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.
Eventually, CRTs were married with a fathometer for commercial fishing and the fishfinder was born. With the advent of large LCD arrays, the high power requirements of a CRT gave way to the LCD in the early 1990s and fishfinding fathometers reached the sporting markets. Nowadays, many fishfinders available for hobby fishers have color LCD screens, built-in GPS, charting capabilities, and come bundled with transducers.[5] Today, sporting fishfinders lack only the permanent record of the big ship navigational fathometer, and that is available in high end units that can use the ubiquitous computer to store that record as well.
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.
While not every object will be as easy to distinguish, you can always get clues from the shape and also the strength of the sonar return. Notice the multiple orange sonar returns underneath the car – these tell you that this is a very hard object. The sonar scans have hit the car, bounced up to the surface of the water, bounced off the surface and hit the car again.

Modern lines are made from artificial substances, including nylon, polyethylene, dacron and dyneema. The most common type is monofilament made of a single strand. Anglers often use monofilament because of its buoyant characteristics and its ability to stretch under load. Recently alternatives such as fluorocarbon, which is the least visible type, and braided fishing line, also known as 'superlines' because of their small diameter, minimal amount of stretch, and great strength relative to standard nylon monofilament lines.
The temperature and pressure sensitivity capability of fish finder units allow one to identify the exact location of the fish in the water by the use of a temperature gauge.Functionality present in many modern fish finders also have track back capabilities in order to check the changes in movement in order to switch position and location whilst fishing.
Detection range (depth) of a fish finder depends upon the frequency used for ultrasound transmission. In principle, the higher the frequency of ultrasound, the shorter the propagation range can be. The wavelength of high frequency ultrasound is short, and its directivity angle is narrow, which enables detailed searches, but it attenuates significantly while travelling through water. Low frequency ultrasound is characterised by its long wavelength, wider directivity angle and high level of tolerance toward underwater attenuation, hence enabling wide-area-searches in deeper water. To summarize, you can choose low frequency if you are searching in deep water and high frequency if you are conducting a detailed search in shallow water. Further, when using low frequency ultrasound, you may be able to conduct more precise deep-water searches by adding an optional Power Adapter, which amplifies the transmitter power to a few kilowatts. Please note, however, that when using the Power Adapter, a dedicated transducer capable of handling higher transmitter power will be needed.
ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR PADDLING_KIND: In the 2009 ICAST article, I mentioned a combo system that was in the new products exhibit, but wasn't available at the time of the show. It's most certainly available now, and that unit is the Humminbird 385CI. Like us, fish seek comfort, safety, and food. This unit will allow you to gather "data" that you can process in to fish finding "information".
A fish hook is a device for catching fish either by impaling them in the mouth or, more rarely, by snagging the body of the fish. Fish hooks have been employed for millennia by anglers to catch fresh and saltwater fish. Early hooks were made from the upper bills of eagles and from bones, shells, horns and thorns of plants (Parker 2002). In 2005, the fish hook was chosen by Forbes as one of the top twenty tools in the history of man.[2] Fish hooks are normally attached to some form of line or lure device which connects the caught fish to the angler. There is an enormous variety of fish hooks. Sizes, designs, shapes, and materials are all variable depending on the intended purpose of the hook. They are manufactured for a range of purposes from general fishing to extremely limited and specialized applications. Fish hooks are designed to hold various types of artificial, processed, dead or live baits (bait fishing); to act as the foundation for artificial representations of fish prey (fly fishing); or to be attached to or integrated into other devices that represent fish prey (lure fishing).

A fishing line is a cord used or made for fishing. The earliest fishing lines were made from leaves or plant stalk (Parker 2002). Later lines were constructed from horse hair or silk thread, with catgut leaders. From the 1850s, modern industrial machinery was employed to fashion fishing lines in quantity. Most of these lines were made from linen or silk, and more rarely cotton.[3]

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.
A compact, affordable combination GPS/Fishfinder. Simrad’s GO 5XSE is an all in one solution to quality chartplotting and sonar. The included Med/High/DownScan transducer provides exceptional sonar imaging in near-photo like detail. Multiple Charting options from Insight, Navionics and C-Map enable the Simrad GO5 to go anywhere the water takes you.
Do you prefer having more detailed and high-contrast visuals on your fishfinder? Color LCD options from Academy Sports + Outdoors can ensure you don't miss a single catch. With higher-quality screens, you can zoom into specific sections of the water and even target specific fish. With additional sensors, our collection of marine GPS can track the movement of fish in real time, allowing you to trail and snag them before they swim away. Academy also carries portable fishfinders as well as castable fishfinders which are great for kayak, surf or bank fishing.
PERMANENT INSTALLATION: I say an installation is permanent once you start drilling holes. A permanent installation will require you to provide power/wiring, physically mount the transducer, and mount the fish finder itself. A few years ago, these things were a lot tougher to do - similar to baking a cake from scratch. I don't like the notion of "trial and error" when I have a drill in my hand. But now that our sport has become more mainstream, products are being offered specifically for kayaks, and fish finder installation can be so easy, even Betty Crocker could do it.
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.
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