Whatever happened to the portable fish finder of yesteryear? At one time angers had several options from a variety of manufacturers to choose from. Today ‘modern’ portable electronics are scarce. The few that are available are usually the most basic models offered by a manufacturer with limited features. This leaves anglers who fishes remote waters from a 12’ or 14’ skiff with very limited options when it comes to modern marine electronics.
Here is an easy do-it-yourself project to up-grade an older outdated unit or create a new unit:
#1 – Most anglers still have or know someone who has an old out dated or non-functioning portable unit. Eagle Fish I.D or Eagle Fish Easy were very common units back in the day. Units like this can be found relatively easily at garage sales or on-line (eBay & kiijiji) and purchased for next to nothing. In obtaining one of these units the most critical components are the carrying case (housing), suction cup and if the power wiring is still intact that is a bonus.
#2 – Obtain a relatively current model marine electronics that you prefer. Most manufacturers offer downsized versions of their mega units that boast the same important features – colour screens, gps, high resolution, etc. These ‘mini’ units are much lighter and require less power which is critical for an effective portable unit.
#3 – Marry the ‘modern’ unit to the old case. Most old cases have mounting brackets that are permanently attached and need to be removed with the use of a hacksaw or small grinder in order for the new gimbal/bracket to fit. Install the new unit as instructed by the manufacturer. Use stainless fasteners if possible and seal any holes drilled into the case to run wiring or bolts with silicone or urethane to prevent corrosion issues in the future. The inside of most of these cases were intended to house a couple 6 volt batteries or several ‘D’ cell batteries. The interior may also need some renovations to make room for its future power source. If the unit is going to see some rough travel it is probably best to line the inside with foam tape to keep the battery secure. Use the old suction cup to mount the current transducer. Most transducer mounts are fairly universal and will easily adapt to fit and older suction cup style mount. A few extra washers maybe needed here to make a good fit.
#4 – Use a battery that will fit the case and maximize the available room. Remember the bigger the battery the longer it will last between charges but weight can also become an issue if you plan on carrying it along way with other gear. Most electronic stores offer these lead cell sealed batteries in a variety of sizes and under normal use they will commonly last about 5 years before they need replacement. The 7 amp hour batteries found in Vexilars and such can be transferred from these units and will operate a 5” colour screen for up to 3 days.
#5 – Take the unit to your favourite back woods lake and see what you have been missing!!!
Avid Angler and Tournament Competitor