Finding Fish in HD – By Josh Behrendorff

When it comes to buying new electronics for your boat, you want to make sure your investment will meet and preferably exceed your expectations. For me personally I require a lot from my sounder, it needs to be capable of clearly finding me fish from 2m of water through to 100m of water. I expect my sounder to help me search new ground to find that ‘needle in a haystack’ or ‘pub in the desert’ that hold large quality fish and have an accurate GPS system with detailed charts. It sounds like a long list, but it doesn’t stop there. I want it somewhat future-proof, so if a new transducer hits the market, I want it to be compatible with my current system, and all of that has to be backed by a comprehensive trouble-free warranty.

Using the GT51 transducer, the barra are a little hard to make out on the 455khz.

I have previously owned Hummingbird, Simrad, Furuno and Garmin sounders in the past and I have no affiliation with any of these companies and they have all steered me onto fish also. I called on an expert in the form of Barry from Navcom in Townsville whose business is to keep up with this technology and offer good consumer advice on each of these products. Around 6months ago I decided to upgrade to the new Garmin 8412xsv and matched it up with the GT51 transducer. This has outperformed all of my expectations inshore and offshore. It provides excellent reading at speed and depth, the best GPS charts on the market and arguably the best deep-water side scanning capabilities on the market. It has been responsible for helping me find stacks of red fish in the last 6 months, something that had been lacking in my esky for several years.

The sounder set was missing one small thing from my sounder expectation list though; the ability for detailed side view/down view in shallow water for fingermark, barra, grunter etc. The GT51 transducer’s maximum frequency of 455khz didn’t allow it to show the HD detail that gets splashed about on social media. For this reason, I recently installed a second transducer onto the transom of my Quintrex Renegade, the GT54UHD transducer. This thing has a maximum sidevu frequency of 1200khz and a maximum frequency of 800khz for down view or as Garmin call it, Clearvu.

This type of technology doesn’t only allow you to find the fish, but also watch their body language, these fish are sitting slightly nose up, facing into the current. They looked like they were feeding, however it was very hard to get a bite from them that afternoon.

This all sounds well and good but pictures tell a thousand words and for this article, I am going to let the pictures do the majority of the talking. These sounder shots of the UHD were all taken on my first outing with the new transducer in conditions that weren’t ideal, the water was running a chocolate brown to tannin stain colouration from the fresh runoff from recent rains which usually distorts the images slightly. So, to say that I was impressed from what I saw was an understatement. My plan was to duck down to one of Townsville’s local rivers after work one afternoon to scan around a few areas and head home in time to mow the lawn. But once I found that first pack of barra sitting above some rocky structure, I fell victim to the old ‘just one more cast’ syndrome and ended up staying until the midgies carried me away well after sunset.

I had swapped through half my lure tray before I was able to entice my first bite and it just so happened to be one of the smallest fish I found on the sounder.

The fishing on this particular afternoon was nothing special and only a couple of fish were landed while I trolled from one school of fish to the next with the odd spot lock to throw a plastic and vibe. Knowing the fish were there and watching them sitting in a slight ambush way in the water column gave me the encouragement and confidence that it was only a matter of time before I would hook up to a fish. My persistence did pay off with a few fish, but despite the few hook-ups and catching fish I still felt a little disappointed having seen so many big barra that refused to fall victim to any of my offerings, but there’s always tomorrow. Until next, time stay safe and tight lines.

This image is taken in 45m of water on a 15kn day, yet you can still see the new red mark I found sitting between 90-100m to the left of the boat.