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After reading this site for several years, I would have to say that there probably isn't a favorite brand. What I would surmise is that they use the top-end model of the brand of choice. Fishing for a living requires top-notch equipment of all kinds. Many captains are sponsored by manufacturers and get the best that sponser has to offer. Some may even get to test new models before they are sold to the public.

Hopes this helps. Top-end models seem better than lesser models and offer better/more detail. They are pricey and you get what you pay for. I'm not a charter captain, just fish for the challenge and pleasure. A mid-level fishfinder has been adequate for my purposes. It won't provide fish for you, only the information you need to find locations they are most likely to be using at a certain time. They tell you if the fish or their food is present and at what depth. You will still have to entice them into taking your offerings; timely/current information, past experiences on the water, knowledge of the habits of the sought after species, etc. are puzzle pieces to use. The fish-finder is not a fish-magnet nor a fish- compass. It is something to use to eliminate unproductive water and to give you necessary information about fish that ARE present.

My advice is to purchase what you can afford, stay away from low-end models, and learn how to use what you have purchased to it's fullest capabilities. For example: my Huminbird reads to 1000 ft., but is more useful when zoomed in to read a particular depth range in more detail. The zoom area is more precise and shows much better detail of structure or fish that are in that range vs. the "big picture". Top to bottom viewing gives the least detail in deep water, but can be useful to first locate pods of fish, then zoom to the proper depth for more information. If you're in shallow (30') it won't make that much difference, but in 100' plus there is a difference!

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Raymarine and Furuno are two big names in the electronics industry for the salt water and the Great Lakes. The Furuno 585 is probably one of the top units for us Great Lakes guys. Humminbird and Lowrance have a larger presence in the bass and walleye world, but both work great for the Great Lakes too. If you get any of these companies mid to upper level units you wont be dissatisfied.

We have run a Humminbird 1157 and 958 for the last two seasons and they have great detail, and are very easy to operate. Even the Furuno 585 guys who come aboard are impressed with the detail these units show. These units are also combo units meaning FF/GPS.

I used to be a huge Lowrance fan, but their terrible customer service drove me away from them.

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I like Lowrance, but pay careful attention to the features.

I have a Lowrance Elite 5 Gold - it has everything except a critical feature, and that is a trip tacometer.

There's no way for me to extract the distance travelled on a trip. This feature obviously would help me

determine some interesting parameters like fuel consumption.

There are obviously other features you will want - good charts, number of radar sensers and angle of beam,

strength, variability of beam strength, etc. Also, would be good to have a GPS, and it would be even better if

the unit is compatible with your DSC VHF/MHF radio so you have auto position indication. I'm not sure if

some units will also have interfaces for down speed and down temperature indication.

Other than that, I think it generates a lot of accurate information, and the automatic tuning is great.

However, I wouldn't be suprised if there isn't a better unit out there.

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I just picked up a HDS-7 for 849 plus the 200 rebate and free shipping 649 to my door (after rebate) I do need to buy map chip though. I'm going to network it with my 8 inch lowrance. The broadband sounder is flat out amazing on lake ontario. I fished on a friends boat and we marked our divers doing down and even our sliders! The fish busting up bait. totally riducluous I can't wait to put the HDS on my rig for next season.

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If you go with the Basemap you will want to add a chip to get depth contours for Lake O

If you get the Insight mapping you would have everything you probably need but you can not update it in the future.

Usually you can get a basemap model and add a Navionics Fish-n chip for less money than the Insight model and you would have the best set up as long as all the areas you fish in are covered by the chip .

Lowrance also offers the Insight mapping on a chip.

FYI, Lowrance is coming out with new models, HDS Gen2, so that is why the current HDS models are on sale now.

Hope this info helps

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  • 1 month later...

Lowrance Hds's ARE nice units but the transducer's really suck! Airmar makes a transducer that is 1000% better than any lowrance could ever build! Much better target seperation why do you think so many people who sell sonar units sell them w/o transducers? there are soooooo many different transducers for different applications > The one that comes with lowrance HDS-5 is ok for bass fishing, but salmon MOVE fast thats why I use the p66 by Airmar the best $150.00 you'll ever spend!

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Airmar makes Lowrance transducers BTW, they have improved the quality of them but used to have alot of problems with them on the X series units and LCX series units, many that shipped with the 10 inch scree for whatever reason. The HDS series 83/200 are very solid ducers that perform well on Erie and Ontario the broadband also helps substantially.

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Many times the Lowrance will not show fish sitting on the bottom in the mud and the Furuno will. Then there are time the Lowrance will not even show fish on the screen and the Furuno always shows them in fresh water or Salt

mb0db5.jpg

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Airmar makes Lowrance transducers BTW, they have improved the quality of them but used to have alot of problems with them on the X series units and LCX series units, many that shipped with the 10 inch scree for whatever reason. The HDS series 83/200 are very solid ducers that perform well on Erie and Ontario the broadband also helps substantially.

Correction. Airmar does make quality transducers for many makes of sonar, but they do not make the Lowrance 83/200 or 50/200 or the 200 kHz transducers that ship as OEM transducers. The P-66 T/M and the P-319 Thru-Hull (mine) are excellent upgrades to your Lowrance HDS units or the legacy units with the Broadband Sonar black box.

Edd

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Many times the Lowrance will not show fish sitting on the bottom in the mud and the Furuno will. Then there are time the Lowrance will not even show fish on the screen and the Furuno always shows them in fresh water or Salt

mb0db5.jpg

Stan if you're going to make this type of claim, shouldn't you show both units with the same screen shot so we can make our own fair assessment? Let's be fair.

Edd

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