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The new Raymarine Dragonfly: check this fishfinder out!
Raymarine Dragonfly Fishfinder: CHIRP and DownVision for Under $1,000
Multi-spectrum fishfinder technology, called CHIRP, spread-spectrum, or ClearPulse, trickles down in price with this new Raymarine unit – which also introduced the company’s answer to Lowrance DownScan and Humminbird Down Imaging.
When Raymarine introduced the Dragonfly fishfinder this spring, many anglers who yearned for big technology in a low priced unit were overjoyed at the prospect of CHIRP showing up at a list price under $1,000. In fact, the Dragonfly lists at just $599 (price can go up a bit if you add in pre-loaded Navionics chartography). On top of that, it includes DownVision, which is the Raymarine version of a highly-detailed sonar similar in appearance to the Lowrance DownScan and the Humminbird Down Imaging. So, how does the Dragonfly stack up?
The Dragonfly has a 5.7” 1500 nit 640 x 480 pixel optically-bonded screen, which looked beautiful to my eyes. Only, however, when viewed directly; like most LCDs, this one fades out when viewed from the sides with polarized sunglasses, in direct sunlight. That said, it looks as good or better than any screen available in this price range. But it’s also the only size you can get; both Humminbird and Lowrance offer units with their down-looking technology in different screen sizes. Since Raymarine just introduced the Dragonfly, it’s a fair bet that more choices will come in time.
Another stand-out feature of this unit is its plug and mounting systems. Raymarine used the KISS system, and there’s only one plug and wire leading into the back of the unit, which sits on a firm but adjustable quick-release lock-in mount. KISS continues in the menu, which is accessed with a pan-and-tilt type unit-controller. The unit has full GPS functionality and chartography can be expanded via Navionics MicroSD.
Okay, now for the cool stuff: the transducer puts out a 60-degree by 1.4-degree fan-beam at a very high frequency to paint a highly-detailed picture of what’s below the boat. The result is twofold when it comes to fishing with your electronics: first off, detail levels are far beyond what you get with traditional fishfinders, and you can make out items as subtle as single sprigs of weed, minnow clustered around a tree branch, and individual fish in a school. Matched up against Lowrance DownScan and Humminbird Down Imaging, I honestly can’t tell much of a performance difference between the three systems. The second result, however, is a limit in range. High frequencies may provide more detail, but they also don’t penetrate the water with nearly as much punch. As a result, depth range is limited to 600’ as claimed by Raymarine, but practical range is often more like a few hundred feet depending on conditions.
The CHIRP aspect of Dragonfly comes to light with a multi-frequency burst, as opposed to a single-frequency ping. This can allow you to see different species of fish better (some show up better or worse at a single specific frequency or range of frequencies), gets you a detail and sensitivity boost when viewing the traditional downward-looking sonar (which in the case of the Dragonfly is produced with a 25-degree cone beam). You can get a glimpse of it in action, in a video in “Raymarine Dragonfly: A Whole New Breed of Fishfinder”.
So, who will the Dragonfly be best for? Anglers who want an easy to use unit with a highly-detailed view of the bottom, regularly fish in waters ranging from 50’ to 350’, and have a limited budget. If you fit this description, the Dragonfly is an excellent choice. IMHO guys who always fish shallower water (say, five feet to 50’) and can afford to spend more on their fishfinder will find more utility in a side-scanning unit like the Lowrance StructureScan or Humminbird Side Imaging which always seems to work best before the bottom drops off much farther. Guys who regularly fish deeper waters (say 300' and more) will probably be better served by a unit utilizing traditional frequency bands or a CHIRP unit with more punch.
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Rudow's e-Guide to Striper Fishing: Gobs of How-to/Where-to striper fishing info!
Lenny Rudow’s how-to/where-to fishing e-books are now available online, in all e-reader formats! Price starts at just $1.99 for serious fishing info - so click on the pic, and check 'em out!
The DelMarVa Inshore/Offshore e-Guide - Atlantic anglers, check this one out!
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Black & Red: Get your drum fishing tips & tricks, here.
Rudow's Guide to Modern Jigging is now out! Speed jigging-Meat jigging-Butterfly. Species-specific sections on tuna, stripers, giant golden tilefish, and more!
The ultimate handbook for offshore anglers.
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