How does a fish finder work? • Best Fishing Sunglasses

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If you love fishing on boats or kayak, polarized fishing sunglasses are not enough to see under the deep water and help you catch the fish: you’ll definitely need extra help! If you want to spot the fish in deep bodies of water, you should consider buying a fish finder. Using a fish finder to locate fish can make your trips more fun. A fish finder will prevent you to drive aimlessly in sea or lakes, because it will provide a graphic image of the water and bottom under the boat. You will just have to drop your line when you encounter the fish. A quality fish finder is worth the investment and it’s an indispensable tool for sports fishermen. However, fish finders may be difficult to read, especially if you’ve never used one before. In this article we’ll see how to use this essential tool for fishing and its main characteristics.

What is a fish finder?

A fish finder is a sonar tool which helps locating the fish. Sonar stands for Sound Navigation and Ranging. Depending on the model you choose, a fish finder can be equipped with GPS, marine radar and a compass to help you find the way when you’re on a boat or kayak. Fish finders use sound to locate objects underwater. They work by sending out sound pulses and waiting for an echo. The frequencies used vary, ranging from very low (infrasonic) to very high (ultrasonic).

How to install a fish finder?

Here is a great infographic with great tips to install your fish finder on your boat or kayak!

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

Does a fish finder help?

If you’re out in the open water, your eyes are not enough to spot where the fish are. If you’re looking for a big catch, a fish finder can help immensely, because it can also show you the dimension of the fish you’re observing. Fish finders are useful both in shallow and deep water. With side angle fish finders and wider angle transducer cones, you can detect fish in water as shallow as ten feet. This tool will also help to determine the depth of the bottom: many fish finders have a depth sensor, so you’re able to tell how deep the water is. Knowing the depth of the water is helpful to understand the types of fish in the environment and what to expect below. The depth is usually shown on the top left of the fish finder’s screen. The GPS option is also useful to locate and come back to the same spot you’ve been before, in case you find a good fishy area.

How to choose a fish finder

There are three types of fish finders: with down scan, side scan and those combining the two technologies. Down-scan fish finders scan directly below the boat, while side-scan provides an image of the sides of the boat. Choosing can be tricky. You need to consider the kind of fishing you do. Side scan is usually more helpful to explore sea wrecks or looking for a catch in fishing lakes with heavy weed lines. When buying a fish finder it’s best to buy one with a big screen. Screens range from 3.5″ to 16″. A 9″ is a good mid-range option. Check pixels too make sure you have a good quality picture. If you plan to use it on kayaks, a bigger screen is less important. Opt for a lightweight and waterproof model, or add a waterproof case.

How to read a fish finder?

Reading fish finders is not easy at first, but it’s crucial to learn how to do it properly before going out fishing, otherwise you won’t be able to use your device. Some fish finders support color, while others are only available in grayscale. Fish finders with colors use them to visually represent information. Dense and hard objects will return a stronger echo. If the returning echo is strong, then the color used on the display will be darker. The seabed, or the bottom of the body of water, is often shown as the darkest object. Some tools will be able to show you an icon of the fish. This is the case for Fish-ID technology, which converts the raw data into a user-friendly interface. Some advances Fish-ID devices will even display different symbols for plants, rocks or schools of fish. The downside is that they’re usually less accurate and sometimes will show seaweeds as a school of fish, or a rock as a plant.

Arch fish finders are more precise, but will only return you raw data as a series of arches and lines. You will need to interpret them on your own. A common mistake many fishermen make is to believe that a long arch means a big fish. Length does not represent the fish: to understand how big it is you should look at the arch width. No matter if the arch is short, if the line is thick, it probably comes from a big fish. Also, arches can be half or full. A half arch doesn’t mean a small fish. Again, its width is your best clue. There are many different models out there: before going out fishing, be sure to read the fish finder manual carefully. To read the data carefully and be able to find and catch fish, you will need both preparation and experience. Fish finders are incredibly valuable tools: the more you learn about how to use them, the more successful your fishing trips will be.


Fish finders are useful tools that will allow you to quickly discover fish and make your fishing trip a better experience. They can be intimidating in terms of how to use them, but if you’re tired of going home empty-handed you should consider investing in a good fish finder. This device will also let you to understand what you are doing good or wrong when fishing, and learn from your mistakes. If you often catch fish in a certain spot, or catch none in another, a fish finder will show you why, allowing you to replicate the conditions of your success. Once you know how to read the information, you’ll have a better view of your environment and make the most of your fishing trips.

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