I have been a big Furuno fishfinder fan since the beginning, and I’m not the only one. Their echo sounders have won so many industry awards over the years that I’ve lost count; their gear is that much a step ahead of competitive offerings. Every one of my 13 MarCeeJays over the past four decades has been equipped with a Furuno echo sounder and they have all helped me and my charter customers find and catch a lot of fish. My next boat will also sport a Furuno color sounder and in all probability, it will be one of these two units that we are going to discuss in more detail in this week’s review.
The FCV (Furuno color video) 627 and FCV587 are actually third generation fish-finding sonars that have continued to morph over the years as digital technology and new-and-improved backlit LCD screens have been introduced into the marketplace. To get more details on these two newbies to augment my brief hands-on experience from the Ft. Lauderdale show, I contacted Furuno’s Advertising and PR manager Jeff Kauzlaric who filled me in on some of the new user-friendly features. Furuno’s Accu-Fish feature is a revolutionary fish size assessment function that can tell you the approximate size of the fish below your boat. Fish symbols appear on the screen, along with the size of the fish or the depth where it found the fish. It can detect fish size from four inches up to about six feet long, in depths of seven feet to well over 300 feet of water. Now that’s a super feature when you are trying to differentiate a cloud of bait from a school of marauding bass, blues or tuna that are invading the bait ball down below.
Furuno’s new Bottom Discrimination Mode provides the operator with detailed graphical information about the make-up of the bottom under the boat. This is accomplished by placing the sea bed into one of four classifications (Rocks, Gravel, Sand, and Mud). Knowing the make-up of the bottom provides you with valuable information that will help you locate rich fishing grounds, potential hazards, and even good anchoring spots. The bottom details are shown on the screen in either a graphical representation, or a probability graph.
LOADED WITH USABLE FEATURES
You’ve probably heard about “digital” fishfinders, but aren’t quite sure what the difference is. The main difference is the filtering capabilities and auto adjustments. 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.
The FCV627’s and FCV587’s waterproof construction allows either sounder 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 both the FCV627 and FCV587 with your Furuno chartplotter so you can mark any spot you desire and save it as a waypoint, enabling you to return to it on future trips. What I really like about both machines is that typical frequent-use features like Mode, Range, Gain, Screen Brightness, Event Marker, Function, Enter and Menu/Escape offer dedicated, waterproof, one-push keys for instant access. No struggling through multiple menus to make things happen for these two proven next-generation machines!
Other neat features on these new Furuno echo sounders include dual-frequency (50/200 kHz) operation; a DSP Filter that makes the picture clearer and easier to discriminate between baitfish and larger target species; a choice of 8, 16, or 64-color echo presentations; hands-free adjustments of gain, STC and output power through digital filtering; range scales down to 3,600 feet; high output power of 600W (FCV627) or 600W/1,000W (FCV587) depending on the transducer selected; a destination waypoint feature that provides range, bearing, and time-to-go to destination waypoint (up to 20 waypoints, when connected to a GPS antenna module); selectable automatic cruising or fishing modes to suit your style of boating; plus an extremely bright 5.7-inch (FCV627) or 8.4-inch (FCV857) color LCD that provides excellent readability even in broad daylight. Having used both machines, I can say with absolute certainty that in this case, bigger is better. If your budget and dashboard layout can afford it, go for the larger FCV587 sounder.
The FCV627 has an MSRP of $995 and the FCV587 has an MSRP of $1,695. In order to get the full benefit of these great, new features, Furuno recommends using one of their special bottom discrimination transducers, which range in price from $100 to $325.