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Hooked on Kings

smart troll vs fish hawk

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There were issues with the Smart-Troll, and the few people who have them have mixed reviews. Personally, I'm waiting on that unit to become as reliable as it's competition. I think the concept is great. Another issue with the Smart-Troll is tourneys with no Comm. One Smart-Troll boat was told NO when asked if they could run a tablet in a Canadian event last Summer.

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So torn. I want a fish hawk but also want a new GPS/ff/chart combo too

You need both. Trust me. I went without the fish hawk for the majority of last year thinking "eh, I can figure it out". Biggest mistake of the year. You already got a boat, rigged it, lots of tackle, rods/reels, etc... Lots of $ and time invested right? When you get the chance to go out you want to catch fish. Period. There's nothing more important then having that piece of equipment on board to make that happen IMO.

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I've got a depth raider in my Islander and the Fishhawk in the little boat. The Fishhawk is more consistent on both temp and speed. I did switch to the Walker Vision cable for the DR which eliminated the chafing issues but I frequently lose contact with the probe below 100'. I should switch the units around since I usually only troll w/ the little boat in the winter.

In reality I think we all develope our own patterns for using these technologies. They key I believe is to constantly question what you are doing, especially when what you are doing isn't catching fish. When you catch a fish you did something right- the question is , what? The possibilities include the following:

1. The right presentation (wire diver, rigger, lead core,copper,snap weight,etc)

2. The right color,size, lure

3. Trolling in the right temp zone

4. Trolling at the right downspeed

5. Trolling in the right location (are there fish and or bait on the screen)

6. You covered enough water at enough different speeds, with enough different presentations that you came across an active fish.

 

My point is that that there usually a bunch of interconnected reasons why you caught a fish. Two of the 6 reasons might be revealed by your speed/temp unit. Use speed and temp as ONE part of the puzzle.

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You need both. Trust me. I went without the fish hawk for the majority of last year thinking "eh, I can figure it out". Biggest mistake of the year. You already got a boat, rigged it, lots of tackle, rods/reels, etc... Lots of $ and time invested right? When you get the chance to go out you want to catch fish. Period. There's nothing more important then having that piece of equipment on board to make that happen IMO.

This makes sence to me as I am exactly what you just said. and I dont get on lake O much, other than a few times a summer at best. last summer was my first time. I think that I should get serious and invest in a Fish Hawk. If I am to buy one, I will most likely get the Fish Hawk X4D and be done with it.

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Thanks for all the feedback, maybe even more confused now. I really wanted to pull the trigger on the Smart Troll, looks like I will do more research before making that final decision. I haven't fished any tourneys so that's not a big issue but sounds like Smart Troll is still working out some bugs. Thanks again.

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I don't have down speed and temp & I feel I do pretty well out there. Agree w/ Spoonfed that I fish the marks,temp or not . Also agree w/ T Bro that I have done pretty well w/ a blank screen, mostlySummer to late summer  offshore. Active fish swimming around out there are in & out of the tranducer cone so fast you may get only a slash .

 

 My son & bro are on my case to Add a temp/speed unit & this year I may. Can't wait to catch like 3 times the fish I get now.

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I've fished (and caught) for the last 4 years without downspeed/temp.  But i just got an X4D and can't wait to fish with it!  In the spring/early summer the currents aren't bad and your GPS speed isn't far off from DS (on calm days).  I judged my DS by the bend in my dipsey rods and the bubbles (and hum) from my rigger cables.  IMO i would buy a good graph/GPS combo before an X4D.  You need to know the depth you are at. And you're heading.

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I have used all speed and temp units. Fishhawk is a great unit for downrigger down speed, temperature and depth. If you want down temp and depth on your lures then Smart Troll is the way to go.

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I run 100+ days on Lake Ontario began using down temp in the late 70's on a Rivera down rigger and I have always had a downtempo unit in the water. In the late '80s I began using the Fishhawk and I have not had any reason to use any other brand since. I really can't honestly talk about "thousands" of fish I caught and where........it takes me about a season to catch that many, but I can say that most every day I will catch fish in the temp and speed zone. I do know that my current Fishhawk has fished close to 1000 days and I have used 36 AA batteries and I have had to repair a probe that I dropped a cannonball on ($99)

My honest opinion is that the fishing on Lake Ontario is so "stupid" easy that all you need is a way to get your lures to run between 50-70' and ride around the lake.....pretty sure thousands of fish have been caught between 50-70'........so unless you are tourney fishing or a professional, it may not be worth it to invest in this technology. A Moonshine Carbon 14 will attract fish and cause them to move 30' vertically and bite it only costs $9!...... It's all about priorities!

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Interesting thought!!! I pretty much feel same way, if fish want to bite they will. Get it in their zone and they will do the rest. Technology only helps so much. I will still use what I can though to my advantage.

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Speed probe? Do explain? What's different then the X4D?

Smart troll is working on a probe with down speed. The current probes give down temp and depth, where the X4D does all three. Once smart troll adds the speed to their probes, I think it will be the most versatile system out there.

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There were issues with the Smart-Troll, and the few people who have them have mixed reviews. Personally, I'm waiting on that unit to become as reliable as it's competition. I think the concept is great. Another issue with the Smart-Troll is tourneys with no Comm. One Smart-Troll boat was told NO when asked if they could run a tablet in a Canadian event last Summer.

Yankee I haven't heard of any major problems. Mine has been very reliable and battery life is amazing. After 6 hours of trolling normally the battery is still 80%.

What problems have you heard about??

On the issue with tournaments, they can't stay in the dark ages forever. Technology is moving fast and it will be a fatal mistake to exclude it from tourneys. If someone wants to communicate they can use DSC, so what are they going to do have everyone remove their radios??? That's why we have observers, the technology is there, and they can oversee that its use is fair and within the rules.

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That was a very interesting post Carl, I've been fishing with a friend of mine for 30 plus years, his name is Ron Franks and he is out of the Mexico Bay area and that man puts fish in the boat like a veteran charter captain, granted he knows the area like the back of his hand, one thing he doesn't have is a down speed and temp device, and we made some long trips out when the closer waters didn't suit him. He told many thing to take into consideration when searching for these fish, and we are always changing lures, direction, he know which way the water is flowing and he reads his rigger cables he says they tell you everything you need to know about your speed, he fishes the higher marks first and if nothing happens he fishes the lower marks. I also noticed as soon as a rod fires he marks that spot and if we land that fish we crank everything in and go over that spot and he has some kind of thing he sends down on a  rod and line counter reel and he reads this gadget and it tells him the temp and depth so I guess we really aren't with out all the bells and whistles. We will always go way down and come threw the same direction and continue in the same direction, I could go on and on but we seldom get skunked. I'm certainly not saying that a Fish Hawk or other devices aren't necessary, but the old school ways do work, and for charter captains I would say are worth their weight in gold to find active fish fast to please their clients for a good reputation and return clients, so for them it's a necessary tool. I asked Ron why he never looked into one of these units and he said, I don't need one, This lake was here before me and it will be long after I'm gone. He also stated my father fished this lake before depth finders were out what or how did they do it. So with his wisdom about the lake and the different hum of the rigger cables he might be one of the few that can pull this off time and time again, for me the first $700.00 I get to spare there will be a 4xd on the dash!! I do have a lot of info stored in my head and a lot I wrote down over the years going with Ron, but I truly believe his one of those guys that is one of the last natural born salmon slayers. He was over yesterday talking about new tricks he has up his sleeve, so be ready when the phone rings, I said I'm always ready to go with you!!

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At least there are a few out there that share my thoughts. Knowledge  trumps all. Had the conversation just last night on the way home w/ my wife and sons about buying a speed /temp unit. They were going to surprise me w/ one under the tree but did not know which one to get.

 

 I am very reluctant to get one. Reason being that it is a constant conversation on my boat as to how fast we are going. We seldom go the same speed for more than 10 min.No buckets in, one bucket , two buckets, kick up throttle, slow down, which direction. Cannot tell you the times I have pulled or dropped a bucket & there was a  hit within 1 min. 

 

 While all that is going on our lures  are  constantly changing speeds. This triggers strikes, ESPECIALLY on slow days. While some of you are trying to go 2.36841 MPH, my lures are going .5 to 4 MPH.That's an exageration , but you get my point.  When I  got my first paper graph, my eyes were glued to it & I forgot to fish for a while. Don't want the same thing happening

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You should still fish like you have been. It's just a tool to help narrow down your target zone. No particular gadget is going to guarantee you fish

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Data is only as good as the interpretation of said data. The captain must process the data and make the right decision.

The Fishhawk provides two data points that I need, but the importance of those points varies ... The more the data changes the more important it becomes.

Changes in data requires changes tactics....if those changes are not made or ignored the data is useless.

The best strategy is to use all data points to quickly find the fish and load up on them because enough fish in the box is a data point that can make others irrelevant.

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I run a moor sub troll with the torpedo wire copper encapsulated stainless and haven't had any issues reading past 100'.

 

Here is the stuff I am running, works great and haven't had any issues reading my down speed.

https://www.torpedodivers.com/scart/product_details.asp?ItemNum=ZP0010

Sent from my thinking chair...

Edited by Chas0218

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I have the sub-troll and Fish hawk on the boat, they both work.  I have to say that the customer support for Fish Hawk is the best you could ask for.  I had a probe unit that quit working I sent it back to fish Hawk the day they received it they sent me a new unit.  No warranty info needed!  They stand behind what they make.   Sean

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My FishHawk probe also quit at the end of last season. It stopped reading the down temp. It was 4 yrs old and saw 1100 hrs of use. I always protect it and only put it on the downrigger when I get to where I want to fish, then take it off when im done. Apparently the thermistor tubes got damaged and the probe couldn't be repaired. I had to buy a new probe for $269 bucks. Ouch!   I noticed that the new probe comes with a rubber cap on the tip to protect the tubes so this must have been a common problem. Other than that I have been happy with the FishHawk System and and couldn't imagine fishing without down speed and down temp no matter which product you use.

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Glen, can't tell you how many thousands of fish I've taken on a blank screen over the years either. Just sayin'

Tim

 

I've found the best fishing is found with a blank screen.

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Adk1,

 

Honestly, I'd reorganize my electronics priorities if I were you.  I'd fish without a graph before I'd fish without downspeed and temp.  You can get by with a second rate or even 3rd rate graph, but if you don't know where the temps are and what the currents are doing down where your baits are running, you might as well stay on shore, IMO.

 

Tim

I can't disagree more with a statement than this one.  That would totally depend on the use of the boat, and what the person is fishing for.  I don't have a speed and temp sensor on my boat, and I think I did quite well for the last two seasons on Lake Ontario.  If a guy has a good sense of his boat, and a good depth finder, that he knows how to read, he can find fish as well as the guys with temp and speed sensors.  I will agree that it is a nice and valuable tool, but you certainly do not need one to catch fish.  I caught plenty of trout and salmon by searching for bait schools.  No matter what the temperature of the water is, if the bait fish are not there, then the predators will not be there either.  Besides that, if the guy is a multi species angler, like I am, than a good depth finder is a much more valuable tool for finding structure that other species, like walleyes and panfish will relate to.  Just my two cents.  Good luck with your search, and sorry for hijacking your thread for my little rant. :)

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John, we were talking about trout and salmon trolling not a multi species boat.  I was speaking for myself, as trout and salmon trolling is the only fishing my boat sees.  Besides, it's not so much the temps as it is the ridiculous subsurface currents that we have that make the probe so valuable.  Don't get me wrong, I do have a high quality graph on my boat, but if I had limited disposable funds and had to choose which piece of equipment to spend my money on, it would be a probe 10 times out of 10.

 

Your mileage may vary ;)

 

Tim

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Moore subtroll,....I was just at the manufacture shop here in Buffalo NY to have my unit recalibrated for the upcoming season.It checked fine at 9 years old. What got my attention with talking with the owner is that you can run more than one probe and only need one head unit. All you need is a simple switch to change from one probe to another, kind of a pretty cool tool to hone in on the vertical depth temp your looking for.

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Well pulled the trigger and purchased the Smart Troll system, speaking with the owner via e-mail he seems to be straight up and willing to stand behind his product. Ordered the plus package that comes with two speed/temp/depth probes. The probes with speed won't be available until April but I won't need them until May anyway. He said if for some reason they are still not ready he would send the temp/depth until the probes with speed are available. I will keep you informed on company service and how the product performs.  

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