos from my phone).
    00877642-71D3-4F53-B62E-AD69EB55E9F7.jpeg
     
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