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I am in desperate need of a new fishfinder gps combo for my 2002 18’ Boston Whaler Dauntless, and I have a budget of $700ish which I think should get me something that more than fits my needs. I have contemplated selling the boat the past few years and will probably still do so at some point, but I can hold off no longer. I use the boat exclusively in saltwater in and around Emerald Isle and do mostly inshore fishing (reds, trout, flounder)in shallow water. Occasionally on nice days, I will head out through Bogue Inlet and troll for spanish or dolphin or fish around one of the near shore reefs, all usually within 3 – 5 miles of shore. In my search, it seems that Lowrance and Garmin rise to the top, and this, of course, also raises the issue of chirp vs. non-chirp. I also am aware of side imaging but have no idea if that would really be beneficial based on my needs. I need to pull the trigger quickly and would appreciate any input you have. Thank you.
 

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I have a Lowrance Elite HDI 5 and love it so far. I would look at the Elite 5's or the Elite 7 models for your boat, they both fit your budget and needs. They have shallow water settings, salt and fresh water settings, multiple window features, chart plotters and upgradeable memory cards with things like lake insite that give more detailed bottom contour information. My 2 cents.
 

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I highly recommend that whatever you get, once it has been installed on your boat check for software updates for the programing of the unit. I recently put a Lowrance on my boat. Used it for a while out of the box, then got to doing a little researching and found a free update from Lowrance. Installed the update onto my unit and its 2X better now. The upgrade gave me more screen options, and updated the built in maps, and I'm sure it did more stuff than that. I just haven't explored it enough yet to know all of what the update did!
 
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