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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.
A GPS also gives you navigation through the waters. For this you will need to select a unit that comes with background maps and charts. One more benefit of the addition of the GPS is safety. Wherever you fish, you will have the confidence that at the end of the day the GPS will easily point you home. For example, you could be fishing throughout different locations during the day, or you could lose sight of land, or some severe weather could suddenly roll out. In such situations, a GPS will give you the exact direction to your home and will tell you how far it is.
Pinpoint your favorite waypoints and track fish with a fishfinder from Academy Sports + Outdoors. With a detailed black-and white LCD display, you can clearly spot fish as deep as 1,000' as well as track their location with depth finder technology. Water temperature sensors allow you to monitor the biological patterns of prospective catches, letting you pinpoint where they'll be at any time of day. With a waterproof casing, our selection of fishfinders are designed for use on boats or kayaks. Our giant boating and marine shop has an assortment of marine electronics from popular brands, like Humminbird, Garmin marine and Lowrance, can help you reel in the largest catch. Receive notifications for certain depths and types of fish, as well as sonar and mapping software, so you can find exactly what you're looking for.
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However, fish finders for professional use, i.e., those used by commercial fishermen, can make use of other frequencies. Such frequencies include 15, 22, 28, 38, 45, 50, 68, 75, 88, 107, 150 and 200 kHz. There are some special fish finders that utilize the frequency of 400 kHz, but it is quite a rare case. As you can see, there is an extensive range of configurable frequencies available for fish finders for fishery vessels, and a fish finder generally makes use of a combination of two frequencies (high and low frequencies). The selection of the frequencies depends upon the intended purposes of the fish finder, which include, inter alia, finding specific fish species; grasping the seabed condition; conducting a wide-area-search with the search angle of 90 degrees at one go; conducting detailed search for fish schools; detecting fish schools that give weak echo returns; avoiding interference/conflict with other fish finders used nearby. The searchable range (depth) and search area are dependent upon the frequency used. On the one hand, high frequency ultrasound is suitable for a detailed search, although it cannot be used for search in deep water. Low frequency ultrasound, on the other hand, is suited for general searches in a wider area as well as searching in deep water.
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.
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.
Patrick Morrow is a true fisherman, starting at 4 years old, fishing for bream in his small home lake.This initial childhood fun turned into an almost full-time hobby, often traveling the country to find out new exciting waters to fish in.Favorite species to catch are pike and king salmon. When he is not fishing Patrick is a freelance writer and editor for outdoor blogs.
The thickness of the line representing the bottom is also a great clue to bottom hardness. Here the rule is simple – the thicker the line, the harder the bottom. But, be careful – sonar sensitivity can affect how thick the line is. The Deeper display has adjustable sensitivity. So if you turn up the sensitivity to 100%, the bottom line may appear thicker, if you turn it down to 10% it may appear thinner. So practice adjusting the sensitivity and get used to judging how much the bottom thickness varies based on this.
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.
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.
While catching a fish is often a case of matching wits—and great patience—a fisherman is at a distinct disadvantage without the right gear. eBay stocks the fishing supplies you need, like spinning rods, casting rods and more by St. Croix, Shimano and other top brands. There are plenty of saltwater and freshwater choices, so it doesn’t matter if you’re after salmon, trout or marlin.