I love fishing, its one of my hobbies that helps me to relax after a long week as an electrician. But If I’m not catching any fish after 10 minutes I get itchy feet and I want to move on to another spot. It’s probably why I like fishing from a boat as its easy to pull anchor and move around to another spot.
One of the benefits of fishing in my boat is having access to the Lorance fish finder. Modern-day depth sounders and GPS make it really easy to locate and catch some fish nowadays.
But what about those who don’t have a boat? Well, Deeper have come up with some great castable fish finders that connect to your mobile smartphone to enable those sonar images to be displayed on your phone. We reviewed their Deeper Pro castable fish finder a while back and thought its time to check out their latest product the cheaper Smart Sonar.
Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder Sonar review
It is nice to see Deeper sonar bring out a budget WiFi smart model to compete with some of the cheaper options like the iBobber. What’s good is that we still have a lot of features that the average weekend fisherman may make use off.
I have been using this smart casting fish finder in the lake near my house for a few weeks now and I must admit a really like it. It is not much bigger than some of my orange and whitebait floats that I use.
Now I can see exactly what’s on the bottom of the lake, river or ocean with just my phone and the little castable transducer. Technology sure has finally caught up to the weekend angler.
How to setup your Deeper Shore Fish Finder
Before planning a fishing trip there are a few tasks that must be performed before using the Deeper castable fish finder.
- Charge up the Deeper fish finder – Should only take a few hours.
- Make sure to change up your mobile phone. Apple or Android or bring along a battery booster pack. Solar USB Chargers also work well to charge these devices and phones.
- Install or update the Deeper Phone Application if required. I use a Nexus 5 Phone and the app works great on it.
- Set up a separate fishing rod or handline to be able to cast out the sonar transmitter. I like to use a 15-20LB line on my old Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Seven Reel for casting my sonar. Any smaller and you could experience breakages if the line snags or birds nest. There is a report of people using down to 6LB line successfully. It all depends on how trustworthy your fishing reels are.
Charging the Deeper Start Sonar
Understanding how to charge up the Deeper Start sounder is a simple process. The charge lead is magnetic and all you have to do is hold it over the 3 pins on the underside of the sonar transducer and it will self-attach. Plug the other USB end into any phone wall charger or a spare USB port on your computer. This charge lead is included in the box.
The fish finder will flash red which corresponds to the battery level. When charging one steady flash means the battery is flat while 4 fast flashes mean it nearly full. One solid red light means the battery is full and you can disconnect the charge cable.
- One Red Flash – Deeper Sonar has a flat battery.
- Two Red Flashes – Sonar is 25% charged
- Three Red Flashes – Sonar is 50% charged
- Four Red Flashes – Sonar is 75% charged
- Solid Red Light – Deeper sonar transducer is fully charged. Please disconnect from the charge lead.
Using the Castable Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder
Down at the lake, we attached the sonar transmitter to the rod line using the swivel clip and cast the Deeper fish finder out. We then turned on the phone and started up the application. It was only a few seconds before the Deeper sonar app started to send back real-time sonar images of the lake bottom.
I attached my phone to the rod with a deeper rubber phone holder clip. These clips are great so that you always have an image in front of you while holding the rod. Rubber bands also work good to secure your phone to the fishing pole.
You can use any fishing pole be it a bait caster or an egg beater fishing rod. They are all compatible with this rubber phone rod attachment device. One quick tip is to first attach the clamp to the fishing rod and then attach your phone. It will be way easier.
My phone is an old Nexus 5 but as the phone case support is rubber it will support the most popular mobile phones.
- Compatible with 3.5-inch (9 cm) to 5-inch (13 cm) diagonal screen smartphone sizes.
I would stick with an old phone for beach or boat fishing as you will get sand and sea spray on it over time which could cause issues down the track. I didn’t have any problems casting the rod and the phone felt quite secure in the mount.
Quick tip is to place your phone in a clear zip lock bag. You can still use it to active the buttons through the plastic.
Make sure that you slowly retrieve your fish sounder back to get a good image of the bottom in different spots of the lake or ocean. It was amazing to see the difference of our lake bottom even in such a small radius.
The benefit of using a casting fish finder is to know where the fish are and at what level to set your bait. Are the fish bottom feeders or top feeders? This way the bait can be set to the correct level. You can also detect hidden structures that fish like to hang around.
How to turn on the night mode on the Deeper Start Sonar
All of Deeper pro sounders have the ability to be used at night. I was pleased to see that they included this feature in the Start model. All you have to do is go into settings and select “Night Fishing” this will turn on the internal red light so you can see it floating when its dark.
Deeper Start Smart Sonar Specifications
Difference between the Deeper Start and the Pro+
The Deeper Start depth sounder is their cheaper beginner unit. It still uses the same application like its bigger brother the Pro+ but you lose some features like bottom condition such as vegetation and water temperature.
Edit: I have since learned that there is an update to the Deeper start app that will now show underwater vegetation. Now that’s cool, such a nice included addition.
There are some other features you don’t get like the dual frequency transmitter and longer depth readings but for me, the Start was very capable. Not to mention its like nearly half the price so its great value.
It is also a different shape. The Deeper Pro+ is round like a ball and is easily attached to a pole so you can tow it at slow speed from a kayak. There are no bolt attachment points on the Depper Start smart only a swivel clip.
For the average fisherman, the Deeper base model castable fish finder is really good value for money. I can definitely recommend it.
How to install the Deeper Sonar Android Application
I wanted to do a quick post on how I installed the Deeper Sonar App on my phone. Start by making sure you have at least 150mb free space on your phone.
I first download the Deeper Smart Sonar Application from the Google Android app store and installed it to my Nexus 5 phone. They also have a free app for iPhones.
At the time of this review, the Android Deeper sonar app was at version 7.7.3 and it took up around 102mb of space on the phone. I also installed the same application onto my wife’s Samsung S8 phone so she could play around with it while we were out fishing.
The app will auto connect to the Deeper Start smart sonar and pair up as long as your WiFi is turned on. I was charging the castable sonar fish finder at the same time I was installing the application and the initial connection was automatic. If it cannot find the Deeper sonar to pair on your phone you will have to go into your WiFi network settings and manually connect to the Depper wifi network.
If you are still having issues connecting to your Deeper shore casting sonar you will need to wake it up so it can transmit via WiFi. They support both iPhone iOS and Android phones. There are three methods I use to activate the sonar.
- Place the Deeper depth sounder in a bowl of water to wake it up.
- Wet a finger and place it over the 3 terminals on the bottom of the sonar transmitter.
- Connect the charge cable and plug it into a USB port either in a computer or a wall charger.
Because this was the initial setup the Deeper unit returned no information, this is because it was out of the water. Once it was fully charged we took it down to our local lake to find some a good spot to go fishing.
Download the Deeper Sonar app from the Android app store and accept the permissions. Depending on your phone download speed this should only take a few minutes. You can then accept the terms and conditions.
Just press agree and move on to register your product and sign up to newsletters and extra information.
Once you sign in with a valid email address you will need to confirm the address. You will then have full use of the sonar application.
Deeper Sonar Application Features
The Deeper application is cool that I can record info about the location and take pictures straight from the app. No need to close it down.
Every scan you make is recorded and saved onto your phone. This means you can identify and return to the scan at a later date for review. The notes function on the app lets you keep detailed records of every fishing location.
A really cool feature is the use of the in-app maps. These maps are free to download and then they are available offline. You can mark your secret fishing spots on these maps.
Other features include weather information, notes, scan history, and settings. This is so you can fine tune your readout and layout. Something to note is some features are turned off when connecting to the Start Sonar. This is due to it not having the ability to display the readings like water temperature, dual beam, and advanced mode. If you need these extra features you will have to upgrade to the Deeper Pro+
Deeper won the EFTTEX best new accessory award for 2018 for the Start fishfinder and I can see why so congratulation on making a great product. For its price I consider the Deeper start the best castable fish finder around.
Having used both the Deeper Pro+ and now the Deeper Start Smart I must say they sure take the guesswork out of fishing. The average angler now has the tools needed to locate underwater obstacles. Finding those fish hotspots that once was only reserved for boat owners is now we have the power in the palm of our hands.
Saying that I still take a Deeper sonar out with me when we take the boat out. This way when anchored up and it is a little bit quiet I can cast all the way around the boat to see if we are in the perfect location or where I need to throw my fishing line.
If you are a keen angler and love technology why not combine the two. Just remember to bring along a phone charger or a power bank as I often find I am looking at my screen so much that the phone battery tends to drain quicker than if it is my pocket.