Standalone fishfinder: If you just want to see what’s below, dedicated fishfinders give the biggest display and the most performance for the least cost. If you have a small boat that you use for fishing small inland lakes or are on a limited budget, a standalone fishfinder is for you. Conversely, if your pilothouse has room for multiple displays, or if you just bought a new GPS, get a serious big-screen fishfinder. You can usually add a GPS sensor later to many units, turning them into chartplotter combos.
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.
When choosing the fish finder, you also need to choose the unit with the right frequency, which is also an important feature of the transducer. The frequency is directly related to angle of the cone. On most of the transducers you can find the following frequencies: 50, 83, 192 and 200 kHz. A higher frequency will give you more detail on the screen. You can find models that offer dual, single and multiple frequencies.
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.
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.
If you’ve never used sonar before, you want to keep the auto depth turned on. It automatically tracks the floor of the water, making it easier to see how far down it is. When you become more experienced, you can adjust the setting. The auto depth feature can be adjusted to hide the first few feet underneath, and above the true bottom. It’s useful for setting your sights on the fish you want to catch.
Another great feature of the Elite-5X HDI is the Downscan Overlay that combines traditional sonar with Downscan. Downscan’s primary purpose is finding structure, but it can’t very accurately spot individual fish. That is better done by sonar. Combining the two in one, this device displays on one screen both bottom and structure. So you can see every rock and submerged object as well as fish.
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