Read this before you buy a fish finder

A fish finder can be a very important tool when it comes to successful fishing trips, whether you are an amateur or a more seasoned angler.  They can help you to see fish and hidden structures that you can’t see from your boat.  However, buying the right fish finder for you isn’t necessarily as straightforward as you might think.  Not all devices are created equal.  Let’s look at the three common mistakes buyers make that can result in purchasing the wrong fish finder and how to avoid them.

Fish Finder

Opting out of the GPS

Some fish finders available at sites like come with GPS capabilities, and some don’t.  It can be daunting to choose a fish finder amongst all of the options and features.  Which features do you need?  Which do you not need?  One feature that you should not opt out of is GPS capability.  There are several reasons for this.

First, should you encounter an emergency situation while on the water, it may be a challenge to successfully navigate your way home.  A GPS system can both guide you back to your home shores and provide rescue crews with your co-ordinates.

In some cases, the GPS feature on your fish finder will allow you to create your own maps.  This is awesome if you frequent uncharted waters, as you can create a map that you can use again and again.

On the downside, a fish finder with GPS features will cost a few dollars more – sometimes up to about 50 percent more than the cost of a unit without this feature.  However, when you consider the added convenience and safety that a built-in GPS offers, it’s easy to see how spending the extra money is a good investment.

Choosing the wrong sonar version

All fish finders work by way of sonar technology, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same.  There are two types of sonar:  Down Scan and Side Scan.  Basically, Down Scan sends the signal directly below the boat, while Side Scan (as you might expect) broadcasts the sonar signal on an angle out to the sides of the boat.  Down Scan sonar is more focused, allowing you to see more detail, and accurate in deep water. However, it can be too powerful to be effective in shallow waters, causing the image to be blurry.  Also, because Down Scan sonar is so focused in its scope, it can be easy to miss activity on the sides of the boat.

Side Scan sonar is effective at scanning large areas of water in a single pass, sometimes up to 100 feet at a time. Also, because side scan does not require you to manoeuvre the boat directly over the area of interest, you can get readings without disturbing the waters.  These units are also quieter.  However, Side Sonar is less effective in deep water.


Choosing a portable fish finder to save money

When you go shopping for a fish finder, you will have the option to purchase a portable unit.  This can be a tempting offer, because portable units are much cheaper than others, but if price is the only criteria you are using on which to base this decision, you could be making a mistake.  A portable unit has some shortcomings that could end up costing you more money and causing frustration down the road.

When choosing a fish finder for your needs, avoid making these three common mistakes at all costs.  Weigh the pros and cons of each option, know your fishing habits and needs, and you’ll be sure to choose the right fish finder for you.

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