What Are Fish Finders and How Do They Work?

A fish finder is an essential device to have on you while fishing. fish finders use sonar to send out signals under the water and these signals return to the device. Then, the device translates these signals to pictures on its screen. The screen is usually LCD or a CRT type.

Having those pictures is very important as they show you what is under the water, where the schools of fish are, and if there are any obstacles you need to beware of. Which eventually, helps you catch your target smoothly. 

How Do They Work?

Since fish finders have been around since the ‘90s, they have developed a lot. They now offer fish finders with features such as GPS, radar, and electronic compass.

SONAR is, in fact, short for sound navigation and ranging. A fish finder is also called a sounder. That is because fish finders are mainly a type of sonar tool. The integrated GPS navigation, radar, and compass save the day when the vision is not clear under or above water.

The sonar tool produces a sound wave and sends it into the water. As this wave moves deeper into the water, they create a wider beam that keeps getting wider as it spreads from the original point.

Once it meets an object, a fish for example, the beam returns to the fish finder which automatically measures the distance between you and the fish. This is done by calculating the amount of time it took for the beam to bounce back to you. Finally, you get detailed information about where and how far the fish is from you.

The GPS integrations also help you to mark your favorite spots so you can go back to them whenever you like while having an overview of the sea as well. 

A fish finder’s frequencies range from infrasonic to ultrasonic; infrasonic is very low and ultrasonic is very high. The two main types of fish finders sonar are sided scan and down scan, new technologies now offer both in one device. 

Types of fish finders

There are so many types of fish finders, but the type of water you choose to fish in will determine which fish finder is best for you. 

1. Shallow Water

If you decide to go fishing in shallow water, then the best fish finder choice is the one with a higher frequency (around 200 kHz). Higher frequencies operate better in shallow water as they give you a great level of detail.

They send a bigger number of pulses under the water and do a better job locating smaller objects in the shallower water around you. 

2. Deep Water

In case you decided to go fishing in deeper water, then the best fish finder choice is the one with less frequency. Less frequencies allow you a better vision under the deep water as the pulses they send out can reach deeper distances. 

3. Ice Fishing

If you choose to go ice fishing, you want to have a wider cone angle as it will be of great help when you want to locate things beneath you or around you. 

4. Depth Finders

In case you went fishing in an area that you are not familiar with, it’s best to choose a fish finder that is both a depth finder and fish finder. Depth finders help you know how far the bottom is if you are about to enter a shallower water area, and in case you’re about to face any obstacles.

Portable Or Fixed fish finders

fish finders are usually affixed on the large fishing boats. However, having a portable fish finder is ideal if your fishing boat is a rental. Portable fish finders are also lighter in weight than the fixed ones, which makes it easier for you to move it around the boat or to different locations.

Fixed fish finders, on the other hand, have many advantages when it comes to advanced technology. The GPS maps are much more reliable in fixed fish finders which allows you to easily go back to the same spot again. 

If you own a boat, an affixed fish finder is a great idea to help you equip your boat with the essentials for perfect fishing trips, you may also consider a larger screen with higher quality.

In a nutshell, choosing the best fish finder for you depends on the type of water in which you intend to fish, and whether you own or rent the boat you will use. If you own a boat and intend to take the fishing sport seriously, then consider investing in your boat with the best equipment. 

How To Install a Fish Finder

Fish finders can be installed easily with no trouble at all. If it was a portable fish finder, you can just turn it on and start using it. Some portable fish finders come with suction cups so you can easily attach them to your boat. 

If you choose to go for a fixed fish finder, it won’t be much trouble too, as they usually come with mounts that you can use to install in your boat. However, make sure you take those steps on land, not while fishing.

Installing the fish finders is never a hassle, however you need to consider which type is the best for your boat and the fishing circumstances before you make your decision. 

The Best Fish Finder Screen

When you go shopping for fish finders, make sure you get the biggest screen you can afford, it’s always best to have a clearer vision of your surroundings. The bigger the screen, the more information you get. Bear in mind to check the pixels too, as bigger screens have lower qualities. 

One more essential thing to keep in mind if you like to go fishing in the winter or in the early morning when it’s not very clear around you is to choose a fish finder with a back-lit screen to help you see better. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best fish finder depends on the circumstances in which you will go fishing. The best fish finder does not mean it’s the highest in price. So make sure to have a full idea of what your specific trip needs before you go shopping.