Whether you enjoy fishing old school or prefer to have every updated gadget known to mankind, a fish finder is certainly well-worth your investment. Used to locate fish in the water, a fish finder can take the more tedious, unproductive guesswork out of fishing, often utilizing SONAR technology, Sound Navigation and Ranging.
Fish finders are great for leisure or for sport hunters, and come in a variety of options and specifications. They often vary by display size, resolution, color vs greyscale, power, sonar frequency, standalone functions, and versatility.
Finding a fish finder that works for you is a difficult task, especially considering the number of products that have saturated the markets over the years. Below, we’ve detailed a comprehensive guide to ten of the best and handiest fish finders in the market. Regardless of if you are beginner just getting your pole wet, or a seasoned expert trying to up his ante and angle for some more serious expeditions.
1. GARMIN STRIKER 4 Fish Finder
Light in your wallet and easy on the docks as well, the Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder is one of the best options available to newer fishers, providing great quality for the price point. Known for its intuitive screen and interface, the Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder makes finding fish simpler than ever with its 3.5-inch color display. It has a built in high-sensitivity GPS which permits marking hot spots, boat ramps and docks, great for travel boaters. This portable gadget has many unique functions that are often reserved for more pricey fish finders, such as heading, water temperature, GPS speed, and ETA. The Smooth Scaling™ graphics deliver uninterrupted images. Included with its Sonar history it provides the ability to never miss waypoints by scrolling back thorough sonar images.
Included in the Fish Finder the Garmin CHIRP transducer adds a greater level of visibility and detail for fish and structure than traditional 77/200 kHz transducers. This readies the user to see enhanced subsurface images. Ranging from low to high, CHIRP sends an uninterrupted range of frequencies and interprets each individually. The CHIRP sonar technology allows for superior target separation.
- 3.5” 480 x 320 color fish finder
- Built-in high sensitivity GPS
- 200 watts of transmitting power for a maximum rated depth of 1600’
- Ability to find fish, mark and return to hot spots, docks and ramps
- CHIRP (77/200kHz) sonar transducer
- transmit power of 200 Watts RMS/1600 Watts peak to peak
- IPX7 waterproof protection rating
Stiker™ Fish Finders are loaded with built in high sensitivity non mapping GPS. This allows the ability to maintain GPS location anywhere on the water, and label places where fish are biting. The Fish Finder creates a course on screen making it easy to return to those sites again and again. It also allows the ability to see positions in relation to waypoints marked on the map.
Included with the Striker ™ Fish Finder displays speed rates so you can easily track how fast a boat is traveling. If the boat is traveling at faster speeds the Ultrascroll ® will still display fish targets. Fish targets are identified with a Fish Symbol ID.
Striker supplies a fish finder as well as a built-in flasher. When still, the built-in flasher will display the bottom, the jig or weighted bait, and the depth of the fish as they swim into the sonar beam.
There is also the option to upgrade to high-performance Garmin CHIRP technology, which provides even clearer sonar images. With this upgrade, contours become more noticeable.
- Flasher mode for ice fishing and traditional mode for going out on a lake
- Multiple screen options easy to use
- Good value for price
- Reliable performance
- CHIRP sonar transducer
- Does not have NEMA output
- Voltage sensitive
- Does not show temperature while in GPS mode
- Small screen
- No map
2. iBobber Smart Fish Finder
Effortlessly cast long distances, iBobber is the lightest portable fish finder on the market. At just 2 inches wide it is completely pocket size, a comfortable addition to any fishing expedition. It can be used alone or with a boat-mounted unit. The Fish Finder’s 42°/118kHz sonar takes the guessing out of the fishing experience by reading depths up to 135 ft with a beam width of 233 ft in diameter. The iBobber FishSiren™ frequency technology calls fish to the area, so there are no long waits for fish to start biting.
The iBobber maps bottom contours, waterbeds and locates fish and structures with groundbreaking sonar identifier technology. It has the ability to detect a fish and mark it based on size. The iBobber offers GPS spot tagging with an interactive map allowing marking of different fish and the ability to save GPS locations with ease. The battery holds 10+ hours of life, making it the longest lasting on the market, perfect for long days on the boat. The battery is also completely rechargeable.
The iBobber fish finder’s versatility is also one of its biggest claims to fame in the fish finder market. Utilizable for nearly all types of fishing, from ice fishing to freshwater, your experiences with this device will not only be effective and affordable, but convenient as well. This fish finder is a great tool for fishermen of all skill levels and experience.
- FishSiren™ calls fish
- Rechargeable battery
- LED beacon light for night fishing
- Built in thermometer
- Sensitive Strike alarm notifies when fish nibble or bite
- Fish Alarm
- Waterbed Mapping
- Trip Log
- Includes USB charger and carrying pouch
- Depth-tagged fish icons color coded by size
This Smart Fish Finder is unique in its smart device compatibility for devices up to 100 feet away. Able to sync up to Bluetooth, it will project contoured images effortlessly, making your expedition a breeze. The iBobber delivers a Bluetooth Smart® Sync and is compatible with any iPhone, iPad, or Android device. The free app downloadable from the Apple Store or Google Play enhances the fishing experience from any watercraft, dock, or coastline and even works when the cell signal is 100 feet away. The graphics on the app are innovative and stunning. The device delivers a weather forecast and up-to-date lunar calendar allowing the ability to stay informed of water depths and feeding times for fish. It gives sunrise and sunset times as well as temperature, rain, and barometer. The trip log allows saving and uploading all preferred fishing spots and allows sharing on favorite social media platforms. The LED light allows for those who enjoy fishing later into the evening to stay out and do so.
- Castable fish finder
- Customizable display
- Accurate water temperature and depth mapping
- Highest 42-degree angle on the market
- Small, portable
- Syncs to devices effortlessly
- Easy to set up
- Does not operate well beyond 4 feet of depth
- Not very practical for ice fishing
- Needs to be charged often
- May disconnect if smartphone receives a call
3. LOWRANCE FishHunter Pro Fish Finder
The FishHunter Pro is a fish finding device the size of a tennis ball that floats on the surface of water. It sends sonar views instantly to a smart device though the FishHunter app. It traces the depth of the bottom of a lake or any body of water. The FishHunter pro also detects water temperature, fish location, and lures.
Producing results in real time, the transducer provides a classic RAW view on the FishHunter app. This allows the sonar programming to determine the depth and structure beneath each FishHunter. It has the capacity to map arches in the water, providing a greater ability to find fish.
For novices to sonar technology, the FishHunter app offers a simple view using FishID. This interprets the RAW data for the viewer, removing anything that could hinder the scene and analyzing the bottom structure. Fish ID determines the target with one of three different sized fish icons. The Fish Hunter is also used by many professionals in the fishing industry, whether that mean fishing from the shores or canoes.
- No data connection required
- Buoy-like design
- Multiple views
- Ability to create custom maps
- Integrated LED light
- Supports 381 kHz, 475 kHz and 675 kHz frequencies
Ice Fishing becomes much simpler with the FishHunter Pro. It can withstand temperatures as low as -22°F (-30°C). Due to its durability placing the FishHunter directly on the ice allows the fisherman to know the depth of the water before even drilling a hole. Following digging into the ice, dropping the device in the water will notify if it is a good spot to fish.
If upgrading to the FishHunter 3D the 5-transducer arrangement shows where fish are in relation to the FishHunter. The app shows lifelike images of what is going on beneath the FishHunter. It has 3D capabilities giving more of a chance to fish rather than interpret the screen.
The FishHunter Pro also offers Bathymetric Mapping, forming precise and beautiful custom maps, allows viewing of drop offs, ledges and ditches with precision. It also has the ability of marking fishing spots with waypoints. FishHunter can create custom maps of depth and bottom contour of the area by drifting reeling or trolling it behind the boat, allowing for access to shallow and vegetative spots, with a maximum depth of up to 55 meters, utilizing a sonar cone beam of 381 kHz, 475 kHz, and 675 kHz respectively.
- 10-hour battery life
- Temperature range from -22 °F to 95°F
- Ability to make custom maps
- Compatible with Apple, Android, and smart phones
- Heavy (5.5 ounces)
- 4 hours of initial charge time needed
- New fishers might have a hard time understanding RAW mode
- Intermittent connection drops
4. HUMMINBIRD Helix 5 GPS G2
The Humminbird Helix 5 GPS G2 features a brilliant pixel matrix of 800H x 480V, 5″ 256 color display with backlight, giving it a very clear and sharp image. The screen size is meant to be small to maximize portability. This screen is also sizable enough to split the screen providing you with manageable sizes in the screen of the chart plotter, down imaging, Navionics, or the sonar graph. With the GPS provided, it provides an easy-to-read chart plotter, accompanying that with a traditional toner, and imaging sonar. It also has the capability of live auto-chart capabilities to create your own custom contour charting to fully debrief afterward, this has proven to be one of the more advantageous features with its definitive details. The more recent model even provides for an ice-map section for ice-fishing precision. These maps and displays can be arranged in a multitude of ways on the screen, providing you with tons of visual versatility.
The Humminbird Helix 5 also comes with CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS sonar with 4000 watts PTP power output, precision internal GPS plotting with built-in Anima cartography. The Helix 5 GPS comes with the Compact SI transducer (XNT 9 SI 180 T). The unit will support only 455kHz Side and Down Imaging. Side and Down Imaging fish finders at the price point of the Humminbird are difficult to find, normally selling for a minimum of $1000. You’re maximizing your angling experience and accurately finding fish at a wide range of depths with this purchase, perfect for more dedicated and experienced kayak anglers and small boat fishermen on a budget.
A couple of other great features includes a dedicated mark button that allows you to easily and quickly save a waypoint at the touch of a button. You can also hold the button to sort them to your preferences, such as by distance or time. Although it comes with precision internal GPS Chart Plotting with built-in Anima cartography, it also comes with a micro SD card slot for optional maps and saving those waypoints. Clearly, one of the best investments you can make for graphing.
- 5” Color TFT Display
- Intuitive Reflex interface
- CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS sonar
- 400 watts PTP power output
- Incredible Imaging SONAR
- Mapmaking power of Auto-chart live
- Navionics Gold Cartography
The Humminbird Helix 5 is an extremely popular series for a multitude of reasons, but most notably its overall value. A solidly mid-tier value as far as fish finders go, it is affordable yet gives you the depth and clarity needed to familiarize yourself with the underwater beauty. With so many tools at your disposal, you simply cannot go wrong.
- Bright and high-resolution display
- IP-X7 waterproof rating
- GPS Incorporated
- Versatility and reliability
- No Screen cover
5. Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder
The Vexilar SP200 T-Box is a permanently mounted system that wirelessly connects with your smartphone or tablet to immediately transform it into a state of the art fish finder. With no limit on screen size, or device type, compatible with IOS and Android devices, this makes it a very versatile and affordable option. Once the app is downloaded to your smart device, it instantly becomes a fully functional sonar system.
It is a mounted system that will require access to a 12-volt power supply that isn’t provided with this purchase. You will need to separately purchase a 1 amp in line fuse. If you’re worried that you need cell-phone coverage to use it, then fear not, for it can work anywhere in the world without coverage. Its compatibility is what makes this such a unique and opportune investment. The SonarPhone app is free and creates its own WiFi signal and hotspot. All of the stored data will also be automatically uploaded to the smartphone through the app.
- Active Imaging
- Wireless Networking
- C-MAP Easy Routing
- Smartphone Notifications
- Wireless Connectivity
- Enhanced Display Technology
The app itself has all of the features that you’ll need. When you log on to the app with the condensed transducer wirelessly connect, you see all of the great accessories. It comes with automatic ranging, water temperature and depth indicator, audible alarms for fish, shallow and low batter, fish icon, zoom bottom track, noise rejection, and surface clarity. It has also of the basic features for a suitable fish finder especially if you haven’t It also comes with a battery indicator and a one-year warranty for added security.
While the device does not work over 10 miles per hour, it is known for its accuracy and incredible depth of detail once the most optimal transducer placement has been determined. An outstanding chart plotter, this device is perfectly conceptualized for more experienced users. There is also dual-beam technology constructed into this device. It offers a 200 kHz that lets you see under the water very clearly up to 240 feet below the surface. Using the Vexilar SP200, you can seamlessly identify where fish are lurking underwater. Its accurate fish locating abilities allows to you watch them as you lure them down into deep waters.
This is an excellent alternative if you don’t want to use a more traditionally expensive fish finder. It’s a unique smartphone transducer that is comparable to few other products, making it perfect for any fishing adventure. For what it’s designed to be, it’s worth all the value.
- Vexilar SP200 has built-in dual beam technology
- Compatible with smartphones and tablets
- Wireless transducer
- Two-year warranty
- One-year battery warranty
- Pre-tapped transducer support eye-bolt hole
- Need access to a 12-volt power supply
- App needs to be installed preliminarily
6. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder
With comprehensive and easy to follow along instructions, the HawkEye Fishtrax 1C is an easy-to-use and easy-to-read fish finder designed for experienced and skilled fishermen who can optimally utilize a high-definition experience that best suits their needs. It is very affordable and enables precision monitoring for up to 240 feet. Its sonar sensor is even versatile as its trollable, boat mountable, and floatable leaving it unmatched in portability.
It offers FishArc and FishID indicators with depth targeting and HD down imaging. Also, its algorithmic software programming minimizes false readings to augment your underwater accuracy. It also comes with an assembled alarm that signals the specific presence of a fish giving you the freedom of not keeping your eyes glued to the radar. Fishing is supposed to be fun and the Hawkeye Fishtrax only maximizes that experience.
It includes a glare-free, full color high-definition VirtuView TFTN display with three operating modes: Data, Fish finder, and Ice-More Digital Flasher. The Fish Finder makes the identification of the presence or location of this much easier. It also includes bottom contour, composition, and an accurate display of the depth of water on the easy-to-read HD color display.
The Data Mode simply zooms in to enlarge the visibility of depth, temperature, and battery voltage on the screen, they are capable of pinpointing from several feet away, more than compensating for the smaller sized display screen. You can use this to expand the data while still allowing the fish finder to run in the background so you can search for fish habitats while only seeing what you want on the screen. Run on batteries, newer fishers do not have to worry about running out of power or screen life.
The additional Ice-Mode Digital Flasher allows realtime FishTrax sonar echoes, perfect for luring fish while ice fishing. It has expandable accessories such as mounds, suction cups, display brackets, kayak/boat transducer mounts, ice-shack soft cases. Its versatility acts as a go-anywhere device with its multitude of screen issues that will make it feel limitless, or at least provide you with the choice convenience that you may be seeking at an affordable rate.
- FishTrax intelligent sonar
- VirtuView TFN HD color display with LED Backlight
- HD down imagine
- Expandability with accessories such as mounds, display brackets, and boat transducer mounts.
- FishID indicators
- FishTrax Intelligent Sonar
- Multiple operating modes
The FishTrax 1C also utilizes a user-friendly, dual-beam FishTrax Intelligent Sonar which allows you to adjust the fish finder in a variety of fishing styles or platforms. This comes with two separate airwave frequencies including 200 kHz and 83 kHz that can be applied to shallow or deep waters respectively. It possesses 100 level sensitivity adjustment, multiple depth ranges, and can automatically zoom in for unique bottom tracking. Its integrated fish and depth signals make it quintessential for specific prey targeting. The Hawkeye sets the standard for portability, visibility, and versatility, even ensuring a degree of waterproof capability if the battery compartment door is shut well and greased. Whether you are on a boat, kayak, on the shoreline, or ice fishing, this may be the perfect acquisition to meet your fishing needs.
- Portability and versatility
- Two-year warranty
- Potential short battery-life
- Screen can stall when refreshing
7. HUMMINBIRD PiranhaMax 197c Fish Finder
The Humminbird PiranhaMax 197c-Humminbird Fish Finder boasts an array of features for an affordable price. The low price of this fish finder, as well as its easy set up and uncomplicated settings, makes it a popular choice for both experienced and inexperienced users alike.
The 197c-Humminbird offers basic sonar equipment and a color LCD screen, coming with a mounting bracket and transducer and all other installation equipment necessary. The screen also has LED backlighting, which provides increased visibility in poor conditions such as fog, rain, or direct sunlight. Adjustable screen settings such as contrast and zoom functions make for a personalized display, as well as making the device adaptable to changing conditions. While the 197c-Humminbird does not have advanced sonar settings, the display can be adjusted and personalized easily. The size of the device is additionally ideal for viewing and moving around without the bulkiness that many of its fish finder competitors in the market have.
This fish finder uses dual beam sonar at frequencies of 200/455 kHz and has 16° of conical area coverage for high bottom definition. This device transducer can maximally deliver 1600 watts of energy, perfect for almost any level of fisher. The maximum depth of this fish finder is 600 feet. Selective Fish ID+ technology can also be used, which increases the conical area coverage to 28°. This technology allows the device to interpret the sonar readings automatically and identify fish targets based on the settings put in by the user. Fish ID+ is ideal for those who are new to fish finder devices as it explains the sonar data to the user. It can also save time for more experienced users. This model also offers both a fish alarm, which alerts the user when a fish has been detected by emitting a specific sound, and a depth alarm, which functions in a similar manner.
- 3.5-inch display screen
- Dual beam sonar depth of up to 600 feet
- Keypad control
- Built in temperature sensor
- Fish alarm
- Swivel-tilt mount bracket
- Selective Fish ID+
With a weight of only two pounds, the 197c-Humminbird is both portable and compact. This makes it ideal for smaller freshwater boats or kayaks with limited space. The swivel-tilt mount bracket is also advantageous in smaller boats as it enables the user to adjust the screen to the best possible viewing angle. An in-dash mount can also be purchased separately if desired.
One unique feature of the 197c-Humminbird is its built-in temperature detector. This can be very useful as different species of fish live in different specific temperature ranges. This fish finder automatically tracks the water temperature for the user as the boat moves.
- Color LCD screen with LED backlighting
- Simple to set up and use
- Affordable price
- Portable and compact
- Ideal for inexperienced users
- Adjustable screen display settings
- Versatile mount bracket
- Small screen
- No advanced features
- Low image quality
8. LOWRANCE Hook-3X
The compact Lowrance Hook-3X is an easily accessible device that blends the trusted brand of Lowrance with an affordability that is second to none. The Hook-3x features DownScan imaging making it as comprehensible as possible, even for experienced anglers. It is accompanied with a 3-inch high-resolution 320 x 240 LED color display making it the perfect compact device for any time of the day or night. It has a built-in water temperature sensor and supports 83 or 200kHz frequencies, allowing you to maximize what you see below by quickly adjusting which frequency works best in your current situation. It also has visibility angles of up to 85 degrees and conical coverage as well to the left and right of the device giving you the scope and clarity needed for an optimal fish finder. With the wide-range capability and the dual-frequencies, the functionality of this fish finder will have you thinking you spent much more than you did.
Its transducer is patented and unique, known as the Skimmer transducer. It can track bottom up to speeds of 75 miles per hour, adding to its versatility and flexibility as a fish finder. The size and quick-release adjustments also make it ideal for small boats, kayaks, or canoes. It has a very free and fluid-moving design that makes for quick and efficient adjustments when needed. Also, it comes with ASP, or advanced signal processing, features which eliminates the need for unnecessary adjustments alerting you when needed. Reported waterproof within reason, the Lowrance has been rated at an IPX7 water proof rating, at 1 meter depth for around 30 minutes. It has been reported that its battery life is even longer than expected making it durable not only in its lifetime, but with every individual use. It’s easy to set up and is easy to mount making its portability one of its best assets. With excellent portability comes concerns of accuracy, but fear not, as it has proven to do exactly as intended, find fish.
- 3” High resolution Color LED Display
- LED-backlit color display with a 320 x 240 resolution
- DownScan imaging
- High-speed Skimmer DSI transducer 455/800 kHz
- Built-in water temperature sensor
- DSI Imaging
If you’re a beginner or not in a position to spend a large amount of money for an expensive fish finder then this may be exactly what you need. It is perfect for fishing in smaller lakes or waters that aren’t too deep. With that, it must be noted that there are reports of it not working accurately while moving at fast speeds or at very low depths. For what you pay, the features are very applicable providing you with all of the key elements needed for a practical fish finder.
- Bright and high-resolution display
- IP-X7 waterproof rating
- Low battery drain
- Not designed for extremely deep levels
- Not designed to pick up at fast speeds
- No GPS
9. Venterior Portable Fish Finder
The Venterior Portable is a very easy-to-use and easy-to-setup device that delivers on being an affordable option with a ton to offer, viable for any customer. If you’re a starting angler and don’t know where to begin, this may be the perfect fit as it is designed for a variety of fishing types including ice fishing, shore fishing, and traditional kayak/boat fishing. As soon as you turn it on, it automatically shows you everything you’ll need to know including water depth, estimated fish depth, and different types of terrain that may vary from sand, rocks, or tall weeds. Its portability establishes it as a worthy product on this list, approximating a unit size of about 2.9 by 4.9 inches, no larger than a standard cell phone. It can even be mounted using a standard cell phone stand.
Its adjustable settings provide you with the options of altering its sensitivity, enabling a battery save mode, permitting an inclusive backlight mode, and initiating a fish alarm. These features allow you to eliminate the identification of small fish, extend the battery, fish at night, and provide you with notifications to alert you of when you’ve spotted what you’re looking for. This will ensure you with the flexibility you need to get the best results on your personal adventure. Its size isn’t overbearing allowing you to transport it on an impromptu fishing trip and even is accompanied by a neck strap as a personal attachment. It also comes with a 25 ft. cable and a rubber float, again, making it ideal for kayaking or using a small boat.
Its depth capability allows you to get an accurate read for up to 328 feet from the sonar sensor. It utilizes a sonar frequency at 200kHz with a detectable sensor beam angle of 45 degrees giving it excellent accuracy in deep reading. It is powered by 4 AAA batteries that will last over 5 hours. With a warranty that is covered for 2-years, the risk is minimized making this a suitable choice for a first-time purchase. Depending on the specific model purchased, the FF001E promotion will also save your settings even after being turned off.
- 330’ water depth capability
- TN Anti-UV LCD
- Green LED backlight
- 45 degree sensor beam angle
- Sonar frequency at 200 kHz
At first glance, you may feel this won’t provide you with the optimal settings you need for a serious experience, but after using it once or twice, you’ll get to realize its true value. This is an excellent alternative if you don’t want to use a more traditionally expensive fish finder. Its price and quality are well worth the plunge. It’s a unique sonar transducer that is comparable to few other products, making it a viable option for your angling experience.
- Simple setup
- User selectable adjustments
- Battery powered
- Limited Features and Settings for experienced anglers
- Some accuracy issues
- Water resistant, not waterproof
10. LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder Portable Fishing Kayak
Another very affordable and compact device is the LUCKY Handheld Fisher Finder, perfect for portability and easy-to-manage setup. This sonar transducer optimizes the value that you can find as it very well might be the cheapest option on the market. After seeing its competitive price, it is natural to be skeptical, but this device may truly be all you need. It is versatile in its compatibility as it can be used for sea fishing, shore fishing, kayak fishing, and ice fishing. The simple design adds an additional perk, making it very functionable so you can use it without having to study the manual for hours on end.
It features a 2-inch TN/ANTI-UV LCD display for easy to read visuals evident in the easy-to-monitor bottom contour details. Never again will you wonder whether the bottom is sand, rocks, or weeds as your LCD display will help you obtain a new set of eyes. The LUCKY fish finder has three different contour displays you can choose from to adjust to your ideal. You can alter the sensitivity features to best match your current environment or just your natural preferences, adjusting settings such as sensitivity, measurement units, depth, and more. It is portable and lightweight so its versatility is heavily expandable making it ideal for floating on top of the water, attaching it to your kayak, and can even be handled with ice fishing.
The fish finder has a conical detector range of 45 degrees underwater and can reach depths from 3ft. to 328 ft. below the device. The water depth can be navigated to switch between feet or meters, whichever your preference. It also is accompanied by a 25 ft. cable and a removable float. It can be cast with the cord to about 50 feet out in water. It has a 2-inch LCD display attached with a blue LED back-lighting making it usable at different times in the day.
- 2-inch TN/ANTI-UV LCD Display
- Blue LED Back-lighting
- 328’ water depth capability
- 45 degree sensor beam angle
- Sonar frequency at 200 kHz
- Battery powered
Due to its competitive price, expect it to take a minute, or two, to calibrate, but after it gains momentum, then you’ll really get to see the value. By utilizing sonar technology, it can get very accurate measurements of distance for things you typically couldn’t see underwater. The sonar works in almost any kind of water, even if it is murky and muddy. It is portable and lightweight so its versatility can be heavily utilized making it ideal for floating on top of the water, attaching it to your kayak, and can even come in handy with ice fishing. Traditionally, it is best used in small lakes, rivers, and even canals. If any of these match what you’re looking for, then look no further, the Lucky Handheld is the right buy for you.
- Portability and versatility
- Quick setup
- Two-year warranty
- Potential short battery-life
- Screen can stall when refreshing
Which Fish Finder is Best for Me?
Buying fish finders can often get quite technical very quickly. This guide above helps break down the functions into digestible terms and specifications to help you find out what will work best for you. It is important to keep in mind the kind of water you wish to fish in (i.e. salt, fresh, ice), at what location and environment, as well as your experience level before committing to a pricier fish finder. Remembering that some fish finders are meant to mount permanently, while others focus on portability may make the distinction for you.
Also take into account the transducers necessary, beam and cone angels, and screen displays as per your preferences. Screen color, resolution, and size can often be a source of frustration or joy on the part of the fisher. Lastly, keep in mind your budget. More expensive gadgets come outfitted with better sonar, Side imaging and Down Imaging as well, with water resistance, Bluetooth capabilities, and multiple frequency settings.
While these features can be incredibly handy in shallower waters, providing more details, and overall handedness, if not necessary for your expedition, a more novice fish finder may be ideal. At the end of the day, fishing is an opportunity to relax, get away from the hustle and bustle of life, and take some time to enjoy yourself.
Be sure to look carefully into the pros and cons of each fish finder detailed above to ensure that it fits with the ambience of your fishing expeditions and adventures from day one, using technology to make your life easier without breaking your piggy bank! Below is a compilation about the more technical aspects of each model to help even new users understand the differences between each fish finder model and type as well as navigate the waters.
The Basics: How Will a Fish Finder Really Help Me?
Fish finders are normally small, somewhat-portable devices that use frequency signals to detect location and topography. When frequency waves bounce off of the nearby water, fish, and landscape below, the gadget in your hand will be able to tell you based on the speed and incidence of the returned wave what exactly is below you. While the science of it is fascinating, (I’m sure most physicists will agree), it is not very vital to the purchasing process. However, it is important to note that these frequency waves, depending on the Hertz (high, low, numerical) emitted from the device, will result in different and varying degrees of accuracy.
More advanced devices will also provide thermal and color imaging as well as build a detailed image of the bottom of the body of water you are on as you map it out. However, it does come with increased cost to be able to put together a topography at faster speeds. There is a maximal speed that the device will no longer be able to produce accurate pictures at.
What Is a Transducer and Why Do I Need One?
A transducer is simply the basis of the frequency emission system in your fishfinder. It allows the sound waves that are returned to your fishfinder to be interpreted on the screen and displayed in a readable manner so that you can interpret it.
Similar to a microphone and sound absorber, it converts the frequency waves as needed into electrical output. Most of the time, a transducer is simply receiving input. The better your transducer, the higher quality images and detail you will be able to get. To sense fish underneath the surface, a transducer searches for the air bladder that maintains the fish’s buoyancy. When it hits that air bladder, the input received is distinct and your transducer is able to recognize that.
The frequency at which your transducer operates can change from product to product. The higher the frequency, the better, crisper picture you will be able to get in relatively shallow waters. However, if you are deep lake fishing, a transducer with variable or lower frequency may be better for your needs. Some transducers are available in variable frequencies, lending the product a good degree of adaptability.
The transducer will also determine how portable your device is. They do need to be mounted ideally to allow for the best degree of sensation in the body of water you are fishing in. They are usually mounted either through, inside the hull, or on the transom (back). More portable ones can be cast. Different mounting style s and transducer styles work best for different levels of fishing and different boats/waters as well.
Depth and Accuracy
Sonar scans are often key to a good fish finder. Shaped conically, the pulses of high frequency sound sent out expand over greater distances. The area that the sonar will cover is changed by the exact frequency. The wider the cone, the faster and less accurate the scan will be. However, wide scanning capabilities are often preferred until an object depth of approximately 50 feet. Narrower scans help with deeper waters, give slower readings, and are better for finding exact locations. Depending on what you’re looking for, find a good medium between the two by adjusting the conical angle of the device.
Be aware of surface clutter. When something is too close to the surface of the water, your sonar will not be able to accurately read it simply because the reflected sonar waves are moving too quickly. This “clutter” or “noise” makes it difficult to identify surface level objects, especially fish that are moving by themselves as well. Some of the more advanced systems will be able to switch frequencies higher to minimize the blind spot issue.
Deep and Side Imaging fish finders help you see what is on the side of your vehicle and what’s below it. These beams are meant to spread out conically at sharp angles that will lend you extreme detail when baiting fish. This increased visibility also helps fishers distinguish between different features around them, between sand, bottom, fish, or plants.
Be sure before buying your next fish finder that the tool has an active and well-functioning GPS system. Not only will it help you get home or to shore safely in the event that you are unable to locate your position simply by eye, but it will help you map out less familiar lake beds and territory maps. While GPS does increase the device price, it is a healthy, safe, and sound investment that will pay for itself multiple times over. Further, be aware that having a waterproof quality to your fish finder may be key to making a good investment, as cell phones do not often fare well in water.
Fishfinders are a fisher’s best friend. Modern fish finders have keen abilities to make fishing not a chore, but an enjoyable task that takes the guesswork out of the equation. Keeping an eye out for price versus amenities ratio will serve everyone, from novice to even seasoned fishers well. Fish finders can be used to see what’s on the bottom of your boat, find bait, map out unfamiliar terrain, navigate and adventure freely, and record interesting readings around your body of water of choice.
Configuration of these fish finders can vary, ranging from the more complex Hawkeye to FishFinders Pro. Depending on your requirements for configuration, type of boat utilized, screen details and readings, the best transducer for you will vary. Understanding the technical aspects behind it are key to utilizing your fish finder in a way that will help you fish at peace and at ease.
Lastly, practice makes perfect. No fish finder is 100% intuitive, although many improvements in the market have been made over the years to help them become user-friendly. Experimenting with positioning, speed, and settings as well as practicing reading the output display will help you optimize your expeditions with a minimal amount of work and frustration.