One fact that can be agreed upon is that fishing can only be fun if we have the right equipment. Speaking of equipment, a fish finder is one of the things that should not miss out on your list.
Prior to getting yourself one, there are some things that you need to have in mind such as the style of fishing you prefer and portability.
Do you really have the best that there is out there on the market? Just as much as the other fishing equipment demands outmost attention before settling on one, is not an easy task. In this article, you’ll get to see some areas that need to be paid attention to if you want to get the best that there is out there.
How Do The Fish Finders Work?
Getting to know how a fish finder works is something that most fishermen overlook. Getting to know the location of fish under the water is as much as most do know.
A fish finder employs the use of the sonar technology such that it is able to not only locate fish but also able to define other things such as how far the fish is under the water.
What sonar technology mainly entails is the emission and the reflection of sound waves. The sound pulses which are also known as pings are sent into the water in a cone-shaped beam. The sound in turn echoes back from the objects that it hits underneath the water. The ping echoed back is then received by a transducer.
When it comes to the location of fish with the aid of a fish finder, the distance to the objects is determined by the interval between when the wave is transmitted and when the echo is received.
Upon getting the reflection signal, a fish finder can then be able to interpret the approximate location, size as well as the composition of the objects beneath the water surface.
Most people tend to question or rather doubt the accuracy of the fish finders. Considering the fact that the sonar signals can be able to travel from the boat to 240 feet down below and back again, it is highly unlikely that they will be obstructed by any fish or boats no matter how fast they may appear to be.
Upon the reception of each ping, the old sonar signals are wiped off the main screen and the new ones are added hence creating a new signal or more of a scrolling effect.
While still at the signals, it is worth taking note that they can be either transmitted as the VHF (Very High Frequency) or the low frequencies. The high frequencies are beneficial in that they will offer a better precision but on the downside, the distance via which they can be able to travel is short as compared to the low frequency sonar pulses.
Power output is also one of the determining factors in getting the best Fish Finders. If you are out for random fishing, then do grab one with a high power output. With such, you’ll be able to get smaller targets even over a long distance.
An added advantage to having a fish finder with a high power output is that you will be able to overcome limiting factors to better recordings. Some of these include a better reading even at high speeds as well as not having to worry about obstructions that may result from background noises.
With modern technology being employed in designing the fish finder equipment, you can get to enjoy GPS technology. This works in such a way that they are able to use GPS satellite as well as sonar frequencies to be able to determine and display your position on the gird lines as well as some of the underwater features.
Simply put, these are some of the functions that you can enjoy when using a fish finder:
- Your current position- this is triangulated based on the time difference between transmitted signals as well as the distance that stands between orbiting satellites.
- The current track that you are taking
- The tracks that you visited before and saved them, your waypoints, as well as your routes
- Navigating a route from one point to another
- The level of precision, how fast you are going and to which direction you are heading.
What Are The Varieties For Me To Choose From?
Standalone Fish Finder
If you are only after the fish that are just below the water, then the stand alone fish finders will be able to offer you the best performance and at the minimum cost.
Combination Fish Finder/Chart Plotter
Are you on a medium sized boat or looking for the best fish finders for small boat? Then this is the best choice for you. The combo units will prove quite useful as they use a GPS navigation to get you to the fishing grounds. You will be able to use either the fish finder or GPS individually or on a split screen.
These are what you should go for if you want to have the best and most detailed results of your fishing grounds. Some of the things that you will enjoy upon settling for Networked systems include a radar, GPS charts, videos, satellite radios and many more.An added advantage to these is that you’ll be able to make use of controlling them remotely from your android Smartphone or your iPhone hence the best portable fish finder.
How Good Is The Display?
Having a good resolution on your fish finder screen may set the line between a good catch and a disappointing one.
In most of the tackle bags, you are bound to get plastic inserts that keep all of the lures, fishing tools, and other fishing equipment safe and handy for you simultaneously.
The best fish finders do offer more pixels per square inch since you will be able to get a detailed view of what is below you as well as a better view if you will go for the split screen images.
The split screen images are able to give you a narrow column of both the underwater structures as well as the fish present in the water.
If you go for the fish finders that have got a higher pixel density per each square inch, you will have the advantage of seeing the air bladders of smaller fish, those near the bottom and more so, you’ll be able to separate closely spaced targets.
One thing that you should always have in mind is that the contrast of the display has got to be sharp if you want to use maximize on the high resolution feature.
As for the size of the screen, it is worth taking note that the quoted sizes normally refer to the diagonal distance of the screen. The wider the screen the better you will be able to see more detail when going for the split screen view.
What About The Power Of Transmission?
Simply put, the power of the transducer of a fish finder is how strong the ping or rather the signal transmitted is. The power output of the fish finders is expressed in watts RMS- root mean squared.
How well you are able to see in salt laden water, resolve different targets and the structures at the bottom as well as to distinguish separate targets are some of the things that define a fish finder’s power capability.
Having in mind the type of fishing activity that you prefer, you can go for fish finders that have got different power capabilities.
A 500-watt fish finder will prove quite handy for most of the coastal applications and if you are a Blue-water angler, then you’d better go for at least a fish finder that has got 1000 watts or more. In land fishermen on the other hand will be able to see the shallow waters with as little as 200 watts.
Normally, the higher frequencies offer you the best resolution with the least background noise as well as the best view if you are on a fast moving boat. On the downside however, they are not able to penetrate below the water surface as well as the low resolution.
The shallow water inland anglers normally prefer the higher frequencies such as 200, 800 or 400 kHz. If you want to reach maximum depth, then it is best that you go for the higher frequencies of about 80kHz or even lower for the deeper waters.
CHIRP/ Broadband Fish Finders
The CHIRP (Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse) is one of the latest technologies when it comes to the design of fish finders.
Unlike most of the other Fish Finder equipment that transmit only one frequency or at most two frequencies, these transmit signals of a varied range which sweeps linearly upwards e.g. from 40-75 kHz, 130 to 210 kHz and other frequency ranges.
As compared to the conventional fish finders, the CHIRP Fish Finders normally have got a less peak power. On the other hand, due to their wide-band, frequency modulated pulse; they can be very long in duration and put 10-50 times more energy in the water.
With the use of digital pattern matching as well as signal processing, CHIRP devices can be able to achieve a high resolution as well better target detection.Simply put, as compared to the traditional fish finder equipment, you will be able to easily identify and resolve individual fish as well as separate them from the bottom structures under the water.
An added advantage that you get upon going for these broadband fish finders is that you will be able to reach out to greater depths- as much as 10, 000 feet. In some cases, the sounders may come with dual-trans receivers which will allow for independent transducer operation that will give outmost customization since you will be able to specify the frequency that best suits the type of fishing that you take part in.
Simultaneous frequency transmission will prove quite handy since you will switch to high transmission if you are fishing in the shallow waters and to the low frequencies if you want the best depth finder.
With the low frequency waves, you will get to use less power which generates less noise. With such, there is a greater depth penetration and owing to low noise production, you will be able to locate the fish short of disturbing them.
Would You Prefer Vertical, Horizontal Or an All-Round View?
One thing that is strongly advised against is purchasing the first transducer that you lay your hands upon. Anglers normally have a variety of choices to choose from in both the frequency level, the underwater direction that you can look towards as well as the beam widths.
For inland anglers for instance, you do not need a fish finder that will offer you details for as far as 5000 feet underwater. On the other hand, a fish finder that will be able to effectively look out to the sides will be quite handy.
Cone Angles And Beams
One of the most important aspects that you should take into consideration when it comes to the selection of a transducer is the cone angle that it comes with.In layman’s language, the cone angle is the breadth of the beam sent from the bottom of your boat and into the water; think of the cone angle as an upside down ice-cream cone.
As the beam from the transducer goes down further below the surface of the water, it ends up getting wider and the wider the beam the wider the area it is able to cover. As the cone goes deeper below the surface and widens, it gets less sensitive hence the readings it offers are not that accurate.
Most of the units that come with the transducers are normally between 16 and 20 although they can be available to you in ranges of 9 degrees to greater than 60. For newbie’s however, a transducer that comes with a 20-degree cone is an excellent point for you to start since you may prefer to explore different water depths.
An added advantage to using transducers when fishing is that they are able to transmit more than one beam from a similar starting point. Simply put, whereas the standard transducers will come with a single beam, you will be able to enjoy multiple beams as you advance.
Upon using a dual, triple side beam etc. you will be able to cover more waters meaning that the odds of getting your catch will be in your favor.
You may be lucky enough to get a model that comes with all these accessories but on the other hand, you may need to make an upgrade to your standard transducer. With each bettwe upgrade, you will be needed to spend more on the added feature.
If you prefer to fish in the shallow waters, it is best that you use the dual beams since you will have the upper hand of covering a larger portion of the water.
What Is The Best Type of Transducer Material For You To Use?
One thing that most anglers assume is that upon picking any type of transducer, they are good to go given that it is of a good quality. Regarding the type of vessel or rather the boat that you are in, you should always make the perfect pick.
For newbies to fishing, if unsure of the correct type of fish finder material that you ought to use, it is best that you try out the plastic transom mount transducers which are compatible with most vessels and is the best choice when it comes to casual or sport fishing.
If you are a recreational angler, go for the transom mount transducers; however, though they stand out as the best for almost any type of boat, be keen to install them as they ought to be installed.
Some people would prefer going for the through-hull transducers; if you’ve got the same interest, then you’d best go for either the bronze or the plastic ones. If the hull is wooden however, going for the plastic transducers may end up damaging your transducer owing to the expansion of wood.
Upon installing stainless steel covering in a metal hull, you should also employ an insulating fairing around it so as to prevent any imminent damage to it just in case of it being stricken by lightning. If you have a boat that has got a positive ground system, it is not recommended that you install a transducer of a metallic housing.
In some instances, you may be lucky enough to get some transducers that come with the speed and distance feature. This is most important when trolling as you can be able to tell the speed at which you are going at when the fish strike.
Still at the speed, transducers that come with the speed feature will enable the drift fishermen to get to know the speed at which the fish are moving especially if they are choosy about the speed they move when chasing the bait.
What About The Type Of Screen: Color Vs Black & White
Let’s start with the black and white screens or rather the best cheap fish finder. Though they are still available in the market, they are not the best choice that you ought to go for; at least not unless you are on a tight budget.
The use of color screens can only be credited to technology. These are currently the standard choice for you in the use of transducers. They allow for greater detail of the location of fish as well as the present underwater features which makes it simpler for you to see what is going on under water.
Other than being able to show you more features, they are better to use in low light intensity hence you’ll always have the upper hand.
The best thing that you should go for is the dual beam fish finder. These have been around for quite some time. Set this as your threshold and after which you can move on to the down imaging fish finders.The two dimensional fishfinders or rather the dual beam fishfinders will allow you to find only the fish. For the side and down beam fishfinders, you will be able to have a better look at the structures though you can be able to find fish if you are keen enough.Side imaging uses more power as it goes at quite a high frequency and you can get to scan as large as a whole football field. Down imaging allows you to view most features and the deeper you go, the poorer the readings hence you will have to switch to the dual beam frequency
The Best Fish Finders For The Money
Getting the best fish finder is not all about being able to detect fish in the water. You need to get yourself the best fish finders for every dime you spend. Every detail does matter ranging from the battery life to the nature of display. Down below, we have sampled out some of the best fish finders that you can choose from fro the best performance.
1. Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4
The reason as to why most anglers and fishermen employ the use of a fish finder is just that they be able to locate the fish both easily and faster.
To take care of this or rather to facilitate that you’ll always be able to get the most out of your fishing, the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 comes with a high sensitivity built-in GPS receiver. With this, you can be able to mark your entire favorite fishing spots and always get back to them when need to be.
Having the advantage of CHIRP sonar is the dream of almost every fisherman. Having this in mind, it is worth taking note that since it comes incorporated with one of these, you will be able to send out a variety of frequencies meaning that you’ll also be able to record a wider range of data.
The Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 comes with a waypoint map that enables you not only to view but also mark and navigate all the difficult areas such as brush piles, stumps as well as docks.
Owing to the fact that it comes in the color screen, it’s visibility in the sunlight makes it the ideal choice even when the sun is high up.
Another added advantage that you’ll get to enjoy upon employing the use of this fish finder is that you can be able to use it in both the salt and fresh waters.
- Highly sensitive GPS- allows you to mark your favorite fishing spots
- CHIRP sonar- capable of sending both high and low frequencies hence wider range of information.
- Specifically designed to withstand marine fishing due to its rugged design.
- The speedometer may at times not be that responsive hence you ought to reset the factory settings quite often
2. Deeper START Smart Portable Fish Finder
Deeper START Smart Portable Fish Finder
Due to the advancement in technology over the past few years, everyone would like to have the best and most portable always sat their reach.
What if you could get a fish finder that is compatible with your android Smartphone? Think of the Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder as being the ideal option of making your Smartphone better than most Fish Finders. Ranging from ice fishing to bridges, embankments and docks, the Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder will not at all disappoint you when it comes to locating the fish in all these areas.
It has got a dual beam frequency- both 290 kHz as well as 90 kHz which both prove suitable when it comes to fishing in both the shallow waters and the deep waters.
Considering that it works hand in hand with your Smartphone, its 6-hour battery life will definitely offer you ample time while fishing. In addition to this, the battery is rechargeable hence you do not have to worry about replacing it each time it runs out.
As for portability, it can be able to easily fit in your tackle box hence you do not have to worry about carrying it around.
- One of the few Smartphone fish finders hence portability.
- Dual beam fish finder hence allows for deep water and shallow water fishing.
- Allows you to conquer your waters- shores, embankments, docks and rivers.
- If you plan to stay in the waters for a while, then its maximum 6 hours of power may not be enough.
3. Venterior Portable Wired Fish Finder LCD
Venterior Portable Wired Fish Finder LCD
Detail and precision is wha all fishermen and anglers look for upon making their selection of the fish finder equipment.
With the Venterior Portable Wired Fish Finder LCD, you can be able to adjust the sensitivity such that when it is high, you’ll get to see both the big as well as the small fish. Alternatively, when the sensitivity is set to low, you will only be able to have a look at the location of the big fish.
If you’d like to try out ice fishing, the good news is that this fish finder will not disappoint you. However, you may need to drill a hole in the ice and place it in the water. Alternatively, you can remove all the snow above the surface of the frozen ice then you can place the fish finder on the smooth ice surface.
Get to see how deep the water is as well as most of the underwater features such as contours with the best precision.
Upon using this Fish Finder, always have in mind that the transmitter is waterproof but this does not apply to the receiver hence be keen not to put it into the water.
- Able to detect a number of underwater features such as sand, grass and rocks on the sea bed
- Comes with a waterproof transmitter hence you don’t have to worry about it being damaged by water
- Has got both low and high sensitivity for better precision
- Spending a lot of time in the water with this Fish Finder may disappoint you as it has got a maximum of 4 hours operation.
4. Lowrance 010-02550-00 Striker Vivid 4cv Fishfinder
Lowrance 010-02550-00 Striker Vivid 4cv Fishfinder
If you are looking for the ideal color transmitter for your money, then the Lowrance 010-02550-00 Striker Vivid 4cv Fishfinder had better not miss out on your shopping list of the ideal Fish Finders.
The 4 inch LCD screen comes in Item Dimensions 8 x 11.5 x 6 inches hence you will be able to see not only the menus and all the detail on your screen with outmost ease, but you’ll also be able to see every single detail with clarity no matter how high up the sun is.
The simple menu navigations that come with this Fish Finder makes it the ideal choice for those who are new to fishing or have just started taking part in the same.
Going to the amount of detail that you’d get to enjoy upon employing the use of this Fish Finder, it is worth taking note that it comes with a broadband sounder. This allows you to be able to distinguish between structure detail, bottom contours as well as the fish arches and the thermo cline.
Adding on to the level of sensitivity on the Fish Finder, it is worth taking note that it has got 10x sensitivity on its sonar broadband and as compared to the analog models, it is definitely the best choice for you.
- The LCD display is quite easy for you to read hence regardless of the intensity of sunlight.
- Small size and low weight- most suitable for kayak use
- Can be used in both low and high frequency hence suitable for shallow and deep water fishing.
- You may find it quite hard to make out what is on the details on the small screen; nevertheless, it is up to the task.
5. Humminbird 409620-1 HELIX 5 DI Fish Finder With Down-Imaging and GPS
Humminbird 409620-1 HELIX 5 DI Fish Finder With Down-Imaging and GPS
Detail is what sets apart the best Fish Finders from the worst. What makes the Humminbird 409620-1 HELIX 5 DI Fish Finder with Down-Imaging and GPS stand out as one of the best is the incorporation of a precision internal GPS Chartplotting that has got a built-in UniMap cartography.
With the micro SD card slot, you’ll be able to optimize all of your maps and in addition to this, you can also save your waypoints on the water.
The color display comes with a backlight which not only allows you to use the map even in the brightest sunlight but you can also see all the underwater features with outmost precision due to a responsive down imaging feature.
If you are looking for the ideal Fish Finder for your trolling then you should definitely try this one out. Other than just being able to prove quite handy in locating fish, you can mark the spot that you’d like to get back to for your fishing on the map.
The dual beam sonar that comes with this bad boy offers a power output of up to 4000 watts meaning that you will be able to locate the fish even better.
- Comes with a micro SD slot that allows you to save waypoints on your fishing grounds.
- Shows more detail on the color-screen and in addition to this, down imaging is quite responsive
- Comes with a GPS capability which boosts your navigation on the waters.
- Reads up to 200 feet only hence not suitable for very deep waters.
6. Humminbird 411590-1 Helix 7 Chirp SI GPS G4 Fish Finder
Humminbird 411590-1 Helix 7 Chirp SI GPS G4 Fish Finder
One fact that can be agreed upon is that the greater the power output that the Fish Finder comes with; the better your odds are when it comes to the location of your catch. With both of the side and the down imaging backed up with the dual beam sonar comes with an exclusive 4000 watts power output.
With the precision that comes with the internal GPS Chartplotting with an internal UniMap Cartography, you’ll be able to optimize on your maps and in addition to this get to save all of your way points.
With the 360 Imaging and CHIRP Radar, you don’t have to be worried about not being able to see your targets with precision. Other than offering outmost precision, you can be able to have a look at the screen even in the brightest sunlight.
So as to get the best out of this Fish Finder, try to play about with the factory settings especially the sensitivity and the contrast that comes with it.
- With the Micro SD slot, you can be able to mark a number of waypoints as you navigate the waters.
- Precision internal GPS chart plotting with UniMap cartography-makes it easier for you to pinpoint your location.
- 4000 watts of power output- able to offer you better readings in both side and down imaging.
- For some products, the fish alarm may not be that responsive hence you may miss some of your targets.
7. Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 64Cv
Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 64Cv
Boasting to be from one of the world’s most reputed firms in the making of fishing equipment, the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 64Cv Worldwide with BlueChart G3 and GT24UHD-TM Transducer comes with a high resolution- 480 x 640 VGA display that makes it quite easy for you to observe on even in the summer when the sun is high up.
With high resolution color display, you will be able to have a smooth transition when taking your readings from both the shallow and deep waters without much of a fuss. The good news is that the Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 64Cv BlueChart G3 and GT24UHD-TM Transducer can be able to go as deep as 2300 feet below the water.
The sonar history rewind is included and in addition to this, the sonar can go to 4, 000 watts peak-to-peak power hence a better reading.
An added feature to this Fish Finder that sets it apart from the rest is that it has got a dock which means it can be removed from your vessel whenever it is not in use.
- 4000 watts peak-to-peak power- you’ll definitely enjoy the precision on this Fish Finder.
- Can always be detached from your vessel when not in use
- High resolution display that allows for smooth transition when switching between high and shallow waters.
- The transducer cable is 15 feet which may not be long enough for some vehicles.
Having had a look at some of the reasons as to why you should get the Best Fish Finders, how they work and how much your fishing is going to be simplified, going without one of these would be no different from crippling yourself while fishing.
What type of fishing are you looking forward to taking part in? What type of vessel are you using? These are some of the things that you’d better not overlook upon choosing a Fish Finders. Before you get such consider taking a look at the customer reviews prior to putting your money on the line.
Another thing that you should pay heed to is the flexibility of the transducer as well as its durability. Just as much as the Fish Finder will prove usable in different waters, it should be able to withstand any harsh conditions. You can also check out a great article on fishing accessories such as fishing rods, fishing reels, fishing watches, fishing shoes, fishing gloves, fishing bait, fishing knives, fishing lines, and fishing pants that you can buy for your fishing needs.