By John Neporadny Jr.
I have never considered myself a gambler but apparently I have been one throughout my years of fishing. Ever since I have owned a boat I have gambled by leaving my sonar transducers unprotected but luck has been on my side.
Jackplate Transducer Shield (photo by TJ Stallings)
However all it takes is one unexpected bump into a rock or stump to damage my transducer and ruin my day on the water. Then I will be wishing I had invested in a transducer protector.
Protection for transducers is available from Transducer Shield & Saver, which offers a hydro dynamically designed guard made of high-strength aluminum that fits over a variety of Lowrance, Garmin and Humminbird transducers. The shield’s benefits include protecting the transducer from impact damage, reducing the collection of debris on the transducer and keeping a transducer positioned correctly on a trolling motor.
Crappie Masters pro Dan Dannenmueller can testify to the benefits of the transducer shield from his experiences on the tournament trail. “I had one mounted to my jack plate and I came over a stump and that thing hit dead on that stump and never even affected it,” he recalled. “All it did was put wood into the crevices around the shield and that was it. Otherwise, without the shield the transducer would have been broken.”
The shield for his transducer mounted to the trolling motor has been a savior for Dannenmueller whenever he has fished in extremely shallow water (1 to 1 1/2 feet deep). “When you are that shallow and you have that transducer bare to the world (on the trolling motor) anything you hit like a rock or a log is going to ruin that transducer,” Dannenmueller said. “I had one time where I hit a stump dead on but all it did was push the bracket (of the transducer shield) back. Otherwise the transducer would have broken off and those two little connectors would have been dangling.”
Crappie anglers can avoid that scene by investing in the Transducer Shield & Saver along with some of the company’s accessories. The four basic shields offered by the company are the following: SSC-1 that fits Lowrance and Eagle Long and Short Arm Skimmer transducers for the trolling motor; SSC-2 for Lowrance and Eagle pod transducers; SSC-3 for Humminbird XNT 9 20 transom-style transducers for trolling motor installation; and SSC-4 for Humminbird puck transducers XP 9 20 and XTM 9 20 T. The company also offers a wide variety of shields for the Humminbird and Lowrance side scanning and down imaging transducers on its web site (www.transducershieldandsaver.com.home/transducers).
Installation instructions come with each Transducer Shield & Saver product. Dannenmueller notes the company co-owner, Scap Cicero, has also compiled installation tips videos for a variety of his products on the company’s website.
The size of today’s transducers for side scanning make the Transducer Shield & Saver a must for all crappie anglers who rely heavily upon their electronics on the front and back of the boat. “Those transducers are quite big and quite heavy and if you put those on your trolling motor just using the little flimsy bracket and one strap that comes with the transducer it doesn’t stay secure,” said Shirley Cicero, Transducer Shield & Saver co-owner. “It will move around on your trolling motor with general use. When the transducer is on our shield and the way the shield is built it fits snug up against the housing of the trolling motor and it has two straps and the skeg to help it stay in place.
“When the side scan transducer is on the back of the boat and you are using just the factory bracket when out in the water, weather and sun over time, the bracket becomes brittle and eventually breaks or it flip ups so the transducer flips up. But when it is attached to our shield and an L bracket to the side of a jack plate it is there for life. You would have to do something really crazy for it to break off.”
L brackets for TM (Humminbird) or TS (Lowrance) transducer shields that adapt to a variety of jack plates are also available from the company. “All of our transducer shields can be attached to an L bracket,” Shirley Cicero said.
Since sonar waves can’t travel through the hull of an aluminum boat, stern transducers have to be mounted on the outside of these boats either on a jack plate or the transom. For boats without jack plates, Cicero recommends mounting the transducer and its shield to the transom with one of the company’s spring back brackets. The bracket has a double torsion spring that will return the transducer to its original position if it has been knocked out of whack by a stump or log.
With the addition of a couple of accessories, the basic shields (SSC-1, SSC-2, SSC-3 and SSC-4) for mounting on your trolling motor can also be used for placement on the transom. “So if you decided to use the SSC-1 Lowrance skimmer and wanted to put it on the transom then you would need the spring back bracket and an armor plate,” Cicero said. The armor plate also protects the transducer from impact from any side. The company offers armor plates that fit Lowrance Skimmer and Humminbird transom style transducers and Humminbird Side Imaging, Lowrance Down Scan and Lowrance Elite 7 transducers.
One of the latest products Transducer Shield & Saver offers is the MG-360-Sleeve, which allows you to mount a Humminbird 360 Imaging trolling motor bracket on a MotorGuide outer shaft. The sleeve made from aircraft aluminum comes in two adjustable parts that interlock onto the trolling motor shaft and fasten together with four button head steel machine screws and an Allen key.
With the high cost of today’s electronics, savvy crappie anglers know spending a little more for transducer protection is a wise investment.