We’re only slightly kidding when we say that one of the simplest ways to pick a transducer is to decide just how big of a hole you want to drill in your boat. Fishfinders intended for the small-boat, freshwater angler often come with a transducer, usually a transom-mount type. But many transducers are purchased separately and need to be installed through the hull.

Unless you are an experienced fishermen, you will only use one type of beam in order to find fish. A wide beam transducer covers a large area but provides less bottom detail and often has a less powerful frequency of around 50 kHz. Narrow beam covers less underwater but provide more detail and bottom definition from the additional frequency around 200 kHz.


Depending on where you fish, sometimes the difference between finding a hot channel where you can always count on the fish to return during a certain time of day and absolutely nothing can be just a few feet. If you’ve ever fished for walleye, you know what it’s like to find those feeding channels or to have the days where you just can’t quite make it work.
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.
This unit has a colorful and compact 3.5 inch color screen that is fully equipped with a Garmin high-sensitivity GPS and Garmin’s very own Sonar, which uses Garmin CHIRP ClearVu Scanning. This GPS gives you the ability to mark your favorite hotspots and fishing areas, docks, and slipways, while using high-speed data technology to display any information that you may need, immediately on the screen.
Furthermore, all you need to do to integrate high quality maps and navigational data for any lake in your region is load up a microSD card with Humminbird’s Lake Master, Auto Chart, Auto Chart Pro and Navionics software suites and pop it right into the integrated SD card slot. Hummingbird’s unique software packages take the guesswork out of knowing where to fish and how deep the fish are currently swimming so you can better decide how to go about landing that trophy catch of a lifetime.

More pixels per square inch will provide better detail of structures, a better representation of what’s below you, and improved split-screen images. More pixels—higher screen resolution and a big screen—allow you to see the air bladders of smaller fish, see fish near the bottom, separate closely spaced targets from one another, and to see fish on the edges of “bait balls.” But remember: the contrast of the display must also be sharp in order to use the resolution. Like many features, you get what you pay for with display resolution—the more the better.
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.

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.

Transmit Power: Transmit power is expressed in watts RMS (root mean squared) and is related to how well you see in silt-laden water, view down to greater depths and successfully resolve separate targets and bottom structure. A 500-watt (RMS) fishfinder should have plenty of power for most coastal applications. Serious bluewater anglers should look for 1,000 watts or more. Inland lake fishermen can see the shallow bottom with only 200 watts.
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.
The sound wave spreads as it gets further from the transducer. The wider the cone, the larger the coverage area, but the as the cone angle spreads, sensitivity diminishes. A 20-degree cone is considered a versatile angle for fishers who frequent different water depths. More advanced devices come with double and triple beams, ideal for scanning deep water depths.
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.
Fishfinders allow anglers to see a graphic representation of what is beneath their boats so they can identify fish. To choose a fishfinder, consider the type of unit—whether it includes GPS and is part of a boatwide network, size of the fishfinder’s footprint, resolution of the display, how much transmitting power you need, and what frequencies will work best in the inland, coastal or deep-water environment where you fish.
Higher frequencies, such as 192 or 200, are ideal for fishing in shallow water. Lower frequencies, such as 50 or 83, are perfect for deep water fishing. To find the top fish finder for the money, knowing what area you’re planning on using it in will lead to more catches. Remember that the higher the frequency, the more detail you’ll have on the screen.

Points are more gradual than drop offs, but spotting them is just as easy (see the screen shot below). Make sure you maintain a steady speed when trolling or reeling so you get an accurate reading on how steep the incline is. You should scan with a narrow sonar beam to get the clearest reading, and to ensure you see any shelfs or humps which wider beam scanning might not pick up (our page onhow sonars workexplains why this is).
Having a GPS onboard is something I've wanted for a while, so that makes the Humminbird 385CI a powerful combo to me. I love "jungle fishing", getting back in mangroves and other areas that are loaded with structure. It's also easy to get turned around in those areas because if you're concentrating on fishing it's easy to lose track of where you are, where you've been, and how to get back to the launch. Obviously, this will help. Between having built in navigational charts and doing your own recon concerning tides for the day, you can make better choices as to where you want to fish.
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.
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.
BUT DOES A FISHFINDER REALLY FIND FISH? Does a woodchuck really chuck wood? Sorry jackwagon, I had to go there. A fishfinder works on the same theory as deep space telescopes identifying distant stars. It doesn't see "fish" but it does see things that don't look like water. Once the data is processed, the resulting image is therefore labeled fish. Therefore, these units absolutely process the data and tell you if fish are in the beam. But alas, they don't know what they're eating, or if they're even in the mood to eat. But, I do believe that fish will almost always eat if given the right offering. But, you have to find them first.
Offering popular premium features at a more affordable price than any display in its category, Elite Ti2 gives anglers a level of powerful fishfinding and navigation functionality usually reserved for more expensive fishfinder/chartplotters. From Active Imaging™ support , FishReveal™ and built-in Genesis Live onscreen mapping to features that make your life easier on the water, like an easy-to-use touchscreen, wireless networking, smartphone notifications and trolling motor/Power Pole® integration – Elite Ti2 was designed to help you have an easier time finding fish.
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.
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.

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.

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.
More pixels per square inch will provide better detail of structures, a better representation of what’s below you, and improved split-screen images. More pixels—higher screen resolution and a big screen—allow you to see the air bladders of smaller fish, see fish near the bottom, separate closely spaced targets from one another, and to see fish on the edges of “bait balls.” But remember: the contrast of the display must also be sharp in order to use the resolution. Like many features, you get what you pay for with display resolution—the more the better.

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.
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.
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).
×