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Using a fish finder is great as long as you know what you’re doing. A lot of units are difficult to use, clunky, and a pain to install.
As a result, they sometimes have the opposite effect. Instead of making fishing easier, they just make it more complicated.
I’ve used at least 12 fish finders in over 10 years of fishing and castable fish finders are somewhat of a “new” creation.
But, I love them.
I’m a big fan and I stand by them, especially castable units from Deeper.
With easy smartphone connectivity, the Deeper Pro Plus allows you to map out the underwater terrain effectively in calm waters. And that makes it a great tool for turning the odds in your favor.
It’s not exactly a high-end device.
This fish finder is for my bank anglers who may not have a grand to drop on a fish finder or a boat to install it on.
In this Deeper Pro Plus review, I will share all the details about this unit to help you find out if this fish finder works for you.
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Castable Fish Finder
- Deeper Pro Plus Review: Features and Benefits
- What Are People Saying About the Deeper Pro Plus?
- Deeper Pro+ Vs. The Deeper Pro+ 2
- Alternatives to the Deeper Pro Plus
- Final Thoughts
- Dual-beam sonar
- 260 feet depth range
- Wireless Wi-Fi works without an internet connection
- Excellent portability
- Offers great value
- Not the best in choppy or windy conditions
- The battery can’t be replaced
Things to Consider Before Buying a Castable Fish Finder
Basically, a castable fish finder is a small transducer that will float and scan the water.
It will connect with your smartphone by using a WiFi or a Bluetooth signal and use the phone’s screen for the display.
Now there are some anglers who consider using fish finders as cheating.
But for me, taking the help of technology is the smart thing to do.
If you ask me, searching for the fish with a portable fish finder is one of the best ways to scout the shoreline and figure out where you’re going to cast.
The capability of the sonar and transducer determines two aspects.
The depth up to which the sonar beam can penetrate and the amount of detail captured in the display.
A high-frequency sonar will provide better detail but it won’t penetrate deep.
A low-frequency sonar beam is just the opposite as it has more penetrating power but captures fewer data.
If you fish in both deep and shallow water, a dual-beam or multi-beam sonar that uses both types of beam is the best choice.
In case you’re not so sure about the depth range, pick a sonar that can scan deeper than your average needs.
Also, keep an eye on the cone angle of the sonar beam. A higher cone angle will indicate a wider beam that can cover more area.
What if you want to find the diameter of the sonar cone?
For that you need to use this formula:
Diameter= 2* depth Tan (cone angle /2)
Let’s say you’re fishing at a depth of 30 feet and the cone angle is 15°.
Note, the quality of the transducer will determine the type of image the device delivers on the screen.
It’s best not to use a device that comes with a cheap transducer.
It goes without saying that a wireless device that can be easily used is the best option.
Imagine your fishing line getting tangled with wires. You get the picture.
The transducers in these fish finders can connect with a smart device through Bluetooth or WiFi. That means, the device doesn’t depend on a smartphone tower for functioning.
However, WiFi is a better option than Bluetooth.
The reason being…
With WiFi, you get a longer range of around 300 feet. Also, WiFi-based connections are stronger and can work better through interference.
No matter the type of connectivity you choose, make sure that the device has a minimum range of 100 feet.
When it comes to shore fish finders, size is an important factor.
A portable device is also easy to carry around in the backpack.
Then again, a heavier device will allow you to cast it over longer distances.
But you will need a stiffer rod and stronger lines to support it. Devices between 2 oz to 5 oz should hit the sweet spot.
Another factor that affects the weight is the build quality.
Devices made from ABS plastic are more durable and less likely to get damaged in case of an accidental drop.
However, they are slightly heavier.
When you’re heading outdoors with the device the battery life and charging features are something you need to consider.
Most portable devices come with chargeable lithium-ion batteries that can be charged easily.
Some units also come with disposable batteries.
However, they tend to be heavier.
A castable unit will not only map the underwater terrain but also needs to have a few additional features.
Some of the essential features include GPS positioning, bathymetric mapping, and temperature sensor.
Other features like a strike alarm, and LED light for night fishing.
In addition, some devices also come with advanced CHIRP sonar that uses multiple frequencies for scanning and delivers higher accuracy.
Budget is one aspect that will determine the type of fish finder you pick.
When it comes to fish finders, more advanced devices will come with higher price tags.
However, there are plenty of affordable options in the market as well.
Apart from the features, check out the accessories that come with the model.
Most devices come with cables and batteries.
In addition, adaptors, mounting parts, and additional batteries can add to the value.
Deeper Pro Plus Review: Features and Benefits
The Deeper Pro Plus looks more like a black tennis ball than a fishing gadget but packs a ton of features that sets it apart from the competition.
Firstly, the superior build quality and the premium black finish make it look and feel like a high-quality product.
Inside the box, there’s a USB charging wire, attachments bolts, and a neoprene pouch.
So, in terms of accessories, you don’t get much.
The setup is simple and connecting with the app is super easy.
Once you charge up the battery for a few hours, you’re good to go.
Time to take a closer look at the main features in this Deeper smart portable fish finder review.
To start with, Deeper has equipped the Pro Plus with a dual-beam sonar.
You get a frequency of 290 kHz with a 15° cone angle and a frequency of/90 kHz with a 55° cone angle.
That allows you to switch between a narrow and wide beam depending on the fishing location.
You can scan a wide range to spot the right location and then zoom in on the target with a narrow beam.
The depth range of the beam is 260 feet (80 meters) which is impressive.
The minimum distance that it needs to function is 2 feet (0.5 meters). That makes the device a good choice for shallow waters too.
The scan rate can go as high as 15 scans per second.
Deeper claims that the target separation ability of the sonar is just 1 inch. But it doesn’t mention the exact wattage of the sonar.
I found the unit delivers the best results when the minimum depth is around 6 to 8 feet.
At the higher end, the sonar works well above 150 feet.
But the 90kHZ beam doesn’t capture enough information to provide accurate bottom information.
But when you’re fishing between 30 to 50 feet, the sonar does a great job of picking up fish. And most anglers don’t fish beyond that depth.
Note, the Pro Plus comes with bathymetric mapping. So it automatically records the river or lake bed as you’re using it.
In addition, you can choose from boat mode, onshore GPS mode, and ice fishing mode.
No matter the mode you use, make sure to reel in the unit slowly to ensure the best scanning.
When you’re trolling, speeds around 2-3 knots are good enough.
The display has three color modes you can choose from.
Once the sonar locates the fish, it also provides depth reading beside individual fish.
The app provides a detailed view of the bottom and helps you to identify all the details.
One thing that many newbie anglers can get confused with is the sensitivity settings.
Fact is, sensitivity doesn’t control the power of the sonar but the ability of the device to capture the returning echoes.
With the Pro Plus, I always set the sensitivity to 100%.
That increases the clutter but also helps to point out more fish. If you want a cleaner image, lower the sensitivity to around 70% or 80%.
The Pro Plus makes it easy to spot holes and underwater structures.
The scans and maps are stored in the Cloud through the Fish Deeper App. So you can always retrieve them when needed.
The last phase of spring is a great time for catching pike that prefers dense veg.
So, I tested the Pro Plus for spotting the pike from the envelope of vegetation and the sonar proved to be effective.
The fish are marked in a different color which makes spotting easier
That said, this isn’t an easy task and there are chances of making mistakes.
But considering that this is a compact, castable unit, I was satisfied with the overall performance.
The 330 feet WiFi connectivity range of the Pro Plus is one of the best in class.
Once you place the device in water, the water sensors automatically activate the Deeper WiFi hotspot.
The system shuts down automatically when lifted out of the water.
In clear and calm conditions, my iPhone picked up the Deeper WiFi hotspot without any hitches.
Once I got a feel of the best way to reel in the device, the connectivity was seamless.
But keep in mind, Deeper mentions that the maximum connectivity limit of 330 feet can be achieved only in ideal conditions.
The concept of an ideal condition is vague but I found that a clean line of sight between the device and my smartphone works best.
I also found connectivity suffering in windy and choppy conditions.
In most cases, the signal strength drops if the WiFi antenna gets submerged in water.
If you‘re using it from a large boat, the wake behind the boat can be a problem.
That makes it necessary to reel in Pro Plus at a slow and steady pace.
Basically, this is a device that you have to be patient with.
I noticed that switching off the mobile data helps to boost WiFi connectivity.
Deeper also suggests keeping the smartphone above ground level and out of your pocket for the best results.
I wouldn’t risk attaching the phone to the rod, so a smartphone mount or a tripod can be a good option.
The device operates through the Deeper app and the cloud-based LakeBook software.
The app can be used on both Android and iOS platforms.
The combination provides an extensive range of features that pro anglers will find useful. And the best part is, that first-time users will not find it hard to use either.
Kudos to the developers from Deeper for paying attention to all the details and ensuring a top-notch user experience.
You can save the maps to ensure that you hit the right spot on a return trip.
Marking the points of interest on the bathymetric map is also possible.
The app will also synchronize your data in the cloud once it gets connected to the internet.
Live mapping kicks off only when the device ensures perfect GPS triangulation.
So you can depend on the accuracy of the captured data. In addition, you can also make the necessary notes for future reference.
I also liked the fact that LakeBook allows you to extract raw data like the depth readings and GPS coordinates.
This allows you to use them in any other app of your choice.
Size and Durability
One thing that has stuck with me throughout this Deeper Pro Plus review is the fact that a lot of castable fish finders aren’t as light as you’d think.
At 3.53 ounces, The Pro Plus isn’t the lightest castable fish finder on the market.
But it’s not too heavy either. That makes it easy to make accurate casts.
The ABS plastic body feels durable and can handle rough use.
Even so, transducers are sensitive components. It’s best to handle the device gently to prevent any damage.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend using a light rod with the Pro Plus. Losing the device will be a tragedy.
A medium-heavy rod will be the best choice. I used a 20 lb. line with the device and it worked fine. You can go higher if needed.
Here’s a warning…
The Pro Plus does make a substantial splash when cast. The only solution is for you to be careful.
So in ultra-clear water, don’t toss it in the spot where you think the fish will be. That will simply scare the fish away.
It’s best to cast it away from the fishing spot and allow the wind to move it in location.
For rivers, you can simply float it over a spot and let the current carry it downstream.
Or else, you can use the unit along with a bait boat.
With a diameter of 2.5 inches, the Pro Plus offers excellent portability.
Mobility is a prime aspect of bank fishing and you can ensure that with the Pro Plus.
The operating temperature range for the fish finder is between -4°F to 104°F. That makes it suitable for ice fishing too.
Battery life is one area where Pro Plus excels. It comes with an 850mAh lithium polymer battery that offers an average runtime of 5.5 hours.
The charging port is at the bottom of the unit and the battery gets charged quickly.
I used the Pro Plus with the high-frequency sonar and the GPS turned and got around 5 hours from it.
In short, the power consumption of the sonar is on the lower side.
Keep in mind, the service will depend on the battery limitations of your smartphone.
So keeping a power source handy for charging your smart device while using the Pro Plus is a good idea.
More so, if you’re heading for a multi-day angling trip.
On the flip side, the battery in the Pro Plus isn’t removable.
So, in case of any issues, you’ll have to send the entire unit back to Deeper.
Considering this Deeper sonar’s price and the features, I’ve to admit that the Pro Plus offers excellent value.
Some anglers can point out that the capability of the transducer isn’t impressive.
Frankly, the small transducer crystal enclosed in the bottom part of the Pro Plus isn’t a premium product.
You can’t compare the performance with a high-end fish finder.
But let’s accept it.
Castable fish finders are limited by their design and construction. A large transducer will simply be too heavy to attach to the end of a rod.
Also, Deeper has created a product with a relatively affordable price tag. So, you can’t expect top-grade components here.
And compared to its small size, the transducer offers good sensitivity and power.
Deeper has offered a versatile fish finder with a great mapping feature. On top of that, you get superb reliability and a well-designed app to run it.
At this price, it’s a solid package that easily comes as one of the best fish finders under $500 in the current market.
What Are People Saying About the Deeper Pro Plus?
I discussed the performance of the Pro Plus with my angling buddies and some pro anglers.
Most of the users of Pro Plus found it a great tool for finding the hiding spots of the fish during shore fishing.
For some anglers, it wasn’t the best choice for boat fishing. Most were of the opinion that mounted fish finders are the best choice for boats.
However, in most Deeper fish finder reviews the Pro Plus was marked as a good device for canoe or kayak fishing.
I found quite a few happy customers on Amazon. Most of them found the features of the Pro Plus to be super helpful.
The main aspect of catching fish is to find out where they are. The Pro Plus makes that part of the task easier.
And the fact that the device is super easy to use makes it a great choice for anglers who aren’t so tech-savvy.
We agree with the first user about the point he makes.
You can’t use the Pro Plus for night fishing, without buying the Deeper night fishing cover.
Annoying isn’t it?
Many reviewers also mentioned that they were able to use the device from kayaks and canoes effectively.
It also allows you to cast the bait properly, which is a great advantage.
Some Deeper sonar reviews mentioned that the GPS in the device was inaccurate. To be honest, I never found the readings to be inaccurate.
However, the GPS triangulation isn’t the fastest and takes some time.
Note, there are a few users who have lost the unit while kayaking.
So, buying a flexible arm mount for securing it might be a good idea.
One common problem with smartphone-based fish finders reeling in while holding the phone is difficult.
You can use a fishing rod mount or a smartphone mount to solve the problem.
Deeper Pro+ Vs. The Deeper Pro+ 2
The Deeper Pro Original has been discontinued by Deeper.
However, Deeper has launched multiple advanced models including the Smart Sonar CHIRP+2.
Honestly, no Deeper sonar review is complete without discussing the feature-loaded Deeper Pro+2.
The Deeper Pro+2 is the most advanced castable sonar in the Pro series.
If you’re on a higher budget and looking for a more advanced sonar the Pro+ 2 is worth a closer look.
Here’s a quick comparison between the Deeper Pro+ and the Pro+2
- A major difference is the Pro+2 comes with triple sonar beams. It has beam frequencies of 100 kHz, 240kHz, and 675kHz. As a result, you get crispier details and better target separation than the Pro +. The sonar scanning depth has also been increased to 328 feet (100 meters).
- The Pro+ 2 supports the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) which provides better signal accuracy and integrity.
- The Pro+ 2 comes with a larger 950 mAh rechargeable battery that increases the operating time to 9 hours. It also supports fast charging, resulting in 80% battery charge-up in 45 minutes.
- In terms of construction, the Pro+ 2 scores higher with titanium inserts inside the ABS casing for increased durability. At 3.2 oz, it’s also slightly lighter than the Pro+
Alternatives to the Deeper Pro Plus
So, you have gone through multiple Deeper smart fishfinder reviews and none of them is your thing.
Not to worry.
There are a few other castable fish finders that offer excellent value. Here are three options you can check out.
Garmin Striker 4 Portable Fish Finder
The Garmin Striker 4 is a portable fish finder with a 3.5-inch color screen and a CHIRP Sonar transducer. The use of CHIRP technology makes a big impact on image quality.
You get better sonar returns with excellent target separation at higher depths. The device has features like a real-time display of fish and depth range shading.
Garmin has also included a high-precision internal GPS that delivers excellent accuracy. You get waypoint maps and can check your boat’s speed. And even with multiple features, the unit remains an entry-level fishfinder that’s easy to use.
The Striker 4 is an ideal GPS-enabled fish finder for kayaks, small boats, and also for ice fishing. Considering the advanced features, the device offers excellent value for money. However, with a weight of 10.8 pounds, it’s not the most portable option for shore fishing.
iBobber Bluetooth Smart Castable Fishfinder
I don’t have much faith in cheap fishfinders, but this unit from iBobber is an exception. The small unit uses a sonar that can scan depths up to 135 feet and connects with smart devices via Bluetooth. In addition, it has features like underwater contour mapping and GPS spot tagging.
Other practical features include a fish strike alarm, fish tagging, and GPS spot tagging. Operated by a lithium-ion battery, the unit can easily last for 7 to 8 hours after a full charge. Overall, it’s a great tool for bank fishing, ice fishing, and fishing from boats or canoes as well.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a high-end sonar that’s good at higher depths. But considering the affordable price tag, the iBobber fishfinder is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something cheaper than the Deeper Pro Plus.
HawkEye FishTrax 1C Color Handheld Fishfinder
The Fishtrax 1C may look like a toy, but it comes with a dual-beam sonar that provides automatic fish tracking and top-notch durability.
Moreover, the device comes with a 2-inch LCD polarized display. The compact size and lightweight design also ensure excellent portability.
The unit contains multiple programmable alarms and a water temperature sensor. Another great feature of the unit is the integrated TraxNut mounting system that makes it highly adaptable in all environments. The device is powered by AAA batteries.
Note, HawkEye has kept the unit basic and super easy to use. So it doesn't include mapping or tagging features. But if all you want is an easy-to-use, portable fishfinder, it’s a first-rate tool.
That brings us to the end of the Deeper smart sonar pro+ review.
I always prefer to remain agile during bank fishing trips.
That makes it easy to compare multiple holes, spot the shoals of baitfish and pick the best spot.
The portability and the ease of use of the Pro Plus make it a great device to get more fish in challenging venues.
Moreover, the device is durable and can be used in all weather conditions.
The long battery capacity is another aspect that I love. The app interface has plenty of great features too.
Note, this Deeper fish finder isn’t the best choice for scanning deep waters or when your boat hits choppy conditions.
But for anglers who enjoy sitting on the banks of a lake or a farm pond, it’s a dependable tool for locating the fish.
To sum up, unless you’re a pro angler who ventures frequently into deep waters, this fun-size ball offers more value than bulky high-end fish finders.
Let us know how the Deeper Pro Plus worked for you.