Ice fishing is work. Just to get a line wet, you’ve got to drill and scoop. Just to keep a line wet, you’ve got to clear ice from the guides. There are a ton of little things that can make a hard-water outing much more challenging than fishing on a sunny summer afternoon, so it should be no surprise that smart ice anglers have come up with a pile of gear hacks to make any day on a frozen lake a little easier, more comfortable, and a lot fishier. You could fill a book with these tricks, but here are four that every serious ice fisherman should know. They all require a few inexpensive items you probably have lying around at home.
Higher frequencies, such as 192 or 200, are ideal for fishing in shallow water. Lower frequencies, such as 50 or 83, are perfect for deep water fishing. To find the top fish finder for the money, knowing what area you’re planning on using it in will lead to more catches. Remember that the higher the frequency, the more detail you’ll have on the screen.
The most common mistake anglers make when reading their fish finder is thinking that a long arch means a big fish. This is not the case. On your sonar display, you should think of length as representing time. For example, imagine you keep your fish finder stationary in the water (in other words you are not reeling or trolling it). If there is a fish underneath that is also stationary, what will you see on your fish finder display? You will see one continuous line. That doesn’t mean there’s a blue whale stranded in the pond you’re fishing. It means there is a stationary fish under your fish finder, and it might be a very small one.
THE LIMBO: How low can you go? Or, how low do you need to go? This is an important question you need to answer. If you don't need to see what's 1000 feet below you, they you can certainly save yourself some money. You did save the gift receipts for those much_appreciated_but_unwanted Christmas gifts, didn't you? Before we take the drill off the charger, let's ponder some options and then work backwards to determine what your needs/wants/limitations are.
As you look for a GPS/fishfinder combo, keep in mind that the best power and frequency won’t mean much if you can’t use the information. Think in terms of a computer. You can have the most-powerful and efficient computing capability, but without a high-quality monitor, the data does you little good. That’s why it’s always a good idea to spend a bit more to get a top-shelf screen.
The sound wave spreads as it gets further from the transducer. The wider the cone, the larger the coverage area, but the as the cone angle spreads, sensitivity diminishes. A 20-degree cone is considered a versatile angle for fishers who frequent different water depths. More advanced devices come with double and triple beams, ideal for scanning deep water depths.
More pixels per square inch will provide better detail of structures, a better representation of what’s below you, and improved split-screen images. More pixels—higher screen resolution and a big screen—allow you to see the air bladders of smaller fish, see fish near the bottom, separate closely spaced targets from one another, and to see fish on the edges of “bait balls.” But remember: the contrast of the display must also be sharp in order to use the resolution. Like many features, you get what you pay for with display resolution—the more the better.
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