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Fairly new to the forum, but long time fishing guy. I now have a place over at PCB and an offshore boat (25' with twin 150s) and spent last year learning the area for bottom fishing and finding some non-public #s. I have even caught a few fish trolling - Kings, Bonita and Mahi. I really want to get further west fishing and learn Wahoo and Tuna better. Several folks have recommended that I need radar to most effectively find the birds to find the Tuna. I'm running a Simrad system for GPS and bottom machine so a 4G setup with a dedicated 12 screen will be at least $4000.

So, will the radar really improve my fishing for the pelagics? I appreciate any thoughts and suggestions.
 

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$4000 buys a LOOOOOOOOOOOT of tuna. By the time you realize the 20 or 40 birds are diving on radar and get there the tuna have sounded. Keep your eyes open and you will see them close enough to get to them before they sound. If you need to go out far try binoculars. Once you spot the target figure out direction and get ahead of it as fast and quiet as you can and wait for them to come to you. Give them a very wide berth or spook em. You will figure it out.
 

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What He said... but if you plan on being out after dark, you will need a radar. (well, not needed, but suggested) Not sure about PCB, but here in Pensacola alot (if not most) buoys arent light up at night.... My radar has confirmed my placement i the pass everytime I come in after dark....
 

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In a small boat off shore it's nice to know exactly which way the storms are going and the shortest route to pop out the other side if you can't skip around them.
 

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What He said... but if you plan on being out after dark, you will need a radar. (well, not needed, but suggested) Not sure about PCB, but here in Pensacola alot (if not most) buoys arent light up at night.... My radar has confirmed my placement i the pass everytime I come in after dark....
Why would radar be more accurate or useful than a GPS that can show your position down to a 3 foot circle at all times?
 

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Why would radar be more accurate or useful than a GPS that can show your position down to a 3 foot circle at all times?
Gps map data is not always that accurate. Bouys move all the time. Next time your out start paying attention to wear they are compared to their actual position. The radar will always give you their true position. Same goes for coastlines.
 

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You didn't mention it, but how's the safety setup on your boat?

Got an EPIRB? Ditch bag and raft? A wireless kill switch?

I'd invest in these BEFORE I'd contemplate anything else.
 

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you can track storms with xm weather however its the ships and such out there you need to think about when it comes to safety. have had to crank up and move a few times when it looks like its gonna be close.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You didn't mention it, but how's the safety setup on your boat?

Got an EPIRB? Ditch bag and raft? A wireless kill switch?

I'd invest in these BEFORE I'd contemplate anything else.
Safety first for me. EPIRB, Ditch bag, hand held VHF, kill switch, and 2 life jackets/person.

Thanks for all the replies and ideas. The safety issue and weather coverage are important, and I'm planning a trip to the Bahamas this summer, so it might be good to have it for that as well.
 

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I got a radar when I had my Simrad system installed. I didn't think I would use it much but I have quite a bit. Seeing where rainstorms are, keeping an eye on surroundings when it's dark or foggy, stealing people's spots, ect.
 

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If you ever get caught in a Thunderstorm, you'll be glad you have radar to move around the heavier parts. If you get caught in a summer squall at night, you will wonder how you've lived this long without radar. It's a good tool and you don't need one that reads out 40 miles...
 

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We did the tuna and oil rig thing for about 4 years without radar. On the new boat one of the first pieces of electronics I bought was a 6' 25kw open array. There was waaaayyyy too much guessing of 'is that a big ship far off? Or is it a small boat nearby?' 'which way is that boat going?' 'how fast is it going?' 'do they see us?' 'are they heading straight toward us?'

Finally I had enough and dropped the coin. Won't know if I like the results for a couple months, can't wait to get back out there!!

Also, AIS receiver is VERY handy to have, especially if money is the issue. We used it as a 'radar subsitute' before we had radar. You can get a decent AIS system going for a couple hundred. It will tell you all about the commercial traffic around you but very few recreational boats have ais transponders.
 

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As mentioned by others, particularly when your on the water at night, non lit or unmarked items in the water and storms, storms, storms! A few years back, the boat we had at the time didnt have radar and we were heading in after dark. Only a few miles out of the pass (OB). It was loaded with lightning strick that started right when we got in it! At the top of my list as one of the scariest events of my life. I will never own a boat again without radar.
 

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As I am rarely offshore in the dark I actually rate my Sirius/XM Weather higher as a safety device than my radar. It gives me a huge comfort knowing where the storm cells are regardless of distance, which ones have lightning, and what direction they are heading.

But...coupled with my on-board Furuno radar I do get a clear picture on precisely where the nearby storms are.
 

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think it's already been covered, but you can't put a price on safety. We can only share our experiences to assist you in making an informed decision; the rest is up to you.

radar will pay for itself very fast IMHO.
 
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