Fish finders are relatively new, compared to the long (in fact, ancient) history of anglers and the hundreds of ways humanity has come up with to successfully catch fish for dinner. Despite their newness, fish finders have grown to become an almost indispensable necessity.
The transducer is the part of the fish finder that drops in the water and sends out sound waves. A transducer is full of tiny crystals that vibrate when a sound wave returns. This vibration is the part that’s interpreted into data you can read.
Some fish finders can even create a realistic video feed of everything below the boat. Then there are simple bobbers, with built-in, fish-finding capabilities that feed directly to your smartphone. How does a fish finder work? Are all of the different variations based on the same technology?
How does a Fish Finder Work
Technology used in Fish Finders
The basic technology behind all fish finders is sonar. Devices that send out sound waves that reflect back are sonar devices. Fish finders use sonar to determine the distance between themselves and the fish, along with the underwater topography of the area.
The more high-end your fish finder is, the better the overall picture. Fish finders are comprised of a transducer and a processor. The processor interprets the information gathered by the transducer and presents it in a way anglers can understand.
The transducer is the part that drops in the water, while the rest of the fish finder rides in the boat or kayak with you. The type of fish finder you have determines several factors, including the width of the sound wave cone, how many pulses per minute, and the frequency.
Keep in mind, some fish finders allow you to change the width of the cone (beam), along with the frequency (CHIRP) and the number of pulses per minute. CHIRP stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse and is a relatively new technology that allows a wide range of frequencies.
Do you have to be moving for a fish finder to work
There are two types of Sonar (well, there are more than that, but these two are the overall defining aspect of a fish finder’s functionality), side-imaging sonar and down-imaging radar. Neither one requires you to be on the move to operate. In fact, fish finders (most of them) work perfectly fine whether you are still or moving.
Down imaging is a newer capability in fish finders, and it provides anglers with a much finer display of what is directly beneath the boat. It’s so fine that you can gather enough details about an individual fish to make a pretty accurate guess of what species it is.
Side-imaging does not point the beam straight down like down-imaging does. As the name implies, the beam is sent sideways. It provides anglers with a much wider view of the area but it sacrifices the finer details that down-imaging provides.
Are they worth it
Fish finders are more than worth it. Most of them don’t just offer sonar capabilities out on the water either. Modern fish finders sync with your phone and the associated app, utilizing the fish finder’s GPS capabilities and what is called a “chart plotter.”
When you find a great fishing spot, you can plot the point on your chart, and the fish finder will take you back there every time, with pinpoint accuracy. There is also the social aspect that fish finders offer, including shared charts and communications out on the water.
How Deep can they Detect Fish
That depends on the fish finder and the frequency it uses. For the most part, you can expect anything from 100’ to 1,000’ of depth. Be sure to pick the right fish finder for the type of fishing you want to do. Fortunately, fish finders market their depth capabilities intensely, so you should know just by looking at the box.
Lowrance, Garmin, and Humminbird manufacture outstanding fish finders, and they are more than worth the money if you love spending a lot of time out on the water, with a fishing pole in your hand.
They work very well and take a minimal amount of time to familiarize yourself with their various functions. A fish finder is one of those things new anglers feel like they will never need. When they get their hands on one for the first time, they’ll wonder how they ever fished without it.
If you want to put yourself on the fish every time you leave the dock and keep detailed maps of the best fishing locations in your area, you need to get a fish finder. In fact, you need to get one yesterday.
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