Humminbird Smart Cast RF20E

A rod-mounted system that you can cast out and it tells you exactly what’s on the bottom? The stuff that dreams are made of for many specimen anglers – Imagine being able to find out where the bars, shelves, weedbeds, and even fish are, simply by casting out little three inch by one inch orange bubble… Where do I sign!?

I was full of anticipation when the editor said he was sending me one of Humminbird’s Rod Mount systems to have a play with, not least because I was about to embark on our annual weeks carp fishing at Birch Grove, and any bit of kit which can make things easier on there would be more than welcome.

Once the first night had passed and we’d had a chance to get set up and settled in I was eager to get out the little orange bubble and give it a whack! Shaun and I had a quick scan of the operating instructions which seemed pretty idiot-proof and we were away. I attached the little orange submarine shaped transmitter to my mainline whilst Shaun powered up the unit and we were in action. I gave a gentle cast out in front of the cattle drink just to see how the blob flew and all was set. At this point the unit was supposed to display all the data on the nifty little display screen, however, all we got was the Smart Cast display and no data. Something was awry.

We checked the Start-Up routine and still nothing – A detailed read of the instructions was called for. On further reading we solved the problem, and in doing so realised what was the one and only problem with the Smart Cast system, unfortunately it’s quite a big one • The effective casting range is only about 30 yards! (100 feet in new money).

When we reeled the transmitter in much closer to the bank, the unit started to pick up the signal and all was fine, however, as all our intended spots were between 70 and 100 yards out, it was not much help. In the end we took to the boat and just trolled the unit off the back in order to have a look at the lake bed. The unit worked perfectly and fed back all the information to the display unit in an easy to read manner.

The unit is pretty idiot proof and it’s very easy to use and read. There are a few features which allow you to alter sensitivity up and down; up increases the weaker sonar returns and down removes a lot of the general clutter. You can also alter the effective depth range, and have an alarm sound when it locates fish.

We all used it during the week and agreed it was a great piece of kit. However, we all felt it was let down by a poor effective casting range. The product claims an effective range of 100 feet, but states that ‘waves’ or a ‘chop’ may reduce that figure significantly. We used it on a flat calm surface and even then I don’t think we got full feedback to the unit at that distance.

Another thing I noticed is that the product only carries a six month warranty. With a retail price of around £120.00 I would perhaps expect a little longer, yet I know many people with Humminbird products who have had years of trouble free use. All in all, a great product if you are fishing close in. If not, stick to a feature finding rod!

More info at http://www.humminbird.com

Available online at: http://www.handheldfishfinders.co.uk/

Julian Grattidge