Electronics • Reading your sounder - a primer

Sounders, Shark Shields, and other electronics

Re: Reading The Fish Finder.

Postby RedPhoenix » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:02 am

Unfortunately, due to the change in ownership of this web site and the lack of response by the owners to my requests to remove my email address from all administrative-level notifications and functionality, I have decided to remove my posts on AKFF. Thank you for the great times, the fantastic learning experiences and the many many fish. If you are desperate for the old content of this particular post, it is available below base64 encoded and bzip2 compressed.

Red.

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QlpoOTFBWSZTWXiznCUAAB/fgAAQUKWAEoQiEAo/7//gMAC6mKnppGQaD1NPUBoaACJD0MiAaDQ0AAGqfpNE1PIAR6g0B6T1NMGoK9D45TEdXfFciOmWbK4btT3B6uIJkicdZyWBAaXCw3KQaSxNiwXFAA5QSX4Xxl91MMHCIIHKdVnovT0kJkOFNgi4JF9KQbnLE1OzquDDUwGlgs3MKxnwK3lQsUBIEE0EmoxRlbiM9hlFhh6/W2Ev55PU3NZe9SiS13rTszUsQIDQDCjRKPwTscYJWx4yB+LuSKcKEg8Wc4Sg
Last edited by RedPhoenix on Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Thank you all for the laughs, the advice, and the mateship. Can the last one on the site, please turn off the lights before you leave.
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby kayakbream » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:54 pm

Bought a Lowrance HDS-5 combo on Friday, took it out for the first time this morning- Awesome!! The XDS-50 I had in the old kayak was such a piece of crap in comparison!! I didn't believe there could be such a difference but suddenly I could see actual contours, fish etc.. Can't wait to try it out in deeper water :D
I had got used to interpreting the XDS-50, but I can tell you I even tried it out objects I had dropped in a pool, and it told me everything was a fish!! The best advice I can give is to keep it on manual mode, and if something funny turns up on the screen, switch between 83khz and 200khz a couple of times, you'll get a better idea of what it is! (This is for the XDS-50 only)
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby Marineside » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:22 am

Set the transducer to 200mhz.
Turn the scroll speed right up to full.
Turn the sensitivity to maximum until the screen goes black with interference, then slowly back the sensitivity off until the screen starts to clear, leaving any interference (blackness) up near the surface (you don't look for fish up there anyways).

Would this be standard sort of settings for any sounder i have an Eagle Cuda 300 ???
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby ELM » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:54 pm

Marineside wrote:Set the transducer to 200mhz.
Turn the scroll speed right up to full.
Turn the sensitivity to maximum until the screen goes black with interference, then slowly back the sensitivity off until the screen starts to clear, leaving any interference (blackness) up near the surface (you don't look for fish up there anyways).

Would this be standard sort of settings for any sounder i have an Eagle Cuda 300 ???


Marineside, it's a good way to start for max sensitivity, if you do it each time when you go out you are retuning to that environment on the day and you will learn more as you go along. If you take a snorkel out jump in have a look at your sounder then stick ya head in the water, will help understand (special if there are fish, weed and can see the bottom) practicing deep water re-entry while you are at it ;-) :lol:
Happy sailing/fishing
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby LoboLoco » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:47 pm

Just a few quick notes that some people may not know:

Sounders do NOT pick up fish because of their swim bladders (Sharks don't have swim bladders but they sure turn up on a sounder!).

Red in your first sounder image I think it is that shape because of the angle of the transducer (either due to swell of a non perpendicular mount), rather than first picking up the tail end of the turtle then the neck. When the transducer beam is on an angle that is what an object looks like when you pass over it (or when is swims through the beam).
Here is another example of this from my cuda300

P1232737.JPG
fish detction with transducer beam on an angle
P1232737.JPG (64.98 KiB) Viewed 1864 times


The depth reading of an object usually isn't the actual depth of the object (unless you are directly over it). This is because if you are detecting something on the edge of the beam, the distance from the transducer to the object will be the same as the distance to an object at a deeper depth that is directly under the transducer beam. However both will be displayed at the same depth even tho the object on the edge of the beam sits higher in the water column. (this is where a picture speaks a 1000 words, I may draw some and scan them in if anyone is interested?).

Here are a few more images from my cuda 300:

In this image there are two fish sitting on the edge of a drop-off. Thet are sitting close together.
P3273160.JPG
2 fish sitting on a drop-off
P3273160.JPG (67.76 KiB) Viewed 1864 times


Here is a school of bait fish:
P3273162.JPG
bait fish
P3273162.JPG (69.52 KiB) Viewed 1864 times


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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby Ranger » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:05 pm

Marineside wrote:Set the transducer to 200mhz.
Turn the scroll speed right up to full.
Turn the sensitivity to maximum until the screen goes black with interference, then slowly back the sensitivity off until the screen starts to clear, leaving any interference (blackness) up near the surface (you don't look for fish up there anyways).

Would this be standard sort of settings for any sounder i have an Eagle Cuda 300 ???

Certainly is! ;-)

If you are sounding around, leave the scroll speed on full, but if you then use the sounder while sitting still and anchored, turn the scroll speed down a little, and this will help to bunch the arches up into that classic shape as fish pass through your transducer cone.
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby keza » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:25 pm

i end up with my sensitivity between 97 and 100%. It doesn't really go to black.

Does anyone else get interference from shark shields ?
I don't have one but if there is one within 30m I get dots all over my screen.
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby Ranger » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:33 pm

keza wrote:Does anyone else get interference from shark shields ?
I don't have one but if there is one within 30m I get dots all over my screen.

Electrical interference is quite common.

It's why on boats when you install a sounder, the cables should be run seperately and as far from all other electrics as possible.
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby Ranger » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:36 pm

keza wrote:i end up with my sensitivity between 97 and 100%. It doesn't really go to black.

Can I ask what sounder you're using? Is it an entry level unit, and are you seeing fish with it?
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby keza » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:13 pm

Hi Ranger, it's the Lowrance X50DS.
I do see fish. I can't say i have seen classic arches but i have seen amazing stuff when kingies are feeding and i sometimes see my jig drop.
It is installed inside the hull. (wet mount)
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby Ranger » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:53 pm

That's interesting! Those dots all over the screen you see when a shark shield is near is what you should be seeing at full power.

Does the top of the screen black out, or do you see black pixels appearing randomly all over the screen, but denser towards the top of the screen at 100%?

The reason I ask is that your unit is internally pretty much the same as mine (same power output, same resolution, etc). Mine has a slightly larger screen, and yours has dual frequency, those are the only differences. I generally run at about 70-85% gain/sensitivity, and you've seen the clarity of the pictures I'm getting, with the distinct classic arches.

I also run another Lowrance unit mounted on my Minn Kota which also displays very much the same, even though each individual sounder will have its own little nuances.

In shallow waters (around 10-40'), with fish actively feeding you should easily be seeing the classic arch at least occasionally as they pass through the centre of your transducer beam. Using a wet mount system it would be unlikely that you're having any problems with the transducer mounting, and seeing your jig going down shows that the unit is working as it should. There's nothing like seeing your jig going up and down through a school of fish and waiting for that first take!

If there's no interference or drop out, I would suggest your connections are also fine and the cable shielding is intact.

Are you using 83 or 200mHz frequency? (If you're not already on it, switch to 200 for greater clarity and definition.)

It's difficult to offer help or advice without seeing it, and maybe there's NOT even anything wrong at all.

I'm afraid all I can offer is to run simulation mode just to make sure all the pixels are working properly (dropped pixels are one of the first signs of screen failure, but I'm fairly confident they WILL be working) then after that always run the unit on full (100%) power constantly so that it's given the best chance of showing you as much information as it's capable of.

Who knows, maybe you're just lucky enough to have a unit which just doesn't show background interference for some reason. And as long as you are seeing all the fish you should be, this is just good news!

Also, do you have any photos of your screen we can see, showing the fish/part arches you are seeing? If not, are you seeing big black blobs, straight horizontal lines, occasional dots/pixels scattered around, part arches, whispy stuff that looks like weed?
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby keza » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:18 pm

the shark shields make dots in a pulsing pattern across the screen (evenly).
I'll try to get some pics when i'm next out with a shielder and hopefully i'll get some fish on the screen also.

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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby sbd » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:46 pm

Definitely not Sharkshield interference Kerry, it's the other sounders that do it. Depending on the make of the other sounder, you won't necessarily get much, but between 2 Lowrance units there's significant interference. When I'm more than about 30m from anyone else with my SS on, I get no interference (on the X67c & my shiny new/old (Eric's) Cuda168).
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby Drewboy » Tue May 04, 2010 10:58 pm

keza wrote:i end up with my sensitivity between 97 and 100%. It doesn't really go to black.

Does anyone else get interference from shark shields ?
I don't have one but if there is one within 30m I get dots all over my screen.


Consider that your berley trail may be responsible here.... it happened to me on the weekend whilst anchored.
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Re: Reading your sounder - a primer

Postby grumpy2 » Mon May 10, 2010 11:12 pm

I would like to make a comment if I may about reading your sounders.
After 10 yrs as a pro and 30 as an amateur I have had a lot of headaches trying to learn these damn things. A couple of events changed everything, I was sitting in a friends tinny and we were catching nice size trag, someone else came alongside to talk and he had a new colour sounder with all the trimmings. As we sat there he had a look on his sounder and said there was nothing there, problem was we were both doing the old trick of pretending nothing was happening but we both had 1.5 kg trag on the line. He headed off and we continued to catch fish. The person who owned the boat I was in never owned a sounder in his life but was consistently one of the higher catch rates in the area for amateurs.
The other point was that running a setline boat I followed the ground not the fish, it was interesting the way schools of fish would consistently move during the day, going away from and then back to a particular reef.
A sounder will tell you good ground from bad, bait from midwater feeding snapper, but it wont put a fish on your line.
Spend your time and effort into learning how to hook fish, it has much better results.
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