12.09.2014

FishHunter Review: Real Livetime Sonar on your Smart Phone

I have been in possession of a FishHunter sonar unit for the past few months and have been learning what it is, what it does, and how I - or someone else -  would actually use it. Before I get into the last point, let me address the first two. On several occasions, I ran it side by side with my permanently installed Lowrance GPS/Sonar combo just to observe the accuracy of the FishHunter. Though it was slightly less detailed than the much more expensive permanent unit, it was perfectly acceptable in comparison. I marked the same fish, saw the same depths, saw the same weeds, and was able to generally determine if the bottom was hard or not.

To start, the FishHunter and it's corresponding smartphone app is a mobile, full color, sonar unit that provides real time sonar of what is going on in the water below you. It will tell you depth, water temp, and what is happening between the surface and the bottom on any body of water. It works via a Bluetooth connection between the small ball shaped sonar unit and your smartphone - in my case, I am using it with an iPhone 5. Using it is really quite simple, throw the sonar ball into the water, connect to it via Bluetooth with your phone, and viola, you have live sonar.

When I first got it, the app was in its early stage of development. While it did indeed provide surprisingly accurate sonar, the options were somewhat limited. What has really impressed me is the constantly developing app that has evolved on an almost constant basis. You can now edit settings such as sonar speed, recording of the depth profile, various sounds, fishview vs true raw data (less accurate fish icons vs the arches that so many are used to), what side of the screen you want your depth scale to be on, battery life, and bottom display. In a nutshell, this is constantly evolving into a true sonar unit that rivals the big named permanent mount units.

You can also mark locations on a built in map so you can go back to that exact spot at a later time. This feature also allows you to log your catches with details about the catch such as what lure you were using, weather at the time, fish size, and location!!In addition, there are moon cycle charts, weather information, tips on catching almost any species, and probably a ton more that I haven't even begun to discover yet. This is constantly evolving so make sure you update your app whenever you get an alert!

 This actually brings me to the start of my last point - how and where would you use it? The truth is, that I can't exactly tell you to throw your permanently installed GPS/Sonar unit that you have on your boats or kayaks in the trash. This isn't a replacement persay...It's more of an addition.

I have thought of as many possible uses where this does shine above the rest though - here is what I have come up with:

*Shore fisherman - So you don't have a boat/kayak/canoe...Instead, you tend to fish local ponds and lakes from shore? Well before this, you were generally out of luck with the exception of a few less than stellar black/white units that provided very limited data. With this unit, simply tie some string to it and toss it out there! Instantly, you will have data on your phone showing you what type of depth and structure is in front of you. The limit here (and it's somewhat of a big limitation) is that the connectivity is only reliable up to about 20 feet away. After that, it may disconnect. They have made some improvement on this since I have had it but it's still somewhat limited.

*Wading - similar to the shore fisherman, there have been so many instances where I have wondered what is in front of me that I can't see. Is there a big boulder, a log, a hole? Before this unit, the only way for me to really be sure was by trying to depict what the surface of the water was telling me or by going to the exact spot. The problem with the latter is that by doing so, I just scared whatever fish were there and essentially killed the spot for a while. With the FishHunter, I simply let the current carry the sonar unit downstream and watch my phone screen.

*Kayaking/Canoeing - So maybe you do have a kayak but haven't gotten as crazy as me by installing a crazy expensive GPS/Sonar unit, rod holders up the ying yang, etc... Or maybe you have and ran into a situation where that unit stopped working for some reason just as you were starting a tournament? Well that happened to me at a tournament on a body of water that I wasn't that familiar with. I had the FishHunter in the truck so I ran back to shore, grabbed it from the truck, tied it the side of the kayak, and got back to fishing. I ended up placing 3rd in that tournament...not too bad!

Another situation where it came in handy was on another kayak fishing outing when I came across an island, in the middle of the river, that had a very fishy looking bay on the downstream side of it. The problem was that the entrance to the bay was only a few inches deep. I didn't want to waste a bunch of time and energy dragging my kayak into the bay so I took my FishHunter, threw it out there and found out it was about 2 feet deep. I even marked a couple of fish. As a result, I spent the time and energy to get the kayak in there and was rewarded with a couple of pretty nice bass.

*Those once a year/lifetime trips - Im sure all of you know someone - maybe even you - that takes a big trip up to Canada, Northern Wisconsin, or some other fishing mecca that requires hours upon hours of driving or flying. When they get there, they usually rent a cheap tin boat and blindly run around the lake hoping to find some fish. Instead of aimlessly casting, take your FishHunter, throw it in your suitcase, and you have a fully functional sonar unit anywhere you go.

*Ice Fishing - Drill a hole and plop this baby right in the middle of it. It floats so you don't have to worry about it sinking and getting lost.

I'm sure there are a ton more uses but these are the ones that really stuck out to me. In closing, this thing is definitely pretty impressive. While its not something that I would trade for my traditional unit for, it adds a bucket load of versatility to my arsenal when I am fishing in places where a boat or kayak wont go. Even if they do go there, it serves as a great back up!! Retail cost for the sonar unit itself is $229. Here is a link to the FishHunter store where you can purchase it. The app itself is available through the iTunes store or the Google Play store for you Android folks - click this link for that download.

Below are some various photos and screenshots to help illustrate the FishHunter

Picture of the sonar unit. Notice I simply tied a rope to one end. It's about 25' long so I don't worry about going farther than the Bluetooth's range. It also helps me not lose it. 

Screenshot of the pairing screen on the app. This is also where you can adjust your ping speed and access the settings menu. 
Settings Menu

One of my catch logs

Notice the "Navigate To This Catch" feature!

Tips and tricks on how to catch just about any fish that's out there

Forecasts to help plan

Mooncycle charts


P.S. Another cool note - The folks at FishHunter are constantly running various contest for best catch, coolest pictures, etc...through the app. Once you download it, you can get in on the action!!


3 comments:

  1. This is really cool!! I have a clamp on sonar for my bellyboat, but this would be a dream to us. Thanks buddy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't even think about belly boaters!!! Good call, Howard!!

      Delete
  2. If you’re serious concerning your fishing, then you’ll need to remain on high of your game. If you’re a irritable fishing enthusiast, then you’ll love what you’re smartphone will do for you of late to assist out your fishing game. click here http://survival-mastery.com/skills/scouting/best-fishing-apps.html

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