Trick My Tinnie: Pt 2 Ben Keen 2017

A couple of editions back, you might remember I went through the process of installing a bow mounted electric motor on my tinnie.

Over the last few months, the electric has been such a welcome addition to “Big Bad Barry” that I decided to go next level and pimp my sounder.

So, why the upgrade?

Simply,  technology is clearly changing the way the game is played.

Take for example side imaging. Being able to ID fish such as barra or snapper wide of the boat is a huge advantage for fishos.

That is not to say fish are guaranteed, we all know that finding fish is only one part of the puzzle!!

However, I have been a guest on many “side imaging equipped” boats over the last couple of years and I have come to the resolution that side imaging for the locations I fish is “necessary”.

Now, for those of you who are married, be aware that your wife is probably going to see “necessary” as a subjective term.

In short, you may need to be prepared to buy a few pairs of shoes and the odd bunch of flowers before embarking on such discussions.

As you would be aware, such technology comes at a price, a price that can easily be justified by the discerning fisho, but can be hard for “civilians” to understand.

That being said, there are some pretty good options price-wise out there at present so here’s how I went about my decision making process.

Choosing a sounder:

Obviously, this article focuses on the 4 – 4.5 metre sized  tinnie. Essentially, this size of tinnie is going to be used mostly for  estuary and inshore locations.

I think the biggest issue for sub-5 metre tinnie technology is that between a sounder and an electric motor, you can easily spend more than the rest of the boat is worth.

So the idea is always to find the right balance, to get what you need without  breaking the bank. This leads to the contentious issue of compromise – without winning the Lotto, something has to give.

As mentioned above, side imaging for me was non-negotiable, a primary feature if you like.

My next consideration was given to secondary functions or what I call value adds.

Across the brands, I identified that the new Humminbird range seemed to have some features worth looking at, so I was pretty keen on getting into the new Helix G2N market.

Advanced networking capabilities, Mega Imaging & AutoChart Live have all been strong discussion points around the new Helix G2N series.

G2N units are fully networkable with other G2N units, sharing functionality if you have multiple units on board. They also have Bluetooth capability and can sync with your smart phone so that any phone notifications you have can display on your Humminbird screen.

Mega Imaging is exactly that. It is like the ultimate zoom feature with exceptional clarity. This is achieved by utilising the megahertz frequency. You may have seen some of the screen shots from these units floating around social media recently – a very cool feature. Just remember that with Mega Imaging, it is only available in 9″ and upwards models.

AutoChart Live allows real time depth, vegetation and bottom hardness mapping. After watching a couple of demos on Youtube of this feature in action, I could see that this would have great benefit for the shallow reef to drop-off areas I regularly fish in. Not to mention the ability to accurately sound the Tingalpa Creek channel that is notoriously difficult to navigate at dead low.

Once you have decided on your desired technology requirements, the next decision to make is size and this is where you will need to make some decisions as this is the biggest factor when it comes to managing the project budget, particularly if you are installing multiple units.

Obviously, when it comes to screens, we all want a movie theatre experience. But, the budget doesn’t always stretch that far so make sure you check out the demo models at your local retailer to get an idea of what you will be looking at for your dollar.

So, where, did I land?

As mentioned, side imaging was a non-negotiable must have. The Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N unit ticked the side imaging box as well as being equipped with AutoChart live and networking functions.

Going with the 7″, I did miss out on Mega Imaging but if you are keen on this function (probably worthwhile for dedicated barra fishos), an upgrade to the 9″ model is not going to stretch the bank too much further.

However, the 7″ diagonal, 800H x 480V colour TFT display is exceptional and is definitely worthy of running your eyes over if you are sitting on a $1500ish budget. This model comes in at $1499 with the Navionics Gold Card ($1279 without Gold Card).

The installation

Well, much like my electric motor installation, it was all pretty straight forward. The only real consideration point before jumping into an install is transducer placement.

I was a bit anxious about this so I got my mate Anthony Mainas to come on board for the job. Anthony is a gun fisho who just happens to be an auto electrician and diesel mechanic by trade. I am sure we all have a friend like Anthony – works 60 hour weeks and spends weekends fixing his mate’s toys for the odd carton of beer. Anthony, we salute you for keeping the country going!!

The Humminbird bracket was a simple two screw fix with a couple of level adjustment functions.

In terms of the actual positioning, Anthony gave me some top tips.

Firstly, read your transducer mounting instruction manual. See what the manufacturers have to say and then consider these general following points.

Mount the transducer in a clear water path to prevent noise. Avoid positioning the transducer in line with a chine.  Fail to get a clear water path and there will be “no read at speed”.

Mount the transducer in a central height  position. This allows for easy adjustment, up or down on test runs.

Use a spirit level to ensure the transducer is level, otherwise your read may be inaccurate.

Once the transducer is in, run some wire, sort your power out and you are ready to roll!! Woohoo!!