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Humminbird 385ci chartplotter

Entry level chart plotter, ideally suited to Ocean Kayak boats.

The 385ci is a compact, 3 1/2inch screen fishfinder and chartplotter. I've been using the unit for a couple years, having mounted it on my Elite. Mounting the unit is incredibly simple, as the supplied transducer fits the modified scupper hole on Ocean Kayak kayaks, so if you buy yourself the scupper mounting kit, around£20, then fitting the transducer will be a doddle.
Another plus which came out in the fitting process is that Humminbird uses fairly small plugs on its cables, which means that you do have to drill any holes they'll be small ones. The unit is attached via a tilt and swivel bracket, which seems very well designed, and the unit then detaches from the bracket with a simple press of a button. This is a great arrangement, and makes setting up and breaking down your set-up extremely easy.
The front of the unit is dominated by a cursor control pad, above which are two further small keys for zooming in and out, and another button marked view which changes the screen display to show depth, charts or both. Below the cursor pad are a further 6 button, including a power button, these ae quite small, and can be difficult to operate when wearing gloves.
Getting around the unit is very easy, and after a few trips it's easy to find what you're looking for. The front panel is completed by the 3 1/2 inch screen, and a slot for an SD card, which is fitted with a water tight screw down cover, this has proved very watertight in use, and not a drop has made its way to the inside of the unit.
The unit came supplied with a dual frequency transducer, and the sonar side of things works extremely well. As I said elsewhere, you tend to use these units to find sandbars, holes, outcrops etc, but don't generally see individual fish, although it does spot large shoals, of mackerel for example,  very well.
The GPS side of the unit is excellent, and its quick to get a fix, and the speed measurement proved to be very accurate when measured using a far more expensive unit. For finding marks the unit is also excellent, with a neat goto feature available under one of the front panel buttons, and also the ability to record your own marks with another dedicated button on the front panel. The quality of the mapping is probably best described as adequate, but you'll struggle o find much fishing friendly data on the charts, and I'd massively recommend spending the extra money and buying the Navionics charting with which this unit is compatible, these charts are superb.
Overall, an excellent choice as a first chartplotter, particularly for Ocean Kayak kayak owners, but vastly improved by adding the Navionics chart package.
 

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Discover Kayak Fishing
by Andy Benham

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