Referred to as a fishfinder, graph, sounder or recreational sonar, these products provide anglers with the ability to locate and target open-water baitfish, game fish and cover. This underwater-viewing advantage helped launch sportfishing markets like never before, as anglers were able to better understand depth contours, bottom composition and structure location, plus how fish related to this environment.
NO INSTALLATION REQUIRED: That got your attention, didn't it? If you're on a budget, and don't want any sort of permanent installation mods to your boat, the Humminbird Smartcast series may be your answer. You simply cast the green transducer to the spot where you want to investigate, and the signal comes back to the wrist module (RF30) or the traditional display model (RF15). This series doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but for my kind of fishing/paddlecraft, it may be a great solution.

In summer and winter, water temperature is very important - these units will help you discover areas that should be comfortable for your target species. Safety is found in structure, for prey and predator alike. The illusion of safety for baitfish equates to food for prey. So locating proper structure is certainly important. It's been said that 90% of the fish can be found in 10% of the water. Believe it. If you're fishing structure in the middle of a lake or a man-made reef, knowing what's below you is important. Now you know.

Setting your tip-up baits at the proper depth requires a little work. Then every time you catch a fish or check your bait, you need to reset them. If you’ve got a few nickel-size buttons, those resets become no chore at all. Start by running your main line through one hole in the button and out another. This should allow you to move the button up and down the line easily, but provide enough tension to stop it from sliding on its own. Next, attach your egg sinker, barrel swivel, leader, and hook to the line. Once your depth is set, simply slide the button down to the water’s surface, and then reel the button up to the tip-up’s line guide. Now every time you reset your line after catching a fish or changing bait, wind the spool until the button is at the tip-up guide. Your bait will be set in the same place within the water column every time.
For ice fishing enthusiasts one of the recommended and top rated fish finders is the Humminbird ICE-35 model. One of the most liked features on this device is the zoom flexibility. It allows you to zoom in not just to the bottom, but also zooming in for more details in any part you choose of the water column. The three color fiber optic display gives you a clear view of the readings. The extreme temperature LCD technology reports the lake bottom and automatically sets the flasher. Other features include dual frequency, maximum 200 depth capability and 800 watts peak-to-peak.
Important parameters of a fishing line are its breaking strength and its diameter (thicker, sturdier lines are more visible to fish). Factors that may determine what line an angler chooses for a given fishing environment include breaking strength, diameter,castability, buoyancy, stretch, color, knot strength, UV resistance, limpness, abrasion resistance, and visibility.
There are plenty of different things you want to keep in mind while searching for the perfect GPS fishfinder for you. First, keep in mind that not all models are created equal. Some will clearly be more useful than others. You will also find that different boats call for different fish finders. Many times ditto depending on the style of fishing or information most important to you.

2. Save numerous locations and data for accurate and successful fishing next time out – You navigate quickly and accurately to your top fishing spot, then save the locations so you can return to them later. Reduction in physical size has been accompanied by massive increases in computer memory, so you can have the information on numerous locations ready to use every time you go, no matter where you go.

To get the most of the both there’s the dual beam type of transducers. It’s also called dual frequency and which combines both features in one unit. Other types of transducers are more specialized. They include multiple beams (can be 4 or more). These cover a larger area of the underwater and can even give a 3D image on the display. One more option is the side beam transducer. These units shoot their signals to the sides, which increases the search area for fish.


LCD displays are made of a grid of “picture elements,” tiny dots that individually darken when electrical current is applied, with their name shortened in common usage to “pixel.” More vertical pixels mean higher depth resolution, as each pixel represents less depth. The number of pixels in a screen’s horizontal axis determines how long objects stay onscreen before they scroll out of view, of significant importance with split-screen displays showing narrow columns of side-by-side information.
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.
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.

There is a huge variety of fish finder brands, their models and types. All this can make it quite complicated and time consuming to find the right one for your needs.  To help you in your search, we have compiled this best fish finder reviews of the models that are popular and top rated in 2017. With our reviews you can find the right fish finder for your style of fishing. To make sure that you get the right features for your needs, it’s important to do prior research. So read our reviews and comparisons to decide which model you need.
Lower frequency transducers, with longer waves and fewer waves per second, show less detail (larger fish) but carry more energy and penetrate to greater depths. One sound wave at 50kHz is slightly larger than 1", so a 50kHz sound wave will only detect fish if their air bladders are large, slightly longer than an inch. Lower frequency won’t provide as clear of a picture but will operate effectively in the depths of the ocean or Lake Michigan.
The 256 color TFT screen gives a clear image that can give you readings of depths of up to 240 ft. The charge of the unit can last up to 30 hours. It features SideFinding sonar that gives accurate readings. Its benefit is that you can point it in any direction and get full coverage of the area to find more fish. The temperature feature is included.

Fish finders are incredibly valuable tools, and the more you learn about how to read them, the more successful your fishing trips will be. A key part of learning as angler is to go from trial and error to a more knowledge-based approach. Maybe you regularly catch at a certain spot with a certain presentation – but do you know why? A fish finder will help you understand not just your failures, but also your successes. And once you know this, you can recreate this success more easily.

CHIRP devices can transmit simultaneously on high and low frequencies. The lower frequency gives greater depth penetration, and it requires less power than a higher frequency signal so it generates less noise. The result is a “whisper into the water” that locates the fish without disturbing them. The higher frequency signal gives even finer detail at shallow to mid-water depths.
For deep-water fishermen, and those who spend much of their time angling in open water, a GPS is essential. When you are far from landmarks and familiar sight-lines, your chances of success can be much better when you can return to that favourite spot. Commercial-fishing pros understand this as well as anyone, which is why they invest in quality GPS equipment.
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.

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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.
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