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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Furuno FCV-620 Review (Part 1)

Not too long ago I was forced to replace my old Lowrance X87 sounder. The choice for a replacement was a difficult one and had me researching for several weeks. I finally settled on the Furuno FCV-620. I have been so impressed with it that I though I'd add a small review. While I was researching for the new sounder, I found little online in the way of personal reviews of the 620. So here's mine.

The main specification that initially turned me away from Furuno was the screen resolution. And realistically, thats one of the first things people look at. However, other 620 owners keept telling me that, even with the lower resolution, the units raw ability to detect and display fish and structure is far superior to other similar sounders. So I was forced to look beyond simple pixel counts and colour depth and give the pure quality of the system a go. And I'm very glad I did. Even with its 'low resolution' screen, I am now able to clearly see bottom structure and fish that simply wasn't possible on the old X87.

Another misconception about the Furuno is their difficulty in use. While this may be true about older units, the 620 couldn't be simpler. The system functions beautifully in basic automatic mode, and the customisations availabe through the menu will keep the more serious fisherman very happy. One of my farourite features is the ability to manually specify the depth range shown on the screen. Combined with the 'shift' function, its possible to look at only a very narrow section of the water column. For example, when fishing deeper water (25m for me is deep) I like to look specifically at the bottom 5-10m only. This increases the bottom definition immensly. While this achieves nothing more than the 'Upper and Lower limits' of the Lowrance sounders, its very simple to use and to adjust on the fly. If you still want to see the full water column, split screen bottom zoom or bottom lock can be used.

One of the things that amazed my with this sounder is its ability to read bottom details at high speed. I was stunned the first time I ran over one of my marks at speed (22knots) and could see bottom structure appear on the screen. And it wasn't a big mark at all! From then on I have kept a close eye on the sounder screen when running between spots and, thanks to the Furuno's ability, I have discovered a number of new fishing locations.

I have heard of people who can look at their sounder and tell you the species of fish that are showing up. But I always thought that was a bit of BS. But for the first time I am starting to see the possibility. I would never claim to know species, but I can now easily pick individual predatory fish haunting schools of bait. Given specific locations and known target species, I can guess particular species.

The price of the Furuno FCV-620 has come down a little in recent times. With transducer it is selling for about $1300 in most places. This is a little dearer than equivalent units from Lowrance and Humminbird....But in my opinion, its money well worth spending!

This is what Furuno has to say..

"The FCV620 is a dual frequency (50 kHz and 200 kHz) Color LCD Sounder featuring Furuno's DSP technology that displays underwater conditions in 8, 16 or 64 colors on a super-bright 5.6" LCD screen.

You’ve probably heard about digital fish finders, but aren’t quite sure what the difference is. The main difference is the filtering capabilities and auto adjustments. Our new FDF (Furuno Digital Filter) technology helps adjust gain, STC “Clutter” and output power, as well as suppress main bang (the echoes just below the transducer.) It also makes the picture clearer and easier to decipher. But even the best digital filter won’t help unless you start with a solid basis, such as Furuno’s renowned fish finder technology.

The FCV620's waterproof construction allows it to be installed on any bridge. Audio and visual alarms alert you whenever preset limits are met for water depth, water temperature and fish echoes. Selectable display modes include High or Low Frequency, Dual Frequency, Zoom, Nav Data, A-Scope, Marker Zoom, Bottom Zoom or Bottom-Lock. Furuno's TLL (Target Lat/Lon) output allows you to interface the FCV620 with your Furuno chart plotter so you can mark any spot you desire and save it as a waypoint, enabling you to return to it whenever you desire."

In Part 2 I would like to show some photographs of the screen and detail some of the ways I use the sounder to the best of its ability.