Once considered a trade, fish catching has increasingly jumped boats and barring the commercial industry, fishing has increasingly ventured into the realm of hobby and fun-outdoor activity.
When searching for a fish-finder, you might find yourself swamped with a variety of devices offering all kinds of relevant and not-so-pertinent features. you can find yourself lost in frustration looking to find a unit doing just that: helping you in finding fish. Simple as it is.
Which is what the following guide is intended for: explaining in mainly layman's terms what a fish-finder does, how it's doing it, and the difference between the most common features.
The first fishing aspect in a fish-finder is depth. You want to know how deep down your fish-finder eyes will be peeking into the waters. Almost any fish-finder is capable of delving into a depth of 100-200 feet. Given that the majority of anglers aren't getting any deeper than that, there's no need for much searching as far as that goes.
If you're the typical hobby-angler, your focus should be the size of the screen on the fish-finder. Given that most units will easily find your fish for the casual-angler, pinpointing them of the screen will be a struggle.
In addition to screen-size, look for color and resolution. The fish-finder utilizes a technique known as "echo": a stronger echo will translate as a stronger color on the screen, which is difficult determine on grayscale screens, where the differences will show as different shades of gray. A color screen will give you a way-better idea as to what the finder is trying to tell you.
Obviously, the size and resolution will depend a great deal on your eye-sight, boat-size, and exact location on the boat you'll be installing the unit. For this, you'll be using your own judgment, but you ge the idea.
Following with the assumption of you being the casual, occasional angler, we'd recommend opting for a unit with DownScan (or Down Imaging, as it's often referred to) technology. What this essentially does is converting the sonar reading into an actual image. Instead of the traditional sonar readings, which will translate what it's seeing into a bunch of clamped-together echo-arches, this new technology will convert the data into a viewing pleasure actual picture.
This DownScan works only in shallow depths should work for the casual and hobby-driven, who typically wouldn't take their fishing-venture any further and deeper than the range ability offered by this device.
Not a direct and exclusive fish-finding feature, a GPS is an essential component. Without it, you've got no clue where you are at any given point and how to get where you're trying to go. Just like standalone navigation devices, there are many types of fish-finders equipped with one of a variety of GPS technology devices. You probably want to look for one that will allow you to save thousands of waypoints, with the ability to work with numerous charting packages, allowing for the utmost, meticulous detail and accuracy.
That's it! That's all you need to know, really, in order to find the right fish-finder that will do the job in a user-friendly fashion. You can proceed to shop now our fish-finder section -- which, trust us, will be as easy and seamless as it gets.
If you're more of an advanced Fisher, or would simply like to delve deeper into the fish-finding facts, come on and journey along with us for another few paragraphs. We'll run through some of the key features, their meanings, and practical implications.
Transducers are the main units that emit and receive sonar waves. The mechanism is pretty simple. A transducers sends sonar signals into the water, bouncing off objects on their path, and then picked up by the transducer. The main unit then translates the wave-signal into a picture, which is being displayed on the screen for your viewing pleasure.
Many fish-finders come with transom mount transducers out of the box. They're good because they're easy to mount with minimum installation work.
The purpose of a cone angle is to determine the wideness of the sonar beams sent into the water by the transducer. The wider the beam, the larger the area covered by your transducer. Note, however, that wide angles tend to diminish in quality the deeper into the water they get. Nevertheless, it's still worth it as it will help you get a general idea of what's happening deep down there.
While available in ranges of 9-degrees to greater than 60-degrees, the majority of transducers tend to be between 16- and 20-degrees. A 20-degree unit should suffice for anglers fishing in different water depths.
The standard transducer will come with a single-beam capacity. At any given time the transducer will be sending out one single beam. While serving the purpose to a satisfactory degree, multiple-beam capability will impressively extend your coverage area. Those are a big plus if you're fishing in relatively shallow water.
More advanced models are capable of dispatching several beams at once -- dual beams, triple beams, side beams, etc.
CHIRP (acronym for Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse) is probably the most significant fishing innovation since the invention of the fish finder. While conventional fish finders search the waters with a single frequency signal, CHIRP transmits across a wide spectrum of sonar frequencies. The result is an ability for detecting fish at far greater depths, better discriminating between closely spaced fish targets, and rejecting noise and “clutter” that can mask fish targets and structure.
The best fish-finders are generally only good for revealing what is directly beneath the hull of your boat; they won't tell you about schools of fish just off to port or starboard. The solution to that lies in technology known as "side scan," "side vision," "structure scan" or "side-imaging." What they do is offering high-resolution and detailed imaging up to 180 degrees to the side at ranges of up to 600 feet in both directions.
Unlike an image from a conventional fish finder, the side-image picture is more similar to an ultrasound image. It produces high-resolution, almost lifelike views of fish, bait, rocks, vegetation, wrecks and other underwater objects.
Ready, shop, and go fishing!