While many fish finders point directly underneath your boat, higher end units like this one will sweep to the sides as well. Considering that you are casting out from the ship rather than dangling lines beneath it, side sweeping is much more valuable as it allows you to find fish wherever you are, rather than finding them, moving the boat, and then trying to catch them.
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.
The side scan will scan much more around the boat but are not as effective, especially in deep water. For this reason alone, you may feel the need to buy two seperate fish finders but some premium models have both side and down scanning capabilities. This means you can usually view both at the same time for a very detailed scan around the boat in all directions.
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.
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