Have you ever heard of fish finders? Experienced anglers use them regularly and know how to select the best one for their trolling motor.
If you are a beginner in this activity, you will probably want to learn more about this device and its benefits.
This guide will tell you about the device, its peculiarities, things to consider, and the top 10 best fish finders according to the reviews on Amazon and other websites.
What Is It and How Does It Work?
There is no need to explain what a fish finder is. The name of the device explains its function – it reveals fish. So, it is a fishing tool with a screen and a transducer. An angler uses the screen to see where the fish is while the transducer sends information about the target and its depth.
An average angler does not have problems with reading data from the fish finder screen. The display introduces the data about fish in a primitive way. The most important part of the fish finder is its sensor.
Due to fish finders, an angler is not blind while fishing. This tool is helpful in sport fishing. Sport fishing fans can catch the biggest fish and win the competition.
On the one hand, the disadvantage of the device is that any object will be reflected on the screen. On the other hand, one will be able to avoid shallow waters, weeds, logs, rocks, and other underwater barriers.
Fish finders help your fishing rods and propeller serve longer. Some people use a fish finder as a hazard finder when just floating in new waters. Fish finders work similarly to ice fishing flashers that detect fish in winter under ice.
Instead of sounds, ice fishing flashers send sonar pulses and reflect the information on round screens. They present the data in various colors to mark fish, weeds, lure, etc.
Benefits of Trolling Motor and Fish Finder Paring
If you like trolling fishing, you will need to control the speed of your boat and the surrounding conditions. It is not simple. Fish finders help you remain focused on fishing and do not be distracted by bothering things. It allows you to get rid of constant thoughts about coordinates and the possible location of fish.
Fish finders with GPS and mapping let you mark lucky fishing spots and return to them later. High-quality transducers allow you to see where the fish is, what speed to choose, and how to maneuver the boat to improve fishing results.
If you are a family man, you will have a chance to enjoy fishing with kids. You can cope with difficulties due to fish finders. Together, you will try to read it and get the biggest catch. Some fish finders have fish alarms. So, you might have a rest, get busy with bait, and deal with other things.
How to Read Data on a Fish Finder’s Display
Today, manufacturers of fish finders try to make their products simple for reading. It results in higher rates and better sales. An average device shows the shape of the hit object and its depth.
Some of them provide more information. Thanks to that, you will know what tools, lures, and baits to take with you. Most fish finders have blue, red, yellow, and black colors to mark weeds, bars, fish, rocks, and other obstacles.
Everything depends on the manufacturer and the number of the offered features. The cheapest one will provide you with a rough estimation of the found object and the bottom of the lake or river. If you spend a little more, you will receive more accurate data and additional information required for successful fishing.
Some models have GPS to boost your fishing abilities. For example, you go fishing and find a spot full of fish. GPS helps save it and return to the place next time or share coordinates with your partner.
You can watch YouTube videos or read informative articles to learn more about fish finders and the meaning of their color patterns. For example, the manual of Lawrence says that yellow defines soft objects while others (red, blue, and black) define harder objects.
Anglers recommend test colors in the process. You can go fishing, watch the screen, and, if possible, check what it is. In this case, depth finders with cameras are useful. Some people take a partner who can dive to see the obstacle.
How to Choose the Best Fish Finder
It is hard to select the best fish finder among so many existing variants. They differ by manufacturers, specs, and prices. We have consulted experts to create a list of things you need to pay attention to when choosing a fish finder.
This part of the fish finder is the most important. A transducer does the main job as a fish revealer. It sends sonar waves into the water. If the wave hits some object, it sends a signal back, and a display reflects the shape and color of the object, depending on its density (soft or hard).
You should pay attention to its composition. It must be solid and durable because anglers locate a transducer on the side or underneath the kayak or boat. Consequently, water and various objects might damage a transducer.
Besides, it must be easy to install. It is necessary to check whether the bracket, bolts, and screws come in a package or you need to order them separately.
Another essential feature is the frequency of sent signals. Standard sonar sends equal waves while chirp one deals with a quick burst of waves that makes the search results more accurate.
A manufacturer must have a good reputation. You can check reviews on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Trustpilot to find out the rating of the chosen product. Every feedback of customers provides the pros and cons of a product that you should be aware of.
A fish finder may be portable or mounted on the board of the kayak or boat. Those who like long trips at high speed need through-hull mounts. They are more expensive but durable compared to transom ones.
Another mounting variant is the in-hull one. You should mount it inside the boat but be ready to find a place that can fit the transducer’s penetration.
The angle of the cone
The next thing to regard is the width of the sound wave. It depends on the cone angle. A larger radius does not always mean better results. Experts noticed that a narrow radius presents better and more accurate results. One should pay attention to the cone’s depth. Sometimes the angle is good, but the device does not send signals deeper than 100 feet. Professionals prefer dual spectrum chirp and not less than 300 feet depth detectable range.
It can be vertical or horizontal, big or small, black-and-white or colorful, and with a simple or advanced touchscreen. Anglers prefer split screens that are easy to navigate.
The screen must provide a vivid picture that is visible in any weather condition. It must be waterproof. Colorful displays allow you to observe not only fish but differentiate between weeds, seeds, rocks, etc.
Those who want to concentrate on fish only should look for simple variants like Venterior portable fish finder.
If your screen is too small, you won’t be able to see what is going on underneath. High resolution is especially essential for those who like to see details or beginners that still cannot properly read the fish finder.
The same one can say about dimensions. The smaller the device is, the smaller screen you will get.
Top Fish Finder Manufacturers
It is not a secret that brands become popular thanks to top-quality products and services. The easiest way to learn about some company is to investigate FAQ and rating websites. Visitors of FAQ pages often search for recommendations concerning brands and products. Their average questions sound like, “What fish finder would you recommend?” or “What is the difference between these two brands?” Other users write shreds of advice regarding their experience.
Rating websites serve to inform people about the pros and cons of some products, services, and manufacturers. We have visited many websites to find out what fish finders customers like best of all. This way, we have learned the top 5 brands.
- LUCKY (8.4/10 on best reviews guide)
- Lowrance (4.1/5 on Trustpilot)
- Garmin (4/5 on Fish finder brand)
- Humminbird (4.7/5 on Amazon)
- Hawkeye (4.6 on Amazon)
Reviews of customers are essential. People share their impressions and thoughts about some product or its manufacturer. For example, many anglers consider Garmin to be one of the best manufacturers of fish finders and trolling motors. Unfortunately, many of them do not like the customer support of the company. They ask questions and either receive zero answers or get them too late.
Speaking about Amazon, it calculates the rating of the product depending on three features – quality, simplicity in use, and installation. Sometimes, the rating gets lower because of delivery problems or the price of the product. That is why it is important not only to look at the number of stars but also to read reviews before ordering the fish finder. It is even better to compare reviews on several websites to get trustworthy data.
10 Best Fish Finders 2021
If you like to learn something by studying a sample, you will search for top-rated fish finders to select the right one. We offer the 10 best fish finders that differ in prices, specs, and dimensions. Due to that, you will be able to spot the difference and understand what suits your needs.
1. HawkEye FishTrax 1c
Anglers like this model due to its LCD HD Display and a minimum of buttons. Such a composition does not distract from fishing. A person observes the screen and uses only several buttons to monitor the situation on the bottom of the lake or river. This device fits both summer and winter fishing as it uses sonar impulses. It presents only data about fish to let an angler concentrate and get it.
2. Garmin Striker 4
This compact device is of moderate price and has GPS. Garmin is a reputable manufacturer of navigation tools. Striker 4 Vu scanning sonar presents an image that resembles a real photo with fish, weeds, and various obstacles. Everyone finds it simple for installation and use.
This fish finder fits both summer and winter fishing and is perfect for vertical jigging. Though, you need to buy extra parts (batteries, cables, etc.) to install it. One needs to pay attention to things that go with the device or not.
Lucky Wireless Handheld fish finder resembles this product and is also affordable. It fits ice fishing and is waterproof, so it can be used in rainy seasons.
3. Garmin Striker Vivid 4 cv
This device is perfect for those who want to have everything in one delivery. It provides a vivid picture from Vu scanning sonar and has an auto-control of screen brightness. The tool has an in-built chart and maps. It updates GPS position and pre-set heading every 5 seconds. The device is fast, easy-to-use, and powerful enough to be on the list of the top 10 fish finders.
4. Venterior Fish Finder Portable
This is a cheap, compact, and easy-to-use fish finder. It provides a user with information about water temperature, depth, weeds, sands, rocks, and, of course, fish.
One can use it at night due to backlight mode. It also has a fish alarm mode that one can switch off if necessary. Simple, cheap, and to the point.
5. Humminbird 411500-1CHO APEX 16
This fish finder is the most expensive model on Amazon. It provides super-accurate data about the bottom of the place and fish on a large touchscreen. It has advanced GPS and network options like WiFi, HDMI, Bluetooth, and NMEA 2000.
At the moment, there are no reviews on Amazon because it became first available on February 20, 2021. Though, its specs are much promising.
6. Lawrence Hook2 4x
If you want to have a clear view all the time, you will need to get this product. It has an Auto Adjust system that improves the image without constant settings. This device stores data about your tracking. So, you have access to data about underwater conditions, chosen fishing spots, and peculiarities of the place.
7. Humminbird 411070-1 HELIX 7
This is a moderate-price fish finder with a 4.7 rating. It has Dual Spectrum CHIRP, ethernet networking, MEGA down imaging, GPS, mapping, and Auto chart. Customers are satisfied with its performance and rate its features (accuracy, installation, and interface) with 5 stars. So, it’s worth every penny.
8. Lawrence Elite 7 Ti-2
This fish finder has advanced display technology, high-detailed real-time mapping, wireless networking, and top-quality images. One gets notifications on a smartphone to have absolute control of the situation. It suits those who like quality and enhanced technology that makes fishing better.
9. 3D SONAR with GPS: Lowrance Hook 5
This fish finder goes with a transducer and brackets for the screen and the transducer. Customers find it easy to install and set up. It has a 5-inch display, a split shot transducer, an autotuning sonar, and excellent fish reveal option. Both beginners and experienced anglers can operate it easily.
10. Humminbird ICE H5 HELIX 5
The fish finder has a 4.8/5 rating on Amazon that speaks about its quality and performance. The device is very accurate and provides data about the lure, baits, fish, depth, and various water barriers. The model is a perfect choice for fans of winter fishing.
When people buy a fish finder for a trolling motor, they hope that it will serve long. One’s decision depends on many factors. Besides, some features are hard to understand, not only for beginners.
We hope that this guide was useful to you due to the explanation of the basic characteristics of simple and advanced fish finders. If you want to avoid a mistake, you will consult an expert or read and watch more to make the right choice.