How to Choose a Fish Finder: The Ultimate Guide

How to Choose a Fish Finder

There are many types of best fish finders available in the market, with different brands coming up with different functions and more advanced technologies. With the emergence of Wi-Fi and the internet, fish finders these days are the most tech savvy devices than ever. Since you are in the market to look for a best fish finder, you should know about the different types of fish finders, so that you can identify which one is going to best suit your need. This how to choose a fish finder article will shade some light on that.

Types of Fish Finders

Standalones

If you only want to what is below the surface of the water since you are going in unknown territories and you are concerned about your boat, you should get yourself a standalone fish finder, rather than getting a whole deal and paying a bunch of money. It is possible to get a fish finder with a big display screen to properly show the bottom, without a lot of factors showing up for which you have no need. It will be the best for you since you will be able to save money. How to choose your fish finder article will let you know that you can add in a GPS if need arises.

Combination

A combination fish finder shows a bunch of options such as the speed, temperature, depth, fish size etc. as it is solely used for finding fishes. Also, quality navigation GPS and split screen options to observe the fishes at the same time will satisfy you.

Networked

The networked systems usually support a wide range of sources when it comes to data with tools like raster and victor GPS charts, as well as satellite radio and videos. Networked systems generally come with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well, which can be connected through the smart phones to control from.

How to Choose a Fish Finder

After knowing the types of fish finders, you should have some idea about how to choose a fish finder. That should work as a guide to give a general idea and to narrow down your options to somewhat manageable level. With that in mind, take a look at the following things which will help you in getting the right fish finder.

Frequencies

There are three options available to choose from – single, dual and multiple and the how to choose a fish finder article will talk about them. The performance will differ depending on the level of the frequencies and so will the prices. Frequencies are a big factor in transducers as well. Most of the transducers come in 50, 83, 192 or 200 kHz frequencies. All of these are in direct relation to the cone angle.

Determine what kind of water depth you are going to fishing in to get a better fish finder. Higher frequencies, for example the 192 and 200 kHz work best in the shallower water. Low frequencies, for example 50 kHz work best in deeper water and can be used for commercial uses or by professionals.

The how to choose a fish finder article will let you know that higher frequencies will show the underwater objects and fishes show up more vividly on your display since such devices send out more sonar waves. Some fish finders even send out multiple frequencies which mean they are useable in both deep and shallow water.

Power

The power is measured in Wattage for these types of devices. If the W is high, the display will come up with information faster. A device with a lesser W will be slower in coming up with the information so it will be better to use such devices in the shallow water.

So what power you want to invest in clearly depends on your choice and style. If you fish in shallower water, you will need less power according to the how to choose a fish finder article. If you want fish in deep water like the great lakes or the sea, you should get a fish finder with the greatest number of W that your budget allows you to get. For every 100 watts of power at 50 kHz, your transducer can show readings for up to 400 ft. For the same watt power at 200 kHz, it will be for up to 100 ft. Most mid range fish finders are available in dual frequencies, so you see the readings from both the frequencies in the split screen of your display.

Display Screen Resolution

How to Choose a Fish Finder

The screen resolution can make or break your chance of getting the best fishes or not, as the how to choose a fish finder article would like to remind you. The pixel can be thought of as a dot on the screen. The dot is the smallest amount of detail that you can see on your screen. When you put all these dots together, you see what the actual object is.

The more number of pixels there are, the more detailed it is going to be. At a minimum, you should get a screen of 240 (v) X 160 (h) pixels. The image will be kind of blocky in this resolution. To get sharper and crisper images, you should consider investing in a higher resolution display screen.

Screen resolution along with the screen size will ultimately decide how clear and crisp your images are. You should go for the biggest size screen you can get within your budget. This will make your overall experience better as getting a clearer image means you will be able to see the echoes, data and numbers more clearly as they will be more spread out. It will also be easier to see and differentiate among the objects.

Screen sizes are measured diagonally, the same way they measure television sets and most quoted screen sizes refer to the diagonal distance in inches across your display screen. Widescreen displays are more useful to see more meaningful information.

Color of the Display

A fish finder with a color display screen will show you the fish and underwater objects which will truly pop out at you from the display. Color screens also tend to be easier to see in the bright lights, compared to plain old black and white screens. If the weather is dark or cloudy, you will see the color screen better than a black and white one.

You can still find models of old fish finders which are available in black and white display screens but unless you are really tight on a budget and it is the only feature set that fits into your pocket at the time, you will surely get much more enjoyment from a color display. If you absolutely can’t, according to the how to choose a fish finder article, a black and white display will still do the work and is a good way to start.

Transducers

Transducers are the main part of the fish finders as these are the reasons how and why we can see the fish and underwater objects in our display screens. The transducers make this possible by emitting and receiving the sonar waves. There are fish finders that has high frequency transducers available now which can look at pretty much all sides and can also cover over 360 range. If you are not a professional, you don’t need such high frequencies as you are not looking to see up to 5000 ft. down but it is still nice and better to be able to see on the sides. There are three types of Transducers, based on levels of frequencies.

Higher Frequency Transducers

With short wavelengths along with good enough wave cycles every second, they show more detail but can only venture out to a limited depth. A 200 kHz transducer will range about 600’. High frequency transducers generally show crisp and clear images at the bottom but will unfortunately not cover much depth range. These types will help you in finding the fish right below your boat.

Lower Frequency Transducers

These transducers have longer waves with very low number of wave every second. As a result of this they show minimum detail but at the same time, can carry a lot of energy and can show greater depths. These frequency transducers will not show as much of clear and crisp images as the higher frequency one, but they will operate more effectively in great lakes or deep oceans. These types will help you in finding clustered fishes hanging in a particular area.

Dual Frequency Transducers

These transducers use pretty much the similar material used in other transducers to emit and also to get pulses from up to two or more frequencies and this sometimes occurs simultaneously. There are fish finders with Quadra Beam transducers as well which uses different parts, some of which are sometimes aimed at different directions, as the how to choose a fish finder article knows.

You can buy the transducers separately in some models of fish finders, meaning you get to customize your option or change it if you want to change your fishing course.

Transducer Materials

Transducers are made in many types of materials but keep in mind that not all materials can be used in all types of boats. For example, plastic thru hull housing will never be used when it comes to wood made boat. Wood will swell up in the water and the expansion of wood can do damage to a plastic transducer and cause a leak. It is better to use bronze in wooden boats.

On the other hand, bronze thru hull housings also should never be used when it comes to aluminum boats as the connection with the bronze and the aluminum, in addition to the existence of salty liquid, will take up the bronze housing which results in rust!

Cone Angles and Beams

Cone angles mean the width of the beam sent from the bottom of your boat into the water. It is pointy at the top where your transducer resides. As it goes further down, it gets wider. Depending on the degree of the cone angle, the area gets covered by the fish finder. The cone gets wider as we go deeper. The sensitivity will start going down as the cone goes into deeper water, according to the how to choose a fish finder article.

The cone angles generally range from 9 degrees to greater than 60 degrees. The fish finders with the best performance will have a 20 degrees cone angle as it is a great point to start at getting to fishes in different depths. The standard transducers will have a single beam. As it gets advanced to the more advanced fish finders more beams will be added and the angle to cover more area will be increased as well.

Shape & Style

Transducers come in many styles and shapes. You should choose the one that best goes with your boat’s style.

Thru – Hull

With best quality in terms of signal and complexity in terms of installation, this is a tough pick. These boats will use on average these types. A thru hull transducer has temperature and depth sensors as well as paddle wheels.

In – Hull

These types don’t need to have any contact with water. These would be attached at the inner part of hull which will be either epoxy or silicone. The In – Hull types don’t work with cored or hulls made of steel and can be only used on solid fiberglass. These are mostly used in trailer able boats.

Transom – Mount

These types have an adjustable angle bracket which is either bolted or screwed to the transom with the transducer hanging below or behind the hull. This installation is simpler compared to the other ones but it may clash with more water flow.

Final Words

Now that you know how to choose a fish finder, all which is left to do is go out there and make that purchase. A fish finder should be versatile and customizable enough to give you the best fishing experience. I hope the how to choose a fish finder article will be fruitful to you.

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