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.
The best rated fish finder, Lowrance Elite-7X, features one of the biggest screens among the models that have made it to our list of 12 top fish finders. The 7 inch widescreen offers excellent brightness, contrast and resolution. This allows viewing details even in bright sunlight and at a wider angle. The screen and keypad have an adjustable backlight for better viewing and usability at night and daylight.
This unit has a colorful and compact 3.5 inch color screen that is fully equipped with a Garmin high-sensitivity GPS and Garmin’s very own Sonar, which uses Garmin CHIRP ClearVu Scanning. This GPS gives you the ability to mark your favorite hotspots and fishing areas, docks, and slipways, while using high-speed data technology to display any information that you may need, immediately on the screen.
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]
MOUNTING THE FISHFINDER: Cockpit space in any paddle craft is premium real estate, so definitely do some planning before you do some drilling. The carpenters pencil is your friend in this case. I suggest that before you drill/cut, you spend some time on the water and use that pencil to mark up potential mounting spots. You have to be able to see it well and to reach it, but it needs to be out of the way when you cast, land a fish, or get in/out of your boat. If your boat has some sort of console, that's an obvious mounting choice. But, if you don't then Ram Mounts offers a number of multi-position solutions that will allow you to mount it just about anywhere. Once you decide where it will go, you have to get the wiring to the battery and to the transducer.
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If I'm scouting a new area I won't know anything about what sort of structure is ahead until I paddle over it, blowing out any fish that may have been there. With this little guy, I could cast it to the spot, get a read on what's below and proceed. And, you have the luxury of retrieving it slowly to see bottom contours between you and that fishy spot. There have been a number of occasions when I've made numerous casts at a fishy looking location (without any luck), only to paddle over there and discover that it was 10" deep, nobody home.
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