Install Fish Finders: Recommendations and Tips

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Mounting your first fish finder could be challenging. But don’t worry, with enough information and guidance, the installation could be easily done in a weekend. Below is a checklist of recommendations of how you should install a finder on your boat in standard ways.

First, you should take a look your boat and be aware of any power cable you can use for your finder. If you don’t have one already, buy extra wire to hook up your battery to it. With a plate on your transom, you can mount the fish finder directly on or under your hull without drilling.

After that go through this item list and make sure you already have all the tools you need before installation.

How to install fishfinder: Tool & Suppliers

  • Heat gun: It can be used to shrink the tubes over your wire connections. Do not use the heat gun near the carpet or the gel coat.
  • Screws and Nuts: You will need screws and nuts made from stainless steel with the size of your mount unit to strengthen your mounting joins.
  • Insulating tape: You might want to wrap and protect your wire from moisture with insulating tape. Heat-shrink tubing also works as well and maybe give a better look for your boat.
  • Painter’s tape: put the tape over the surface when you need to drill holes, this will prevent the coat from cracking and chipping.
  • Fuse Kit: You will have fuse pre-installed without fish finder to protect it from current and voltage surges. Read your finder manual to find out the fuse amperage requirement.
  • Drill: you will need your drill many times while installing a finder, from drilling holes for the transducer or the head unit.
  • Cable Stripper/Crimper: Handy tool to crimp and strip splice wire connections.
  • Wire Ties & Wire Wraps: You will need a lot of wire ties and wraps to clean your install without leaving a mess.
  • Block for Transom Saver: If your boat is made from aluminum you might need these blocks while installing your transducer to get the right position in the transom.
  • Fish Tape Tool & Gloves: Fish tape is useful when wiring you transducer and wires from the hull to the battery. They are made from thin rigid steel that is supple enough to use in the cable channel under the gunwale of your boat. The gloves are handy in protecting your hands from any cuts.

Installing Finders To The Boat Console

There are essentially three ways to install your finder to the boat console based on the available space you have up front: In-Dash mounting, Gimbal mounting and third-party mounting.

  • In-Dash Mounting: This kind of mounting only works if you have space for the fish finder directly on your console like a boat with center console.
  • Gimbal Mounting: With the help of a gimbal, you can mount your fish finder easily on a limited area with adjustable height although you can’t move its position later. This also leaves your screen freely so you can see it over the wheel. You can also mount it inside the v-hull or the windshield.
  • Third-party Mounting: A Kong, Balzout or RAM mount will provide flexibility so you can install it anywhere you want on your boat. Balzout and Kong mount have limited flexibility but they won’t slip when you go through rough water.

Bow Installation Tips

Like console installation, these methods of how to install the finder depend on how much space available on your bow.

  • Bridge Mounting: Bridge mount does exactly as its name suggests. You buy or make the bracket that covers the top of the recess of your motor and mounts the finder on it. Brands like Wave Tamer and Dek-It are available with many colors. They take very little space on your boat and provide the right height for the screen.
  • Third-party Mounting: A RAM mount can be useful, suitable for small space, won’t slip when your a wave hit your boat and you can adjust its placement across the bow. Mounts from Kong are also very good but a little more expensive.
  • Gimbal Mounting: A gimbal mounting put your finder up a few inches so you can view it easier from the wheel. The bracket position is fixed once you mount it so you might want to change and adjust the right angle beforehand. It also takes a lot of space where you might run the rods.
  • Flush Mounting: Your boat may have a panel with a wedged-shape making mounting your finder easier on the flush. But by using this method, you can not change the angle and also have the furthest distance from the finder to your eyes.

Transducer Installation Tips

Consult the manual from your device manufacturer. Your transducer position will impact heavily its effectiveness so get all the information you need, even from your manufacture support, before coming to the real installation.

  • Hull made from Fibreglass: You should choose your transducer position beforehand and get rid of all the blockages like temperature sensors, intakes, speedometers sensors or the engine itself. Small transducers will work easily with mounting in the transom and large transducer with mounting in jack-plate. Put the painter’s tape on the area that you choose to drill to stop the gel coat from chipping.
  • Hull made from Aluminum: the rules from fiberglass hulls also applies, except in some situations. The air bubbles will disturb your sonar signal if you put the transducer in line with riveted or welded joints. There are also special transducers made to work best with aluminum material so that signal can be read accurately by the sensors.
  • Transducer Save and Shield: You will need them for the protection of your transducers.
  • Motor Mounted: With an adapter mount you can install the transducer on the boat trolling motor. You could use the equipment from the manufacturer or by the Transducer Saver and Shield bracket to mount it. The later maybe expensive but have the flexibility to fit perfectly to your motor.

Author: Christian E. Bright

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