By Steven Riding
Having a sounder on your kayak usually involves a lot of work on the install, drilling holes finding somewhere to secure the battery, a long transducer lead and, if you silicon the transducer into the hull of the kayak, no way of transferring the sounder between craft. There is also the hassle of removing the battery and charging it in between fishing trips. All of this can be a bit of a downside to installing a sounder on your kayak.
What if you could have a sounder that literally fits in the palm of your hand and has no cabling or batteries to worry about? Well, there is now one available!
The Deeper Smart Pro is a sounder that literally fits in the palm of your hand and connects to your smartphone or tablet.
Out of the Box
The Deeper Pro is about the size of a tennis ball. It has three threaded inserts for attaching line clips (included), or the kayak mount (purchased separately). Each insert is marked with a sticker when you open the unit so you know what each insert is designed to do. There is also a USB charging lead and a little bag to store the Deeper.
The Deeper needs to be charged before the first use and it is a simple task of unscrewing the unit and plugging in the USB lead to a charger. Deeper say the unit will last for around 6 hours of constant use when fully charged and it can hold its charge in-between uses for a couple of months.
You also need to go to the App Store and download the Deeper app onto your smart phone. This was a simple process and once you have it installed you can run simulations to see how it works.
The App runs on iPhones and Androids. It is recommended you download the app, just so you can run the simulations.
The App records what the deeper sees while you are using it, and makes a chart or map, depending on the app setting, so you can access that data at anytime. There is an unlimited number of maps that can be stored on your phone and then, over time, you can build up a detailed collection of knowledge.
There is also a calendar which shows daily peak fishing times according to lunar cycles for the area you are fishing, and is further broken down into the best hours.
There is an up to date weather tab that provides current conditions such as wind, temperature, barometric pressure and humidity along with weather forecasts. There are also sunset and sunrise, moon set and moon rise times included in the App.
Structure, catches and other things you want to make a note of can also be stored on the maps, making accessing this information in the future very easy.
Finally, it is possible to easily access your camera, so you can take photos while using the App.
On Water Use
Once your deploy the Deeper, your Smartphone becomes your sounder screen. You therefore need a waterproof case if you want to guarantee not wrecking your Smartphone with water. It is best you use a waterproof case that allows you to access the phone screen so you can play with the Deeper Apps settings. It is possible to just get the App running and put the phone in a clear dry bag, however I would recommend buying a waterproof case. Then you can use your phone all the time on the yak and keep it safe.
The first thing to do is pair the Deeper Sonar Pro’s WiFi with your phone. Once this is done it will automatically start sending sonar signals to your phone while it is immersed in water. If it is not in water then the sonar map on the phone does not move.
When using the Deeper you need to choose an anchor point to attach it to your yak. The Deeper Flexible Arm Mount is a custom made device for this purpose. Once attached to your yak, then get it in the water and start using it.
From The Kayak
The first thing you need to do when using the Deeper from you kayak is to go into the menu and choose Boat Mode from the settings menu. What this does is turn your Deeper and Smartphone into a powerful fishing tool by placing bathymetric data onto a map using the GPS in your Smartphone. This map is then stored in your phone so you can access the data in the future. It is actually pretty cool to access the app and go over a regular fishing area and see all the features that are under the water. I have been going home after a session and having a real close look of the recorded sounder track. It is amazing how many new structures I have discovered in my regular haunts. Then when I go back there, I can use the saved map while on the water to relocate a piece of structure that I found interesting.
The Deeper Flexible Arm Mount is a separate purchase allowing you to attach your Deeper securely to the kayak. It is basically a flexible arm with a clamp attached to the end. I have tried out the mount on a few kayaks and have usually found a place to attach the clamp. I personally use it off the base of my Railblaza CameraBoom as this is a location I can easily access to pull the Deeper in and out of the water.
There is also a supplied safety lead which attaches your Deeper to your kayak as back up security. The Deeper unit will not float while attached to the Arm Mount so the strap does offer a level of protection.
If you do not want to invest in the Arm Mount you can drag the deeper transducer behind the kayak on a piece of cord. If this option is taken then you need to make sure the line mount is in the rod position so it tows properly and gives a good reading. I do not think this option would be as accurate as the Arm Mount as the unit does tend to rock back and forth, changing the direction of the sonar beam.
I have not been running my other sounder while using the Deeper so I did not do a comparison between units. In around two metres of water the Deeper was accurate with water depth when I tested it using my paddle. It was really good at showing depth and underwater structure.
During use the sounder has shown numerous fish arches and readings which, I think, are bait schools. A few times I have even noticed arches through the bait schools, so it appears to be able to differentiate the different elements in the water. It is possible to turn on fish symbols so that the Deeper will tell you what it thinks are fish. I personally only really use sounders for finding structure and drop offs as these are areas where I tend to find fish easily.
But Wait There Is More…
The Deeper is not just a sounder to be attached to your kayak! Attach it to the line of your fishing rod and you have a sounder you can cast from the shore or kayak and use it to scan an area up to 100 metres away. I did not actually think I was going to use this feature while kayak fishing, but I am actually surprised how effective it can be for finding structure.
A lot of my style of fishing involves fishing the edges of the waterway and targeting visible structure sticking out of the water. I do not want to scare the fish so I do not paddle over the top of them and scare them with the kayak. This does not let me see any potential hidden structure with my normal sounder. The Deeper allows me to have a look under the water for any potential hidden structure along the edges without paddling in to the area.
There are two ways I have been using the Deeper to have a look at what structure is close to the edge. The first is to get close to the bank and then cast along the bank and slowly retrieve the Deeper towards you. To make it easy to see the screen of your smartphone, Deeper has a mount that attaches your phone to your rod. When casting the Deeper you need a strong rod as the Deeper weighs around 100 grams. I found that a lob cast was the most effective way to get the Deeper out there.
There is quite a splash when the Deeper hits the water so I try not to get it landing to close to a piece of bank that I really want to fish. After it lands it is then slowly retrieved and the depth is displayed on your phone.
The other way I have been using it is to sit out from the bank and cast towards the bank, then using the current to drift the Deeper along the bank. I have found this technique most effective in finding structure with minimal possibility of scaring fish.
When using either technique I take a mental note of where to cast my lures after I finish playing with the Deeper.
A Worthy Investment
If you are looking for a sounder that is super easy to install, moveable between kayaks and with the added bonus of being able to investigate areas that are away from your kayak, the Deeper is definitely worth investing some of your hard earned into.
There a couple of extra costs in a waterproof Smart phone case, the Deeper mount and the accessory to mount the Smart phone to your rod if you plan to use it casting.
I have been really impressed with the Deeper and it has definitely become part of my box of gear that goes with me every trip.