BWCA Helix 5 and RAM Mounts, the perfect BW Canoe Fishing Setup Boundary Waters Fishing Forum
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ericinely
distinguished member (220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2021 08:27AM  
I finally wrote a blog post about my Humminbird Helix 5 sonar and RAM mount system I use on all of my canoe fishing trips. This is the best system I have found for Boundary Waters travel, after a bunch of failed attempts.



Perfect Backcountry Canoe Fishing System

I know this topic has been discussed at length on this forum, but I am constantly getting questions about which system I use and how I mount it to the canoe, and I have yet to see anyone else using this system so I am guessing this will be new information for you all.

Let me know what systems are working for you!
 
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thegildedgopher
distinguished member(1204)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2021 10:41AM  
It's an awesome setup. I'd swap the bird for a 7-inch Garmin but that's personal preference.

I have yet to find a better, cheaper, quieter, less complicated transducer setup than shooting thru the hull. Every once in a while there seems to be a hull that doesn't wanna work with this, but overall it's incredibly effective. The only thing you lose is the water temp reading, but it's not very difficult to pick up the ducer and dip it in the lake from time to time.

 
PeaceFrog
distinguished member (134)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2021 02:11PM  
Thanks Eric and TGG. Yes this has had much debate and discussion but I like simple and both appear to fit that. This is on the hot sheet for my 2022 trip. I'm going to consider both set ups. I've had my eye on a Garmin Striker 4.
Best - PF
 
Heyfritty
senior member (80)senior membersenior member
 
10/13/2021 03:03PM  
So, $104 to $114?

Fritty
 
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2513)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2021 07:01PM  
Nice set up. I use a helix 5 for my boat.my up grade will be to a 7 inch screen. The new unit will also include side scan...
I currently use my ice fishing bag to hold my bird.The battery is in the bag and the cover gives me sum shade on a sunny day.
We I move up front to run the trolling motor I just move the bag up with me.
I do this because the $100 buck Lowrance unit I have mounted on the front is gonna be confetti after I shoot it with my 22/250 at 20 yds. .
 
arnesr
distinguished member (133)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2021 07:59PM  
Eric, Thanks for sharing your setup. I didn't see it mentioned specifically in the article as to why you use the transducer arm bracket. I seem to recall in one of your videos that you use side imaging on the Humminbird Helix. I am assuming that the transducer bracket positions your transducer below the bottom of the canoe, which allows for effective side imaging.

Myself, I use a Lowrance unit and currently use the same method as theguildedgopher to shoot through the hull. I have not used side imaging in my canoe, so I find this setup perfect for my needs. Years ago when I paddled an aluminum canoe I would use a suction cup transducer mount, which worked, but I would often forget about it and the transducer would take a beating while landing or shallow. Plus it was noisy with the cable drag at the surface while in motion.

How many hours run time do you get with that system/battery?

Yogi, a bigger screen is always nice, but keep in mind the additional power consumption it will require. It might work fine for a weekend trip or car camping, but for a week long or more backcountry trip, a smaller screen has the advantage in terms of run time/battery. Has your Lowrance unit been a source of frustration or just a random choice for target practice?

 
10/13/2021 08:02PM  
What part(s) haven't you seen anyone use yet?

I have a couple 7's that I love. They're normally on boats but use for paddling too

MDI/MSI is pretty nice....along w/ lakemaster chip
 
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2513)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2021 11:04PM  
Screen size matters in fishing.
You are right about the power consumption.
Price you pay. My units are in my boat.

I think side imaging would be a 10 star as for use in the boundary waters.
Just creep up on rock pile.
 
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2513)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/13/2021 11:18PM  
As for the Lowrance, I just want people to save their money.buy garbage, get garbage.
Would feel right by tring to get 20 bucks at a yard sale.
If the 250 doesn't do just damage with a 4000fps bullet.
Then 30 rounds with the .223 should do the job.
 
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2513)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2021 12:33AM  
Stay tuned for pics
 
RunningFox
distinguished member (138)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2021 05:12AM  
Mama put my Lowrance in the ground
I can’t use it any more
It’s getting dark, too dark to see
Feels like I’m knocking on big tech’s door

Whoa, yeh, yeh, yeh
 
RunningFox
distinguished member (138)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2021 05:23AM  
One more:

So
So you think you can tell
Heaven from hell
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail
 
amhacker22
distinguished member(1167)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2021 08:33AM  
This blog post was excellent. I love RAM mounts, but it can be really hard to build something directly from their website. This clarified a lot for me. THANKS!

Also, I copied your system to the extent I could on a recent trip, and it worked great. Thanks for sharing this!

Finally, if anyone hasn't taken some time to watch these videos, you need to check them out. Informative, well-edited, and absolutely spot on content for what most of us like to do. It's worth subscribing to Farwater on Youtube.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(1204)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/14/2021 09:36AM  
arnesr: "Eric, Thanks for sharing your setup. I didn't see it mentioned specifically in the article as to why you use the transducer arm bracket. I seem to recall in one of your videos that you use side imaging on the Humminbird Helix. I am assuming that the transducer bracket positions your transducer below the bottom of the canoe, which allows for effective side imaging.


Myself, I use a Lowrance unit and currently use the same method as theguildedgopher to shoot through the hull. I have not used side imaging in my canoe, so I find this setup perfect for my needs. Years ago when I paddled an aluminum canoe I would use a suction cup transducer mount, which worked, but I would often forget about it and the transducer would take a beating while landing or shallow. Plus it was noisy with the cable drag at the surface while in motion.


How many hours run time do you get with that system/battery?


Yogi, a bigger screen is always nice, but keep in mind the additional power consumption it will require. It might work fine for a weekend trip or car camping, but for a week long or more backcountry trip, a smaller screen has the advantage in terms of run time/battery. Has your Lowrance unit been a source of frustration or just a random choice for target practice?


"


I could be wrong, but his bird looks like a pretty basic 2d sonar unit with GPS.
 
10/14/2021 02:17PM  
I went from a Lowrance, which the screen configuration looks similar to the Hummingbird, to a Garmin and thought it was 100% easier to use.
I use suction cups to attach it to the side of the canoe. It has side imaging so I want to keep the transducer in the water.
 
lundojam
distinguished member(2601)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/15/2021 07:35AM  

I mount a small B&W to a clamp and use a suction cup and 8 AA's. I now use a battery case like the one shown; an upgrade from the tupperware, which lasted years. I highly recommend this setup, the clamp especially.
 
10/15/2021 07:37AM  
Very nice set up, thanks for sharing!

T
 
ericinely
distinguished member (220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/15/2021 12:17PM  
arnesr: "Eric, Thanks for sharing your setup. I didn't see it mentioned specifically in the article as to why you use the transducer arm bracket. I seem to recall in one of your videos that you use side imaging on the Humminbird Helix. I am assuming that the transducer bracket positions your transducer below the bottom of the canoe, which allows for effective side imaging. "

I am a little confused by the question. I don't have a unit with side-imaging, but I have used my buddy's before, I think in the May Walleye video to Crooked. I decided against it to save money and battery life (only available in the Helix 7, I believe). Regardless, the transducer arm bracket is needed to hold the transducer in the water, I am not sure how I could get the system to work without that piece. I've tried shooting through the hull, and I just don't think it gives as accurate of a reading consistently. They are designed to be used directly in the water.

On my last trip, I got 4 full days of fishing out of my sonar before it went dead, probably a total of 30-35 hours
 
ericinely
distinguished member (220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/15/2021 12:22PM  
cyclones30: "What part(s) haven't you seen anyone use yet?


I have a couple 7's that I love. They're normally on boats but use for paddling too


MDI/MSI is pretty nice....along w/ lakemaster chip "


I was talking specifically about the RAM mount system. Just spreading the good word about a product I swear by.
 
ericinely
distinguished member (220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/15/2021 12:23PM  
amhacker22: "This blog post was excellent. I love RAM mounts, but it can be really hard to build something directly from their website. This clarified a lot for me. THANKS!


Also, I copied your system to the extent I could on a recent trip, and it worked great. Thanks for sharing this!


Finally, if anyone hasn't taken some time to watch these videos, you need to check them out. Informative, well-edited, and absolutely spot on content for what most of us like to do. It's worth subscribing to Farwater on Youtube."


Thanks, AMHACKER22, I promise that s/he is not getting paid for their testimony!
 
ericinely
distinguished member (220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/15/2021 12:24PM  
"


I could be wrong, but his bird looks like a pretty basic 2d sonar unit with GPS."

Yes, the system in the blog post is an old 2016 version, but I just upgraded to the 2021 version with the HD screen, Autochart, Down Imaging (not side), lakemaster maps and Chirp. I should be unstoppable now! I am working on a video for this same blog post right now where I talk about the benefits of the RAM system AND the new upgraded sonar. I hope to have that out in the next couple of weeks.
 
10/15/2021 08:33PM  
Lakemaster chips are great....depth color highlight and all that we use all the time.

Ram mounts have been used a VERY long time in Ag so I've got parts and pieces of balls and arms and random mounts all over. Vehicle, tractor cab, ATV, etc
 
schweady
distinguished member(7462)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
10/18/2021 09:07AM  
For securing equipment, RAM is your best friend.


(I've upgraded to the smaller RAM Tough Claw to grab the thwart since this pic.)


My Humminbird and 'ducer sit on the canoe floor, however. Just need to check depth occasionally and don't need so many things up at eye level in the canoe.
 
Hammertime
member (45)member
 
10/19/2021 08:55PM  
Awesome setup!

Have you ever used your helix 5 on the ice? If so, how did it go? Do you need any other accessories?
 
ericinely
distinguished member (220)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/23/2021 12:40PM  
Yes! That is actually why I first invested in the Helix series 5-6 years ago. I use the Helix 5 all winter long and it works great, just swap out the transducer when seasons change. I am really excited for the more accurate maps, gps, down imaging (hopefully easier to tell bottom density: soft vs hard bottom) and sonar of the new unit. The first package I bought was the Ice Helix, so it came with the ice transducer...the new model was just the open water version, so I will have to purchase the ice transducer separately, which I think is about $100. Most of my ice fishing is for lakers and stream trout, which you really only need sonar for.
 
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