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How to Use a Fish Finder

How to Use a Fish Finder

How to Use a Fish Finder

If you’ve been fishing for a while now, you most certainly have developed some tricks for finding the most fish and securing awesome catches. But, no matter how good you are, using a fish finder can help elevate your game. If you’ve been wanting to try a fish finder but don’t know where to start or what kind to buy, we’ve got you! This guide will help you choose a fish finder and take advantage of it to its greatest potential.

What is a Fish Finder

Fish finders are sonar equipped computers that allow anglers to see objects - and fish - under and around their boat. These machines also often contain a GPS to help anglers navigate the waters. 

Sonar works by sending vibrations out into the water via a transducer that then bounce off of objects and send the information back to the receiver. The computer then works to create a visual image of the location of objects detected by sonar. 

How to Choose a Fish Finder

When deciding on a fish finder there are a few key factors to consider that can affect how successful your fish finder is for your goals. 


Fish finders come in both colored and black and white options. Choosing a colored fish finder will allow you to more accurately predict the depth of fish because the shade of the color will deepen as the depth increases. Colored finders also help anglers determine what type of fish are being displayed. That being said, greyscale fish finders are still high quality, easy to read, and immensely helpful in searching for fish. 

Display Size     

Finders typically range in size from about 4” to 10”. The larger the screen, the more information can be displayed, but the higher the price tag. Make sure to ask yourself how much display room you really need while also not just going for the smallest one you find - these can be very hard to read. 

Sonar Frequency

Probably the most important factor in choosing your fish finder is its sonar frequency. This level determines what size and type of fish you’re likely to identify with your machine. 

  • High Frequency: Best for finding small fish as higher frequency machines produce more wave cycles. 
  • Low Frequency: Better for identifying larger fish and can search in deep water. 
  • Dual Frequency: Allows an angler to search with multiple frequencies at once.

For a more comprehensive guide on the pros and cons of specific types of fish finders, check out this article!

How to Use a Fish Finder

Now for the fun part: we’re ready to put your fish finder to the test. 

Installing Your Fish Finder

Most fish finders are designed to be semi-permanently installed on a mounting point on your boat or kayak. If you’d rather install one that isn’t as permanent, look for finders that have a floating or hanging transducer for easy removal. 

The specifics of installation will depend on the type of boat you have, but here are some video tutorials for a typical boat and a kayak installation

Reading Your Fish Finder

Fish finders typically display fish in one of two ways: fish icons and fish arches. 

If your finder uses Fish-ID technology, it will most likely display fish icons on the screen when scanning for fish. These icons are computer-generated replications of individual fish to directly illustrate the amount of fish in a given area. With these fish finders, you can even use icons for rocks or bushes to further map out the waters. The downside to these finders is that they can confuse other objects with fish and you may wind up chasing after false hope.

The other type of fish finder display uses arches to show fish in the water. The size of the arch directly correlates with the size of the fish, which gives it an advantage over the icon display. Many anglers prefer this display type once they get the hang of it, and although it isn't as easy to identify rocks and shrubs, it provides a more comprehensive view of the location and size of the fish. 


What’s the Best Fishing Apparel to Wear?

On any fishing trip, it's important to wear performance fishing apparel when you plan to spend hours on the water in the heat, rain, or cold. The fishing apparel you choose ultimately affects your performance and health. Long sleeve fishing shirts should have UV protection, moisture-wicking, anti-odor, quick-dry, and ventilated features. You should also have fishing shorts with multiple deep pockets, 4-way stretch, moisture-wicking, and stain-resistant fabrics. Sun protection is extremely important, especially if you fish frequently.

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