Fish finders simplified

article by:
Dave Lear - Outside Life

Reviewed by:
On January 6, 2017
Last modified:January 6, 2017


Fish Finders may seem difficult to master but there not

Fish Finders may seem to technical but they aren’t

As a result of recent developments in sonar, you do not want a 72 Viking convertible with multiple widescreen screens to count the scales on fish 100 feet below your boat. Instead, tons of streamlined fish finders are at present available that reveal what is holding in the water column beneath your end along with on the underside with near-photographic precision. These brand new devices do not cost as much as a new automobile, either. But how do you choose the right one? An comprehension of sonar fundamentals is the finest place to begin.

Fish Finders Basic Training

Like many developments in electronic equipment, sonar has its origins in military technology. Terms in the marine electronics industry have more acronyms than the Pentagon, but basically, sonar is an acoustic system which uses sound waves for detection and navigation. In fish finders, those waves actively discover submerged objects by sending out pulses of sound and then listening for the returning echoes. The arrangement contains the screen and controls, the power source, the wiring, as well as the transducer, which functions as an antenna.

Fish finders simplified fish-finder-manual

Fish Finders Basics

Transducers are classified by working frequencies measured in kilohertz by cone angle, and by how they’re mounted. For a small boat with an outboard, a transom-mounted transducer operates best. It’s out of the way of the trailer bunks or rollers and simple to set up or remove, and an elective kick up mount offers protection from encounters with submerged logs or stone. The acrylic casing which prevents corrosion, is harmonious with metal or fiberglass hulls. Most significant, transom variations offer dependable operation at reasonable speeds, generally 40 miles per hour or slower. Cavitation and excessive propeller turbulence can affect the sonar sign and reduce truth, which is why through-hull transducers mounted away from the stern are more prevalent on larger craft.

The cone angle is measured by the width of the beam or sound wave. The range changes from 9 to 60 degrees. Broader cone angles show a bigger view of the underside. As the depth rises, the angle naturally follows for an even broader screen. Consider it like an flexible torch column. Shallow-water anglers usually choose a transducer with an extensive cone angle; narrow cones penetrate greater depths.

Although single-cone transducers continue to be common, multi-cone transducers are the most recent craze. The improvement of double-beam, triple-column, and side-beam cones enables the operator to see more water. That provides a better chance to see lure, fish, or fish-supporting structure which may not be directly beneath the hull. Every manufacturing company has developed its own labels for the various sorts of sonar such as Down Imaging (Humminbird), DownVision (Raymarine), DownScan Imaging (Lowrance), and DownVu(Garmin).

Now You See Them

Frequency is the other significant factor when picking out a transducer. Popular frequencies are 50 and 200 kHz. Usually, the higher the frequency, the better the resolution and detail. Lower-frequency transducers, including 50 and 83 kHz versions, penetrate deeper, but the detail isn’t as exact.

There are several other features of frequency to take into account also. Normal sonar carries one frequency at a time. With just one echo to assess after it returns, the advice is restricted, so clarity and resolution are restricted also. Electronics companies developed CHIRP, or Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulsation, which blasts out a broad spectrum of frequencies concurrently. The result is the fact that the pulsation covers more space and time, remaining on submerged targets longer. When these increased pulsations return, the information is improved, causing considerably greater detail, resolution, and precision.

But not one of these technologies is useful unless you can in fact see targets on the screen, and that is where the fish finder display comes into play. Pixels are samples of the initial picture or target, as well as their place on the screen corresponds to its physical coordinates. They can be shown as dots or squares in the two dimensional LCDs (liquid-crystal displays). Grayscale units still have a faithful following at a lower price point, but colour units are simpler to see in direct sun and provide better contrast to differentiate between distinct things. Components with split screen ability additionally permit simple comparisons and better identification of target species, baitfish and construction than with a double-frequency transducer.

As with high definition color televisions, the more complex the resolution (or amount of pixels) a fish finder has, the sharper and much more comprehensive its screen. Other characteristics like watertight casing memory playback, manual and automatic settings, and mount or tilt alternatives are also critical indicators to take into account.

The most recent generation of streamlined fish finders definitely helps level the playing field for small boat anglers. With comprehensive CHIRP and side-scan capability, the fish just stand a chance. Nevertheless, you can just take complete benefit of the possibility when you fully understand the performance capabilities of every unit. So take time to read the owner’s manual, and after that get out on the water and really apply your fishfinder regularly.

Fish finders simplified fish-finder-manual

Fish Finders

The Main Fish Finders

Trying to find a place to begin? Here is a lineup of colour fish finders that may light up the fish but not set you back more in relation to the cost of an excellent rod and reel combo.

Garmin 551dv

Picture sharp DownVu scan sonar with double frequency transom or trolling motor transducer; quick release mount with tilt and swivel intuitive user interface.

  • Screen size: 5 inches
  • Display resolution: 480 x 640
  • Frequency: 50/77/200 kHz
  • Max depth: 2,300 feet
  • Split screen: yes
  • Water temp: yes

Humminbird 678c High Definition Dl

Quad cone and frequency coverage; Down Imaging and Dualbeam Plus for individual, side by side or blended screens; SwitchFire supplies optimum detail control.

  • Screen size: 5 inches
  • Display resolution: 480 x 640
  • Frequency: 455/800/200/455 kHz
  • Max depth: 350 feet
  • Split screen: yes
  • Water temp: yes

Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp

Elite Hybrid Dual Imaging, plus three CHIRP sonar ranges with two ranges selectable concurrently; DownScan Overlay lets the user immediately identify fish from construction.

  • Screen size: 5 inches
  • Display resolution: 480 X 480
  • Frequency: 83/200/455/800 kHz
  • Max depth: 1,000 feet
  • Split screen: yes
  • Water temp: yes

Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Dvs

Optical bonded LCD screen with CHIRP broad spectrum and DownVision sonar with high speed underside tracking down to 600 feet; the maximum resolution in its category.

  • Screen size: 5 inches
  • Display resolution: 800 x 480
  • Frequency: CHIRP
  • Max depth: 600 feet
  • Split screen: yes
  • Water temp: yes

Sitex CVS-126

Digital filtering characteristic removes mess for clear, detailed pictures; Sonatone offers distinct sounds for fish or schools; YouStores catalogs up to 10 screenshots for one touch remember afterwards.

  • Screen size: 5.7 inches
  • Display resolution: 240 x 320
  • Frequency: 50/200 kHz
  • Max depth: 3,600 feet
  • Split screen: yes
  • Water temp: elective

Pocket Choice

In this universe of 24/7 immediate connection, smartphones are as vital as fishing gear boxes to most anglers. So Vexilar developed the SonarPhone as an alternative to conventional fish finders. It includes a 200 kHz double-beam (20/40 degree) skimmer fashion transducer and temperature sensor. By downloading the free SonarPhone program, you have the capacity to use your smartphone or tablet computer as a sonar-unit screen. A mobile or tablet PC charger is included, together with an armband mobile carrier for easier viewing. You don’t need a mobile signal for complete functionality; it operates via wifi.