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01/27/2023 01:02PM  
Hey everyone, I'm sure that this has been discussed a few times, but the technology keeps changing so I wanted to bring it back up to the top and get some new comments. I'm in the market for a depth finder and would like some feedback on the options i'm looking at. I generally want it to know the depth I'm at for fishing, but there are several options out there that would help with navigation too.

Deeper Sonar Pro PLUS 2 - this seems like it should be really convenient and easiest to portage. I can also use it ice fishing without purchasing new transducers. Do they work well? How fast does it drain the battery on your phone? I don't really like the idea of having the transducer dragging behind me, has anyone tried the HVAC duct putty trick with these to stick it inside the bottom of your canoe? I already have offline maps and GPS on my phone, the bathymetric mapping looks really cool especially for base camping, less useful if you are traveling every day.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv - I'll need a full 12V battery for this, but can create maps of the lake bottom and way points, but no basemaps/navigation. I think i need a stationary transducer for ice fishing

Garmin Echomap 4 - pretty similar to the striker, but could also be used for navigation and adding waypoints due to having a basemap, again an ice fishing transducer is needed.

Humminbird Pirahnamax 4 DI - straight up depth finder, needs a second transducer for ice fishing? I probably don't need the DI but may be a nice feature. Probably last on my list, since it has no mapping waypointing capability.

With all these, my preference would be to put the transducer in the canoe and not drag it (see HVAC putty above). I probably don't really need DI capability, and then I drop down a price point, and probably no longer need a second transducer for Striker or Pirahna, but still would for the Echomap.

I'd really like to hear anyone's opinion on this, I'm feeling pretty torn between the Striker and the Deeper, but interested in thoughts on the others as well

TL/DR - Do Deeper Sonar work, Do they drain the phone too fast? is it better just to have dedicated depth finder? Is DI/GPS worth the extra cost?

Duct Seal Method for transducer
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senior member (76)senior membersenior member
01/27/2023 02:13PM  
Tried one of the other versions of a castable or towable fishfinder (Lowrance FishHunter 3D) and it was hot garbage. You are constantly trying to get it to connect to your phone and any waves or water that splashes over it will disrupt the connection. Then you are maintaining two batteries (fish finder and phone) and the phone drains pretty quickly because it is running on full brightness with the screen always on.

Checkout the Hawkeye Fishtrax 1C. It's just as portable and only needs 4 AA batteries. Runs for a long time on the lithium AA's and you can just suction to a canoe if you choose or run a transducer arm. Also works for ice, but I did find that if you are too close to someone else using a Vexilar it won't work due to interference. Like in the same ice shelter kind of close.
01/27/2023 03:46PM  
The Deeper can drains my phone(iPhone se) in 4-5 hours. I usually bring extra chargers to make it last all day. The Deeper itself lasts about 6-7 hours.
distinguished member(2058)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/27/2023 04:23PM  
The Echomap has a lot of lake maps, but not all lakes. The Striker Vivid does have GPS so you can add waypoints and routes but it doesn't have preloaded map. If you get the ice fishing package it comes with the ice fishing transducer, a battery, and a case that holds it all but then you would have to buy the traditional transducer in addition to use it on the water. You would have to price it both ways to see what is the better value: standard unit + battery + ice fishing transducer, or ice fishing package + traditional transducer.

I have a couple larger Echomap units in my fishing boat and they are decent units. I would have purchased Strikers but I was able to get Echomap UHD sv's for the same price because they were 40% off on sale so basically I got the mapping and side scanning sonar for free.
member (26)member
01/29/2023 10:05PM  
I have an older Deeper unit. It works well to shoot through hull of Kevlar canoe. I just take a quart ziploc with an inch or two of water in bottom. Put the Deeper in the bag, zip it closed, and put it under my seat in the stern. It floats in the bag and reads depth just fine. It does not work if placed in areas of canoe bottom with structural foam - assuming those have air pockets in them that disrupt the sonar. This is much easier than floating it over side of the boat.
distinguished member (424)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/30/2023 06:31PM  
"Do Deeper Sonar work" Yes
"Do they drain the phone too fast?" My brand new phone can keep up but the Deeper battery only lasts 6 hours at best, in the summertime.
"Is it better just to have dedicated depth finder?" 100%

I have had my Deeper Pro+ since 2018. I have taken it to the BWCA every summer and use it ice fishing as well. It used to outlast my previous phone battery but my new one keeps up. Either way you're only getting 6 hours off of a charge. It can be a real PITA to get it to connect. The newer software has helped this. I have a friend with one who doesn't have the connection problems. He uses it exclusively with a tablet that does not get used for anything else.

I've given up on trying to use it all day long in a canoe. I've had days where I've spent as much time messing with it as I have fishing. This is especially a pain if you're solo in a canoe. If you have room for another 2-3 pounds, I'd absolutely go with a regular, all-in-one unit. I do not regret my purchase, it has gotten me onto fish in the BWCA that I would have otherwise missed but don't expect it to be all that and a bag of chips.

All things considered, it absolutely can't be beat in the 3.5 ounce category.

distinguished member(2944)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/31/2023 07:16AM  
Sheesh, back in the day we used a 1 oz. Weight clipped onto a swivel and dropped it down to measure depth. Life was so much easier back then.

I feel like an idiot bringing a GPS locator but I bring it so first responders can find my corpse more than anything. It’s saves time for them.

distinguished member (208)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/01/2023 10:16AM  

Went on many trips without depth finder. Then my brother brought one and it made finding new areas much quicker and easier. But his was a pain in the butt to use. I decided I needed to make my own for canoe and kayak fishing. I settled on the Garmin Striker 4, the price was economical and it's a small unit with low battery draw. I found an old Plano soft side tackle box not being used anymore to stow the unit, cords, two 6AH Amped Outdoors lithium batteries, transducer and Scotty transducer arm in while traveling/portaging. When in fishing mode, the tranducer and arm are put in Scotty mount on gunnel, extra cords remain in bag zipped up keeping them out of the way and then I run a Bungee Dealee Bob around the base of the unit and bag handles and attach it to thwart in front of me. The bungee holds it perfectly in front of me and makes for a quick removal for portaging if needed. There is also very little drag from the transducer and arm, compared to suction cup or other methods I had tried in the past. My canoe has a foam core, so I can't shoot through it. I fished for 5 days, about 8 hours a day, and I never had to hook up the second battery for the trip. Even with 2 lithium batteries this was very light and very compact. I'm always trying to keep things compact, light and useful. If not, I've learned to leave it at home.
distinguished member (208)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/01/2023 10:35AM  

I don't have the best pic of it in the canoe. But this pic is the best that I have right now. The Plano bag is hanging behind my map case and you can see the top of the Garmin just above the thwart. The transducer cord is bungeed to the thwart. And you can see the transducer arm in it's Scotty mount, deployed into the water. It's a very simple transducer arm, but rotates up easily if I we get into very shallow water or rocks.
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