How to Choose an Electronic Fishfinder

An electronic fish finder makes it possible to locate fish while eliminating the guesswork. Hobbyists and professionals can benefit from using an electronic fish finder's solar capability to find the best fishing locations. Modern sonar provides much more information that older units and can allow a fisherman to check depth, structure, speed and temperature readings pertaining to fish. Additionally, using a GPS-enabled fish finder can make your outings safer by marking waypoints and tracking productive areas during trips. Fishermen that want to fish the traditional way and use their instincts and experience to catch fish can still benefit from the additional information that an electronic fish finder brings to the game.

Picking a Unit

An electronic fish finder comes in two basic types of units -- single and dual frequency. Single frequency units work best in shallow areas near coastal areas and on lakes. Dual frequency finders work best for deep sea and commercial fishing. Display screens come in a variety of sizes, with higher resolution screens providing a clearer and more detailed image. Wider displays can provide a greater viewing area and provide a greater view of the landscape underneath your craft. Hobbyists can generally get by quite well using a single frequency unit, while commercial fishermen should invest in dual frequency units with large display screens and high resolution images. An electronic fish finder is right for you if you want to catch a large number of fish without a lot of guesswork. More expensive units provide additional information to help you identify potential fish using a combination of symbols and audio alerts.

Portable and Fixed Options

Not all fishermen are going to want the same type of unit. Deciding on whether to purchase a portable or built-in fixed option depends largely on the type of fishing you plan on doing and your craft. Boat owners generally tend to choose fixed units to ensure that the unit doesn't get lost. Additionally, the wires can be hidden under floorboards and panels to give a built-in look. Fixed units provide more security and can be permanently attached to ensure that the unit doesn't come loose. Portable units work well for fisherman that rent boats, go on different types of fishing expeditions and fly-in retreats. For example, a fisherman that wants to take the unit ice fishing can benefit from the mobility of a portable unit. The features between portable and fixed units tend to consist of a comparable, if not identical, feature-set. Portable units also tend to provide a more compact form factor and include a traveling case that can come in handy on long expeditions. However, fixed units can provide a higher resolution and larger viewing area to make it easier to isolate and identify potential hiding spots for schooling fish.

Units With Side Scan Technology

Side scan technology comes with more advanced units and allows a fisherman to detect anything to the side of the boat. A fisherman that wants to cover more area and work more efficiently should consider purchasing a unit with side scan technology. Traditional downward transducer beams only detect the area directly in the line of the beams path. With a side scan unit, fisherman can check beneath the murky water and quickly view areas where schooling fish tend to congregate. Fisherman that need to compete at a high level and catch large amounts of fish can bridge the gap by using an electronic fish finder that incorporates side scan technology. Most side scanners can scan over 200 feet to either side of the boat. 

Getting Back to Shore

Venturing too far out to sea can end in disaster if you get lost and can't find your way back to shore. GPS tracking makes it possible to add an additional layer of security and can act as a backup for your boats own GPS tracking. An electronic fish finder that includes GPS tracking also allows you to venture onshore and continue to track your motion and recall the location of your boat. GPS marking does much more than simply allowing you to mark productive spots. You can also mark fish, structures, ramps that can be used to launch your boat and other areas of interest. Electronic fish finders provide a way to increase your productivity and prospects. This in turn can increase both your enjoyment and profit if you engage in commercial fishing.

Ultimately, an electronic fish finder provides fishermen with a useful tool to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of outings. Traditional fishing relies upon marking known spots on a map and looking for areas that indicate potential fishing locations based on environmental factors. Even if you don't use a fish finder to locate fish, the ability to quickly and accurately mark locations for future fishing is worth the cost of the unit.