Top Angler's Mail product reviewer Brian Gay took the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ for an in-depth test drive. YOU could win one of these Deeper devices in the latest bumper issue of Angler's Mail magazine - out now!
FOLLOWING last week’s New Gear review of the Deeper Pro+ sonar, I’ve had a chance to take one down to the lakes at Wallow Ponds, in Highbridge, Somerset, and put it through its paces.
For those of you who missed the Mail’s initial review, the Deeper Pro+ is an intelligent sonar device, spherical in shape, a bit bigger than a large bubble float, which you attach to a line and cast out.
Using wi-fi and GPS, it pairs with your smartphone or tablet and sends back details about the swim beneath the device, including depths, structure, weed and, what we are all there for, fish!
Getting started with my Deeper Pro+
Well, that is the theory, so how does it work in practise?
The first thing that you have to do when you get your Deeper Pro+ is register with the product website, and then download the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores for your respective device.
Before you can use the Deeper Pro+ you have to charge it with the USB cable that comes with it.
Some consideration needs to be given to the type of rod and line set-up that is used to cast the device, because it has a wi-fi distance range up to 100 metres and can scan in depths of up to 80 metres.
It weighs 3.5 oz, but because of its size it won’t be as easy to cast as say a 3.5 oz distance lead. I decided to use it with my usual Spomb rod set-up and braid.
I had 30 lb braid to a 50 lb braid shock leader, but will probably increase to an 85 lb braided leader for those occasions when I want to whack it the distance.
The Deeper comes with threaded eyes that screw into one of three locations on the device, and once screwed in firmly, I simply clipped this to the braid using a strong clip swivel.
Simple phone connection
To connect the device to my iPhone was a straightforward enough exercise, but for Android users it is even simpler.
For the Apple iOS, however, it starts with switching the Deeper on by simply dropping it into the water a few feet out from the bank.
Then in the iOS settings open the wi-fi setting and look for the Deeper network, select it and enter the supplied password.
With the network connected, open up the Deeper app and check the device is showing as being connected. It took only a few minutes to get everything sorted and I was ready to fish find!
There are lots of options in the app to tweak the device and display, but with Detailed Smart Imaging and Fish Icons selected and in the Onshore GPS mode, I was ready.
Immediate transfer of information
As soon as I cast the device out and it hit the water, it started sending the info to my screen.
I could see the depth, water temperature and the nature of the bottom, if it was hard or soft, and if there was any weed. By gently reeling in the device I could see the display updating as it scanned the water below it.
You have the option of alarms that ping when you encounter a depth change or fish. After a while I switched these off as I was monitoring the screen anyway.
If the novelty of seeing the depth info is not enough, when you start to see the fish icons appear it’s infectious. Not only does it show fish, it also tells you what depth they are at.
The great thing is that the app records the info and, even better in the Onshore GPS mode, draws a contour map complete with depths, which you can call up at any time in the future.
In short, it works, and works reliably enough. It casts well, straight and accurate. On the gear I was using it comfortably reached 50 yards into a breeze. On stronger braid I am sure that this would be increased.
It is not a gimmick, but will be a great addition to feature finding and fish location. Take it to a lake for an afternoon to learn and map the venue, or use it while you are fishing to locate target fish.
Either way it should enhance your fishing.
But will it replace marker floats?
For me it’s more accurate than a marker float, and it can also display whether the bottom is hard or soft, so no need to chuck a lead around, reducing the spook factor.
The fact that it records the data and maps for future use is a massive plus, and saves you having to write it all down. Of course, you can, as I did, use surface bubbles to locate some fish, but one cast of the Deeper Pro+ over these bubbles told me that the carp were indeed in 12 ft of water, but laying between 6 ft and just under the surface, not on the bottom as many would think.
So, in that situation it takes the guesswork out, and would suggest starting on a zig rig set-up.
I will admit I was sceptical when first hearing about this system, but having used it, the benefits are right there on my smartphone– swipe maps, accurate depths and variations and, of course, the location of target fish. I was impressed, as was any one who saw me using it!
Marker floats obsolete? They may very well be. It does exactly what it says on the box!
Brian Gay, Angler’s Mail correspondent
For the best latest tackle, top catches, tips, news and features read Angler’s Mail magazine every week.