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Tool Review

Bottom Line's Fishin' Buddy might just be your new best friend

Date: 1/21/02
Tackle type: Tools
Manufacturer: Bottom Line
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.7

Introduction: With winter weather in full effect spooning is once again becoming a popular method in which to land deep residing bass, but how do you find them? Bottom Line offers an affordable fish finder packed with features to help anglers locate fish at depths up to 240ft!

Bottom Line Fishin' Buddy 1200 specifications

Maximum Depth Up to 240ft
Maximum side range Up to 120ft
Screen Size 3.3" x 2.4"
Pixel Count 8192
Material ABS Plastic body
Digital Water Temp Yes
Backlit Yes
Transducer cone angle 9 degrees
Power Source 3 C-cell batteries
Water Resistant Yes
MSRP $169.00

Impressions: When I first held the Bottom Line Fishin' Buddy in my hand it felt sturdy and solid. With batteries the unit weighs a mere 5lbs. What makes this unit so unique is the amount of features Bottom Line was able to cram into a unit of this size and price. I could tell this product was built with flexibility in mind, and was eager to test it on our pontoon boat.

The field tests: One of the greatest things about this unit is that it is very portable. The 1200 comes with a sturdy abs plastic clamp that secures it to any boat. In the case of the pontoon it fits on the front, on canoes it fits on the side, and on float tubes a simple adapter makes it strap on anywhere. The ability to use this one device for so many applications, without drilling any holes is a big plus.

The Fishin' Buddy comes with a strong ABS plastic rod clamp that can attach to virtually any boat...or floating device for that matter

Within the first few hours of the test we noted how accurate many of the readings were. The 1200 is outfitted with a depth finder and side finder. The side finder was even able to audibly sound off as it detected bobbers we placed in the water 75 feet away. The water temperature and depth readings were quite accurate, and for the first time we were visually able to see what the structure looked like below us. One nice feature is the telescoping transducer, so on pontoons and canoes you can still operate your boat in shallow water without damaging the Fishin' Buddy.


The 1200 has a grainy screen quality due to a pixel count of 8192. While it does give anglers a sense of what the structures look like a little more detail would have been perfect. Overall we were very satisfied with the construction and initial readings. Now it was time to turn on the fish alarm feature.


Once enabled the Fishin' buddy immediately sung a chorus of beeps and displayed fish symbols of varying sizes. The Fishin' Buddy translates data from its transducer and displays fish symbols in estimated sizes from small, medium, to large. This feature has enabled us to catch fish at varying depths on numerous occasions, and is especially useful now in the winter when we can isolate low hanging bass and work spoons down to the correct zones.


What anglers have to be wary about is that when the Fishin' Buddy is showing a cornucopia of fish on the screen all those objects are not necessarily fish. While the Fishin' Buddy accurately detects objects we have found that sometimes it misinterprets the information, especially in very shallow depths where there is debris.

The fishin' Buddy is small and light enough for shore anglers to carry and use to see if there is any activity below, it works great even at a angle!

Another added value feature is a backlight which enables you to use the Fishin' Buddy in low light and even total darkness. With prolonged use the Fishin' Buddy is able to operate 40 hours on 3 batteries.


There are many uses that the Fishin' Buddy can excel in that many anglers don't know about. Besides the ability to use it on any floating device the Fishin' Buddy can actually be used at an angle by shore anglers to see if there is any fish activity in their target zone. In addition, ice fisherman can punch small holes in the ice and put the transducer through to see if there are any fish below, thus reducing wasted time cutting multiple holes in search of fish.


The flexibility and amount of features Bottom Line packed into the Fishin' Buddy 1200 is impressive. The Fishin' Buddy excelled in almost all our tests and we continue to find new uses for it.



Bottom Line Fishin' Buddy Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good quality, plastic is durable and even passed drop tests of over 3 feet with no damage. the abs bracket is strong and lightweight 8
Performance Quite accurate depth and temperature measurements, and ability to see fish in front and below is a plus (screen could be a little more detailed) 8
Price A great price for such a flexible piece of equipment 9
Features Added value features like a backlight make the 1200 more complete 9.2
Design (Ergonomics) Lightweight and easy to hold the Fishin Buddy is quite well designed 8.5
Application Flexible for so many applications, the Fishin Buddy really shines in its many uses 9.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Depth and side finders L Misinterprets fish readings
J Many Applications L Image Quality
J Accurate depth and temp  
J Great Price  

Conclusion: The Fishin' Buddy comes packed with a ton of features for a great price and after the first few times it helps you locate fish you will find this new friend is a quite well designed tool. As long as anglers don't rely to heavily on the fish readings and instead use the 1200 as a tool to complement fishing techniques, the Fishin' Buddy is a flexible tool and powerful ally in your hunt for more hookups.

Until next time....Tight Lines!









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