What is a Fish finder and Why Do You Need One For Fishing?

what is a fish finder

Every country in the world that has big lakes and rivers also has hundreds, thousands or even millions of enthusiasts who love fishing.

It is among the most popular activities in the world and can be done by practically anyone from small children of only a few years of age to old people who have been doing it for decades.

But fishing is becoming more and more popular with time, to the point of not being a mere physical activity of waiting for fish to bite, but also an activity filled with technological devices.

Yes, along with all the equipment you can bring to a fishing trip including your rod and reel, bait, hooks, and so on – you can now also bring what is called a fish finder.

This device is one of the most useful in the market for many different reasons. Here we’ll show you various reasons why this is a device you shouldn’t overlook. Come and learn the 8 things to know before buying one!

What is Fish Finder and Why Do You Need ?

What is a Fish Finder?

Apart from doing what its name says “finding fish,” this device uses SONAR technology to detect the presence of structures, rocks, vegetation, and other underwater factors.

What is a Fish Finder

A fish finder uses the echo-location (similarly to a dolphin or whale) to find the location of fish when the echo waves bounce off the bodies of the animals or structures. This also makes it useful for finding depth & distance of bodies.

All the information grabbed by the echolocation system is eventually transformed into graphics. A fish finder nowadays comes with full-color & high-resolution graphics where you can see everything without issues.

Some models even come with GPS and other structure-making features that you can use to navigate and identify different fishing spots.

How Does it Work?

A fish finder sends an electrical impulse that travels through the water as a sound wave. The component that transforms the electric wave to sound is called a transducer which usually goes underwater or on the bottom part of the device.

When the sound wave touches anything from a structure to a fish, vegetation, or even just a different liquid underwater – it will bounce off and get to the transducer once again. The transducer will send the information from the sound wave to the fish finder which transforms the info into graphics you can understand.

That’s how a fish finder is able to tell you everything it sees underwater.

Features of a Fish finder

features of a fish finder

Now that you know what a fish finder does and how it does it, you may want to know what different parts it has. Here we explain the main ones;

    • Scanning

Some fish finders scan underwater from the side, this gives a broader vision of everything that can go up to 240 feet to the sides. The imagery will be extensive and excellent for places where water is not too deep.

Sites with sea wrecks, coral reefs, weed lines, or in shallow lakes will take the most out of a side scan fish finder.

For places with deep waters such as oceans or really deep lakes, you’ll find a down scan the perfect option. Some down-scan fish finders can go very far down, up to 300 feet or more. This will give the fishermen enough help to know what kind of fish he can catch, and what kind it’s possible to bring up.

    • Design

There are two types of models you can find when it comes to fish finders – the portable ones and the fixed.

The portable fish finder is the one you can grab in your hand. It is the most versatile of all options, ideal for users who need to move around the boat or who don’t have the space or place for anchoring the device.

Most portable fish finders are light to carry around, and most of them fit in a pocket without problems. And thanks to their versatility, you can scan different areas of a water body effortlessly.

For a fixed fish finder, you have a different set of advantages. First, these usually are more powerful, giving way better results, deeper & wider scans, and better images. Secondly, they come with GPS that improve the fishing capacity exponentially.

And inevitably, they come with a wider & larger display that you can use for visibility & handling the device. But of course, they need to be anchored to a specific point.

Both are excellent options, while a portable fish finder design allows versatility & mobility, a fixed fish finder will help you get the most out of it without having to carry it on your hand. Most options nowadays can be used both ways, so you get double the capacity & comfort.

    ​​​​• Screen

The screen is the part of the fish finder that you can use to see everything the transducer detects underwater. Most devices come with a screen that goes from 3-inches in the smallest ones to 9-inches in the largest options.

The size of the screen will also tell you how portable & handy the product is. A fish finder with a large display can be useful for large boats where you can fix it without problems. The smallest ones can be useful for a kayak or small-boat fishing, for example.

This screen also needs to come with touch functions, so you can manage it more easily when needed. Most fish-finder displays even come with additional build protections, including waterproof and glare protection.

One helps to keep the product free of any moisture that could damage it, and the other benefits to see whatever it has to show even if the sun reflects directly on it.

Apart from the protection from sunlight, it also needs to be back-lit. This will help you use it when there’s little light. The backlit keeps your eyes safe from too much illumination and makes it easy to handle the device at all times.

    • GPS & Mapping

Apart from showing you fish and other objects underwater, a fish finder may also have the ability to map out your routes and show you a full-GPS function. You’ll have the ability to navigate in the ocean, lake, or river with the chance to watch everything around and under you with top-notch effectiveness.

8 Reasons to Buy a Fish finder

Now you’re familiar with what a fish finder offers, it’s time to know why you should get one. Here we explain the different reasons a fish finder will be a fantastic addition for your fishing gear;

1. Helps to Find Fish

Whether you want to see where the fish are, how many, and how large – a fish finder will be able to tell you all that and more.

helps to find fish

Some options only tell you whether there are fish or not, but the best ones can even tell you the size, length, and make weight assumptions accordingly.

This is an ability that will make even the most inexperienced fishermen a complete professional. Being able to locate fish without having to get your face underwater or spending hours waiting for a bite is merely exceptional.

Just get rid of guessing and use the device that will tell you exactly where to cast your bait.

2. Identifies Different Species

While you’ll be able to tell the size, length, and the different numbers of fish underwater – a fish finder may also help you find what species you’re looking at.

The device may not tell you precisely the kind of fish you’re looking at, but it will give you an idea depending on their place, their depth, and overall shape (if the device shows it).

If you want to fish for a specific species, then this feature will come like a gem for you. Especially in deep water, you can find the perfect catch according to your needs. So you won’t have to let go of the fish you don’t want and instead get the ones you do at first try.

3. Tells Where the Bait Is​

When fishing, there’s something most fishermen suffer from, even experts – and it is losing the bait after casting. This makes it hard to move the line, or sometimes it makes you just recast if you don’t need to.

tells where the bait Is​

Not knowing where the bait is can be frustrating and prevent you from getting the fish you want.

Thanks to the sonar of a fish finder, you can spot your bait no matter how deep or far away it is. This will help you place the bait exactly where you need to and keep it there effortlessly.

4. Shows Water Temperature

Many fishermen think that temperature is not really critical when you’re fishing in the right place. But in reality, knowing the temperature of the water gives you a wide array of details that can make your overall experience far better.

water temperature fish finder

Not only it tells you what kind of fish you may be looking at, but it also helps you find spawning times, feeding times, and whether the fishes will be active or not.

Especially in seasons such as winter and fall, the temperature can tell you a lot about the behavior and quantities of fish you may encounter. This can be the difference between a great fishing experience and one with no fish.

5. Displays Depth & Objects Underwater

Being aware of the temperature, quantity of fish, and where your bait is can be useful. But all this gets even better when you add the depth finder and the underwater mapper.

You’ll be able to know how deep the body of water is, no matter where you are. Unless you are in the ocean and the place is more than 200 or 300 feet deep, you may never know with the device, but otherwise, it will tell you.

As for structures & objects underwater, the newest versions of this product can let you know about practically anything you can encounter. From coral reefs to large rocks, weed lines, floor structure and much more – the mapping option a fish finder can offer is just unbeatable.

This way, you can get on with your fishing always knowing what you have below, which eventually makes it better.

​6. Helps Navigate & Map out Unexplored Areas

Most professional fishermen and those who want to have the most chances usually bring their own physical charts wherever they go. This happens the most in the ocean so they can find perfect places to fish without having to figure it out by themselves. Luckily, with a fish finder, you won’t have to bring anything.

Most of these devices nowadays come with a GPS system that not only helps you navigate in the ocean or lake, it also gives you all the necessary information so you can map out areas depending on your needs.

If you find a place you don’t know much about, the GPS can map out the location and tell you different factors that could be the difference between staying or leaving it. This will not only improve your chances but also prevents you from wasting your time.

​7. Memorizes Fishing Spots

Mapping out different areas and navigation without getting lost is impressive when you’re at sea. But what better than saving the places where your fishing was the best and being able to revisit whenever you can? That’s exactly what a fish finder with memorizing feature offers.

Most fish finders with a GPS and mapping feature also come with a marking or saving option that you can use to store places where you were successful or that seem interesting. Some models may offer more than one hundred places to save or even more – making it easier & faster to navigate.

​8. Gives an Edge in Ice Fishing

Even though most people tend to avoid ice fishing, it is becoming a predominant practice nowadays. Especially in places where ice is a common feature in most parts of the year, this type of fishing may be the only option if you want to eat fish.

Gives an Edge in Ice Fishing

But ice fishing is outstandingly tough. With both the inability to watch what’s underwater and the considerable disadvantage when it comes to casting bait – you may have lots of trouble with this type of fishing.

When you bring a fish finder, however, all this gets reasonably easy. This way you can find the perfect place filled with fish, open a hole for casting, and let the bait do the rest – without wasting your time.

Conclusion – Ready for a Fish Finder?

Now that you are familiar with what this device offers, it is time to find yours. There are thousands of models in the market, and each one comes with its own design and features. You should pick the one that works better for your needs.

Just remember that this is a product that makes the fishing way easier than any other. Even if you have professional-level equipment, nothing will compare to the handiness a fish finder offers. So don’t waste more of your time and get one now!

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