Airmar Transducer 599 LM

Garmin-gsd-26-sonar-wreck-1

October 2019 - When I was re-fitting the In XS with all new Garmin marine electronics I included the Garmin GSD 26 black box sounder on the Garmin network in my 1995 47 Viking Convertible. With the 3000 watt chirp capability I was in a quandary of which transducer to utilize for the best results on a tournament proven sport fishing yacht such as this. When I am on a fishing charter I like to know I have the best advantages over the fish and my Key West fishing competition. After consulting with many of my colleagues, engineers at both Airmar, Garmin and with what I know from 35 years of using high end sonar equipment I decided on the AirMar transducer 599 ML in hull (not through hull) transducer and I am SUPER happy I did.. What a set up. Here are some details..

Airmar in hull transducer r 599
The Airmar Transducer R599 ML In hull.

Why An In Hull?

I called up to Viking and found out by researching my HIN that The 1995 47 Viking convertible is a solid fiberglass hull. Not a cored hull that is super popular in todays builds. This gave me the opportunity to shoot the sound producing chirp signal provided by the Garmin GSD 26 through the bottom of the boat and get the best results for a transducer. Furthermore, When I did the electronics replacement I did not want to pull the boat out of the water to perform the work of changing a transducer - just yet, this way I could put off that job till I am ready to go for bottom paint. Last, I did not want the drag of a 20+ inch long 11+ inch wide and 10" tall transducer hanging off the bottom of my boat. Airmar also recommended that I do not put a through hull that size on a fast boat. My Viking cruises at 25 knots with a top speed of 33 knots thats a ton of pull on a huge box.

Why 3000 Watts?

Why not.. you can always throttle back but you can never get more if it is not there and you need it. I fish in waters from 25 - 2500 ft regularly and sometimes even deeper. I have the GSD 26 that produces 3000 watts and I wanted to maximize the electronics capabilities in this boat. After all we do call her the "In XS"...

My deep dropping trips are mostly in 500 - 900 feet of water. With the low frequency side I can read the bottom like a book at 25 knots with this set up in 1000 ft of water with amazing detail. This makes for an amazing sword fishing platform and deep dropping for snowy groupers and tile fish. The extra wattage really gives me an incredibly clear signal even shooting through what must be at least 1" thick fiberglass. When i am looking for good deep drop spots I need to see the difference between the bottom, the smaller fish and the larger targets. This set up does the trick really well.

Why The Medium Frequency

For my boats applications The Airmar 599 Transducer was the best solution in my opinion. Because this is my deep sea fishing boat I wanted a chirp transducer that had the widest cone. The medium frequency is the best choice for trolling patterns that covers much more water than a high Freq with a narrower cone. This can provide a view up to 80 ft in front of my boat at 250 ft if there is a target. Many times this past winter I was able to call a strike from the bridge seeing my bottom marking marking targets using the wider cone. I shared some images below.

So far there is not a disadvantage that I have found using the medium frequency from my Garmin GSD 26 for reef fishing in less than 300 ft. where I thought I might lose some resolution with a wider cone of view. I didn't and in fact I love it.. See images of a wreck I was fishing in 250. The wider cone gave me a full picture of the wreck as I passed over it, not to mention all the goodies that were around it.

The Install

The in hull transducer comes with its own enclosed bucket to sit in.. This bucket is open ended on the full side. Finding a spot was lucky for me.. I figured out where I was not behind anything that might leave a bubble trail under my boat, far enough forward yet not too far to allow for aerated water to disturb my signal. Under my generator forward to my engine beds. right in front of my A/C intake.

the spot I chose was slightly angled so I had to find that measurement and cut the tub accordingly. I used a table saw and it worked perfect. After checking the angle and installation location I sanded the gel coat off the hull to get a good solid adhesion with the 3 M 4200 I used to glued the sucker down. Going along the edges inside that meet the hull with ample 4200 was key to keep this tub water tight.. This worked perfect. after letting the 4200 cure for day or so I installed the transducer into the tub and bolted it down. After bolting it down I opened the fill hole and filled the tub with glycol antifreeze 100%.. Some folks use mineral oil, some go with distilled water. the engineers told me to use Glycol and my results are insane..

Note.. Make sure you keep the wrap of cork board around the transducer to secure the sound channeling. this aids in keeping out any interference. This is key.

Well, that was fun and an integral part of the fishing capability of our Viking 47 that we used for a charter boat. Any questions feel free to email me at captsteven@me.com To learn more about us check out our administration page.

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