Fishing, as a hobby, is one of the most laid-back outdoor activities available. Enjoying the breeze and serenity of one’s surroundings while waiting for something to catch, are some of the joys that come with the sport. It’s why I enjoy fishing, but if you are not catching any fish then life can start to get a little frustrating. This is why fish finders have been invented to give the angler a better edge against nature. But portable casting fish finders have been slow to come to the market. It’s arguably one of the things modern technology has left relatively unscathed.
Deeper’s Smart Sonar PRO+ and iBobber are two of the leading castable fish finders that will help you locate those larger elusive fish. These two products are essentially a mini castable sonar. Using it is as simple as attaching it to the end of your fishing rod, throwing it to the water, and checking the data on your smartphone or tablet.
The depth sounder sonar sends the information to your smartphone or tablet (which is available for both iOS and Android devices), where the user can track water depth, contours, fish population and more.
So which one is the best? ibobber vs deeper
Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ Review – Best Castable Fish Finder
I tried out the Smart Sonar PRO+ out of curiosity. Actually, it was a fishing Christmas gift for myself. I’m a fan of making informed choices, and it wouldn’t hurt to improve my hobby with it. I tested it in my nearby lake on my Kayak and found that the spot that I often ignore actually has some decent logs, holes and more importantly fish. This is now a game changer.
The product’s complementary free mobile app also allows me to see the underwater contours. It’s a pretty cool experience to have—which is why I wrote this in-depth review. I love new gadgets.
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ needs a smartphone or tablet to display the underwater picture and to change the settings. The Deeper mobile application is free for iOS and Android and is packed with features.
I even use this shore fish finder at night. A nice trick is to use a green underwater led light which attracts fish. It’s really cool to see fish swim into the lit up area via the Deeper depth sounder.
Deeper Castable Fish Finder Pros & Cons
- Mapping is more advanced than the ibobber
The Deeper shore fish finder sonar has a built-in GPS. This comes in handy once you know how they make the maps for their sonar: Onshore GPS mode. This lets you know the waterbed map whether you’re onshore or off. Boat Mode contour mapping, the method used in the earlier Deeper Smart Sonars, is still an option as well.
- Multiple options to choose from
The sonars multiple features makes it possible to adjust the settings to your fishing needs. Aside from the four GPS modes, users can set their preferences on scanning options, sonar sensitivity, and color displays on the app. The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ is a great companion for both laidback and competitive fishing.
- Easy documentation
Bathymetric maps (the mapping and study of the sea floor) can be viewed from the app. The app allows you to save the information and export it. The Deeper app also saves your information on last scans, allowing you to revisit all the stats on your last fishing trip. Unfortunately, this information isn’t available for export.
Aside from bathymetric maps, the app also has a Solunar Calendar and Weather Forecast feature. These tools make it easy for the average fisherman to gather data on conditions that affect their fishing and help them get better in their hobby!
- Limited exportable data
The only information you can export from the Deeper app is the bathymetric apps. Although this is pretty great, it would be better if scan history could be exported too. The limitations of this feature are a bit frustrating for data-loving fishermen, and the app only allows you to view the raw data of your scan. This issue, however, is more of an app problem than a sonar one. Deeper could provide future updates to the application to attend to this setback. I like the fact that I can export to Google drive my trip logs.
- More expensive than its competitors
The Deeper shore fish finder is packed with features and quality instrumentation. It’s no wonder the Deeper Sonar Pro+ is around twice the price of the iBobber. But you get what you pay for and I’m a big fan of quality and features over price.
Update: I have since learned that Deeper has a new game changer budget fish finder that is called the Deeper Start Shore fish finder. It is a lot cheaper than its big brother but packs many of the same features. So check out our review above.
- I had the deeper app lock up on me after a while.
I noticed that after running the sonar for over 1/2 hour the Samsung tablet we were using locked up. After quickly doing some research I found out that there are firmware updates available for the deeper pro sonar. This update procedure was straightforward and I have had no issues since.
Deeper Shore Fish Finder Sonar – Product Features and Specifications
Included in the Deeper castable fish finder box you get one Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+, USB micro charge cable, neoprene carry pouch, and two line attachment M5 bolts. These bolts enable you to attach your line to the perfect spot for trolling or casting. These eyelets are the same M5 size as standard GoPro fitting bolts.
The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ has the following product specifications:
- Connects to smartphones via Wifi.
- Said connection has a maximum range of 330 ft or 100 m.
- The scanning frequency can go up to 15 scans/s.
- It separates underwater objects up to 0.04 ft or 1.3 cm.
- Their dynamic range is eight times more extended.
- The sonar can be used up to a depth of 260 ft or 80 m.
- Contour mapping is possible via Onshore GPS mode from your smartphone or tablet.
- A full battery charge lasts up to 6 months without use before needing a top up. 5-6h runtime is average.
- 3 x M5 screw holes to attach mounting eyelets, bolts, and poles.
- Auto power off after 5 minutes out of the water.
- Firmware upgradeable to new features.
What I like about this castable fish finder.
Takes the guesswork out of fishing
Gone are the days when you throw your line into the water and pray for something to catch your bait. The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ doesn’t only give me the contours of the area but also provides insight into the volume and types of fish occupying there as well. This makes me have more realistic expectations in getting a large bass out of a small fish-dominated location, or to experiment in different hard to get to fishing spots.
Convenient to use
Using the sonar is as easy as throwing it into the water and connecting it to your smartphone. The contours of the waterbed show up in the app thanks to the Onshore GPS Mode. This mode was pretty useful as I could use it both on- and offshore. Perfect for planning fishing spots before I hit the area, or readjusting my location for better fishing yields.
Deeper fishfinder accessories
To get the most out of your deeper pro plus depth sounder you should also have the following Deeper fishfinder accessories
- Deeper Flexible Arm Mount, this makes it easy to mount your Deeper smart fish finder to Kayaks and Boats in seconds.
- Deeper Night Fishing Cover (orange) – Compatible with Deeper Smart Sonars. It Allows a bright flashing LED light to pass through its translucent orange cover, this is so it can be distinctly seen at a distance and in the dark.
- Deeper Smartphone mounts for your fishing rod – this enables your phone to be connected and securely mounted to your fishing rod so your hands are free.
How to Use The Deeper Floating Fish Finder
Setting Up the Sonar
- Close the cover of the sonar tightly. The cover is correctly tightened when the arrows on both the cover and the base of the sonar device point towards each other.
- Hook up the sonar to your fishing line the way you would hook up other fishing baits and lures.
- Throw the Sonar to the water—no farther than 80m
- Once the Sonar is submerged in the water, you can connect it to your smartphone via Wifi. It auto turns on when it senses water.
- Install the Deeper Smart Sonar app on your smartphone. The app is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- Open your Wifi settings and connect your smartphone to the sonar wifi SSID.
- Open the application. If the connection is successful, you’ll start receiving sonar readings.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need cellular data to connect to the sonar?
No, you do not. The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ uses its own Wifi signal. Your phone detects this signal and gives you the option to connect to it. This WiFi connection is stronger and faster than Bluetooth as it lets you get better results and a smoother experience with the sonar.
- How accurate is the GPS on the Deeper Sonar PRO+?
The Deeper Smart floating fish finder supports L1 48 channel GPS receiver. Its accuracy is 3 meters at a 50% confidence level. This accuracy level is the norm among GPS devices so if you ever need to get back to the same spot you will be within 3m of your target.
- Is there any special way of reeling in the sonar?
It is advised to reel in the sonar at a consistent, slower pace to get more accurate readings. Even though it scans fast at 15 transmissions a second if you reel it in fast you may miss bottom objects and the portable sonar will be unstable in the water. Make sure to attach the eyelet to the most appropriate mounting point so that the deeper sonar points straight down. These attachments points are better on the deeper fish finder vs ibobber.
iBobber Bluetooth fish finder review
The ibobber Bluetooth smart fish finder is another remarkable piece of technology. It’s much the same as the Deeper sonar apart that it uses Bluetooth as its connection protocol. This is a low power feature which allows this casting depth sounder to last around 10h of in water use.
The only downside of Bluetooth is it range which will limit you to around 30m direct line of sight. This is usually fine.
The ibobber is priced well for the casual fisherman and as such lacks some of the more interesting features of the more expensive Deeper castable depth sounder. It tells you all you need to know like depth, temperature, fish and floor structure but that’s about it.
Also, the graphics are basic. It reminds me of early Commodore 64 days with blocky pixels and low-quality resolution. It gets the job done and that’s why the battery life is nearly 2x that of the Deeper Sonar. (Less processing power is needed)
ibobber is compatible with Apple devices and also modern Android smartphones and tablets via android app.
Syncs with iOS (Apple) 10.0 and later operating systems and Android 4.3 or later that use Bluetooth Smart (4.0). iBobber comes complete with USB Charger, Carrying Pouch, Product Guide.
To get the most out of the Ibobber be sure to read over the Ibobber user manual. There are a few quick set up guides and pro tips to help you get the most out of the little portable depth sounder.
ibobber vs Deeper – Conclusion
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ is a useful tool for both beginning and seasoned fishermen, it is my pick after months of research. Paired with the Deeper mobile app, getting this portable depth sounder to work in various scenarios is a breeze. My kids love looking at the constantly changing picture, looking for fish and underwater structures. It is best used as a guide for hobbyists to make the most out of their fishing trip.
Wireless fish finders are the future, the Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ is a versatile addition to one’s fishing arsenal. Although it comes at a steep price, it can become a long-term investment when used in accordance with its user manual. Reading it will provide you with some advanced options.
As one of my fishing buddies already has the iBobber which works well, the Deeper depth sounder has so many more settings and options to give me a more in-depth picture on where I am fishing and what’s on the bottom.
So what is the best castable fish finder? It’s the Deeper Pro+, it wins hands down no question. Let me know in the comments below your experiences with both.