How to Choose A Fish Finder

Fishing with a Fish Finder

Choosing the Best FishFinder For You?

How to choose a FishFinder can be just as hard as finding fish without one. But finding the right finder will be worth it in the end. Because knowing the precise location of fish schools, depth of the water, and whether there is a structure or sand on the bottom are all things we need to know as fishermen.

There is no other fishing tool that is quite as useful as this device. Below you will find some important points you should consider before making your final selection.

Should you Pick a Standalone, Networked or Combo Fishfinder?

A fishfinder is an effective sonar tool that attaches to a boat and is used to locate fish of different sizes. It produces a sound wave that is sent through the water. As the soundwave penetrates deeper into the water it spreads into a wider beam from where it originally started. Once the beam encounters an element in the water, a fish, forexample, a beam is sent back to the fish finder, which would then measure the distance between the fish and your boat by calculating the amount of time for the beam to bounce back to the device.

A key decision to make is whether you should choose a fish finder with GPS or just a standalone:


If you are simply searching for a what is below your boat, a standalone fish finder offers the best displays. The combination of performance and cost is likely the most feasible, and you won’t be paying a high price for the unit. Standalone models are also useful when your boat has enough space for multiple displays (or you already have GPS installed).


A considerable number of fish finders incorporate WiFi and Bluetooth capacity. Some networked units are capable of being controlled with  Apple or Android smart phones. These systems also support a wide range of data sources, forexample, satellite radio such as Sirius Satellite Radio, GPS charts, radar,video, and raster.


Combo FishFinder units are likely a good decision for mid to large-sized boats. They use GPS for boat position and direction and to explore the fishing spots. Once you unpack your unit, switch to the fish finder screen to find the location of fish. You can also switch to a split-screen to see the GPS and fishfinder simultaneously.

Fishing Trophy
Fishing Trophy

FishFinders With GPS

A Fishfinder GPS with mapping abilities is very important as it will:

a.) Allow you to see the depth contours:

Fishfinders with built-in GPS help you estimate the depth of the water around your boat, as well as the exact boat position and direction.

b.) Allow you to determine the water temperature:

This information helps you identify the type of fish and also helps you locate such fishing grounds.

c.) Allow you to save fishing spots:

It’s great when you want to mark the location of a great fishing spot, you can come back to.

Down Scan and Side Imaging FishFinders:


The advantages of using a downscan sonar are that it will allow you to see images in finer detail. Down imaging has a narrow beam front to back and a wider cone side to side which will show targets better than traditional sonar.


Sidescan sonar creates an image of the sea floor and measures the strength of the echo, which is how it paints a picture of the sea floor.


With a Combo FishFinder you have the best of both worlds. You can see this innovation in units such as the Hummingbird SwitchFire. These combo models are very useful but a bit more expensive.

Understanding what’s occuring in the water below the boat is important because it will lead to where the fish are located.

Fishfinder Display Specifications

There are a couple of details to consider when it comes to your FishFinder display. The primary ones are shading, pixels otherwise known as resolution and size of the screen:


More pixels per square inch will allow you to see greater details of what’s below your boat. Combined with a larger screen, you’ll be able to see the fish and their precise location.” Another thing that goes hand in hand with this is the contrast ratio, and just like with the resolution you’ll get what you pay for.


Color only is slowly becoming the industry standard. Color helps when interpretting imaging. Being able to determine what is lies below in the water under all types of light conditions is so much easier with a color display.


Look for the unit with the largest screen size Finder that fits your budget and space capabilities of your boat. Wide screen displays are especially nice when you are using a split-screen feature to view more than one type of data.

Most anglers are happy with an easy to use unit with a bigger screen, than they are with a more complex unit with a smaller screen.

Catching Fish With Fishfinder
Catching Fish With Fishfinder

Choose a FishFinder based on where on your boat are you going to mount it?

Transducers are the eyes or more accurately the ears of your fishfinder system. The transducer converts an electrical pulse from the sounder into sound waves that bounce off objects under the boat. The transducer then converts the sound energy of those echoes back to an electrical pulse which is returned to the unit.

The fish finder measures the time between the pulse of sound and the return of the echo it converts thedata into an image on your display screen and can depict the bottom and the location of any fish.

Getting the transducer installed properly so that it works in all conditions and speeds is one of themost critical parts of installing a finder system. This critical step is often overlooked.

The key is to get the water to flow smoothly over the face of the transducer and to minimize any turbulence or air bubbles. The goal is to mount the transducer so that it is always in smooth water with no air bubbles. Also, you want to mount the transducer so the face of the transducer is pointing straight down at thebottom of the ocean.

Take a moment to figure out how or where you are going to mount your transducer:


In-hull transducers or shoot-through the hull transducers are a great idea because you don’t have to drill any holes in the bottom of the boat to mount the transducer. Additionally, the transducer won’t be damaged by trailer rollers or submerged objects or subject to marine growth. However, this installation is only recommended for boats with solid fiberglass construction. It won’t work with cored hulls, steel hulls or wooden halls.


Thru-hull transducers can be divided into two categories: flush mounts and external mounts.

a.) Flush Mounts:

Flushmounts transducers, as you can probably guess sit flush to the bottom of the hull and produce very little drag. They’re often installed on sailboats due to their minimal drag.

A recent innovation in flush-mounted transducers is the tilted element transducer. Inside the body of the transducer, the transducer element is tilted at either 12 degrees or 20 degrees from horizontal when these transducers are mounted in the hull the angle of the transducer face closely matches the deadrise of the hull and the result is that the transducer face points almost directly towards the ocean floor to optimize the performance.

The advantage of the tilted element transducer is that you don’t need a large fairing block to keep the transducer face level making the installation a lot easier.

b.) External Mounts:

An external through-hole transducer as the name suggests is mounted on the outside of the hull. The included fairing block is cut to match the deadrise of the hull. The transducer tucks up inside that fairing block.

The fairing block smoothes the water flow over the face of the transducer and orients the transducer parallel with the ocean floor.

Trolling Motor. Trolling Motor transducer is a great option for fishermen who will be using a trolling motor while fishing. This puts the transducer right at the front of the boat and gives a fisherman an idea of what is below the boat.

Transom Mount. Transom Mount transducers are used on many trailered boats as thiskeeps the transducer out of the way of the trailer rollers. It is also easy to install or remove and works well on smaller outboard-powered however transommount transducers will not work on boats with inboard engines as the props are further forward and produce a tremendous amount of disturbed water over the face of the transducer.

Pocket Mount. The last type of transducer is the pocket mount. This kind of installation is the most labor-intensive but can yield very good performance at higher speeds. With a pocket mount installation, a hole or pocket is created in the bottom of the hull to exactly match the size of the transducer. When the transducer body is placed in that pocket, the face of the transducer sits level with the bottom ofthe hull promoting very smooth water flow over the face of the transducer.

Fishfinder Power Output

Now that you’ve looked at the various features and options of these FishFinders,  don’t forget to look at another very important consideration: the power output of the transducers.

Make sure you check the specifications to confirm the transducer’s maximum power output. There’s no sense in buying an expensive 2000 watt transducer if your finder is only capable of producing 500 watts.

Installing a more powerful transducer allows you to find the bottom or the fish in deeper water. The stronger the transducer’s output the deeper it can go.

A good rule of thumb isto take the power output let’s say 600 watts and double that to get a good estimate of maximum depth in this case about 1,200 feet.

Another advantage of the higher power transducer is their larger size allows for more elements inside the transducer. More elements mean more sensitivity and greater opportunity toreceive the returned echo from fish or other structure however the higher thepower the higher the cost so you’ll have to decide how much power you really need.

Fishfinder Frequency

Fishfinders function by using a single frequency, dual frequencies, multiple frequencies, or a broadband CHIRP system you may have heard about. A good rule of thumb is that the higher the frequencies, the better the details and resolution. Higher frequencies will also give you the best view from a fast-moving boat but they won’t penetrate asdeeply as lower frequencies.

For maximum penetration, use lower frequencies such as 200kHz or higher (up to 800kHz) for water depths of 200 feet. If you’re going deeper than that, 80kHz or 50kHz will be your best bet. Shallow waters call for higher frequencies of 200kHz up to 800kHz.


Most anglers realize that when they Choose at FishFinder, this process can be summed up according to  a matter of preference, boating space and the type of fishing you will be doing.

Remember provides up to date reviews about the latest Fish Finders and marine technology and makes how to choose the right model so that your fishing experience is more enjoyable and rewarding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *