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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so here we go. Finally purchased a new tritoon, and it needs GPS/Sonar, and (eventually!) a trolling motor.

I have an advanced engineering degree, and apparently I'm going to need it when looking through the GPS/Sonar literature. And I mean all of it... :confused:o_O.

Looking through the threads, Humminbird apparently has the least issues; not that I wouldn't consider other brands if there's no quality issues. I'm not made of money, and don't need to determine the fishes sex before fishing for it. However I do like scuba diving on shipwrecks, and the scanning these things are doing is phenomenal. I don't need a 30" screen with holographic projection, but 8-10" will help with my lack-of-carrots eyesight. Any suggestions or recommendations? Would like to be sub $800 (but probably looking at $1200)

Before I even start on the trolling motors, is anyone actively using the feature for having the GPS tell the trolling motor where to steer?? Simple starting question here: Is electric or gas better for a 'toon that would be on larger water more often than not?

Back to the engineer thing, I do know that simple is good. I know someone that accidently had their sonar left in "store display" mode from the previous season for quite a while for the first spring run, and only realized it after kicking up clouds of muddy water when they thought they were in a depth of 45'.:eek: I don't think or need a cell phone app or wifi connectivity to download the current map every 2 minutes, unless there's REALLY a good reason for it. Any comments/suggestions appreciated.
 

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Work backwards and figure out what trolling motor you want first and pick a sonar unit to complement it.

And then put that advanced engineering degree to use and write us a detailed specification for the type of uses cases and frequency of each you plan on using the trolling motor for. Trolling all day for salmon or muskie will need a different technology than creeping along the shoreline casting for bass.
 

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Work backwards and figure out what trolling motor you want first and pick a sonar unit to complement it.

And then put that advanced engineering degree to use and write us a detailed specification for the type of uses cases and frequency of each you plan on using the trolling motor for. Trolling all day for salmon or muskie will need a different technology than creeping along the shoreline casting for bass.
Might as well define some functional requirements as well and maybe an A3 to define the problem at hand. If needed we can host a daily Scrum to make sure he is progressing efficiently and towards the best solution
 

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First decide on the thrust required for your rig. Then figure out how/where you are going to store your batteries. Remember your sonar should be connected to it own battery or the starting batt not the batts that power your trolling motor. As for units, humming birds and minn Kota are like peas and carrots. But you may like other mfg'ers features or useability?? If your spending what you will need to get a 7-10" screen, batts and trolling motor. Then look hard are all your options that fall within your budget. Go talk to guys that have the items you are liking and ask what they like and don't like? Do your homework so you're not disappointed after you have unchained your wallet.
 

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As an alternate view, consider Lowrance. I like the HDS 7 Gen 2 Touch I have had for a while. I have not had a problem with it, and the features work for me. I mainly troll for salmon on Lake Michigan, and sometimes fish for walleye on Saginaw Bay.

When you say "larger water" what do you mean"? Lake Michigan? If you will be on the Great Lakes I would go with a gas motor. Just my preference. Internal combustion technology is well known and you can see when your gas tank is full.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Might as well define some functional requirements as well and maybe an A3 to define the problem at hand. If needed we can host a daily Scrum to make sure he is progressing efficiently and towards the best solution
Big 3 or defense industry?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
First decide on the thrust required for your rig. Then figure out how/where you are going to store your batteries. Remember your sonar should be connected to it own battery or the starting batt not the batts that power your trolling motor. As for units, humming birds and minn Kota are like peas and carrots. But you may like other mfg'ers features or useability?? If your spending what you will need to get a 7-10" screen, batts and trolling motor. Then look hard are all your options that fall within your budget. Go talk to guys that have the items you are liking and ask what they like and don't like? Do your homework so you're not disappointed after you have unchained your wallet.
Yeah, and that's kind of the issue. I've done salmon fishing on Huron, but don't see getting into downriggers anytime soon. Typically will do trolling for walleye or moving along the St. Clair flats and running the deeper channel edges, casting in towards the weeds for bass/pike. It's a 24' tritoon, so it will need substantial thrust on a windy day which makes it lean towards gas engine, but the maneuvering abilities of the electrics is hard to beat. As much as I'd like to put the sonar on right away, it might be better to do the summer with some basic boating/fishing stuff for now, and get more familiar with the handling. Then maybe keep in eye out for some end of season sales.
 

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I don't see an electric motor as an enjoyably viable solution for a 24' tritoon on "large" bodies of water on a windy day. 9.9hp gas minimum, 15hp even better.

What is the main engine power on this tritoon?

What body of water did you say you are fishing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't see an electric motor as an enjoyably viable solution for a 24' tritoon on "large" bodies of water on a windy day. 9.9hp gas minimum, 15hp even better.

What is the main engine power on this tritoon?

What body of water did you say you are fishing?
150 HP Merc (150L 4s). It should go good, but previous boat (dated!) experience says you shouldn't do much trolling with your main engine. Long term they just don't like idling for long hours, haven't seen evidence to the contrary.

Love the Great Lakes (Huron, Straights of Mackinac), St. Clair, Houghton Lake, Higgins, up by Indian River as well. Yes, I'm well aware of high wind/waves and a pontoon not mixing well, and will watch weather accordingly. I've also noticed windy weekdays on St. Clair aren't nearly as bad as "low wind" days on the weekend where the cross waves from a lot of boats are everywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't have a tri-toon but I just put a Helix 7 si g2 on my pontoon and it works great. View attachment 544873
Took the picture before I turned the sensitivity down.
Nice, I'm kind of leaning toward those Helix units, they look good. Looking at your left screen though, I can just hear Roy Scheider from "Jaws" saying "We need a bigger lake" :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't see an electric motor as an enjoyably viable solution for a 24' tritoon on "large" bodies of water on a windy day. 9.9hp gas minimum, 15hp even better.

What is the main engine power on this tritoon?

What body of water did you say you are fishing?
Ditto here. The electrics are nice, especially with the spot holding and programming them to take you somewhere, but the added batteries, charging, cost aren't looking too good for them.

I can get a 8 HP gas Mercury for $2k, 5 HP propane for $1500. Anyone have experience/feedback with the propane fueled outboards?
 

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For the bodies of water you mentioned, the size of your boat, and the size of your main engine, I think an electric motor is entirely the wrong piece of equipment.

The old adage of not idling main engines is bunk nowadays imo, assuming the engine is 10-15 years old and is four stroke. My 23 year old carbureted four stroke Honda idles all day long. Sometimes I use it this way when trolling for salmon, while I am setting lines and getting my 9hp kicker deployed. I don't use the main engine for trolling because it doesn't troll slow enough, given the propeller that is installed, and the engine's factory idle speed.

I have seen exactly zero propane fueled outboard motors in my 45 year boating career. Their lack of market penetration should be noted. Carrying two fuels on board is inconvenient, at best. A gas kicker can use its own fuel tank, or be plumbed into the main fuel supply. If using a dedicated kicker gas tank, it can serve as emergency reserve fuel for the main engine. Emergency reserve fuel is a good thing to have on the bodies of water you listed.

For the size of your boat, the size of your main engine, and the bodies of water you mentioned, I suggest a 15hp gas kicker, with a 9hp gas kicker as a second option.
 

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Nice, I'm kind of leaning toward those Helix units, they look good. Looking at your left screen though, I can just hear Roy Scheider from "Jaws" saying "We need a bigger lake" :).
My good friend who is a semi-pro walleye fisherman told me all he uses are the Helix's . He has the Helix 12's on his boat.
I had just put the Helix 7 on my pontoon but I was more concerned with breaking In the new 90 Mercury 4 stroke that I had put on over the winter so I didn't mess with the Helix much.
I'm heading to my cottage on Drummond for the next 3 weeks s I'll have plenty of time dial in the Helix the way I want it.
 

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150 HP Merc (150L 4s). It should go good, but previous boat (dated!) experience says you shouldn't do much trolling with your main engine. Long term they just don't like idling for long hours, haven't seen evidence to the contrary.

Love the Great Lakes (Huron, Straights of Mackinac), St. Clair, Houghton Lake, Higgins, up by Indian River as well. Yes, I'm well aware of high wind/waves and a pontoon not mixing well, and will watch weather accordingly. I've also noticed windy weekdays on St. Clair aren't nearly as bad as "low wind" days on the weekend where the cross waves from a lot of boats are everywhere.
Put 400 hours in 4 years on my Merc 150 Fourstroke. 300 of them at idle trolling for salmon. Broke it in per the book and would run it hard when ever I could. Didn't use a drop of oil and never got any oil in the gas. These motors are nothing like their old counterparts. I also couldn't justify spending almost $3000 to "save" a $12k motor. The bowmount would get me almost to salmon speeds and then 150 would do salmon speeds. We fishing in the GoM 2 years ago and the boat never once shut off its dual 300s. Thousands of hours on them and most at idle. For peace of mind. Maintenance is key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My good friend who is a semi-pro walleye fisherman told me all he uses are the Helix's . He has the Helix 12's on his boat.
I had just put the Helix 7 on my pontoon but I was more concerned with breaking In the new 90 Mercury 4 stroke that I had put on over the winter so I didn't mess with the Helix much.
I'm heading to my cottage on Drummond for the next 3 weeks s I'll have plenty of time dial in the Helix the way I want it.
I'm really interested to see if the down imaging (DI) that seems to show structure in 3D is worth it for looking for wrecks. I heard from someone a ways back that there was a P-47 (or 51?) airplane located in the St. Clair river somewhere. Finding items to dive like that would be cool and these electronics appear capable of helping do that.
 

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I'm really interested to see if the down imaging (DI) that seems to show structure in 3D is worth it for looking for wrecks. I heard from someone a ways back that there was a P-47 (or 51?) airplane located in the St. Clair river somewhere. Finding items to dive like that would be cool and these electronics appear capable of helping do that.
Down imaging will help you ID something if you drive the boat right over the top of it. Side scanning sonar would be the tool to use to search an area. The sonar's cone is only a few feet in diameter, so you could be almost on top of something and still not know it's there with down imaging. Side scan will let you look a couple hundred feet out either side of the boat.
 
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