If fishing is part of your career or if you like it as a passion, there are often times when you spent hours with your fishing rod above water and still catch nothing. A fish finder can eliminate your chances of disappointment by increasing your chances of finding a fish. Hence, to use a fish finder effectively, first, you must know where to place it and how to read it.
Once you grab these basic concepts, your chances of finding fishes will surely increase and you will never return home empty-handed again. With that, let us head back to answering the main question, “How to use a fish finder?” in detail:
Where to Install a Fish Finder:
You can install fish finders on almost all of the vessels. You can install them on powerboats and kayaks as well. The modern kayaks, however, may come with a preinstalled fish finder.
One thing which you have to keep in mind is to attach it to a place from where you can take it out easily and where it doesn’t get damaged. Especially in large boats that have a mounting spot beneath the hull, you have to place carefully.
With the advancement in technology, there is also a variety of fish finders in terms of their placements. On several modern vessels, there is a mounting spot for fish finders so installation is made easier.
You can also get floating or over the side fish finders for foldup or inflatable kayaks. Moreover, there are also fish finders that can be cast at a distance, hence you can monitor places for fishes, without going above them.
However, larger and older vessels require you to drill into the hull to create a mounting spot for the fish finder. There is also an option to place the fish finder on side of the hull which can avoid drilling. There are several YouTube videos on the DIY installing fish finder.
How to Read a Fish Finder?
Reading a fish finder can be a bit tricky, but once you understand it, it will become much easier for you to locate fishes in the water. However, readings may differ according to the make and model of your fish finder.
User Manual comes with every fish finder. Although it is very formal and not very interesting to read, you have to at least take a look at the main features of your fish finder and how they are displayed.
Features besides Finding Fishes:
Modern fish finders and also some of the older versions also have extra features besides finding fishes. These features tell about the condition of the water environment so that you can predict which kind of fish you will be able to locate in a certain area.
A good fisherman knows about fishes and their habitat and the information given by the temperature sensor and depth finder of the fish finder allows them to predict the kind of fishes they will find. Moreover, modern fish finders also come with GPS.
Fish Finding Features:
The Fish Finders can locate fishes in water by using SONAR. The older fish finders only displayed raw data that appeared on the greyscale or colored screen. The fishes appeared as blobs or marks on the screen, larger marks indicate larger fishes.
However, the modern fish finders come with Fish ID Tech which allows your fish finder to automatically recognize the fishes through SONAR and display them as fish icons on the screen. The larger icons mean larger fishes.
Switchable Fish Finders:
The Switchable fish finders allow you to switch between raw data and fish ID tech. The reason one should prefer this feature is that fish ID technology is not 100% accurate and often shows wrong images.
The raw data for a good fisherman is much more reliable, as he can locate and predict fishes more accurately as per his experience. Moreover, raw data can also show you other objects in the water that Fish ID tech will be unable to.
However, there are also many benefits of the fish findings tech. It can locate fishes in places where other fish finders can not, or raw fish finders may appear vague. Like if a fish is hiding in a bush, the Fish ID technology might recognize it and display it on screen.
Other Things in the Display:
The ground in the water is shown as a hard line on the bottom of the fish finder. The density of the line tells you about the nature of the surface. If their line is a bit soft and shows other lines beneath, the means the surface is soft like clay, while hard-line indicates hard rocky surface.
Arch Fish Finders:
Arch fish finders can be a bit tricky to use but do produce effective results. Once you learn how to read them, then you only need practice, and as the saying goes practice always makes you perfect.
The arch fish finders show the ground and the unmoving objects as hard lines while the moving fishes as arches. The size of fishes or moving objects corresponds with the size of the arches. Larger arches mean larger fishes.
However, it is not as simple as that. Reading this might make you think it’s easy, but learning to read an arch fish finder is like learning a new language, it will take both time and practice to be a skilled user.
Types Of Imaging Modes & Working:
Generally speaking, there are two separate kinds of display modes in fish finders. Each of these modes requires different reading methods and knowledge for effective use. They are named Down Imaging and Side Imaging.
In Down Imaging or SONAR mode, the fish finder displays the updated imaging on the right side of the screen as older imaging keeps moving to the left side. You can increase the imaging speed manually to get updated readings more quickly.
The major benefits of down imaging come in deep waters and high speed. Down imaging locates fish vertically while displaying the images horizontally, and hence are more effective in locating fishes when moving at high speed or in deep waters.
The Side Imaging Fish Finder is a bit trickier to read. You need to place it beneath the hull so that it can get a perfect side to side you, besides it has its list of benefits for which people use it.
The Side Imaging Display is shown vertically where the most updated images are shown at the top while the older images move toward the bottom of the screen. The side imaging uses a higher frequency, hence you will get detailed images.
The Side Imaging fish finders come a bit expensive and have more features than Down Imaging Fish Finders. They can cover more area in less time since they look in different directions, hence you can find fishes quicker.
Moreover, these fish finders also provide you with a better picture quality, which allows you to have accurate readings. This readily increases your chances of finding more fishes and impressing your friends after coming back.
Some General Tips for Reading a Fish Finder:
In the start when you get a fish finder, it might come a bit difficult because the data appearing on the screen will be alien to you if you are new, and fiddling with the controls might change settings which can make it worse for you.
One of the best tips given by most professionals is to read a user manual, which will familiarize you with your fish finder. Once you will know what you are looking at it will become much easier.
Next comes the scouting part, my suggestion is to go to your favorite fishing spots and analyze the images. Look at how stones, rocks, surfaces, and other objects look on the screen. This will help you familiarize yourself with fishing.
Fish finders with switchable between raw and Fish ID tech are a personal suggestion as they will increase your options of finding fishes. Moreover, if you have a good budget, you should go with the Side-Imaging Fish Finder as it is much more effective.
One additional suggestion if you are a passionate fisherman is using the charter plotter. It will help you pinpoint the location of fish clusters so that you can return to that same spot next time. Plus you would be able to capture more fishes this way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some Last Words:
Using a fish finder doesn’t guarantee to catch fish at all costs. However, it does make sure that your efforts don’t go in vain and you are able to hunt something conveniently.
We have compiled this list by analyzing the views of professional fishermen and fishfinder users. We hope that it will help you achieve perfection in reading a fish finder.
Leave us with your valuable feedback or suggestions regarding the main topic and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!