You wouldn't be here if you were not looking for the best fish finder to purchase
We’ve put together everything you need to know about fish finder so happy reading!
Imagine how good it would be if you could catch fish every single time you went fishing? A fish finder makes this possible. Unlike the traditional method of waiting for long hours in a battle of wits against an underwater foe, using a fishfinder gets results. It uses technology to help land a catch to save you all the stress that comes with fishing using the traditional method.
You can explore new areas, seek out prime fishing spots and rather than wondering if there’s anything going on underwater, spend more time catching fish with the right finder finder. We’ve put together a list of the best fish finders on the market to make sure that you buy the eight fish finders for your needs. Aside from the list of the best fish finders, this article includes a short buying guide that explains what functions are on offer and the features you should be looking out for.
Fish finders are an enhanced piece of sonar technology which were originally found in the form of a fathometer. The fathometer was used to detect general oceanographic information, display the depth of the water and used for navigation purposes as well. To work effectively, the fathometer changes electrical pulses into sound waves through an underwater transducer which is also known as Hydrophone. It then uses the reflected sound waves to record data such as the composition, shape, location, depth and movement direction among many others. Finally, the reflected data is then gathered using some complex math equations.
However, the original fathometer came with many difficulties which almost rendered them unusable due to their poor level of accuracy. With time some smart oceanography scientists realized they could use similar technology of the original fathometer to determine the location of fish swimming underwater and display that information onto a screen with a limited amount for tracking over a period of time. This is how the “Fish Finder came to being”.
It's important to consider how the transponder is mounted to the boat.
The transom mount transducer is a popular type of mount which is usually attached to the back of the boat by the trolling motor and as such, they don't take a heavy flow of water.
These transducers are mostly affordable but highly fragile depending on how you mount them. Through-hull mounts are more durable and go on the side of the boat. Unlike the other types of mounts, through-hull mounts offer flexibility as to where you can mount them. They are specifically designed for longer fishing trips in deeper water especially on higher speed boats and a such, they are more expensive.
In-hull mounts are designed to go inside the boat. However, you need to mount it using plastic, bronze or stainless steel based on your boats material. With this mount, you need to have a boat material that the transducer can penetrate.
The width of the sound wave your fish finder offers is what is referred to as the cone angle. It's important to know that the wider the cone, the larger the area. Some fish finders have wider radio us but deliver poor signals and what this means is, a larger doesn't always mean better.
Fish finders with smaller cons tend to provide a much clearer and more accurate image of what is going on under the water.
You have to pay attention to the angle of the cone as it is also very important. You would like to find a fish finder with at least a 20-degree angle. They are very popular and affordable too.
The transducer is the element that determines the quality of the image you will receive. This means, you won't have the accuracy you need to find anything if you don’t have a high performing transducer. The transducer works by sending sonar waves into the water, the waves then bounce back to provide you with the image of a dish underneath the boat.
The first thing to look at is the brand. If it’s a popular brand, then you can be sure of its performance. Next, you have to look at the entire build of the device. You have to determine if it looks like it can withstand pressure or it generally appears durable. It’s important to note that the transducer must be durable enough to hold up against all odds as it is usually mounted on the underside or side of the boat exposing it to damage in the water.
It's essential that you get a fish finder with a display and screen unit to enable you to see what is happening in the water. You might want to consider purchasing one which has an easy-to-navigate display or even with a split screen. With regards to display, you should also consider the type of screen that comes along with your fish finder, whether monochrome or colour. For night fishing, you might want to purchase a fish finder with a backlight. The display should also have features to enable you to see in any kind of condition.
The screen resolution of your fish finder will determine how long you view your screen to know exactly what you're looking at. With this, there's no particular requirement but it'll be best to purchase one with a high screen resolution to allow you to clearly see what’s going on in the water.
When it comes to the size of the fish finder to purchase, the size of your boat comes to play. Some fish finders take up a lot of space and you don't want intrusion while fishing. If you have a bigger boat, you can get a bigger fish finder which means a bigger screen to enable you to view underwater easily. For a smaller boat, it's either you get a smaller fish finder which means a smaller screen and therefore a degree of difficulty in viewing underwater or you get a bigger fish finder with a bigger screen and some intrusion while fishing. It all depends on you!
Power here refers to that of your transducer and is measured in Root Mean Squared(RMS). This determines the depth your finder can show images. A finder with high power will be able to display images deep underwater and even in undesirable conditions but one with low power will display blur images in undesirable conditions. Most fish finders have a power greater than 200 RMS but 500 RMS is the perfect power which will produce perfect images even in the worst conditions.
Frequency determines how detailed your images will be, hence it's quality. The power at which your finder will work and how deep it will display images will reduce if the frequency is high. It's best to get a finder with moderate frequency. This together with a good power will produce the perfect images.
This is perhaps one of the most important features you want to ensure your safety. Imagine you're on the water and a dense fog comes rolling in, you probably won't know where you are and this is exactly
you why you need a fish finder with GPS capabilities.
It doesn't end there. A GPS fish finder will allow you to have many chartplotter features and create waypoints so you can document your best fishing spots.
The only downside to the GPS fish finder combos is the price. Compared to the normal fish finders on the market, this combo is a bit pricey and sometimes a little bulkier but comparing this to your safety, it should be worth the buy.
1. Humminbird HELIX 5 SI/GPS Combo
This fish finder comes with a large 5″ screen and a powerful transducer with a CHIRP. The fish finder makes all aspects of imagining very easy and as such, no fish can escape from being found thanks to its temperature control.
It comes with a feature that enables you to screenshot or record the sonar. This is important especially if you want to show or review your footage at a later date. To provide great visibility at night or in direct sunlight, the display features an LED backlight. Finally, It is also IPX7 waterproof .
2. Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder/Depth Finder
This fish finder is suitable for both beginners and experts. It is Comparatively affordable and very easy to use. The Lowrance Hook2 comes with tons of features. From CHIRP sonar views and highly detailed preloaded maps of either the US, or US+CAN to a DownScan sonar, SideScan sonar it basically comes with everything you need.
Compared to similar sonar coverage, this model will give you twice as much. You don’t have to worry about fusing your way around any settings as the fish finder auto-tunes. This is a great feature for beginners. The Hook2 comes with a GPS system. With this you can follow and add waypoints. With the use of a simple SD card, you can upgrade the maps when you want to.
3. Deeper Pro Wireless Fish Finder
This is the model changing the game when it comes to fish finders. It comes with an excellent technology that allows all types of fishermen to utilise sonar when targeting fish. Perfect for land based or kayak anglers looking to improve their catch rates
The Deeper Pro Wireless Sonar model is paving the way for handheld portable fish finders. With it, you can scan the bottom of the river and get the sonar data to be transmitted to your phone via wifi. You don’t need a boat with a fixed transducer when you have the Deeper Pro Wireless. You will be able to use the available smartphone app to save data and identify features such as the type of fish and the structure.
4. Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-beam
This fish finder is perfect for kayaks and small boats, generally ideal for those looking for a small fish finder unit. Although this fish finder may appear very small, it is able to display quality imagery with various screen modes to show both GPS/maps and sonar at the same time. The Garmin Striker has a lot of powerful capabilities for example, it can be used offshore which makes it highly versatile. It also comes with a temperature sensor included in the dual-beam transducer.
5. ECHOMAP Plus 43cv
This fishing finder offers clear photo-like images due to the fact that it comes with a 4.3″ color display and as a result, provides superior sonar images. This fish finder includes a Quickdraw Contours mapping software which allows you to create personalized fishing maps on the go. You can choose to either keep your personalized maps for private use or share them with the Quickdraw community. It comes with 17,000 plus preloaded maps of rivers, lakes and reservoirs made to make your fishing accurate and easier.
What is a Fish Finder?
A fish finder is a device that uses Sound Navigation and Ranging System (SONAR) to find fish. The sonar comes with a transmitter located on the boat which sends signals in the form of waves to the water. The Sonar then uses echo to reflect those waves back to the transmitter.
What Types of Fish Finders Exist?
There are mainly 3 types of fish finders. These are the down-scan fish finder, the normal 2D fish finder and the side-scan fish finder. The down-scan fish finder- This type of fish finder will give you a more clear and realistic image. The images displayed are very detailed but the device will show you only the area under your boat.
The normal 2D fish finder - The images shown by this fish finder are not very realistic but they will show you where to find fish. The image is shown on a simple display. The side-scan fish finder- This fish finder will scan the whole area around your boat. It comes with larger screens to accommodate realistic and wide images. Although they are ideal for large and open waters, they are a bit expensive.
Where Should I Use my Fish Finder?
Your fish finder can be used on any water surface when fishing in any kind of boat. First, you have to want to fish and when you cross paths with fish, your fish finder will inform you. It's important to note that a fish finder will not show you the fish that is 5 kilometers away. You still need some basic knowledge to know where to look for it. The device will not do everything for you but will help you
What Should I Look for in a Fish Finder?
This article provides an in-depth answer to this question but to summarize it, you have to choose according to your needs, consider the frequency, transducer type, mount type, GPS systems, quality screens among others.
Do Fish Finders Actually Show Fish?
Fish finders will not show you an actual photograph of a fish underneath your boat. The fish is going to be displayed in an arched shape on the screen. Some even distinguish fish by size, some models even have icons too.
How do I install a fishfinder?
Installing a fish finder will depend on many factors. These include the type of finder you have, your fishing style, the type of boat, the material your reel boat is made of , the type of boat you have and more.
Are fish finders waterproof?
Although most fish finders are not waterproof, they are water-resistant. This means,you cannot fully submerge them underwater as it will damper them.
You will have to make a lot of decisions when choosing a fish finder because choosing the right fish finder is not easy. It’s an investment and it’s something you will hope can last you a long time. We hope this guide clears up some of your confusion and helps you make the right choice.