With the Fish Symbol feature disabled, an angler can learn to distinguish between fish, vegetation, schools of baitfish or forage fish, debris, etc. Fish will usually appear on the screen as an arch. This is because the distance between the fish and the transducer changes as the boat passes over the fish (or the fish swims under the boat). When the fish enters the leading edge of the sonar beam, a display pixel is turned on. As the fish swims toward the centre of the beam, the distance to the fish decreases, turning on pixels at shallower depths. When the fish swims directly under the transducer, it is closer to the boat so the stronger signal shows a thicker line. As the fish swims away from the transducer, the distance increases, which shows as progressively deeper pixels.
NO INSTALLATION REQUIRED: That got your attention, didn't it? If you're on a budget, and don't want any sort of permanent installation mods to your boat, the Humminbird Smartcast series may be your answer. You simply cast the green transducer to the spot where you want to investigate, and the signal comes back to the wrist module (RF30) or the traditional display model (RF15). This series doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but for my kind of fishing/paddlecraft, it may be a great solution.
Eventually, CRTs were married with a fathometer for commercial fishing and the fishfinder was born. With the advent of large LCD arrays, the high power requirements of a CRT gave way to the LCD in the early 1990s and fishfinding fathometers reached the sporting markets. Nowadays, many fishfinders available for hobby fishers have color LCD screens, built-in GPS, charting capabilities, and come bundled with transducers. Today, sporting fishfinders lack only the permanent record of the big ship navigational fathometer, and that is available in high end units that can use the ubiquitous computer to store that record as well.
When checking the transducer, the most important feature is the cone angle. For a bigger perspective of the verges underneath, choose a bigger degree on the cone. The wider beam gives more coverage of the under water and allows locating more fish within it. However, its drawback is the quick loss of strength. Due to this, it cannot penetrate the water as deep as the narrow cone. The narrow one can go really deep even in shallow waters and can also give information on the composition of the bottom.
Understanding how a fish finder works will help you to understand how to use it. Fish finders work using sonar. It’s a technology that uses sound waves to display underwater objects. The fish finder produces the sound wave and with the transducer sends it through the water. Penetrating the water deeper, the sound wave starts to spread in the form of a cone (commonly called a beam). As the wave encounters objects within this beam, it sends the signal back to the transducer.
The swivel sinker is similar to the plain one, except that instead of loops, there are swivels on each end to attach the line. This is a decided improvement, as it prevents the line from twisting and tangling. In trolling, swivel sinkers are indispensable. The slide sinker, for bottom fishing, is a leaden tube which allows the line to slip through it, when the fish bites. This is an excellent arrangement, as the angler can feel the smallest bite, whereas in the other case the fish must first move the sinker before the angler feels him.
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.
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.
Portable fish finders are the better choice for those who lease their boat. Also if you ice fish or “fly-in” fish, a portable unit would be more suitable for you. They usually come with their own carrying case and battery power supply. Most of the fish locators come with the transom mount for installation. The portable units come with the transducer already attached to the transom with the use of a suction cup.
To get the most of the both there’s the dual beam type of transducers. It’s also called dual frequency and which combines both features in one unit. Other types of transducers are more specialized. They include multiple beams (can be 4 or more). These cover a larger area of the underwater and can even give a 3D image on the display. One more option is the side beam transducer. These units shoot their signals to the sides, which increases the search area for fish.
BABY STEPS: You don't have to spend a ton of money or be an engineer to get your kayak electrified. Here we have the Lowrance X50DS. The fishfinder and the installation kit will run around $250. Look at what you spend for a rod/reel/braided line, and you'll find this kit is certainly affordable. The display is 4-level grayscale, and the battery pack contains AA batteries. However, what it may lack in fashion it makes up by function. The battery pack goes in a dry bag, and the unit itself is easily removed at the end of the day. It features a built in temperature sensor and 120 degrees of wide angle coverage.
Furthermore, Garmin’s fish finder also has a built-in CHIRP continuous sweep sonar that provides the widest range of sonar profile information available, allowing you to find and mark where the fish like to hide more accurately. Best of all though, the transducer on the 7SV offers “sideview” sonar for a clearer picture of what is around you and your boat while you are out on the water.
WIRING: It's like Christmas lights … once you get a good power source you can really go crazy. I guess that's one of the reasons I've never added a power grid to one of my boats. Sure as I do, I'll have dash lights, bow/stern lights, and an 18" subwoofer (though a pair of 10's would probably work just as well). Once you are set up with a 12 volt system, anything that will connect on a go-boat will now connect in your row-boat. Those are scary possibilities indeed. You'll need to keep the battery stationary, as dry as possible, and make it easy to get at for removal and recharging. The easiest choice would be to mount it in the front hatch area. The battery is actually pretty small, so you won't need a lot of room.
Bait: If you're not using live bait or cut bait, you'll want to use artificial bait or lures. Most artificial lures resemble the type of bait fish or other food, such as worms or shrimp, that the fish you're trying to catch normally eat. These artificial baits can be scented and have metal spoons attached to them or be painted in metal flake to reflect light in the water. Other types of bait include jigs and jig heads, spoons, flies and spinnerbaits, which you can attach artificial or real bait to, and attractants to make artificial lures smell lifelike.