Dedicated TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
Lowrance HDS Touch vs New Elite 7 HDI
I know both are fairly new but was hoping to get some opinions.
I had my heart set on getting a HDS 9 Touch this season but with alot of unexpected expenses lately (fridge went up, microwave died & 5' cast iron drain line in the bathroom wall split wide open) It doesnt look like it will be doable this year.
Was debateing on the touch 9 or the HDS 8 or 10 Gen 2 w/LSS2.
Been looking at the new Elite 7 HDI model that just came out that has GPS, 2D sonar and downscan. Looks like a pretty decent unit for under $700. It also uses 1 transducer for both 2D and downscan. It doesnt have side scan which I wanted but is the side scan worth another $1000 - $1500??
Not sure if the downscan is as detailed as the HDS models??
I only fish the bay and tribs and right now have a 5" Garmin GPS and a 5" Ray Marine FF.
Loyal TF Poster - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
Which is best for you is question only you can answer. If you compromise on what you want this year then have regrets next year and in the years beyond you should wait and get what you really want when you can afford it. That being said, other factors to consider:
Do you currently have a functioning depth finder? If no, then having one will definitely help you out this year. If yes, a new FF is not going to dramatically change your life. Good fishermen catch fish and lousy fishermen don't. You'll probably continue to fish your tried and true spots, and may find a few new ones with a better unit.
Down scan - Provides much better detail so it's very cool. If you jig it will help you better identify what is below you and can increase your catch rate.
Side scan - there is a learning curve in getting used to this feature. It probably has best application for trollers, and also can be useful for scanning the bottom and looking for structure. Getting the settings right makes a big difference. I would speculate that few actually utilize all the potential offered by these units as it takes some time and study and a good amount of fiddling to learn how to adjust the settings and interpret what shows up on the scan. Study the manual well, play with it, look for "how to" videos on the 'net. Cap'n Tom Hughes here on TF also can be hired to come on board your boat and help you tweak your unit to get the most out of it.
Bottom line: Side scan offers a new dimension, but how much it increases your catch depends a lot on your skills. If you're already a good fishman, you'll probably do a bit better, and some days a lot better. If you are not so skilled a fisherman simply buying a unit with more features will not likely significantly improve your success on the water.