Whatever species you are hunting, knowing the hardness of the lake bottom and its consistency is another key piece of knowledge when you are trying to crack the code and get the fish biting.There are 3 factors to consider when working out if the bottom displayed on your fish finder is hard or soft: bottom colour, bottom thickness, and the presence of a 2nd bottom return or not.
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.
It is without a doubt that Lowrance has once again raised the bar for current technology. With their newly refined interface, their loyal customers will find the flow of operation to be much smoother than ever before. Don’t let the simple user operation fool you; Lowrance has built a technologically advanced unit with all the features you would expect.
Fish will show up on your screen as an arch (the reason why they are shown as an arch is explained in detail here). But it’s important to remember these arches can vary in size (length and width), and might not be a full arch – look out for those half arches too. The screenshot below gives some nice examples of different arches. They vary in length and width, and some are not full arches, but these are all fish.
CHIRP fishfinders transmit less peak power than a conventional fishfinder, but their wide-band, frequency modulated pulses (130-210kHz, for example) can be very long in duration and put 10-50 times more energy into the water. Using digital pattern matching and signal processing, CHIRP devices achieve unprecedented resolution and target detection. Your ability to resolve individual fish, or separate fish from bottom structure, is now a matter of inches, instead of several feet with traditional fishfinders. See individual fish in groups, instead of a single mass.

By calculating the amount of time between when the sound wave was sent and when it bounced back, it measures the distance and shows it on the screen. If the wave doesn’t encounter anything on its way, it reaches the bottom. If the bottom is soft and it’s just mud and weeds, the signal gets absorbed. A rock bottom will reflect a stronger signal back.

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Now let’s imagine another scenario – again your sonar is stationary, but this time 2 fish swim through your sonar beam, one big and one small. The big fish swims very quickly through the sonar beam, the small one swims slowly. Which one will make the longer fish arch on your screen? The answer is the small one. That’s because a slow moving object will leave a longer mark than a fast moving one, whatever their size.
Look for equipment that will work with multiple frequency: higher for better detail but not as successful in deep water; lower for depth but less detail on your viewing screen. Of course, if you fish only in shallow water, you’ll be happier with high-frequency output. For deep-water work and for commercial fishing, you may want to use a lower frequency.
It’s often been said that the act of fishing isn’t actually about catching a fish. Rather, it’s about a quiet moment with nature and a chance to sit, think and relax, whether on your bass fishing boat or on the banks of a river. Of course, if you’re a sport fisherman reeling in that prize monster on a white-capped ocean, there isn’t much relaxation to be had. If you prefer ice fishing or fly fishing, shop eBay for everything you need for a day on the water. We have the right gear for you, regardless of whether your allegiance lies with Orvis, Shimano or Abu Garcia.