Fish finders were derived from fathometers, active sonar instruments used for navigation and safety to determine the depth of water.[1] The fathom is a unit of water depth, from which the instrument gets its name. The fathometer is an echo sounding system for measurement of water depth. A fathometer will display water depth and can make an automatic permanent record of measurements. Since both fathometers and fishfinders work the same way, and use similar frequencies and can detect both the bottom and fish, the instruments have merged.[2]
As with many products, you’ll have to pay close attention to the specific features delivered for the price, simply because the investment for combination fishfinder and GPS can range from $500 to $1200 or more. Fishfinders and GPS units are well advanced when compared to equipment used just a few years ago. Most of the time you can get excellent 3D mapping, scanning, charting and navigation at a very reasonable price. It’s not necessary to spend hundreds more unless you really want to go after the top-of-the-line unit.
It’s often been said that the act of fishing isn’t actually about catching a fish. Rather, it’s about a quiet moment with nature and a chance to sit, think and relax, whether on your bass fishing boat or on the banks of a river. Of course, if you’re a sport fisherman reeling in that prize monster on a white-capped ocean, there isn’t much relaxation to be had. If you prefer ice fishing or fly fishing, shop eBay for everything you need for a day on the water. We have the right gear for you, regardless of whether your allegiance lies with Orvis, Shimano or Abu Garcia.
The best value fish finder models that we have listed above are the most popular in 2014. All of them have high fish finder ratings and predominantly positive reviews of the users. According to your needs, one model or other might be a better choice for you. When you compare fish finders, you should consider your budget and the features you would like the fish finder you are looking for to have. Before choosing fish finder, you need to decide do you need a portable unit or a fixed one for mounting onto your boat. Also consider will a fish finder be sufficient for your needs or do you also need an integral GPS in the unit. We hope that with the information that I have provided in this best fish finder reviews, you will find a fish finder that will help you catch more fish.
Detection range (depth) of a fish finder depends upon the frequency used for ultrasound transmission. In principle, the higher the frequency of ultrasound, the shorter the propagation range can be. The wavelength of high frequency ultrasound is short, and its directivity angle is narrow, which enables detailed searches, but it attenuates significantly while travelling through water. Low frequency ultrasound is characterised by its long wavelength, wider directivity angle and high level of tolerance toward underwater attenuation, hence enabling wide-area-searches in deeper water. To summarize, you can choose low frequency if you are searching in deep water and high frequency if you are conducting a detailed search in shallow water. Further, when using low frequency ultrasound, you may be able to conduct more precise deep-water searches by adding an optional Power Adapter, which amplifies the transmitter power to a few kilowatts. Please note, however, that when using the Power Adapter, a dedicated transducer capable of handling higher transmitter power will be needed.
Bright 10” Sunlight Viewable, Touchscreen Display. Garmin’s GPSMAP 7610xsv with 10Hz High Sensitivity GPS Receiver, Preloaded Coastal and Lake Mapping and Wi-Fi is a top choice combination unit for any mariner. New features to the 7610xsv include FLIR Camera Support, Smart Boundaries, and More.HD-ID Sonar, 1kW CHIRP, CHIRP DownVu and CHIRP SideVu built-in. Transducer Required and Sold Separately.
Depending on where you fish, sometimes the difference between finding a hot channel where you can always count on the fish to return during a certain time of day and absolutely nothing can be just a few feet. If you’ve ever fished for walleye, you know what it’s like to find those feeding channels or to have the days where you just can’t quite make it work.

A fishfinder or sounder (Australia) is an instrument used to locate fish underwater by detecting reflected pulses of sound energy, as in sonar. A modern fishfinder displays measurements of reflected sound on a graphical display, allowing an operator to interpret information to locate schools of fish, underwater debris, and the bottom of body of water. Fishfinder instruments are used both by sport and commercial fishermen. Modern electronics allows a high degree of integration between the fishfinder system, marine radar, compass and GPS navigation systems.
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Ultrasound frequency used by a fish finder generally ranges from 15 kHz to 200 kHz. However, the majority of the conventional fish finders oriented for recreational craft utilize 50 kHz and 200 kHz. Such fish finders available in the market incorporate electronic circuitry that can transmit and receive ultrasound in these two frequencies. Also, a transducer mounted on the bottom of the craft is configured to handle these two frequencies.
The size of the area you’re scanning will be affected by the angle of the cone. A wide beam cone scans between 40°-60°, meaning you’ll be covering a large area. A narrow cone will scan between 10°-20°. So make sure you’re aware of whether your fish finder is using a wide or narrow cone when you’re looking at the data on your screen. The Deeper PRO and PRO+ have wide and narrow beam scanning (55° and 15°), the Deeper START has a medium/wide beam (40°). One other point to remember about how you sonar works is that it is constantly sending and receiving data, which means your display will be continually scrolling. The current scanning data will be on the right – the further left on the screen, the older the data.
Early sporting fathometers for recreational boating used a rotating light at the edge of a circle which flashed in sync with the received echo, which in turn corresponded to depth. These also gave a small flickering flash for echos off of fish. Like today's low-end digital fathometers, they kept no record of the depth over time and provided no information about bottom structure. They had poor accuracy, especially in rough water, and were hard to read in bright light. Despite the limitations, they were still usable for rough estimates of depth, such as for verifying that the boat had not drifted into an unsafe area.

How to choose a fish finder? There are so many fish finder brands and models of fish locators available that it can be quite difficult to figure out which one would best meet your needs and your individual fishing style. Moreover, it’s also easy to get lost in transducers, echoes, sonar, flashers and transom mounts. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a good fish finder is the question: will it help you to catch more fish? To make this choosing process less complicated and so you can understand more about fish detector features we have compiled this buying guide. Using this information will help you to make the best choice.
PERMANENT INSTALLATION: I say an installation is permanent once you start drilling holes. A permanent installation will require you to provide power/wiring, physically mount the transducer, and mount the fish finder itself. A few years ago, these things were a lot tougher to do - similar to baking a cake from scratch. I don't like the notion of "trial and error" when I have a drill in my hand. But now that our sport has become more mainstream, products are being offered specifically for kayaks, and fish finder installation can be so easy, even Betty Crocker could do it.

Overall, if you want to get the best fish finder, then our top pick has to be either the Humminbird Helix 7 or the Garmin Striker 7SV. We love the large screens and comprehensive functions that you get with both devices, as well as the rugged dependability. If you want to save money, though, the Garmin Striker 4cv will be your next best bet as it comes with high-performance results, even with a smaller screen.
LCD displays are made of a grid of “picture elements,” tiny dots that individually darken when electrical current is applied, with their name shortened in common usage to “pixel.” More vertical pixels mean higher depth resolution, as each pixel represents less depth. The number of pixels in a screen’s horizontal axis determines how long objects stay onscreen before they scroll out of view, of significant importance with split-screen displays showing narrow columns of side-by-side information.
Lower frequency transducers, with longer waves and fewer waves per second, show less detail (larger fish) but carry more energy and penetrate to greater depths. One sound wave at 50kHz is slightly larger than 1", so a 50kHz sound wave will only detect fish if their air bladders are large, slightly longer than an inch. Lower frequency won’t provide as clear of a picture but will operate effectively in the depths of the ocean or Lake Michigan.
Whether it is radically changing the way you enjoy your favorite pastime with our game changing marine technology, or reinventing our current product line, we relentlessly pursue innovation in all aspects of our business. At NorCross, Customer Focused Innovation is not just some fancy corporate slogan, it is the foundation of every product and service that we offer. We strive to keep our marine electronics exactly what you need whether that is on the shoreline or in your kayak.
In summer and winter, water temperature is very important - these units will help you discover areas that should be comfortable for your target species. Safety is found in structure, for prey and predator alike. The illusion of safety for baitfish equates to food for prey. So locating proper structure is certainly important. It's been said that 90% of the fish can be found in 10% of the water. Believe it. If you're fishing structure in the middle of a lake or a man-made reef, knowing what's below you is important. Now you know.
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.
Unless you know where fish are lurking, casting out anywhere on the water doesn’t necessarily guarantee a bite. Finding where the hot spots are will help you save time and money while fishing. That’s where fishfinders come in. An essential part of any modern angler’s arsenal, a fishfinder makes catching more fish easier.  Fishfinders help you pinpoint the honey hole using SONAR so you can see where the fish are and at what depth they are hiding. No more wasting time, tackle or line on deserted spots in the water. From standalone units, fishfinder/GPS combos, networked or multi-function displays, West Marine offers a wide array of fishfinders from the top brands on the market today. Keep reading for tips on finding the right system for your boat.

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Offering popular premium features at a more affordable price than any display in its category, Elite Ti2 gives anglers a level of powerful fishfinding and navigation functionality usually reserved for more expensive fishfinder/chartplotters. From Active Imaging™ support , FishReveal™ and built-in Genesis Live onscreen mapping to features that make your life easier on the water, like an easy-to-use touchscreen, wireless networking, smartphone notifications and trolling motor/Power Pole® integration – Elite Ti2 was designed to help you have an easier time finding fish.
The CHIRP sonar that is built into this model is second to none in terms of performance, and always gives you a clear picture and measurement of the floor and surface beneath your boat, as well as the location of the fish around it. Another feature that we really enjoy about this Humingbird fish finder is that it comes with a built in SD card slot so that you can save your favorite waypoints to it. You can even upload additional maps to your software using the SD card feature.
Transducers: Fishfinders operate using a single frequency transducer, dual frequencies, multiple frequencies or a broadband CHIRP system. In general, higher frequencies give the finest detail resolution, the least background noise on your screen and the best view from a fast-moving boat, but don’t penetrate as deeply as lower frequencies. Shallow-water inland anglers generally choose higher frequencies of 200kHz, 455kHz or 800kHz. For maximum depth, use lower frequencies. We recommend 200kHz or higher (up to 800kHz) for water depths up to 200' and 80kHz or 50kHz for deeper waters.
A fishfinder or sounder (Australia) is an instrument used to locate fish underwater by detecting reflected pulses of sound energy, as in sonar. A modern fishfinder displays measurements of reflected sound on a graphical display, allowing an operator to interpret information to locate schools of fish, underwater debris, and the bottom of body of water. Fishfinder instruments are used both by sport and commercial fishermen. Modern electronics allows a high degree of integration between the fishfinder system, marine radar, compass and GPS navigation systems.
Your fishfinder needs to accomplish two objectives: find the fish and help you record where they like to hide at your favorite fishing spot. In both respects, Garmin’s Striker 7SV definitely delivers the goods and then some. This superior scanning sonar gives one of the most complete images available of what is in the water around you and how deep the fish are hiding in real time with near-photographic detail. In terms of an easy to use interface, this model uses dedicated navigation and function buttons to provide reliable responses for more intuitive operation even by novice users.
While many fish finders point directly underneath your boat, higher end units like this one will sweep to the sides as well. Considering that you are casting out from the ship rather than dangling lines beneath it, side sweeping is much more valuable as it allows you to find fish wherever you are, rather than finding them, moving the boat, and then trying to catch them.

Networked system: Fully networked systems are available from all the major suppliers, and usually will support a huge range of data sources including radar, raster and vector GPS charts, video, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Many allow Bluetooth/WiFi, and you can control them from your iPhone or Android smartphone. Your fishfinder, often an external “black box” module, is just one of these sources of data. Multiple-display network systems are great for medium-sized or large vessels. Capabilities get more amazing every year.
ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR PADDLING_KIND: In the 2009 ICAST article, I mentioned a combo system that was in the new products exhibit, but wasn't available at the time of the show. It's most certainly available now, and that unit is the Humminbird 385CI. Like us, fish seek comfort, safety, and food. This unit will allow you to gather "data" that you can process in to fish finding "information".
Choosing the perfect fish finder for your requirement is hard with many features such as imaging, power and more. The main purpose of a fish finder is to catch more fish with the screen displaying the fish and underwater structure and physical objects. Other information such as water temperature and depth are common on the majority of devices with many high end fish finders providing much more.
When it comes to fish finders and fishing GPS technology, the HELIX 5 delivers some of the best in functionality and creating a seamless user experience for fishing pros and hobbyists. This unit uses precise broadband CHIRP, a Reflex interface, imaging sonar and the power to chart and create maps using Auto Chart Live. The HELIX 5 has taken what is already a premier fish finder tool, and taken it to new heights in terms of features and creating an even better user interface. The display looks rich and clear, and is powered with 4,000 watts of PTP power output.
The final point to remember when you are looking out for fish arches is that it doesn’t need to be a full arch. Half arches (like the ones shown in the screen shot above) also show that there is fish. In ourtutorial on how sonars work, we explain in detail why sometimes you get a full arch and sometimes you get a half arch. The short answer is that you will get a full arch if a fish swims through the whole of your sonar cone, and a half or partial arch if they only swim through part of it.

Raymarine’s DragonFly 4 PRO with Navionics Plus Mapping offers Dual-Channel Sonar with CHIRP DownView enabling easy identification of fish and underwater structure with photo-like images. Reaching depths of 600ft with CHIRP DownVision and 900ft with CHIRP Sonar the DragonFly 4 includes a built in GPS receiver and provides accurate coastal navigation data all on a 4.3” Color Display.
It’s no secret that HDS displays are used by more tournament fishing pros than all other fishfinding brands combined, so we didn’t have to go back to the drawing board to build it; we just made the best fishfinder/chartplotter in the world even better. HDS LIVE  delivers premium performance and support for the best collection of innovative sonar features available – from Active Imaging™, StructureScan® 3D, FishReveal™ and LiveSight™ sonar, to exciting navigation functionality like C-MAP® Genesis Live mapping – all designed to help you find more fish.
Additional information for residents of Quebec only: The regular annual rate for persons applying for the Triangle credit card is 22.99% for cash transactions and related fees and 19.99% for all other charges. Some applicants may receive a higher or lower regular annual rate depending on a credit evaluation. The minimum payment is the sum of (a) interest and fees shown on your statement, (b) the greater of any amount past due or any balance over your credit limit, (c) the amount of any equal payments plan instalments then due, and (d) $10. Balances under $10 are due in full. For residents of Quebec, the period between the statement date and the due date for payment is 26 days. The billing period covered by each statement can be from 28-33 days. The Triangle Mastercard does not have an annual fee. Examples of borrowing costs (rounded to the nearest cent) assuming that all charges are purchases bearing interest at the regular annual rate of 19.99%, a 30 day month, no charges made on special payment plans and no other fees, additional payments or other changes are:
Fishing tackle boxes have for many years been an essential part of the anglers equipment. Fishing tackle boxes were originally made of wood or wicker and eventually some metal fishing tackle boxes were manufactured. The first plastic fishing tackle boxes were manufactured by Plano in response to the need for a product that didn't rust. Early plastic fishing tackle boxes were similar to tool boxes but soon evolved into the hip roof cantilever tackle boxes with numerous small trays for small tackle. These types of tackle boxes are still available today but they have the disadvantage that small tackle gets mixed up. Fishing tackle boxes have also been manufactured so the drawers themselves become small storage boxes, each with their own lids. This prevents small tackle from mixing, and can turn each drawer into a stand-alone container which can be used to carry small tackle to a rod some distance from the main tackle box.