A fish finder is a generic term for an electronic device that uses sonar (SO and NAvigation RAnging) to provide a picture of what is underwater. It will not show you a map where you can find fish, but it will help you to decide if a place is an excellent place to hook fish or not.
With the fact that 99% of the fish comes from the oceans, within the 200 miles far from the coast. You need fish finder to locate deeper fishes.Before letting you through the tips on how to choose a fish finder, first let us know little fish finders.
Your fishing trip is successful if you can catch your desire fish. Isn’t it? And if, you want to catch fish, firstly you need to find the fish. Our present technology makes it easier to find fish developing electronic fish finder. You just need to carry the best fish finder with you during the time of fishing trip. Now the question is: How will you choose the quality fish finder?Though, there are lots of related products in market for finding fish. Our experts researched market, and highlighted here the most important issues that need to consider buying the superior quality fish finder. After reading the article, you will be able to choose the product: WHICH WILL HELP YOU TO CATCH MUCH FISH!
Note: This buying guide is aimed to discuss more at an advance level doing some technical analysis, such as transducers, investigating echoes, cone angle, sonar, transmitting power, flashers, level of frequencies, mounts and so on.
- 1 So what is a fish finder?
- 2 Why buy fish finder?
- 3 Questions that you need to ask yourself when choosing a fish finder
- 3.1 What is the depth of water?
- 3.2 What your preferred type of screen?
- 3.3 What is the resolution of the display?
- 3.4 Is the size right?
- 3.5 Is it affordable?
- 3.6 What is its frequency?
- 3.7 Does it have a Global positioning system?
- 3.8 What is its mounting mechanism?
- 3.9 Does it have temperature readers?
- 3.10 What type fish do you want to find?
- 3.11 Are you going to fish in fresh or salt water?
- 3.12 What is the Manufacturer of that fish finder?
- 4 Comparison Color and B/W Screen
- 5 Transducers
- 6 Transducer Material
- 7 Cone Angles & Beams
- 8 Sharp & Style
- 9 Final Words
So what is a fish finder?
A fish finder is primarily a guide - it measures how deep the water is in the area where you fish and how much ground there is under the water. It also indicates where and what types of objects float in the water. It is especially useful for finding fish that you may not be able to see by showing you places where the fish are likely to hide.
Why buy fish finder?
Have you ever had one of these days when you cannot buy a bite? You try all your favorite baits, and tactics and still nothing and you start to wonder where all the fish are! Even the most experienced anglers again asked what and where to try next. Well, a tool is a safe way of putting you on the fish.
The modern fish finders use sophisticated sonar technology and are a significant advantage when looking for fish. Using sound waves, these units can give you a clear picture of what is under the water of rock stumps or gravel, and you can see what is in between like the fish.
These handy units save time by finding fish that will give you more time to fish. This is a great help during the transitional periods when the steelhead and salmon migrate and the weather changes suddenly, or the water temperatures change.
Questions that you need to ask yourself when choosing a fish finder
What is the depth of water?
The first and perhaps most overlooked question you need to ask yourself is, will I fish in shallow water, deep water or both? The answer to this will immediately limit the type of Fish finder you buy, as the frequency and cone angle of your sensor will determine the range of underwater coverage you will have.
For applications in shallow water, a low frequency (50 kHz) and a wide cone angle (35 �) cover a bottom area with a diameter of about half the water depth. As the cone angle increases, say 90 degrees, the coverage area expands to twice the depth.
What your preferred type of screen?
If you look at several different fish finders, there are two differences in the screens. The first type of screen is called a cathode ray tube (CRT), and the other type is a liquid crystal display (LCD). CRTs have become less and less popular since the invention of LCD screens. This is because LCD screens can display high resolutions. If you see a TFT screen, it is just another version of the LCD screens.
For the average fisherman, the CRT screen is the best choice. It is cheaper than a CRT device and offers very good clarity and can be read well in direct sunlight.
What is the resolution of the display?
There are two important considerations when choosing the display of your fish finder. The first is the resolution. The higher the resolution, the better the image you will have, and the more you can see the details the Fish finder can interpret below the surface. The second consideration is how well the display holds in strong sunlight.
LCDs, which are poorly backlit, will not be easy to see in the middle of the lake with much glare from the sun and reflections from the water. So look for well-lit screens with a high contrast ratio.
If possible, look at the unit you think you are buying outside in strong sunlight before you sink your hard-earned dollars into it. In general, a higher quality ad is worth an additional dollar.
Is the size right?
Fish finders are available in a variety of sizes, from wristwatches to equipment that needs to be mounted on your boat. The smaller the fish finder, the less information is displayed. So it's up to you to choose a right balance between portability and functionality. In another module of the Fast Fish Finding series, portable and fixed fish finders are considered more closely
Is it affordable?
Another thing you need to consider when looking for a fish finder is your budget; You do not want to focus your heart on something you can not afford. The best thing you can do is to find those who are in your possible price range and do not care about the rest.
If you are looking for a colored screen, you will end up spending more money than on a plain, non-colored screen. Those who fish regularly are more likely to spend a fish finder than those who only occasionally fish.
What is its frequency?
A fish finder is only as good as the fish he can find for you. To determine the right frequency for your specific purposes, the rule of thumb is that higher frequency transducers show better detail at greater depth, but cover a smaller area, while lower frequency transducers cover a larger area and are good in shallow water. The power is measured in watts.
Higher wattage units can penetrate deeper into the water and give better results. However, if you have a limited budget and mainly fish in shallow water, a modest power supply could be more than enough.
Does it have a Global positioning system?
Another thing you need to think about is whether you want to have a global positioning in your fish finder. GPS fish finders are ideal for these weekend getaways or anywhere you are unfamiliar. You can easily record every position in the system, and the GPS Fish finder can easily locate it for you.
What is its mounting mechanism?
Other apparent considerations when choosing a fish finder include how it will mount on your boat and whether you will be able to install yourself or require it to be professionally installed.
It's also worth taking a look at waterproof, regardless of whether the controls are intuitive to use and whether they're integrated with your other marine electronics. Some fish finders also offer expandable features so that you can invest a bit now and later convert to a higher frequency converter.
Does it have temperature readers?
Another important feature to look for in a fish finder is a device for reading water temperatures. Different fish like different water temperatures, and if you know which ones prefer to cool warm and vice versa, you know which fish you are looking for that day.
What type fish do you want to find?
A few other things to keep in mind when you know they are the lower conditions, where you fish, and the type of fish you are looking for. Soil conditions are necessary because a soft, muddy bottom absorbs your sonar and produces only a weak return signal when using a low-frequency transducer, while a harder ground reflects more and returns more from the incident beam.
Knowing which type of fish you usually fish is also useful, especially if you know whether the fish prefers colder, deeper or warmer shallow waters. If your fish prefers colder deeper waters, its preferred habitat may be below a thermocline (the horizontal boundary between warmer, shallower and colder deeper waters).
This change in water temperature produces a change in density that some sonar can detect because part of their signal is reflected when it reaches that limit. The thermocline will be displayed as a line on your fish finder, with the depth recorded as well. If your fish lives below the thermocline, you will need a more powerful transducer to find it.
Are you going to fish in fresh or salt water?
The next thing you need to know is whether you are going to fish in salt water or fresh water. This is important because of their difference in waterproofness. Regardless of frequency, all transducers penetrate more in-depth (more in-depth) into clean water than in salt water.
If you have an idea of how deep you usually fish (or expect), this is very helpful as the manufacturers specify the maximum depth of use of their fish finders for the various frequencies and cone angles offered.
What is the Manufacturer of that fish finder?
There are some manufacturers to choose from, some of which are more popular, Garmin, Lawrence, Northstar, Humminbird, Hawkeye, and others that I have not listed here. One feature I recommend is to buy a unit that also has a GPS feature. This is ideal to mark your location so that you can find it again and help you to return to the starting point should the fog get dark.
Comparison Color and B/W Screen
Present day, color screen is the new innovation of technology. Color screen is more joyful than the old black and white screen. Fish finder with color screen display will make your fishing trap more enjoyable. It will help you to indicate the all objects under the water and allows you displaying up to thousands of color compared rather than black and white display. If you have a B/W display screen, it shows you only 256 shades of grays.
Even in cloudy weather, you can see crystal signal and data if you have color screen. On the other hand, with B/W display screen you just will see some gray shades!Tips: It is suggested that if you are capable to purchase color screen transducers, then take it. But, black and white display screen is good for starter. Obviously, we recommend the color screen fish finder for outstanding experience
Transducers are the main objects of a fish finder. It works for sending the sonar signal to the ground water or waves and receiving the signal to turn them into image or data. Shortly, it was made for sending, receiving and emitting the sonar signal.
Higher frequency transducers send shorter waves with the good number of signal in every second. Because of sending shorter waves, it can’t cover the deep water. It is perfect to use seeing the below of your boat. It gives you the crystal clear image and data, but don’t able to provide greater depths. If you are not professional and fishing is just your hobby, you can choose this type of higher frequency transducers.
Lower frequency transducers carry lots of energy and send longer waves in every single second. It can easily cover the large area, because it uses longer waves. You can use it effectively for deep oceans or great lakes.
Dual frequency transducers are special; because it can able to receive more than one frequency at a time (sometimes it occurs simultaneously). But all other functions are similar to the other. It is considered as the most effective transducers according to fast data receiving capability. There are also available Quadra Beam or Duel Beam transducers using to navigate the different directions.
Tips: There is a customize options in every fish finder device. You can easily change or modify transducers if you want. But we suggest, before buying any fish finder you need to check it. Remember, the performance of the fish-finder depends upon the quality of transducers.
Transducers made by different type of materials, such as plastic, stainless steel, bronze, fiberglass, aluminum etc. But you should keep in mind that all aren’t suit for different types of kayaks and boats. Suppose, you have a boat which was made by aluminum, you should not use bronze thru hull housings to avoid rust on material. Here, plastic transducer is perfect to use on aluminum made boat. In this way, you should not use plastic thru hull housing for wooden boat avoiding damage of plastic transducer. We refer to use bronze thru hull housings for wooden boat.
Tips: We strongly recommend you to use stainless steel housings for aluminum or steel hulls, plastic housings for metal or fiberglass hulls, bronze housings for wood or fiberglass hulls.
Cone Angles & Beams
Cone angle is an important factor in selecting a fish finder which refers the beam length sending from the top of the boat into the deep water. Normally, you will get 9 to 60 degrees transducer cones in market.
It refers how much area will cover beam. When the sonar signal goes deeper and deeper, the cone beam gets wider. You should concern about cone angles of a transducer in choosing a good fish finder. If it is possible, buy fish finder with good cone angles. Remember, cone angle also helps you to catch fish from deep water.
Normally, single beam is available in every standard transducer. There are also available dual beam, side beam, and triple beam. You can add additional beam to your transducer that helps you to cover more and more area. If you are dapping in shallow water, then single beam is enough for you. You can use dual beam for great lakes or deep oceans for better performance.Tips: Usually 16 to 20 degrees cone and single beam are good enough for frequent fisher. But, we don’t recommend purchasing less than 16 degrees cone anymore
Thru – Hull has depth sensors, paddle wheels and temperature sensors. It is the best quality considering receiving signal. In – Hull would be adjusted with the inner circle of hull and don’t need to contact with water for receiving signal. This type is only used on solid fiberglass, because it made of steel. Transom – Mount come in with adjustable angle bracket. It is easy to install than thru – hull and in – hull.
Having a regular fish finder or a GPS fish finder will be a great addition to your other fishing gear. Just think about how many fish you are likely to catch with a large fish finder and how quickly you can return to a great place if you have to go for any reason. Just use this article to guide you when you buy the perfect fish finder for all fishing trips.
Now, you know every necessary thing choosing the suitable fish finder for you. A fish finder has customizable options so that you can modify this as you want. You shouldn’t miss any single factor when you go to purchase fish finder. Hope, this article is fruitful to you finding out the quality fish finder that helps to catch much fish.
Robert is a professional fisherman and his hobby is fishing! He has been fishing for the last 15+ years. Based on his experiences with different types of fishing equipment, he has decided to share his opinion about various fishing accessories so that beginners can get started the right away. Enjoy reading!