Until recently I always thought that ‘echo sounder’ was a more accurate name than ‘fish finder’. ‘Feature finder’ would have been a better compromise. That is exactly what my units used to do – find features. It would paint me a picture of the bottom contours against which I was fishing. Armed with this information I could identify small areas on the screen that were likely to hold fish; shelves, drop-offs, plateaus, wrecks, etc. Any time I received icons on my screen that denoted the presence of fish, the unit was usually correct. Indeed, there were often fish beneath me that the unit did show and more often than not I would find myself catching fish from areas that the ‘fish finder’ was telling me were barren!
That was my opinion up until I started using a unit from ‘Lowrance’ that utilises ‘DSI’ or ‘Downscan Imaging’. This relatively new, affordable technology takes recreational echo sounders to a whole new level. I am not even going to attempt to pretend that I know how the units and the new technology work. All I know is that the returns on your LCD screen are incredible. The images returned through the transducer are almost as sharp as photographs. If there is a sunken tree under the kayak, you see a sunken tree on the screen. If there is a wreck below you, the screen displays a wreck. The clarity is fantastic.
A clear, sharp picture is not the only advantage of a DSI unit over a more traditional one. The DSI unit also picks up baitfish. One huge problem I encountered when tope fishing for the last few years was the fact that the older sounders did not pick up mackerel and I could lose a lot of time paddling back and forth, trying to find them. The DSI units pick up mackerel, minimising time spent looking for them and maximising time spent fishing for tope. The units are so detailed that they will even show up sandeels, sprat and even roach fry!
They are well worth a look and if you do decide to invest in one then here is a tutorial about how to go about mounting one. There are three main aspects to installing an echo sounder and these comprise of the screen, the transducer and the wiring. I am going to start with the screen, please click on any of the images for a larger, clearer view…..
Fitting an Echo Sounder’s LCD Screen
As with any rigging project, the first thing to do is to make sure you have all required tools and materials to hand.
Identify an area on the kayak where you will mount the screen. Sit into the kayak and assess the best position for the screen to suit your needs. It needs to go in a position where it can be accessed easily but at the same time be kept free from tangling with fishing lines or lures. I am going to position mine under the sonar shield on my kayak, the most logical place for it to go on a ‘Trident’ kayak, the recess here designed for exactly this purpose.
Drill holes for the bolts that will secure the LCD screen mount to your kayak. It makes sense to drill a hole for cable access to the inside of the kayak. The hole to the right in the picture is for this purpose and its large size is to accommodate a wiring gland to form a watertight seal between cable and kayak. More on that to follow.
Add a bit of marine grade sealant to the holes to form a watertight seal.
Attach the LCD screen mount to the kayak with the selected hardware. You could use bolts or rivets. For this project I have used bolts. Your LCD screen mount is now installed. Details on fitting the transducer are to follow.