Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Tuesday, 05 September 2017 16:29

Interview - Bringing Award-Winning Sonar Technology to Kayak and Shore Anglers

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In this interview, we chat with the guys from Deeper about the birth of their company, their award-winning Smart Sonar fishfinders and their application in kayak fishing.

Tell us a bit about the history of your company. How did Deeper start out?

Deeper began life in 2012, when two keen anglers imagined giving shore fishers the same sonar technology that their boat fishing counterparts enjoyed. The result was the Deeper Fishfinder, the first ever castable fishfinder to sync with your smartphone. Since then, 3 new versions have been launched, with better connectivity, further casting, more powerful sonars plus our top-of-the-range model, the PRO+, has inbuilt GPS for mapping from the shore.

Deeper sonars are now available in over 50 countries, we’re approaching 1 million app downloads, and we have a team of over 60 specialists working on R&D, logistics, marketing, sales and support.

How did the idea for the Deeper Smart Sonar originate?

The idea came from the combination of two passions: angling and smart technologies. The two friends who founded Deeper are keen anglers, and dreamed of giving shore anglers the kind of time saving know-how you can get from a sonar unit. With an initial idea created, they brought on board the third co-founder, whose passion for smart devices and IoT led to the first working prototype. After hundreds of testing trips to the lake, the first Deeper Fishfinder hit the shelves in 2013.

What is it that sets your sonar devices apart from other fish finders?

As the first ever castable sonar, Deeper created an entirely new category for angling gear. As it has evolved, its range of uses has widened to include kayak fishing, ice fishing and underwater contour mapping.

For kayak fishing, Deeper sonars are the ideal for a finesse set up. No drilling, no holes, no batteries, which means less hassle, less weight and more space in your kayak. Plus, because you can cast your Deeper sonar out, you can scan hard-to-reach areas without disturbing what’s underneath.

Compared to other castable sonars, the Deeper PRO and PRO+ have the furthest casting range and deepest scanning depth. The Deeper PRO+ is the only sonar on the market that can be used for underwater contour mapping from the shore, thanks to its inbuilt GPS.

As an ice flasher, what sets Deeper sonars apart is their portability and ease of use. The PRO and PRO+ offer 0.5” target separation, so they can match the power of large flashers, just with no cables, no batteries and no hassle.

Which of your products would you recommend specifically for the kayak angler?

For kayak fishing, we recommend the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO: it has excellent connectivity and fast scanning for smooth trolling. This combines with the Deeper Flex Arm Mount for kayak fishing. The Flex Arm clamps to your kayak, then you simply screw on your Deeper Sonar and adjust the arm to the water level: simple. The Deeper app has a specific boat fishing mode which offers a split screen view. You can chart contours in real time as you paddle, and mark fish and structure at the same time. The contour charting is especially useful: the app uses your phone’s GPS to create detailed maps showing every contour and drop off. These maps are then available on your phone and online at maps.deepersonar.com for you to analyse in detail.

The PRO uses a rock solid WiFi connection to sync with your phone, and it scans at 15 scans per second, which means it’s great for trolling from your kayak: we recommend speeds up to 2 mph. Then when you find an interesting spot, just anchor down, attach you Deeper PRO to a line and cast around to see exactly what the action is.

Why did you decide to make the sonar work with smartphones instead of creating a separate device to connect the sonar to?

Using smartphones for the display brings lots of advantages.

Firstly, it’s simple. You only need the Deeper sonar and your phone and you’re all set – no bulky gear or complicated set up, which is great for kayak fishing and ice fishing.

Secondly, we constantly update the app on your phone, so your product improves all the time. Since we launched in 2013, we’ve added ice fishing, boat mapping, onshore mapping and loads more. So if you bought a Deeper sonar back then, your product has improved hugely in the past 4 years.

Thirdly, by using your smartphone, you have all you scans and maps on your phone to view and analyse any time. There’s a notes function for logging your trips, and a camera mode for sharing your monster catches. Having all that data in your pocket is a great way to constantly learn more about the waters you fish and the way your targets behave in different seasons.

Where can anglers find and purchase the Deeper Smart Sonar?

Just go to deepersonar.com, ‘buy here’ to get a map with all your local and online retailers.

Deeper won a couple awards - can you tell us more about them and what the experience has been like?

Well in total we’ve picked up 12 international awards. The biggest has to be our CES Best of Innovation Award in 2016 – CES is such a crazy event. We picked up the award in the Best Wireless Handset Accessory category, and as a category winner we were alongside the likes of HP, Ford, Samsung and Lenovo, so that was pretty huge.

Of course, we love the angling awards, especially when it’s anglers themselves voting. We’ve won the vote for best new accessory 2 years running at EFFTEX, the biggest angling show in Europe. And when we’re recognised by expert anglers like the team at Fish Alaska – who gave us their Editor’s Pick Award in 2015 - it always means a lot.

In the end, while awards are great, it’s the response from anglers that means the most. When they write to us saying they’ve landed a PB, or that they’re working 6 days a week and only have short sessions, and now thanks to Deeper they’re landing more catches - that makes the work worthwhile.

What has the response from anglers who have been using your products been like so far?

I would say really positive (of course I would). Actually, you can check out the reviews and ratings we get online and it’s pretty clear how anglers feel.

A lot of kayak anglers are really happy with their Deeper: compared to other boat units it’s affordable and really hassle-free. And the versatility is always a big point in the feedback. We get anglers who buy a Deeper sonar for ice fishing, then they realise in spring they can use it on their kayak and they’re stoked – it’s like having a whole new product.
Actually, we regularly survey the anglers who use Deeper to get feedback on their experience. Plus, we have the Deeper Heroes, our Pro-Staff team who are using our sonars all the time and give us their feedback. This helps us to constantly improve the app and the overall experience.

What are some of the greatest challenges you have encountered while developing this product

Because it is so versatile, and anglers use it in such different ways, the biggest challenge is adapting the basic functions for different needs. The app is pretty good for that: anglers can customise the settings to suit their style.

The other big challenge is helping anglers understand the potential of the sonar and what they can do with the data. Many kayak anglers already have experience with sonar technology, but for shore based anglers it’s pretty new to them.  For some, new technologies can be a bit intimidating, so we work hard to show that Deeper sonars can be as simple - or as sophisticated - as you want.

What are you working on now? Any specific goals for 2018?

We’re focusing a lot on our lake mapping functions. We launched Lakebook this year – it’s a web portal where you can see all the maps you made on a computer. You can analyse them, print them, share them – it’s a great tool for planning your trips. Plus we a few other projects in the pipeline, which you’ll see in early 2018 but I can’t say too much about right now. Watch this space.

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 05 September 2017 17:10
Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website.  If you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]

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