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.
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.
Fishing with a hook and line is called angling. In addition to the use of the hook and line used to catch a fish, a heavy fish may be landed by using a landing net or a hooked pole called a gaff. Trolling is a technique in which a fishing lure on a line is drawn through the water. Snagging is a technique where the object is to hook the fish in the body.
The swivel sinker is similar to the plain one, except that instead of loops, there are swivels on each end to attach the line. This is a decided improvement, as it prevents the line from twisting and tangling. In trolling, swivel sinkers are indispensable. The slide sinker, for bottom fishing, is a leaden tube which allows the line to slip through it, when the fish bites. This is an excellent arrangement, as the angler can feel the smallest bite, whereas in the other case the fish must first move the sinker before the angler feels him.
A fish finder is a sonar instrument that is designed for the specific purpose of detecting fish underwater. It does so by detecting reflected impulses of sounds energy. All the electronic impulses that are reflected off fish are converted into information that is then display in graphic rendition on the screen of the fish finder. In addition to locating fish, these units also measure the depth of the water, locating underwater debris, and bottom structure. The image on the screen of the fish finder can represent just one fish in the form of a small icon or with a series of arches.
When checking the transducer, the most important feature is the cone angle. For a bigger perspective of the verges underneath, choose a bigger degree on the cone. The wider beam gives more coverage of the under water and allows locating more fish within it. However, its drawback is the quick loss of strength. Due to this, it cannot penetrate the water as deep as the narrow cone. The narrow one can go really deep even in shallow waters and can also give information on the composition of the bottom.
As you look for a GPS/fishfinder combo, keep in mind that the best power and frequency won’t mean much if you can’t use the information. Think in terms of a computer. You can have the most-powerful and efficient computing capability, but without a high-quality monitor, the data does you little good. That’s why it’s always a good idea to spend a bit more to get a top-shelf screen.
The power of a fishfinder—the strength of the “ping”—is expressed in watts RMS (root mean squared). Power is directly 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.
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.
Another great feature of the Elite-5X HDI is the Downscan Overlay that combines traditional sonar with Downscan. Downscan’s primary purpose is finding structure, but it can’t very accurately spot individual fish. That is better done by sonar. Combining the two in one, this device displays on one screen both bottom and structure. So you can see every rock and submerged object as well as fish.
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