Choosing A Fish Finder Made Simple
Choosing a fish finder that works for you can be work in itself. With so many advances in electronics itís tough to keep up with the fish finders on the market today not to mention the number of features these finders offer. Hereís a quick course on how to choose a finder that works for you while keeping in mind for most of us money is always something we need to consider.
When you fish with a fish finder youíre giving yourself an advantage over those who fish without one. Using a finder to fish will allow you to know the structure, depth, and temperature of the area of water your fishing. Some models of fish finder will record where youíre fishing so you can use the finder to return there the following day thanks to GPS.
How Sonar Works On Your Fish Finder
The Sonar on your finder sends out a beam. This beam is actually a sound wave. The beam goes through the water until it reaches structure including brush, rocks and the bottom of the water you fish. Once the beam hits structure it then travels back to your finder where the fish finder software displays the results of the water you fish. Included in these results are fish in the radius of the beam, water temperature, depth, and any structures off the bottom such as rocks, trees etc.
Much like buying a TV buying a fish finder will have you considering things like screen resolution and pixels. Screen resolution is basically the number of pixels or dots. The more pixels the finder has the better the quality of picture it will produce. Now letís face it youíre buying this to fish and not watch the big game on Sunday. In my opinion you can easily get away with a 240 x 240 screen resolution which will provide a nice display of the fish and structure on and around you boat. There are much higher resolutions, but once again keep in mind just like a TV the higher the resolution the higher the credit card bill.
Power Ė Wattage
The makers of fish finders describe the strength of their finders in watts. The higher the watts the more powerful the unit will be which translates to efficiency and speed. The deeper the water you fish the higher the wattage you need. If you fish in lakes that are relatively shallow then you can get away with a lower watt finder. I recommend going with the highest watt fish finder your wallet can afford. You will be thankful you went with the higher watt unit down the road as higher watts translates into more speed and efficiency even if you only fish in shallow water.
Transducer Ė Cone Angle
This is where fish finders begin to get very technical. The cone angle is the size of the beam sent out by the finder. The transducer is the part of the finder that sends out the sonar or sound beams. To keep this simple the cone angle is how wide the beam the transducer sends out to determine whatís in the water youíre about to fish. The wider the beam the more feedback youíll get from the finder on structure and fish in the area. The good news about Transducers and cone angles is you can always upgrade in the future to increase the area of the water you see. Most fish finders come with a transducer producing a good cone angle so donít fret about this for the time being.
Youíll have your choice of black and white or color fish finder screens. Both work well, however the color will help you identify objects a little better, but once again like TVís color is more expensive than black and white. Color and black and white is really a personal preference. A back lit display is critical if you fish at night. This feature will light up the display for viewing.
Water Temperature Many if not most fish finders now offer water temperature readings. This is the water temperature at the surface. If you fish a lot you know that water temperature plays a key part in locating the fish.
If you like to fish by trolling then having your fish finderís display give you the speed is a real nice feature to have. This will allow you to adjust the speed of the boat to match the speed the fish are hitting at.
Portable of Fixed
You have two options for mounting your new fish finder. Those are portable or fixed. I choose to fish with a portable unit as the thought of leaving a piece of electronics worth several hundred dollars attached to a boat left outside overnight doesnít sit well with me. In addition I can quickly change the unit from one boat to another without a lot of work. As of late Iím seeing more people fish with portable finders than in the past.
There you have our fish finder 101 article. Try to take all the bells and whistles away and concentrate on the items Iíve mentioned above and youíre next trip to fish will be a good one. Using one of these units will help you catch more fish and make the time you have to fish more efficient.
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