Best Fish Finder Reviews 2017: The Ultimate Guide​

Best Fish Finder Reviews | How does a fishfinder work | Basic Anatomy of a fishfinder | Benefits of using a fishfinder

Limitations | How to read an image | Choosing the right fish finder for yourself

by Fishing Rex | Last Updated: 3rd April 2017


best fish finder reviews & Guide

Not many anglers or fishermen take on the waters with a fishing rod and some worms anymore. Whether you are an avid expert or an enthusiast amateur, you will learn to appreciate having a fish finder with you. And that is why, today, we are on a mission to get you the Best Fish Finder!

This amazing savior of a device makes fishing so much more fruitful and enjoyable, and we are here to make sure you are taught everything about it right here in our article. We are going to find out everything from what makes them so great, to what to look for and who are some of the best brands out there. But for now, let’s start with the basics:

What is a fish finder?

A fish finder, also known as a fish sounder in some parts of the world, is an instrument or device that simply scans or examines the water to give you report on the approximate locations and whereabouts of fishes. In the process however, it also picks up information of any underwater distractions such as logs, trees, rocks, etc. in addition to this, most fish finders also report of the depth of the water, water temperature, and bottom contour and so on.

But only the Best Fish Finders offer you features and functions that catching fishes so much more easier and effective. We will cover some of the features of the Best Fish Finder that you need to look out for with more detail in a short while.

You may also like to check out another article of ours, that we’ve already reviewed the Best fish finder under $100, Best fish finder under $300 & Best Side Imaging Fish Finder Reviewed.

10 Best Fish Finder Reviews 2017: Comparison & Rating Chart

We promised you names and brands of some of the Best Fish Finders out there, and as always, we like to deliver. We have out to together for you one of the most assorted palette fish finders out there. Here is our list and our top 10 pick of the Best Fish Finders. Read through to find out your perfect match!

Rankings

Fish Finder

Item Dimensions

GPS

Editor’s Rating

#1

9.6 x 2.2 x 5.9 inches

No

#2

1.6 x 3.6 x 5.9 inches

Yes

#3

10.6 x 6.7 x 2.4 inches

No

#4

3 x 6 x 2 inches

No

#5

9.8 x 4.3 x 3.1 inches

Wireless

#6

1.85 x 3.75 x 6.5 inches

No

#7

10 x 5 x 8 inches

No

#8

2 x 2 x 1 inches

Wireless

#9

13.78 x 13.78 x 13.78 inches

No

#10

7.55 x 1.13 x 4.28 inches

Yes

#1. Venterior Portable Fish Finder VT-FF001

Let’s kickstart our countdown of some of the Best Fish Finders by reviewing one that is affordable, basic yet effective. It is the portable and mobile fish finder from Venterior and its will win you over with its simplistic approach to fishing!

The Portable Fish Finder fish finder a uses a 25-feet long cable and a transducer (or sonar sensor) to detect fishes underwater. The sensor has a 45 degree angle beam can be used on floats, fixed to your boat’s hull or even attached to a pole. It picks up data by scanning the waters at minimum of 2.30 m to a maximum of 100 m and begins sending quick reports and information to the LCD display monitor. The display which fits right into your hand uses 4 triple A batteries (not included). You will have immediate information on the depth of the water, underwater distractions (plants, logs, etc), and of course, approximate whereabouts of fishes.

The Portable Fish Finder can be used on-shore, off-shore and even for ice-fishing since it has a temperature limit from -20 to 70 degrees Celsius. In addition to this, you have a backlit display which lets you enjoy the perks of fishing in the dark at night.

The Portable Fish Finder comes with all the necessary mounting accessories among other goodies. So far, this fish finder has done us proud but as we all know, there is no such thing as a perfect product. the receiver or display monitor isn’t waterproof, can’t detect still or smaller fishes (less than 10 cm), is affected by extreme cold or muddy waters and it turn off automatically for 5 minutes if the display reads “blank” signals. Here is a quick look:

What We Like
  • The Venterior Portable Fish Finder is very lightweight and travel-friendly
  • It’s simple yet effective; perfect for beginners
  • ​Includes features like fish alarms, adjustable sensitivities and more
  • ​Its transducer can be mounted and used in many ways
  • ​Works equally well for ice-fishing
  • Great for night fishing as well
What We Didn't Like
  • It has limitations to its fish-finding powers; can’t detect motionless fishes or fishes that are too small
  • The receiver isn’t waterproof which is a little absurd since you are supposed to be using it near water and moisture
  • Performance is affected under water too cold, choppy or muddy

#2. Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4

Okay guys, it’s about time we move the gear to fish finders that are a little bit more fancy and high-end. Up next we have the 010-01550-00 Striker 4 from Garmin and this guy is actually one of the best selling finders online! Let’s see what makes it so cool.

The 010-01550-00 Striker 4 features a nice 3.5-inch display screen. It is lightweight and can be mounted easily on any flat surface by the help of suction pads, brackets, etc. to maximize coverage and intensify the scanning, the 010-01550-00 Striker 4 uses CHIRP technology transducer that does not one frequency and instead send a continuous sweep of frequencies ranging from 77k Hz and 200k Hz. Also, thanks to this CHIRP tech, you get better sonar images with advanced target separation and resolution in both shallow and deep water depths. The frequencies can reach up to 1600 feet in freshwaters and 750 feet under saltwaters. The 010-01550-00 Striker 4 also offers you useful features like Ultrascroll; something which targets fishes even at high boat speeds, and A-scope which shows real time displays of fishes running under the transducer beam.

However, the key feature of this fish finder is its built-in GPS. Now, not only do you know where you’re sailing but you can also pinpoint your previous fishing spots and as mark your favorite ones. A great tool if you tend to fish out in the wild, vast water like seas and oceans.

What We Like
  • · The Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 features a more large thus more comfortable screen size
  • ​Is nice and compact
  • ​Easily mountable
  • ​Uses CHIRP technology; multiple, continuous frequencies
  • Includes features like Ultrascroll and A-scope; great for high speed fish finding
  • Features a built-in GPS
What We Didn't Like
  • Poor and overcomplicated user instructions
  • The receiver is vulnerable to moisture damage
  • Does not include maps which is a little illogical since it is a GPS fish finder


#3. Venterior Portable Fish Finder VT-FF003

Our quest for the Best Fish Finders under tight budgets brings us back to Venterior one more time. But, this time we are reviewing the Venterior Portable Fish Finder VT-FF003.

The VT-FF003 is also a wired fish finder that uses a transducer. Let’s us just first of all point out that the VT-FF003 isn’t all that different from the Venterior Portable Fish Finder VT-FF001. Hence, the eye-catching close retail prices. Everything from the cable length, internal functions, weight and mounting remains the same. However, the VT-FF003 is a notch above the former in a few aspects and specifications. First, the display monitor uses a white LED; make viewing a tad bit more comfortable under the sun and in the dark. Second, the operating temperatures of the VT-FF003 has been made more durable for colder waters while minimizing durability for warmer waters; -10 degrees Celsius to 45 degrees Celsius.

Other than these few improvements and changes, the specifications and features of the VT-FF003 and the VT-FF001 from the Venterior Portable Fish Finder series are pretty much identical to each other.

What We Like
  • The Venterior Portable Fish Finder VT-FF003 is very lightweight and compact
  • It’s simple yet effective; perfect for amateurs or low-budgeters
  • ​Includes features like fish alarms, battery save mode, adjustable sensitivities and more
  • ​Its transducer can be mounted and used in many ways
  • ​Works well for ice-fishing
  • Great for night fishing too
What We Didn't Like
  • It has limitations to its fish-finding capabilties; can’t detect motionless fishes or fishes that are too small
  • The receiver isn’t waterproof in the VT-FF003 either
  • ​Performance is affected under waters too cold, choppy or muddy
  • A few users had trouble with temperature and depth detection

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#4. HawkEye FT1P Trax Fish Finder

The FT1P Trax from HawEye is the Best Fish Finder for you if you are a fresh beginner or enjoy simple, uncomplicated readings.

The HawkEye FT1P Trax is a super compact fish finder that comes with a long wire and a transducer. The most important part of any finder, its transducer, dictates a lot to decide a angler’s success. The FT1P Trax transducer is troll-able, mountable and can be floated as well! It scans through the water and send quick report to the display monitor or receiver which is pretty much palm-size. Better yet is that the monitor too can be mounted in various way includes on a stands, by a collar chain or even in suction pads. And because the display monitor is waterproof, you will never have to worry about on-trip water damages again. 

As for those extra sunny days, the FT1P Trax uses VirtuView™ ICON LCD display which renders it glare-proof. Get started by puting in 4 AAA batteries and with the press of the power button, you get information on approximate fish locations with fish size, water depth, water temperature, bottom contour, and bottom composition up to 240 feet! Very nice, indeed. The FT1P Trax features 5 sensitivity levels, fish alarms and a backlit display for fishing in the dark. Go fishing on boats, canoes or on the pier or petty, or even on ice!

And to top it off, this fish finder comes to you with a 2-year warranty. Talk about confidence!

What We Like
  • The HawkEye FT1P Trax is the perfect beginner fish finder; simple and uncomplicated
  • Is compact and easily mountable
  • ​Transducer can be mounted various ways too
  • ​Features a glare-proof VirtuView™ LCD display
  • ​Has a waterproof receiver
  • ​Offers long working-time
  • ​Features fish alarm, sensitivity levels, etc
  • ​Great for ice fishing too
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
What We Didn't Like
  • Poor battery life
  • Screen has a tendency to freeze

#5. iGarden Portable Fish Finder

We’ve seen enough of wired fish finders; we’re going wireless now! Our next pick for the Best Fish Finder is the iGarden Portable Fish Finder.

The iGarden Portable Fish Finder sport a ball, floating and wireless transducers that makes fishing so much more comfortable. All you have to do is charge it, hook it up with a fishing line, throw it into the water and it’s ready to get you some fishes! However, make sure the sensor is not more than 100 m from you; 100 m is the wireless range limit. Speaking of which, the transducer can scan the waters from 0.6 m to 45 m which is a little low; we have seen better. It uses a 90-degree bean angle to find the location of fishes, water depth, etc. In addition to this, the sensor does an excellent job sizing fishing and thus increasing accuracy. All the data is sent back to the receiver which is pretty compact and can be hung from a collar chain as well. The receiver uses 4 AAA batteries (not included) is conveniently backlit for night fishing.

The iGarden Portable Fish Finder is great for almost all types of fishing. Go off-shore, on-shore, from boats, kayaks, Inflatable Kayak etc. However, we wouldn’t deem this fish finder much useful for ice fishing.

What We Like
  • The iGarden Portable Fish Finder is super compact and lightweight
  • Wireless transducer means you do not have to worry about mounting
  • Uses a 90 degree beam angle
  • Manages to show the size of the scanned fishes
What We Didn't Like
  • Low range
  • Not reliable for ice fishing

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#6. Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar Fish Finder

The Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar is up next on our list of the Best Fish Finder and is the first on our list to feature dual frequencies so far.

The Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar is a 3-inch display monitor which is LED and backlit. And thanks to these display features, not only is the monitor more comfortable to look at but it is just as immune from sun glares and great for night fishing too. As previously mentioned, the Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar uses 2 frequencies to give you a wider and more sieved through view of the water below. 83k Hz frequency scans the water provides near about 60 degrees of conical coverage, and it can operate on 200k Hz as well while giving you 20 degrees of conical coverage. The Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar can report approximate situation and locations of fishes, both big and small; gives information about bottom contour, structure detail, bottom hardness, thermo clines and so much more. Speaking of features, one unigue function on the Hook-3x Sonar is that it can ID fishes! Great for you if you are after any particular fish. This finder also features an advanced signal processing (asp) which eliminate the need to manually adjust settings to fond fish; it does it for you!

The Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar uses its patented Skimmer® transducer with built in temperature sensor. And if these weren’t enough you can also enjoy functions like 4x zoom and various viewing angles

What We Like
  • The Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar uses dual frequencies; 83k Hz and 200k Hz
  • Has backlit, LED display screen; great for night fishing and against sun glares
  • ​Has fish ID
  • ​Uses patented Skimmer® transducer with built-in temperature sensor
  • Easy to mount and has an adjustable screen angles for optimum viewing
What We Didn't Like
  • Customer complained its short life span
  • May sometimes provide erroneous depth reading


#7. Lowrance Elite 3x Fish finder

6th on our list of the Best Fish Finders is another great fish finder from Lowrance. This time we are back with the Lowrance Elite 3x Fish finder.

This fish finder isn’t all that different from the Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar. Most features more or less remain common with the Hook-3x Sonar; the same display technologies, sensor technologies, display features, asp, dual beams and frequencies. This is one of the reasons why you will notice that there isn’t a stark difference in their price points.

However, the Elite 3x Fish finder is more intuitive to users and has been shown to scan and raid the waters for fishes a bit better.

Best Fish Finder
What We Like
  • The Lowrance Elite 3x Fish finder uses dual frequencies; 83k Hz and 200k Hz
  • Has backlit, LED display screen; great for night fishing and against sun glares
  • ​Has fish ID
  • ​Uses patented Skimmer® transducer with built-in temperature sensor
  • Easy to mount and has an adjustable screen angles for optimum viewing
  • Comes with a yearlong warranty on parts and labor
What We Didn't Like
  • Customer complained its short life span
  • Has been shown to give false depth readings
  • High speed (of boats or fishes) may affect results

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#8. ReelSonar iBobber Wireless Fish Finder

The iBobber fish finder is hands down one of the Best Fish Finders you can find in the crowd. It is a notch above the rest, innovative, portable and as the name suggests already, is completely wireless! Here’s more.

ReelSonar’s iBobber Wireless Fish Finder is quickly becoming a staple for amateur and expert anglers alike. It uses no physicals, heavy transducer, is wireless, needs no internet and operates over Bluetooth. The sensor is pretty much the size equivalent of a tennis ball making it easy to use and throw in hard-to-reach water spots, and your mobile or device acts as its receiver of monitor; it’s THAT easy! This finder uses patented sonar technology and can raid waters, both fresh and salt, up to 135 feet. The sensor also has LED beacons which makes it easy to retrieve and is ideal for night fishing. But don’t be fooled by its size; it is powerful enough for ice fishing. Cast it no more than 100 ft away from you and it will report every little details like water depth, sediment contour, logs, and of course, whereabouts of prize fishes. 

And speaking of fish, the information is showed to you is raw sonar mode or in fish mode which has fish icons showing the location and the approximate sizes of the fishes! Very smart and intuitive.

However, what makes the iBobber come alive is the free fishing app you can download on your Android or iOS devices. Through the app you can get access you maps, GPS, fishing logs, water depths, temperatures, fish ID, fish alarm, calendars and so much more. And if those weren’t enough, you also get exceptionally high-quality fishing pliers and weighing scales. The iBobber is truly too good to be true!

What We Like
  • The ReelSonar iBobber wireless fish finder is incredibly lightweight, portable and comoact; there’s nowhere you can’t take this thing
  • The patented sonar technology is very effective and efficient
  • ​can be used on both fresh and salt waters
  • ​Features LED beacon lights; great for ice fishing and night fishing
  • ​Its fishing app gives you access to some of the most useful fishing information; compatible for both iOS and Android, and it’s free!
  • ​enables social media sharing
  • ​Comes with useful digital scale and pliers
  • Battery lasts you over 10 hours
What We Didn't Like
  • Using the apps cuts down through battery very quickly
  • Has a tendency to occasionally misread depth
  • ​Bad customer service
  • Complained to have weak range

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#9. Raymarine Dragonfly 4DV Sonar 

Next on our list of the Best Fish Finder is another trusted fish finder from Raymarine Dragonfly, the 4DV Sonar.

The Raymarine 4DV Sonar features a very nice 4.3-inch HD and backlit display screen. It makes viewing comfortable and is perfect for nigh-time fishing too. The screen is also optically bonded to give loud colours, better viewing angles and of course, reduce the risk of internal fogging. It is easy to mount on any flat surfaces using its ball and socket tilt swivel. Now for the main features; the 4DV Sonar uses CHIRP DownVision for photo-like images, swift tracking and more vivid under water resolution. And of course, you have the usual suspect features: depth detector, fish alarms, etc.

The transducer of the 4DV Sonar can detect water temperatures as well!

What We Like
  • The Raymarine Dragonfly 4DV Sonar has a large and vivid display screen
  • Highly immune from fogging
  • ​Is easy to mount
  • ​User-friendly navigation buttons
  • Uses CHIRP DownVision technology for a better catch
What We Didn't Like
  • Has a tendency to give false depth reading

#10. Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5

Alright then, last one. If you are willing to spend some extra bucks for a quality and high-end fish finder, then the Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 is your guy.

First of all, this fish finder comes with a very nice and large 5-inch display screen; comfortable viewing at best. The colour and resolution of the screen is just as admirable; it has a beautiful 800H x 480V 256 colour display. And to make matters easier during night fishing, the screen is entirely backlit as well. The Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 uses dual beam PLUS sonar frequencies to maximize coverage and accuracy at the same time; not many fishes go undetected from this guy. One other very coveted feature of this finder is that it features a an internal GPS chart plotting with built-in Anima cartography, and this is completed by a micro SD card slot to save any extra data from you. The transducer on the 410210-1 Helix 5 uses CHIRP technology, meaning it give off multiple and continuous frequencies for better yields. In addition of this, the transducer can cover depths up to 1500 feet.

And as usual, it will of course show information on water temperature, depth, bottom contour, etc

What We Like
  • The Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 has a large, 5-inch display
  • Easy to mount; stable as well
  • ​Great resolution and image quality
  • Uses dual bean Plus sonar frequencies
  • ​Is backlit for night fishing
  • ​Features GPS chart plotting
  • ​Has an SD card slot
  • Transducer operates on CHIRP technology
What We Didn't Like
  • None so far!

So, How Exactly Does a Fish Finder Work?

You now know what a fish finder does. Now, it’s time to look over how it does what it does, its mechanisms and operations.

First of all, fish finders or fish sounders use pulses and sound energy (sonar) to do its job. How? Well for starters, electrical sound pulses or frequencies are to release into the water by the fish finder’s transducer; hence, the name fish “sounder” is so common .These frequencies go into the water and bump against any object, both living and lifeless, and bounce back to the transducer as reciprocal or response frequencies; kind of like of rubber ball against the wall, if you will. These raw data goes through conversion and simplification, and then displayed on to a display screen to report to the user about what’s going on under the water. It shows that something is moving under the water at a distance of so and so. But like previously mentioned, it will just as well show the distances and locations of non-moving and motionless objects like the river bed, etc.

Best Fish Finder

However, pressure and temperature sensors don’t just give information on distances. It also gives you pretty accurate, if not perfect, information about the location of fishes. However, there are always exceptions.Read More

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Basic Anatomy of a Fish Finder

The transformation and changes in fish finders over the last few years have been nothing short of awesome. And though most fish finders do not look like their ancestors any more, they still share a few common parts.

Transducer

The transducer is the transmitter of sonar pulses and frequencies. This component is what initiates the process of fish finding. This gives off and receives frequencies that tell us about the distance, location other factors of the water and its habitats.

Most commonly, transducer can come with wires but if you look into more modern fish finder, you will also find some wireless ones. The wired transducers are a little bulky, not much, and you even mount it on a beam, install on the hull and or float it as well. Floating transducers are kept afloat up by any sort of buoy and have long wires, typically 15 to 25 feet long that connect them to the finder.

Receiver

The receiver, more commonly known to us by the name of display monitor, is exactly what it sounds like. It receives the information from the transducer and displays them on a monitor. The receiver will show every little details about fish locations, water depth, water temperature, distractions, etc,

This monitor can be a part of your fish finder like the Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar, but if you happen to use a wireless finder then your very own device like the phone, tablet, etc could act like the receiver or display monitor as well; the ReelSonar iBobber Wireless Fish Finder, for instance.

Benefits of Using a Fish Finder

Fish finders are very versatile and helpful. Here are the most common places and purposes for which people look up to the fish finder:

Fishing

The most widely followed and popular reason to using a fish finder is of course, to find fishes! A fish finder takes away the guess work and the hours and hours of patiently waiting on the pier for you to finally hook on a fish.

Fish finders use sonar technology to show to where the fishes are, the most populated fish spots, the distance they are from you and so on. The Best Fish Finders will even go as far as showing you the approximate size and ID of the fish among many other perks. These features are particularly helpful for you if you are eyeing on a specific fish for dinner, and are just as good for the environment as it tells you that you have very small, underage fishes nearby, and that catching them would disrupt the population and life cycle of the species.

Kayaking, swimming, snorkeling and so on

Kayaking and canoeing are a big sport and hobby for people. However, jumping into the water with your boats and baggage without knowing a few preparatory details can cost you a lot in term of health and safety. It helps calculate the height or depth of a water body. This feature is particularly useful for swimmers, or kayakers.

And therefore, people who indulge in such water sports and recreation use a fish finder to find out how the deep the water body is and can be. Swimmers or loungers use it to find out the temperature of the water before going in a dip. And likewise, they are also in use by many people for various similar purposes and activity.

Research and development

Fisher finders are put to use to check the fish population and density of any lake or other water bodies. They are also useful for figuring the bottom contours, the amount of underwater content like tree logs, trees, tires, trenches etc, etc. And in many cases, fish finders are also used to find and detect unfamiliar and gigantic objects like a fallen car, trunks, etc.

Fisher finders aren’t always sports and recreations. They are very useful for environmental and research purposed as well.

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Limitations

Fish finders have come a long way from its humble beginnings, but still yet, they do have limitations. Sometimes you may find that many fish finders do not give accurate readings, and this could result in either a lack of quality or a cause of circumstances.

For example: many fish finders face difficulties detecting fishes that are swimming at high speeds. Also, the same is true when the boat is cutting through the waters at high speeds. Either way, high speeds do have a tendency to interrupt and mess with the fish finder’s frequencies and eventually, its performance. In addition to this, other factors like muddy, cloudy waters and wavy, choppy water may also interfere with the fish finder’s accuracy and performance.

Best Fish Finder

Now, these are completely understandable since the frequencies come in contact with constant disturbances and interruptions. Only a handful of the Best Fish Finders have what it takes to prevail through the odds.

On the contrary, many fish finders have a bad reputation of misreading or reporting erroneous information about water depths. They also misread on fish locations, sometimes. These readings are some of the most basic functions of the finder. Thus, these mistakes give away that these fish finders are not the most loyal. They are most definitely not bad, but they clearly aren’t too reliable either. Having said that, sometime even the most expensive, high-end and sought after fish finders tend to produce false readings.

Thus, essentially, what we are trying to say is that getting a 100% accurate reading every time and all the time for the rest of your life is VERY unlikely regardless of the kind of fish finder at use. And this is where quality comes to play its role; the Best Fish Finders will try to get very close to perfect accuracy and that’s exactly what we’re after!

How to Read a Fish Finder Screen Effectively

Learning how to read a receiver is crucial for fishing success. And although every fish finder is different, and similarly may choose to display information differently, they more or less encompass around a few common and basic display trends.

First of all, know that reading factors such as temperatures, water depth, and other such common details won’t be a problem for you. They are clearly mentioned on either the top corner or the bottom corner of the screen. The common type of screens will show a display in blue and red, oranges; kind of like an infrared image. In such images, the fishes will be often be in warmer color tones: yellow, pale orange, etc. coral reefs are usually bright red or orange. One thing you also notice is that the surface of the water is almost always orange or red too. Don’t jump, that is all due to the surface clutter created by the turbulence and disturbance from the transducer.

The receiver may display an image which may show fishes in single bodies, or you may even see a large spread of it. If it is rather large and clustered, you can guess from it that it may be a school of fish.

This is the most simple and common way to read to read single-frequency receiver images. However, there are many different type of images that you may come across. Luckily, modern readings are becoming more and more easy, fun and intuitive as well. Many receivers can be put into Fish Mode where the fishes are made to show as small or big fishes instead of weird shapes.

Best Fish Finder

Choosing the Right Fish Finder for Yourself

Look out for these few features to endure you land yourself the Best Fish Finder on the market:

Portability

Fish finders aren’t that chunky to begin with. But when you are on-board and off-shore, every square inch counts. Make sure you buy one that complements you and your space.

Mounting

Proper mounting is crucial if you don’t want to lose your fish finder to the rough waters, waves and so on.

This is especially important if you use a wired fish finder where you have to mount both the receiver and the transducer. While it fairly simple to mount the receiver on top on the boat: on the deck, on mounting brackets, suction pads, etc. But the transducer needs to be installed very firmly. You can install it on the hull, on a beam on even have it float on water by the help of bobbles and buoys.

Wired or wireless

Wired fish finder are your traditional, old-fashioned fisher finder that your long wired or cabled transducer to connect to the receiver. They are comparatively less expensive the wireless one but are by no means inferior or low-quality. The reason why most people may choose wired fish finders is cost and the fact that the risk of transducer getting lost is highly unlikely since you can pull it back to you. However, they are a little trouble-some and can take some boat space which is always premium. If you are in a press for money go for wired finder. If you have a small boat and less expertise then this may not be for you.

Wireless fish finders are the new thing. It requires no wires whatsoever and all you have to do is throw or cast the transducer as far as possible. However, you do have to tie it to a thing thread or string sometime so that it doesn’t float too far. One thing you must take care of is that the distance if a wireless transducer and the receiver does not go over limits, most likely 100 m. wireless finder are very compact, great for travel and does not hog space. They are also a tad bit more expensive than their wired alternative.

Applications

If you have chosen to go for a wireless fish finder then chances are that it works over internet or Bluetooth. And this means one thing: infinite possibilities!

Almost all wireless fish finder come with an application; usually free and downloadable on both iOS and Android devices. This also means you are most likely to you your own device: phone, tabs, phablets, etc as the receiver. The transducer will send over all the detail to your device in other words. And to begin with you will obviously get all the usual features and fictions of detecting fishes, water depth, bottom contour and so on, but fishing applications are the very heart of wireless and portable fish finder. They give you access to a whole new world of features and possibilities. You will be informed of the weather, best fishing spots, water temperatures, plans and calendar, fishing forum, tips, and tricks and so on. They even let you share your experience on social media like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and such. Being able to use an application to practice your fishing art is truly a different and elevated experience.

Waterproof

Now, it no surprise that the transducer is always waterproof since it is the part that is in constant contact with water. But unfortunately, manufacturers skimp back on waterproofing the receiver as well.

Even though the receiver may not touch water, you have to consider the location and the circumstances. Sudden splashed or sprays of water and a moisture-rich environment is obviously going to mess with the receiver if it isn’t waterproof or at least water resistant; fogging is one of the many problems. A waterproof transducer and receiver is a trait of the Best Fish Finders.

Display

Visual stimulation is important of course. But we are not paying too much attention to display and image quality per se. However, if you want to enjoy more vivid and detailed display of the world underwater, look into CHIRP sonar. For now, our concern is the most common display problems: the “too bright and not bright enough” conundrum. We want you to be being able to use the fish finder is stark bright, sunny day and on the darkest of nights.

Make sure the display of your receiver is immune from blinding sun-glares. This will let comfortably see the display without you having to shade it or squinting your eyes to a prune. Similarly, choosing a backlit display lets you fish at nights just as easily.

GPS and Mapping

Global positioning system (GPS) is a great feature to have in your next fish finder. Although we wouldn’t deem it to be absolutely essential if you are budget-conscious since it does spike up the price a bit; it is still a very useful feature.

You already know what the GPS is likely to be doing. Yes, it will show you and your whereabouts on the map. But there’s more to it than just positioning you on the map. Using the GPS on your fish finder you can find various new and untouched fishing spots, nearby saltwater and fresh water bodies, and so on. But more essentially a GPS can save you live. We don’t want to sound too dramatic because it is very unlikely that you are going strand yourself in the middle of the ocean, but it is not entirely impossible. Many fishers, even experts, lose their way on open waters especially out in the oceans. Chart plotting is also huge in GPS finders. This lets you store valuable information about your fishing, fishes and fishing trips! However, it all boils down to one main reason to get GPS feature: safety. One little precautionary measure of using a GPS finder could eventually mean the difference between lost and found. Most high-end fish finder will have built-in GPS in them but for those which don’t we have a little trick.. . . .

(Check our tips and tricks section for an easier and cheaper GPS cheat!)*

Small details

You won’t begin to understand how much of a difference the small details, the small features and functions can make to your whole fishing experience.

All fish finders will more or less revolve around the same fundamental threshold of functions but, what makes an ordinary finder one of the Best Fish Finders are its ability to make you feel in control. Look for special features like fish ID that let your skim out the species of fish. It is great if you want to fish for any particular types of fish; no time wasting, fishing out of the wrong fish.

Fish alarms are also very popular now. Your receiver will immediately alert and wake you up the moment it detects any fish under its radar. You can snooze away and relax and let the alarm wake you up in time.

Other features like Fish Mode found in the ReelSonar iBobber Wireless Fish Finder, and the 4X zoom on the Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar are also worth looking at.

Salt water and Fresh water

We hope you know by now that frequencies are the blood and fuel of an effective and quality fish finder. And different types of water will demand different levels of frequencies; something not all fish finders can accommodate easily.

For fresh water 200k Hz is the most commonly used frequency and for salt water a higher power is demanded. For shallow water use higher frequencies of 200k Hz, 400k Hz or 800k Hz , and similarly for deeper water use lower frequencies like 50k Hz. As you can see, frequency is a huge factor that account for most of your fishing success. This is why we will cover it far more elaborately shortly in a separate section. Stay tuned!

Frequency

In the world of fish finders, frequency is what makes the world go round. You could have the Best Fish the world and still not be able to enjoy any good catch, why? Because if you do not know the what and how tos of frequencies, you finder is a useful as a fish on a bicycle. Simple. Here a few frequencies basics you have to understand:

Understanding Hz

If you are picking out a fisher finder to your both in fresh water and salt water, you may want to go for one that can facilitate frequencies of 192k Hz or 200k Hz. These frequencies are best for shallow waters the most but can go both ways. They work great regardless high speeds, shows less noise, and its target definition is also much more prominent and defined as opposed to showing one large cluster for 2 separate fishes.

Remember: higher frequencies work best in shallow waters, for instance: 192k Hz or 200k Hz. And lower frequencies work best on deeper waters, like 50k Hz or alike.

Cone

Keep in mind that each type or level of frequency will comes with a specific angle of cone. Fishes will be scanned under this cone, if you will. This, the wider the cone, the better the scanning. However, a thing has to be said about the intensity levels of the cone as well. The most common cones include 20 degrees and 60 degrees. Needless to say, 60 degree cones will cover more area, but the small cone, 20 degree, is more intense and has a better hand at target separation and accuracy.

So, can I get both?

Depending on what you get, fishing finders can accommodate from single frequency up to several. However, the most commonly used are the dual frequency fish finders, something like the Lowrance Elite 3x Fish finder. Most transducers will offer either 50, 83, 192 or 200k Hz frequencies meaning each frequency having a specific conical angle. But some powerful transducer can go up to s staggering 400k Hz!

If using 2 frequencies is your game, then dual beam frequencies is the way to go. Pick transducers that offer 2 frequencies to beats the odds. Most common dual frequency transducers will include 83k Hz and 200k Hz. Now, do note that dual frequency fish finders will obviously cost you more since they improve your chances of detecting fishing faster and better.

If you want to up your game even more, then go for using the latest style and technology of fishing: CHIRP or Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse. CHIRO does not emit just 1 or 2 frequencies, instead it transmits a signals that ranges above from 40k Hz to 75k Hz, from 130k Hz to 210k Hz, and similar. CHIRP devices can transmit 10 to 15 times the more energy into the water and to complement it, it almost always has a high resolution and target detection (just like we mentioned in our display section previously). Essentially, CHIPS devices can transmit both low and high frequencies, is more accurate yet sneaky on fish detection. Has better display facility, and of course, is a bit more costly than devices that don’t utilize this superior technology.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are a few questions we often get asked by our readers:

1. I do not like the bracket my receiver came with. I would like to change it and have my interest on suction or glue pads. But are they reliable against the water?

Answer: Great question. It’s common sense that sticky surfaces or suction-closed spaces give up when it gets wet or comes in contact with too much moisture. But the suction or sticky pads made for aquatic purposed are different. They are specifically designed to withstand water. However, you may have to change them regularly.

2. What is the difference between bait and a lure?

Answer: The bait and lure causes a great deal of confusion. It’s pretty simple: bait is natural food and lure is not. Bait includes chopped up fishes, mealworms, leeches, etc. Lure is an artificially manufactured replica of baits. Easy, right?

3. What should I do if I want to release the fish I caught but the hook it set into mouth too deeply?

Answer: This may sound really primitive and cruel but there’s no other way to do it: release the fish with the hook on. This is because if you pull out the hook which was set in too deeply, it will eventually die. The good thing is that a fish’s body naturally produces an enzyme that end up dissolving the hook within a hook or two.

Even then, if it must die, it will die and there’s nothing you can do about it. If it’s any consolation, the dead fish ends up becoming some other fish’s food; this makes the guilt a little bearable we hope. Some of the Best Fish Finders will have fish ID which detect fish species and sizes; this fishing so much more humane and responsible.

4. Are dual bean technology and CHIPR technology the same?

Answer: Partially, they are similar but definitely not identical to one another. They have one thing in common which is using multiple frequencies to do a better fish finding. But dual beam uses well.. . only 2 frequencies to do this while CHIRP uses a series of multiple level of frequencies. On the contrary, CHIRP is hands down superior to dual beam since it’s is more subtle in nature, give better separation readings, is great for deep and shallow waters and does an excellent job with display resolution.

5. My fish finder isn’t rated for both salt waters and fresh waters, but I have used it in both. Would this be a problem?

Answer: If it hasn’t yet then you are lucky but eventually, yes. It will degrade your fish finder. You see, salt water can be harsh on unprotected fish finders that have been made for the fresh waters. Which is why, finder that have been targeted to be used on both waters are made with special materials and finishes to endure that. If you finder isn’t made to be used in the salt waters, then it hasn’t been made “salt-proof”. And hence, the smart thing to do would be to refrain from it any further.

Tips and Tricks

If you want to make the most of your fish finder, then follow and maintain these few tips and tricks of the trade:

1. Refrain from buying high-end and expensive fish finders, (namely dual beams, CHIRP powered ones) if you are an irregular enthusiastic fisher and not a frequent fisher or angler. Similarly, go the extra mile and buy a high-quality finder if you are a passionate or expert fisherman, even if it costs a few extra bucks!

2. If you fish from boats and have a small boat size, then go for a wireless fish finder; saves space, needs less expertise to use.

3. *Stating the obvious again but GPS fish finders can be costlier to the ones that don’t have GPS. So if you want to enjoy the benefits of maps and GPS without having to pay much, you can use downloaded GPS apps from your phone instead. Check out Navionics!

4. If black bass is what you are looking for, go to water which are from 60 to 70 degrees. Tunas are found in warmer and more tropical waters while Marlin and blue fin tuna are more cold water fishes.

5. Always keep quality fishing tools like pliers, hooks, baits, weighing scales in your carrying pack. You do not want to be fidgeting around while holding a trophy fish on your hand.

6. Cliche but safety comes first, always! You’d be surprised how much people injure themselves while fishing or at least trying to fish. Either way, always carry a small but rich first aid box with you at all times.

7. Fishes are smart; they begin to understand the spot which gets them caught the most and therefore, they begin to avoid it. An expert angler tip suggests that you keep changing your fishing locations from time to time if your catch is low.

8. If you are using a wireless transducer, then we recommend that you maintain some good distance from but not so much that you go out of range. Staying at a distance from the transducer will not create many ripples from the boat which may cause the transducer to lose or change position to much.

9. In wireless transducers, quite like the iBobber from ReelSonar, you have the freedom of casting and throwing the transducer as far as you want. But, mind you, all transducers will have a limit and distance range, usually 100 m. Once your transducer, or you, floats out or away from that range, your receiver will stop receiving information its transducer quite as efficiently, or entirely.

10. Keep tabs or notes down which rivers, lakes and any particular spot that gives you the most yields. This job can be made much easier if you use a fishing application, but you can of course, just as easily do it on pen and paper.

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Conclusion

If you want to make the most of your fish finder, then follow and maintain these few tips and tricks of the trade:

Fish finders will be a greatest addition to your fishing life. They are function, smart and effective and have a lot more to offer you than just detecting fishes. In our article today, we covered everything from A to Z of fish finder and its many wonders. We kept it as simple and as comprehensive so that you don’t just understand it but you enjoy it just as much. In addition to this, our reviews of 10 of the Best Fish Finders will cater for all your expectations, budgets and requirements; there is something for everybody here! Look through each section carefully, assess your needs and requirements and pick your Best Fish Finder from top brands in the market. For more details, click on the product links in each review.

We hope you have picked up everything and anything to help you find the Best Fish Finder. Our job here is complete and we will see you next time. Have a good one!

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