We always get asked on the rivers and lakes what we are running for electronics and are always answering questions at the ramps about our setup so we thought we would divulge this mystery for those of you savvy anglers out there looking to up your game. We just updated our setup over a couple seasons of finding out what works and what doesn’t after hard guiding abuse and this is what we like.
The recipe is pretty straight forward to brew this catching concoction. You will need a sonar/plotter combo of your liking. We choose the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 pro which can be had on amazon for about 299 and is action packed with features that truly compare to the big money units in our big jet boats but come in a small waterproof affordable package.
You will also need the Scotty Transducer arm mount, that runs about 30 bucks on Amazon. Be sure and get the track mount version and not the deck mount otherwise there will not be enough room to get your transducer under the water line.
Now all you need is a battery of your choice, a battery box or mounting solution and you are ready for your tools such as rivet gun, rivets, drill, sharpie and have a good supply of zip ties and split wire loom on hand with your electrical connections. We solder all the connections and use shrink wrap tubing on all joints to fend off any issues down the road.
You will want to mount the track base of your scotty mount down low enough on the gunwale and near or under the oar locks in order for the transducer to be below the water line sufficiently. In this photo the arm is swung down only for the purpose of the photo to illustrate the transducer in relation to the bottom chine of the drift boat. When we are not in the water or in shallow rocky sections or on the trailer the arm is simply swung up and back along the edge of the boat out of harms way.
We will typically take the whole arm off and store it in the boat during trailering since it is so easy with a quick turn of the knob and it slides out of the track. We like this set up for a couple reasons. The arm will budge a little when hitting rocks or the bottom if you forget to swing it back and out of the water when you run down some shallows or come to shore but is still sturdy enough to get a good clear picture of even the deepest lake bottoms and will still read through some pretty good rollers and wave trains so you can actually pick up bottom structure and depth very clearly.
The head unit is really bright even on the sunniest days and with polarized sunglasses is very easy to read and translate. It is very waterproof and comes off and unplugs in mere seconds and can be tossed in a seat box for secure out of sight storage.
The features on this unit is very rich and intuitive. The chart plotting is very detailed and with maps and chart available you really cant be disappointed and the sonar clarity and detail is crazy for such a small unit.
With this unit you get the Navionics.com card of nautical charts, sonar charts and community edits plus you can make your own edits for bodies of water that aren’t supported such as small rivers. after a few passes down the rivers you can set your machine to record the bottom and features and you will build upon that maps each drift or pass you take on the water.
Once you register your card online you can update it download your own custom areas and info as you like. The software works fine with mac and dont be put off by the crazy download time it says in the downloader software. It really doesn’t take that long but the info you get in your machine is the same as commercial database units carry.
We have yet to find a fault in this great little unit and its software but getting everything loaded take a little time but not as much as the screen says. Our card was updated and loaded in 20min.
We first started using the humminbird fishinbuddy back in the day but quickly outgrew the limitations of the unit and went through a couple of them just because they weren’t as forgiving to shallow water incidents and the tech in the unit really is just basic.
We paid full price for these products and devices and are no way affiliated or endorsed by any of the manufacturers. It is simply the products we like.
Hope this answers most of your questions and hope to see you on the water.