Higher frequency transducers have shorter wavelengths and more wave cycles per second, which means you can visualize more details (smaller fish) but have only shallow to moderate depth capacity. One sound wave at 200kHz is slightly longer than 1/4", so a 200kHz sound wave will be able to detect fish as short as a quarter of an inch. A 200kHz transducer has a range of only about 600'. High frequency provides a crisp, clear picture of the bottom with the tradeoff of less depth range. For best resolution, choose 800kHz or 455kHz transducers.
Points are more gradual than drop offs, but spotting them is just as easy (see the screen shot below). Make sure you maintain a steady speed when trolling or reeling so you get an accurate reading on how steep the incline is. You should scan with a narrow sonar beam to get the clearest reading, and to ensure you see any shelfs or humps which wider beam scanning might not pick up (our page onhow sonars workexplains why this is).
Commercial and naval fathometers of yesteryear used a strip chart recorder where an advancing roll of paper was marked by a stylus to make a permanent copy of the depth, usually with some means of also recording time (Each mark or time 'tic' is proportional to distance traveled) so that the strip charts could be readily compared to navigation charts and maneuvering logs (speed changes). Much of the world's ocean depths have been mapped using such recording strips. Fathometers of this type usually offered multiple (chart advance) speed settings, and sometimes, multiple frequencies as well. (Deep Ocean—Low Frequency carries better, Shallows—high frequency shows smaller structures (like fish, submerged reefs, wrecks, or other bottom composition features of interest.) At high frequency settings, high chart speeds, such fathometers give a picture of the bottom and any intervening large or schooling fish that can be related to position. Fathometers of the constant recording type are still mandated for all large vessels (100+ tons displacement) in restricted waters (i.e. generally, within 15 miles (24 km) of land).

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.


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.

Big baits catch big fish, but this presents a problem for the ice angler. Hunting behemoth pike and muskies requires large, lively baits that do not play nice with tip-ups. Suckers and live trout are strong enough to trip the flag of almost any tip-up, causing you to waste time resetting lines after false alarms. Attaching a planer board clip to your tip-up to hold your main line will prevent even an 18-inch sucker from triggering a false flag. The added pressure of the clip, which can be adjusted, has enough tension to hold suckers and trout but still allow predators to pull the line free and run. The flag will trip when it matters, but the bait won’t have the strength to trip it by itself. Just snap the clip to the line guide of the tip-up under the spool. This will allow the planer board clip to hang freely under the water. Simply clip in the main line after setting the bait.

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.
Check out our Factory Outlet Store where you can find all of our recertified marine electronics. Items and quantities are limited, so do not hesitate if you find and item you are looking for. Recertified products are restored to like new condition and carry a 90 day warranty, so you know you are getting one heck of a deal. If you have any questions you can always contact our support team via our support ticket system at support.norcrossmarine.com. We are always happy to troubleshoot and answer any questions you may have.
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.
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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.

Furthermore, all you need to do to integrate high quality maps and navigational data for any lake in your region is load up a microSD card with Humminbird’s Lake Master, Auto Chart, Auto Chart Pro and Navionics software suites and pop it right into the integrated SD card slot. Hummingbird’s unique software packages take the guesswork out of knowing where to fish and how deep the fish are currently swimming so you can better decide how to go about landing that trophy catch of a lifetime.

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.


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.
These units are battery operated and the signal is transmitted back to the receiver. So, don't expect a lot of range or HD resolution. But, if you simply want to know how deep the water is ahead of you so that you can make better choices, this is it. For me, I would need to cast it with a rod/reel loaded with heavy braid. The areas I'd likely cast to would hopefully hold big snook and in the spring they love this color. I don't want the "dog ate my homework" story to become the "snook ate my transducer" story.
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.

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]
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.
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.

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.
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.
Fly fishing tackle is equipment used by, and often specialised for use by fly anglers. Fly fishing tackle includes fly lines designed for easy casting, specialised fly reels designed to hold a fly line and supply drag if required for landing heavy or fast fish, specialised fly rods designed to cast fly lines and artificial flies, terminal tackle including artificial flies, and other accessories including fly boxes used to store and carry artificial flies.
Commercial fishermen also make use of these characteristics. They conduct a search by low frequency (i.e., 15 kHz) beams first to grasp the general locations of fish schools around the boat. Subsequently, they narrow the search area for a fish school, using high frequency beams (200 kHz), to detect the exact location of the fish school and operate the boat to be directly above the targeted fish school.
Having a GPS onboard is something I've wanted for a while, so that makes the Humminbird 385CI a powerful combo to me. I love "jungle fishing", getting back in mangroves and other areas that are loaded with structure. It's also easy to get turned around in those areas because if you're concentrating on fishing it's easy to lose track of where you are, where you've been, and how to get back to the launch. Obviously, this will help. Between having built in navigational charts and doing your own recon concerning tides for the day, you can make better choices as to where you want to fish.
Create memorable fishing experiences with the incredible selection of equipment and accessories at Academy. From rods, reels, and baits to storage, care, and apparel, we have fishing gear you need to stay prepared. Facing unpredictable weather or getting up close in the water? Shop our assortment of apparel and waders that will help keep you dry and comfortable. Go high-tech with various fish-finding equipment that can help you track and secure the best catch. We also offer practical fishing equipment like lights, fish processing tools, nets, baskets, grippers, bait traps, and other miscellaneous tools you'll want on hand. Whether you're a casual fisher or an avid adventurer, you'll be able to find the exact things you need to make the most of your fishing expedition. Create the best memories with family and friends, or take to the great outdoors by yourself. No matter your fishing style, there's something for you. Shop our diverse collection today to find high-quality products from brands you can trust.
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