8 Best Fish Finders in 2020 – Garmin vs Lowrance vs Humminbird

Looking for a fishfinder? Not sure where to start? Don’t know what you really want in a fishfinder, but do know that you want to improve your fishing experience? This guide can help you find the best fishfinder for you. All the research is already here and organized. This guide covers the pros and cons of eight different fishfinders from various brands by examining each device’s main features, what’s included in the device package, and price points.

A description of each device is also included for extra detail. All of the product information contained in this guide has been sourced directly from the websites for these products, so you can be sure that the information is correct and current. By following this guide, you can weigh what you’re looking for in a fishfinder against what you are (or your budget is) willing to pay. The following general description of fishfinder features will help you get started.

1. LOWRANCE Elite-9 Ti² US Inland, Active Imaging 3-in-1

The Elite-9 Ti2 US Inland Active Imaging 3-in-1 fish finder from Lowrance combines fish finding technology and mapping technology into one device. This model comes with both SideScan and DownScan capabilities. It has a large 9 inch display with a touch screen and SolarMax technology. The SolarMax display acts to increase clarity and separate targets as well as reduce glare in direct sunlight. The display resolution is 800×480.

The model offers active imaging for increased clarity. Active imaging reveals details of the landscape including weedbeds, timber, drop-offs, ditches and other likely fish habitats from a long range. However, unlike many other fish finder devices, the transducer for the Elite-9 Ti2 is sold separately, increasing the total cost of implementing the device into your fishing life. However, this device does also offer wireless networking, which eliminates the need for cables to transfer data. It can also be paired with a smartphone for both notifications and data transfer.

Real-time mapping allows for the preloaded maps on the Elite-9 Ti2 to be updated, as well as unmapped areas to be added easily and stored on an SD card (the device has one micro SD card slot). The Genesis Live mapping feature allows for tracking and storing of high definition depth contours, accurate to half a foot. The Genesis Live mapping feature also gives users control over the appearance of the map, allowing for customization of contour transparency, density, and depth, and safety shading color palettes. The color palette control is particularly useful for clearly showing fish targets that might otherwise blend into the background.

Main Features:

  • 9 inch display
  • High resolution touchscreen
  • Built-in US inland charts
  • Live onscreen mapping
  • Wireless networking and connectivity
  • CHIRP and Broadband Sounder
  • Quick access control bar
  • Enhanced surface clarity

In addition to GPS, the Elite-9 Ti2 also comes with C-Map Easy Routing and Navionics. These features allow for easy route planning. The GPS can detect the fastest and safest course for a boat to take. Unfortunately, some of these features, such as auto routing, are only available through a subscription which does include ad extra cost.

Because of its size, the Elite-9 Ti2 is less portable than smaller models, making it less ideal for smaller vessels with limited space. Because of its advanced features, this model is more commonly recommended to users with at least some experience with fish finder devices. For more advanced users, however, it does offer a good number of features for a competitive price.

The Elite-9 Ti2 US Inland, Active Imaging 3-in-1 fishfinder is quoted on the Lowrance website for $899. The mount type is gimbal bracket or dash flush. The device has an IPX rating of 7 with the card door closed.

Pros:

  • Touchscreen
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Live mapping
  • Large display
  • FishReveal Smart Target View
  • SD card slot
  • SolarMax display

Cons:

  • Low durability
  • Lower screen resolution than other models
  • Transducer is sold separately

Full Review: LOWRANCE Elite-9 Ti² US Inland, Active Imaging 3-in-1

2. HUMMINBIRD Helix 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2

With a display of 5 inches and a pixel matrix of 800×480 with a 16-bit color TFT, the LCD screen of the HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 fishfinder from Humminbird brings bright, clear images to the user. The device comes with a multifaceted sonar and imaging load out. With 2D sonar in the 200/455kHz range and Down Imaging in the 455/800kHz range this model is suited to help with vertical fishing. Furthermore, this model is used by bass and bluegill fishermen with proven success.

This device provides a clear readout from the transducer to the screen to give an image of the underwater terrain. The HELIX 5 has top of the line software. If you’re shopping with a tight budget, this device provides decent capabilities at a money-saving price range between $250.00 and $400.00 USD. Other fishfinders with the same specs can range into the thousands.

The live mapping feature adds customization options to preexisting maps as well as the creation of all new maps. With an eight-hour recording time and a micro SD memory card or Mapping card, the user can keep new maps and save alterations to made to preexisting maps. This device is compatible with Lake Master, Navonics and Hot Maps software. The HELIX 5 comes with the Humminbird basemap built-in, providing users the tools to identify objects like buoys, daymarkers, marinas, depth markers, and more. Additionally, this basemap includes charts of 10,000+ lakes and coastal coverage (U.S. only).

Main Features:

  • 5-inch LCD Screen
  • 2D Sonar and Imaging
  • Live Mapping
  • Memory Card Slot
  • Down Imaging
  • GPS

The user can use the GPS and live mapping feature to safely navigate through waterways. By identifying submerged debris and any rocks or vegetation this device will help you see even in the murkiest waters. The Helix 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2 model is popular with small vessel fishermen as it’s a rather compact fishfinder but doesn’t sacrifice efficiency or software.

New features available with the model are as follows. The GPS enabled models are all updated with new CHIRP 2D sonar and Imaging. There have been improvements to the keypad user interface. Now the user can toggle frequency, sonar sensitivity and set waypoints by the press of a button. The user manual gives an in-depth tutorial on the differences of this model’s UI and how best to implement the changes to your benefit.

Pros:

  • Has down imaging and side imaging for less than $1000 USD
  • Is hardy and reliable
  • Has Auto Chart Live
  • Simple User Interface

Cons:

  • This device is not portable
  • Non-GPS enabled models do not have the CHIRP 2D Sonar or Imaging
  • Smaller device would not be best used in a larger vessel
  • No battery saver mode

Full Review: HUMMINBIRD Helix 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2

3. GARMIN ECHOMAP Plus 73 cv

The ECHOMAP Plus 73 cv fishfinder from Garmin has a bright, 7” touchscreen (key assisted) readable even in direct sunlight. Preloaded LakeVü g3 maps with integrated Navionics data provides detailed underwater visuals for 17,000+ freshwater lakes, rivers, and reservoirs with contours up to 1’ (as well as landmarks such as interstates, bridges, designated fishing areas, etc.). The device can create personalized fishing maps using Quickdraw Contours mapping software. To purchase and download new charts from OneChart, use built-in wi-fi to pair to Garmin’s ActiveCaptain app, through which you can also access smart notifications, communities on the app, and Quickdraw data. The ECHOMAP Plus 73 cv fishfinder is easy to handle since it has a quick-release bail mount and power cords plug directly into the mount. Transom and trolling motor mounts are included.

The sonar capabilities of this device include two types of Garmin sonar combined into a single GT22 transducer. Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar produces clear target separation and definition. Garmin CHIRP sonar has an edge because it specifically puts more energy onto a target than traditional sonar. Meanwhile, Garmin CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar produces almost photographic images of the world below the boat, showing clear structure, submerged objects, and fish. Traditional sonar support for Minn Kota and MotorGuide trolling motors with integrated transducers is still provided. Additionally, the device is compatible with Panoptix sonar.

Main Features:

  • 7-inch LCD Screen
  • WiFi – Enabled
  • Quickdraw Contours (Live Mapping)
  • LakeVüg3
  • Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar/ClearVü Down Imaging
  • GPS

Besides its sonar capabilities, the ECHOMAP Plus 73 cv is heavy on the software. The Quickdraw Contours mapping software is perfect for those interested in making their own maps. These maps can be shared on the Quickdraw Community on Garmin Connect. The ActiveCaptain mobile app provides direct connection between a compatible mobile device and chartplotter. maps, and the ActiveCaptain community. There’s also a Garmin SailAssist feature that shows laylines, wind rose and heading, and course-over-ground lines.

This device can share sonar, waypoints, and routes with other ECHOMAP Plus 7” and 9” and ECHOMAP Ultra 10” and 12” devices.

The ECHOMAP Plus 73 cv is available on the Garmin website for $599.99 USD—potentially less costly than other models, like the HELIX series. ‘In the box’ comes the ECHOMAP Plus 73 cv with LakeVü g3, the GT22HW-TM transducer, its power/data cable, the tilt/swivel mount with quick release cradle, a flush mount, a protective cover, hardware, and documentation. Not all fishfinders come with a corresponding transducer, so this bundle is valuable. Additionally, while it may take some time for a new fishfinder user to become familiar with the interface, for so much software and versatility provided by this fishfinder, $600 is a reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Very portable
  • CHIRP traditional sonar has an edge on other sonar
  • Has personalized live mapping
  • Sonar capabilities compatible with other trolling motors
  • Community focused, app provides access to helpful data

Cons:

  • No battery saver mode
  • Small device would not be used well in a larger vessel
  • Only one SD cart slot
  • Requires wi-fi to access many of its unique features
  • Software takes time and practice to use easily

Full Review: GARMIN ECHOMAP Plus 73 cv

4. HUMMINBIRD Helix 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N

The HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N by Humminbird is an undoubtedly high-quality fishfinder. The device comes equipped with several advanced features, not to mention a high degree of personalization. The 7 inch screen provides a high definition, 16-bit, colorful display. LED backlighting provides additional visibility in poor conditions. With IPX rating of 7, the HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N is also waterproof to a depth of 3.3 feet for up to 30 minutes. While there is no touchscreen on this model, it does have a built-in keypad. In addition, the large screen display offers the user-friendly ability to activate split-screen mode which can show multiple sonar scans at the same time for maximum data communication.

This fishfinder has a huge range of sonar capabilities. Advanced sonar readings from the HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N are presented using DualBeam Plus technology, in combination with Side and Down Imaging. This fishfinder also uses CHIRP technology to provide the user with clearer sonar readings. As described previously, CHIRP technology uses a range of frequencies when transmitting signal into water, which acts to separate targets and reduce the image clutter.

There are additionally several different sonar settings on the HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N. The model comes with a conical beam transducer that operates at 60° for 83 kHz and 20° for 200 kHz. The transducer can reach a depth of up to 1,500 feet for the DualBeam Plus sonar, and 150 feet for the Side and Down Imaging. If so desired, an upgraded 50/200 capable transducer can be purchased separately which increases the maximum depth to 2,500 feet. The Side Imaging beams are able to reach up to 240 feet in both directions.

Main Features:

  • CHIRP Side and Down Imaging
  • CHIRP Digital Sonar (dual beam)
  • Bluetooth and ethernet connectivity
  • Built-in cartography
  • 7 inch, high definition display
  • Micro SD card slot
  • Built-in GPS

In addition to those listed above, the HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N includes an array of other useful features. The model comes with Selective Fish ID+ technology and Fish alarms, as well as Sonar Recording, SwitchFire, Split Zoom, and Bottom Lock. The user can also take screenshots as needed and store them on the micro SD card.

A unique feature of this model is its built-in GPS and navigation tools with accuracy to 2.5 meters. The HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N comes with AutoChart Live which allows for depth contour scans and map building. Not only that, but the device also comes preloaded with UniMap charts. While these are very basic maps, they do cover the contiguous US coastline, as well as inland lakes. The device is also compatible with several more advanced mapping cards such as LakeMaster and SmartStrike.

Pros:

  • High quality imaging
  • Split screen feature
  • Both side and down imaging
  • Real-time map creation
  • CHIRP sonar

Cons:

⦁ No unit cover

The HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N is no longer for sale on the Humminbird website but can be found on other platforms including Amazon.

Full Review: HUMMINBIRD Helix 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2N

5. HUMMINBIRD Helix 9 CHIRP MEGA SI+ G3N

The Helix 9 CHIRP MEGA SI+ G3N is one of the more advanced fishfinders available. The 9 inch display provides high quality images and the model is easily personalized by the user. It has a compact design for its size, especially compared to other devices with similar display sizes. Because of its relatively small size, this model is portable and easy to install. Dual SD card slots also allow for updates to be easily installed.

The screen has high resolution and is easily visible in good and poor conditions alike. One bonus feature is the glass bonding over the screen which reduces the glare as well as protects the screen from damage and general wear and tear.

Modern CHIRP technology as well as DualBeam SwitchFire allows for customizable sonar image readings that can be switched from a broad (Max setting) look scan to a much less cluttered and more detailed (Clear setting) view with ease. The Max view reads at 83 kHz and the Clear view is at 200 kHz. Clear is generally better for targeted sonar, while Max is better for wide searches in deeper waters. SwitchFire Sonar also allows for customized dual display and reads for depth, water and temperature, as well as turbulence. In addition, Down Imaging+ provides boosted clarity images up to 200 feet deep, while Side Imaging+ does the same for 200 feet to either side.

Main Features:

  • 9 inch display
  • MEGA Side and Down Imaging+
  • Built-in GPS Mapping
  • Bluetooth and ethernet connectivity
  • AutoChart Live with depth
  • Built-in Humminbird Basemap
  • LakeMaster and Navionics compatible

The Helix 9 CHIRP MEGA SI+ G3N also comes with built-in GPS navigation which also tells the user their travel speed. The Helix 9 comes with the Humminbird basemap built-in, providing users the tools to identify objects like buoys, daymarkers, marinas, depth markers, and more. Additionally, this basemap includes charts of 10,000+ lakes and coastal coverage (U.S. only). The device can also be programmed with up to 45 different routed and up to 2,750 waypoints. The Helix 9 CHIRP MEGA SI+ G3N is LakeMaster and Navionics compatible. This means detailed LakeMaster maps can easily be uploaded to it as well as detailed cartography regions. These upgraded maps are available for a variety of fresh and saltwater locations.

The AutoChart Live feature allows the user to create maps of fishing spots in realtime which can be saved on the SD cards and accessed later. It also measures depth contouring and bottom hardness and is able to record for up to eight hours.

Pros:

  • Vegetation and bottom hardness mapping
  • High definition display
  • Two micro SD slots
  • Sleek design
  • 360° imaging
  • Dual-beam sonar

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Complicated set-up for those new to fish finder devices

Full Review: HUMMINBIRD Helix 9 CHIRP MEGA SI+ G3N

6. LOWRANCE HDS 7 Gen 3

The HDS 7 Gen 3 fish finder from Lowrance is one of the best value for money fish finders on the market. It includes both standard features as well as a few bonus features, all offered for a relatively low price. The HDS 7 Gen 3 has a 7-inch display with 480×800 pixel resolution, WVGA color, and LCD backlighting which ensures the screen is easy to read in any conditions. The split-screen is more advanced than many models, allowing for three screens to be shown at once instead of the standard two. The screen can also be angled easily thanks to the mobile mount set up.

The unit is waterproof and has a sleek design. One unique feature is that the HDS 7 Gen 3 has both a touchscreen and a keypad. This allows for controls to be accessed easily even if the user’s hands are wet or they are wearing gloves. Another attraction of this model is that even the more advanced features can be accessed quickly and easily, making it an ideal unit for both beginners and pros alike.

The sonar on the HDS 7 Gen 3 is standard for a model of its size and price. It utilizes CHIRP imaging technology which, as discussed previously, uses multiple frequencies at once to make targets clearer and to lower the level of background clutter in the sonar readings. The HDS 7 Gen 3 also has StructureScan and DownScan imaging. StructureScan, or side imaging, gives the user a clear 180° sonar sweep on both sides of their boat. DownScan, or down imaging, scans below the boat to a depth of about 1,000 feet. The frequencies on this model are also standard. The CHIRP frequency ranges are 40-60 kHz, 85-145 kHz, and 130-210 kHz. The StructureScan frequency range is 455-800 kHz.

Main Features:

  • 7 inch display
  • WVGA color screen with LCD backlighting
  • Waterproof
  • GPS capabilities
  • Touchscreen and keypad controls
  • Wireless connectivity
  • 2 SD card slots
  • CHIRP imaging

The HDS 7 Gen 3 also has very versatile GPS capabilities. While it is not nearly as advanced as some more expensive fish finders, the HDS 7 Gen 3 can be programed with up to 200 routes and 5,000 waypoints, and comes with pre-loaded maps. The storage can be easily accessed and upgraded with the two micro SD card slots. Unique to the HDS 7 Gen 3 is the cloud-accessed GoFree feature. GoFree allows for map sharing between nearby users. This is helpful for sharing waypoints especially, which tell users where fish are in the body of water.

The HDS 7 Gen 3 is also a wireless fish finder, which means it has the bonus feature of being able to receive new data without being connected to a computer. This is especially useful in open waters. The unit also comes with an internal memory of 7.8 GB, but up to two SD cards can be added to increase the storage by 32 GB.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Multitouch control
  • Split-screen feature
  • Built-in GPS
  • StructureScan and DownScan imaging
  • GoFree map sharing feature

Cons:

  • None
  • Learning curve for interface

The HDS 7 Gen 3 fishfinder is available on the Lowrance website for $649. Additional specs include one ethernet port, a two year warranty, Bluetooth and Wif-fi capability, 7.8 GB of internal storage, and an IPX rating of 7. The device can also receive Sirius XM radio via WM-3.

Full Review: LOWRANCE HDS 7 Gen 3

7. LOWRANCE Hook 4X with DownScan Transducer

The Hook 4X with DownScan Transducer from Lowrance is a small, affordable fish finder with a decent number of features, several of which are . It has a simple and easy to use interface, good for both beginners and those who are more experienced. It is a durable and compact model with keypad controls, making it ideal for small boats with limited space.

The 4.3-inch screen provides a full color picture with a high level of detail and Advanced Signal Processing, which is a feature unique to Lowrance products. It comes with a triple split-screen feature as well as eight preset display options. However, the size of the screen is somewhat limiting, especially when the split-screen feature is in use.

Unique to the Hook 4X is a Hybrid Dual Imaging system. It combines two technologies: DownScan Imaging and a broadband sounder, both of which are award winning and developed by Lowrance in order to generate a high-quality, more broad picture with minimal clutter or background noise. The Hook 4X also uses two synchronized CHIRP sonar ranges to separate targets and reduce background noise. The multiple frequencies in CHIRP sonar enable it to separate grey areas and sharpen the image and reduce noise. This unit also comes with DownScan Overlay technology developed exclusively for Lowrance. The technology overlays the DownScan sonar onto the broadband sounder display. This separates fish targets from the background environment, making sure no false positives are given by vegetation or noise. It’s also completely customizable to help the user shift through different color palettes. It also comes with built in noise filters for an even clearer picture and more accurate target separation.

Main Features:

  • 4-inch display
  • Dual CHIRP sonar
  • Advanced signal display
  • 3 split-screen modes
  • Noise filters
  • Keypad controls
  • Hybrid dual imaging technology

The Hook 4X comes with Trackback software already installed, which automatically stores the sonar readings while in use. It works in combination with the chart plotting feature to allow the user to mark waypoints for later reference. This is a very useful feature, especially for this model as the Hook 4X does not have GPS capabilities. It does save previously visited locations, but a separate GPS would be needed for navigation. There are also no SD card slots on the model meaning the storage is very limited. It also doesn’t have wireless connectivity, so the only way to free up storage without deleting data is to connect it to a computer.

The Hook 4X is a very portable fish finder, small enough to fit in the average tackle box. This makes it ideal for those who are renting boats, as well as those using smaller kayaks or canoes. At the end of the day, the Hook 4X is most ideal for beginners and intermediate fishers who have limited space and value portability and affordability. The limited features and small screen make it less useful to more advanced user.

Pros:

  • 2D CHIRP Sonar
  • Hybrid technology
  • Portable
  • Affordable
  • HDI Transducer included
  • Beginner friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Small display
  • No SD card slot
  • No GPS
  • Limited storage

The Hook 4X with DownScan Transducer is currently available for the fair price of $149 on the Lowrance website. This is about what you’d expect for such limited features, but again—this fishfinder would be best suited to beginning and intermediate anglers looking to up their fish finding ability.

Full Review: LOWRANCE Hook 4X with DownScan Transducer

8. GARMIN STRIKER Plus 4 cv

The STRIKER Plus 4 cv has a bright, 4.3” interface readable even in direct sunlight. The STRIKER Plus 4 cv allows users to create personalized fishing maps using Quickdraw Contours mapping software (which can store up to 2 million acres of High Definition data up to 1’ contours—a storage amount unrivaled in other fishfinders). Other main features include the GPS featuring Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar and Garmin CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar. A unique feature of this device is its water resistance. With an IPX rating of 7, the display can be submerged for 30 minutes in a depth up to 3 feet and emerge undamaged. On the topic of displays—the STRIKER Plus 4 cv has a split-screen mode so users can simultaneously see underwater and their location. The screen resolution is 480 x 230 pixels.

The sonar capabilities of the STRIKER Plus 4 cv featured by its built-in GPS include two types of Garmin sonar combined into a single GT20-TM transducer. This combination allows for maximum versatility in various sizes/depths of bodies of water. Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar produces clear target separation and definition. Garmin CHIRP sonar has an edge because it specifically puts more energy onto a target than traditional sonar. Meanwhile, Garmin CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar produces almost photographic images of the world below the boat, showing clear structure, submerged objects, and fish. The larger screen allows a larger view in clear resolution. Not only does the STRIKER Plus 4 cv convey water depth, but also water temperature.

Main Features:

  • 4.3-inch screen
  • Quickdraw Contours
  • Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar/ClearVü Down Imaging
  • GPS

The GPS can additionally create routes, communicate boat speed, and mark and direct to waypoints. The latter enables users to return to hotspots previously visited for greatest success!

If you are looking to stay within your budget, the STRIKER 4 cv is available on the Garmin website for $179.99 USD– potentially less costly than other models, like the ECHOMAP Plus 73 cv, which is listed for a couple hundred more. ‘In the box’ comes the STRIKER Plus 4cv fishfinder, the GT20-TM transducer, its power/data cable, the title/swivel mount, hardware, and documentation (a protective covering is also included with a one-year warranty). With all of the software features contained in this compact fishfinder, the price is quite fair, especially compared to the far more limited features of the Hook 4X. That this device comes with the corresponding transducer is a plus (since other fishfinders listed in this buying guide do not include a transducer, increasing the price).

Pros:

  • Very portable
  • CHIRP sonar
  • Has customizable live mapping
  • Waterproof(to a point)
  • Low price

Cons:

  • No battery included
  • No quick installation
  • Small device would not be used well in a larger vessel
  • Software takes time and practice use easily
  • A little heavy

Full Review: GARMIN STRIKER Plus 4 cv

General Information

Fishfinders have come a long way since first conception. The devices first used in recreational boating used a fathometer—a type of echo sounder—to obtain rough estimates of depth. That’s it. None of the convenience included in fishfinders of today existed in those early ‘finders’. Eventually, cathode ray tubes were combined with fathometers to produce fishfinders, and as cathode ray tubes were replaced by LCDs in the 90s, fishfinders became used regularly in sporting and hobby fishing.

Modern technology included in finders today allows a high degree of integration between marine radar, compass, GPS, and the fishfinder system. Better imaging of underwater objects and views of the sides of the boat and downwards of the boat allow easy location of underwater structures and objects. Many finders have charting capabilities and color LCDs. High end fishfinders even offer storage for maps and waypoints.

Clearly, there’s a lot to choose from. To get the best bang for your buck, you should consider what your fishfinder needs are. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What kind of fishing do you do? What type of water do you typically fish?
  • What kind of sonar are you interested in?
  • How big is your boat? What size fishfinder do you want?
  • Are you interested in having a network fishfinder?

It can be helpful to understand what features are included in fishfinders. Below, you’ll find descriptions of such features.

Display specs

Screen size (measured diagonally)

Larger screens may be visible from farther away. If you have a large boat and want to be able to easily read the screen of your finder from anywhere on the boat, you may be interested in a finder with a larger screen. Additionally, larger screens may offer the ability to use a split-screen mode to display more than one type of data at a time.

Resolution

Obviously, more pixels per square inch of screen will provide better detail of underwater structures and objects. The more pixels, the higher the resolution. However, high resolution isn’t really useful if you can’t read the screen, so make sure any fishfinder you’re interested in can be read under direct sunlight.

Sonar

⦁ CHIRP stands for Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse. Devices that use CHIRP transmit a signal that sweeps over a large range of frequency ranges, as opposed to transmitting a few frequencies. This type of wide-band, frequency-modulated, pulsed signal puts many times more energy into water than conventional technology. As a result, CHIRP allows exceptional resolution in imaging and better target detection—in effect, achieving a high degree of accuracy in which you may see individual fish (even in groups) instead of a single mass. Additionally, CHIRP devices can reach depths of up to 10,000 feet. And, because CHIRP devices can transmit simultaneously low and high frequencies, less fish-disturbing noise is generated (by the low frequency) to sound at greater depths, while still allowing sharp detail (from the high frequency) at shallow to moderate depths. Higher frequencies also allow image capture from high-speed boats.

⦁ Consider what depth you typically fish. Is your typical depth quite deep, or shallow to moderate? If you fish in shallow to moderate depths, you’ll need sonar that transmits at higher frequencies, and vice versa for greater depths. You may not need a broad-spectrum transmitter.

Networked System

⦁ High-end fishfinders often offer some degree of networkability. These devices may be equipped with Bluetooth or wi-fi capabilities that allow control from a smartphone. Several devices may be linked together to form a network—which can be useful for larger vessels. Additionally, networked systems may have data sources from which users can download charts, routes, and more. However, this feature may add to the cost of the device.

Who Should Buy a Kayak Fish Finder?

Fish finders aren’t a necessity for every angler. Kayak fishers especially tend to fish in shallow waters, where a fish finder might actually become a hinderance. If the water is to shallow, the sonar might get blurred by the reflections and become unreadable. So, kayak fishermen should make sure they will get use out their fish finder before they buy them. A kayaker who fishes in deep lakes or rivers is going to be much happier using a fish finder than one who mostly stays in the shallows. Kayak fishermen should also be careful about buying a fish finder that isn’t right for their trips.

You should only buy a fish finder if you’re ready to buy the right one. If you need one with GPS capabilities, but don’t want to pay for it, then maybe it isn’t the right time to get one as you’ll only end up spending more to replace it later. Kayak fish finders are an incredibly useful tool for most fishermen, amateurs and professionals alike. Kayak fish finders are often a great option for those who need their fish finder to be lightweight and portable. They are designed to fit in the limited space of a kayak, so they work very well on other small boats as well.

Their portability also makes them ideal for users who rent boats as oppose to owning them. They are simple to set up and simple to remove from a boat, which is great for temporary set ups. Kayak fish finders are usually great for beginners, because they have simple interfaces and not too many extra features. If you only need a fish finder with a few solid features and not much else, a kayak fish finder is the way to go. They are normally very durable devices, designed to handle the splashes caused from being close to the water in a kayak, making them very long-lasting for most buyers. They’re probably not ideal for more advanced users who need more features or more detailed sonar.

Kayak fish finders are a great tool for fishermen who catch their own live bait. It’s not uncommon for bait to be suspended in a water column which can easily be located by a broadband sounder. If you have trouble finding bait sometimes, a simple kayak fish finder could be a great solution to your frustration. Kayak fish finders are also useful to those who are trying to catch a specific species in a diverse population. The sonar from kayak fish finders can differentiate between species of fish and have a water temperature tracking feature which can help you get to the right area for the fish species you want to catch.

Why Do I Need a Kayak Fish Finder?

Simply put, no one absolutely needs a kayak fish finder, but they do make fishing a lot easier and lot more fun. A kayak fish finder will keep you from missing all the fish below you and makes sure you don’t end up empty handed. With a kayak fish finder, you’re much less likely to spend all day on the water and come home with nothing to show for it.

Many units come with a GPS built-in, meaning huge advantages for the user. Not only easy navigation to prevent you from getting lost, but waypoint programming capabilities allow you to save locations with fish populations. Not only does using a fish finder save time by finding fish on your first trip, but it can save those locations so you can easily come back to them. Kayak fish finders are also great for keeping you safe in the water.

Many models are able to scan for hazards under the surface so you can avoid them. They can also scan for depth and reef structure, giving a clearer idea of where you should be fishing. Fish alarms are also a great time saver and help to interpret the sonar readings for you, so you don’t miss a fish as it goes by. Kayak fish finders are great for finding the habitat you want to fish in, especially for beginners. There are a huge variety of fish finders on the market, and most people don’t need to shell out $1,000 for a top of the line model. There are plenty of times when the most expensive model might be the best option, but for the average fisherman, and especially a beginner, a simple, durable kayak fish finder will make sure you don’t have nearly as many unsuccessful fishing trips.

They be a bit of an investment, but they pay off in the long run by drastically increasing your success rate. Kayak fish finders are a great asset for night fishers as well. Even in shallow water, sight is very limited at night meaning night fishers are almost fishing blind. Using a kayak fish finder eliminates the frustration from blindly casting into the dark. The safety factor of kayak fish finders is even more important for night fishers as well. A kayak fish finder with a GPS can keep you from getting lost, and bottom scanning can warn you of hazards in your path. Fish finders in general are a great tool to make your fishing trips more successful, and kayak fish finders in particular are a great option for those with smaller vessels to have access the same technology or similar for a lower price. While no, they aren’t strictly necessary, using a kayak fish finder is a great way to find the fish you are looking for quickly and easily.

Conclusion

In the end, having any fishfinder is going to improve your fishing experience by at the very least allowing you to see underwater to make sure you haven’t entered an area unsafe for a boat. If you know what your typical fishing habits are, you can better judge what features you’d like in a fishfinder and weigh those features against price.

For some features, such as resolution, you get what you pay for (the more, the better). Many major brands offer their own type of software for charting or accessing data from a community that uses the same product. Depending on whether or not you’d like to make your own charts, this may be a valuable feature. If you are interested in making your own charts, you should consider how detailed you’d like to make them (i.e. look at fishfinders that have the ability to display contours up to 1 foot).

Perhaps the most essential feature (besides sonar) of all fishfinders is GPS, so you may be interested in a device that is more pared-down in the software arena. Don’t worry if you didn’t see a finder you liked or wasn’t priced out of your budget. There are many brands offering many finders, so you are sure to find one perfect for your needs.

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