Fishing is a sport that requires a lot of patience, dedication, and perseverance. Despite this, it can be one of the most exciting and rewarding activities a person can engage in. The only issue with fishing is it is extremely difficult to know exactly where the fish are in the water. Luckily, this is where fish finder comes into play.
A fish finder is a device used by anglers to locate the fish in the water beneath them. They use sonar technology to create an image of the underwater area beneath the boat (or ice if ice fishing) which allows anglers to detect local groups of fish. The fish finder will not only prevent you from wasting time and resources by allowing you to locate the fish, but they will also allow you to monitor patterns in temperature, water depth, and the contour of the under-water ground. Fish Finders are incredibly convenient and beneficial devices that are guaranteed to improve your chances of success whether you’re boat fishing, ice fishing, bank fishing, shore fishing, or kayak fishing
When it comes to choosing a fish finder, it can often be difficult to know exactly which model is going to work best for you. To make the decision process slightly easier, we have put together a list of some of our favorite fish finders on the market today. We have also outlined a few of the features and characteristics you should be considering when approaching the fish finder market.
Top 5 Fishing Waders
OUR TOP PICK
Humminbird is a brand known for its excellent products that are designed to make the fishing experience just that little bit better. Their HELIX 5 G2 Series Fish Finder is one of the brand’s most well-loved products. This device comes with DualBeam and Chirp Sonar technology which will enable you to switch between different frequencies to adapt to various environments. This model also offers side imaging which is quite a unique feature of fish finders, and this will allow you to see more of what lives around you rather than just beneath you. The device will enable you to acquire side imaging for a terrain of 460ft and a depth of 100ft, along with a 180-degree view around.
This fish finder is also equipped with GPS and a micro SD which will allow you to both collect and store data during your fishing trips. This can be extremely handy as it will be able to tell you which locations are worth returning to and which are not. This device is renowned for its uncompromising high-quality screen resolution that offers 480 x 800 pixels. This sort of display is ideal as it means you will have no issues with reading the screen even in the poorest of lighting conditions.
- Dual-beam for great detail and generous coverage
- 5-inch-wide colored screen
- Ideal for a range of water depths
- Easy to use
- Made of high-quality materials
- The instruction manual is confusing and not sufficiently informative
- 5-Inch widescreen LED backlit display
- CHIRP Side Imaging filters out noise and clutter for a clearer view of the world below
- CHIRP Digital Sonar is engineered to help you reach greater depths and range
- Dual Beam PLUS Sonar combines two beams for great detail and a generous coverage area
- Humminbird basemap includes charts of more than 10, 000 lakes, plus coastal coverage for the U. S
The Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder is one of Deeper’s newest models that is designed to be extremely user friendly and affordable. This device is a lot lighter than the majority of Deeper’s older products, and at just 65g, it is ideal for taking a lot with you on those fishing expeditions. The device also comes with a swivel attachment that has been tried and tested with both monofilament and braided lines. It also has a casting range of up to 50m and it will scan up to 50m deep into the water.
This device uses wireless technology to send a clear display of what lies beneath the water to your smartphone or tablet. In the app, you will be able to see the fish’s location and size as well as the water depth and temperature. You will also be able to monitor the surrounding vegetation and bottom contours of the ground. In the app, you can save all your fishing scans and data so that you can go back and review them in detail at any time. The fish finder is also equipped with an automatic night fishing mode which enables you to carry on fishing, no matter the time of day.
This fish finder is a fantastic option for anyone looking for a high-performing, versatile fish finder, at a very reasonable price. Designed to be used by anglers of all levels, this finder is perfect for everyone.
- Completely portable and lightweight
- 40 degrees sonar beam for high coverage
- Equipped with a night fishing mode
- Easy to use
- Compatible with a wide range of tablets and smartphones
- Readings are not as accurate as some of the other options
- Portable, cartable wireless fish finder for family trips, fishing with friends or casual anglers.
- Utilizes smart technology with Wi-Fi connectivity. No mobile data or internet required. The START generates its own Wi-Fi signal, anytime, anywhere.
- Casts out to 165 ft. and scans down to 165 ft. with 40° sonar beam for accuracy and coverage. Every scan automatically saved with time and location.
- Automatic night fishing mode, lightweight for comfortable casting, sleek design for easy reeling, 6-hour battery life with 2. 5 hour recharge. Compatible with Android and iOS devices.
- Easy-to-use Deeper App displays fish location, depth and size, water bottom contour and vegetation. Download the app for free. Deeper App has over 2 million downloads to date and is updated monthly.
The Lowrance HOOK 2 4 X 4 inch Fish Finder is an extremely intriguing fish finder that has recently gained much popularity on the market. Featuring auto-tuning sonar and phone-like menus, this fish finder is all about ease of use and ensuring that you are spending less time dealing with settings and more time fishing. This fish finder is equipped with a 4-inch WVGA color TFT display with LED backlight, meaning it is perfect for providing that clear, crisp imaging of not only fish, vegetation, and the ground’s contours. It includes a brand-new Bullet Skimmer transducer with a transom mount but it is also equipped with a space to attach it to a trolling motor.
The device offers wide-angle broadband sonar and operates at a standard frequency of 200kHz. This makes it a fantastic option for anyone that is going to be fishing in shallow-medium waters. The fish finder also comes with a basic GPS plotter which will allow you to track and record all your fishing hotspots. This device is also keypad operated and is built with materials that have been designed to withstand colder, more extreme conditions.
- Offers a wide-angle sonar cone
- Incredibly easy to set up and use
- Great value for money
- Constructed of high-quality materials
- Solarmax display for crisp, clear views of what’s beneath the water
- The device is not equipped with GPS
- EASY TO USE: The Lowrance HOOK2 4x Fish Finder features auto-tuning sonar and phone-like menus giving you more time to spend fishing and less time dealing with settings.
- WIDER SONAR COVERAGE: The HOOK2 4x offers a wide-angle sonar cone giving you double the coverage of traditional fish finders.
- EASY SETUP: A single transducer can be mounted on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling motor or through a scupper hole.
- TRANSDUCER INCLUDED: The included Bullet Skimmer transducer gives you traditional 2-D sonar (fish arch) views.
The Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder is another fantastic choice that is just as high-performing as it is user friendly. This high-frequency device will allow you to not only locate the fish but it will also indicate the water depth and temperature as well as the shape and contours of the ground. The device works to provide you with extremely detailed representations and near-photographic images of exactly what lies beneath the water. You can also use the finder’s waypoint map to mark and navigate through docks, brush piles, and stumps.
This fish finder boasts incredible high-resolution and the screen is available in either 3.5, 5, or 7 inches. The incredible display of the screen ensures that you will have no issues with using this fish finder even when the lighting conditions aren’t working in your favor. It is also designed to work well in particularly cold and wet conditions, so it is perfect for any ice-fishing enthusiasts out there!
This fish finder is also renowned for working impeccably in both saltwater and freshwater environments, with a maximum depth range of 1600ft in freshwater and 750ft in saltwater. Hence, this fish finder is a brilliant option for anyone who tends to fish in a variety of environments.
- Built-in classic flasher
- Constructed of water-resistant materials
- Long-lasting battery life
- High screen resolution and detailed display
- Not great for use in shallow water environments
- Clear Vu scanning Sonar shows you more of what is in the water around your boat; This high frequency sonar gives near photographic images with detailed representations of objects, structure and fish
- The power of simple offers a keyed interface with dedicated buttons; The device is easy to use and easy to install; Available in 3.5, 5 and 7 inch display sizes; Water rating IPX7
- Waypoint map: Use the way point map to easily view, mark and navigate to locations such as brush piles, stumps and docks; Maximum depth 1,600 feet freshwater, 750 feet saltwater; Current draw at 12 volt: 0.23 Ampere
- Chirp Sonar sends a continuous sweep of frequencies which provides a wider range of information; Chirp Sonar is able to create crisper fish arches with better target separation
- Built in flasher: View your sonar data in the classic flasher format; Ideal for ice fishing or vertical jigging. Display size: 1.9 x 2.9 inches (4.9 x 7.3 centimeter); 3.5 inches diagonal (8.7 centimeter)
The Deeper Chrip Smart Sonar Fish Finder is one of the best-selling fish finders on the market. With its innovative construction and advanced technology, it is no wonder that it is so well-loved amongst the fishing community. The Deeper Chirp Fish Finder can cast out to 330ft with solid connectivity and boasts three-beam frequencies, meaning it is perfect for adapting to different environments. It is compatible with all iOS and Android devices and actually generates its own Wi-Fi signal to connect to these devices. Once connected to the Deeper app, you will be able to plan your fishing trips and map the waters that you have previously fished in order to maximize your catch rate. You will also then be able to go back to the app in order to know when and where to fish and to locate targets.
You will also be able to create your own bathymetric maps from your boat, canoe, or kayak and keep track of them in your own personal fishing journal called ‘Lakebook’.
This device is also renowned for its incredibly fast charging abilities. In just 45 minutes your device could be up to 80% charged 100% in just 75 minutes.
- Has the ability to scan down to 260ft into the water
- Is compatible with the majority of tablets and smartphones
- Equipped with GPS tracking
- Extremely accurate
- Easy to install
- Relatively expensive
- THE ONLY CASTABLE FISH FINDER CHIRP: The three beam frequencies, crisp clarity and extreme accuracy makes it ideal for quickly locating target species holding spots, pinpointing predator fish and fishing in extreme depths.
- HIGHEST SPECS: Casts out to 330ft with solid connectivity. Accurate scanning in water from 6in to 330ft deep. Precise 0. 4in target separation. Compatible with iOS and Android devices. It generates its own Wi-Fi signal to connect to your smartphone.
- FAST CHARGE: Charge battery of this kayak fish finder / ice fishing fish finder / fish detector device / mobile fish finder portable to 80% in 45 minutes and 100% in just 75 minutes.
- COOL FISHING GIFT: CHIRP Deeper fish finders and depth finders are cool fishing gadgets and best fishing accessories for men and women. This fishing equipment will satisfy keen fishermen and are perfect fishing presents and gifts for fisherman.
- CREATE YOUR OWN BATHYMETRIC MAPS: Create bathymetric maps from the boat, canoe, kayak. Access all your scans, maps, points of interests, photos and notes on Lakebook, your personal fishing journal.
Best Fish Finders Buying Guide
If you want to find the perfect fish finder for you, there are several factors you will need to consider. Fish finders come with a variety of different specifications and whilst some are designed for entry-level fishing, others are designed for professional use. Due to this, it is extremely important that you know exactly what you are looking for before you pull the trigger and invest. To know what to look for, you will need to have a basic understanding of how the devices operate and the different features that make them unique. To help you pick a fish finder that is going to work perfectly for you, we thought we would put together a short comprehensive guide that lists a few of the crucial factors you should be considering.
The transducer is perhaps the most essential element of any fish finder. It is the component that sends sonar waves into the water. Once those waves reach objects in the water, they bounce off them and their presence is then detected by the transducer. The transducer will either work with standard sonar technology or Chirp sonar technology. Chirp sonar fish finders are typically known for being a lot more accurate in their readings, so if accuracy is what you are after, you may want to go for a Chirp model. You will also see fish finders with ‘down imaging’. Down imaging essentially allows you to see an extremely realistic view of what is underneath the water. This allows you to see for yourself what lays beneath, rather than relying on the messages from the sonar. You will also see fish finders that provide ‘side imaging’. Side imaging allows you to see less of what’s right below you and more of what’s around you by sending beams out to the side of your boat.
When browsing for fish finders, you will want to ensure you are paying attention to their wattage. Ideally, you should look for a fish finder with a higher wattage as this will deliver the most accurate and reliable performance in terms of detecting what lays beneath the water. If the fish finder has a higher wattage count, it will be able to generate readings a lot faster and hence, make your fishing experience easier and more efficient. You will also need to think about the fish finder’s battery life as this will determine how much use you will be able to get out of your device at a time. Generally, you will find that the larger, more expensive units will require a lot more energy than the more basic, cheaper devices. Due to this, we would recommend always carrying a spare battery with you on your fishing trips, just in case.
The screen resolution of your fish finder is extremely important as it determines how you are going to be able to read and interpret the data extracted by the transducer. It is generally recommended that you should choose a fish finder that has a screen resolution of no lower than 240 x 160 pixels. If the finder has a lower screen resolution, it is very likely that you will have difficulty when it comes to monitoring the underwater patterns, especially in poor lighting. You should also ensure that your fish finder has a screen that is big enough for you to comfortably read the required information, without being so bulky that it becomes difficult to carry. Usually, fish finders will have screens that are between 2 and 12 inches diagonal. As the bigger screens are renowned for being easier to read and use, we would recommend that you choose a fish finder that’s screen is no smaller than 4 inches diagonal.
When it comes to fish finders, you will find that they operate at different frequencies. The two basic types of transducers operate at low frequencies of around 50 Hertz and high frequencies of around 100 Hertz. Generally, fish finders with high frequencies are more suitable for fishing in shallow waters, whilst fish finders with low frequencies are more suitable for fishing in deeper waters. This is because in deep waters, the water absorbs the frequency and the finders also tend to have a wide-angle, meaning you will be able to get a clear, basic understanding of what lays beneath. Low-frequency fish finders tend to have a much more limited cone angle, meaning they are much better for obtaining detailed readings from shallow, vegetated environments.
You will find that some fish finders are designed to switch between frequencies in order to adapt to different fish locations. If you are someone who tends to fish in a variety of different environments than the dual-frequency fish finders will be the better option for you. On the other hand, if you tend to stick to one type of water depth, you could save yourself a few dollars and stick to a single frequency fish finder.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I sync my fish finder with my tablet or smartphone?
Many fish finders that you will see on the market are compatible with a variety of smartphones and tablets. Many fish finders even have their custom apps which allow you to measure a range of parameters such as depth, temperature, and ground contours. With these apps, you will also usually be able to record locations and save recordings which is great if you are a keen and dedicated angler.
Can I use the same fish finder for a range of water depth environments?
Whilst you are more than welcome to try the same fish finder in a range of different water depths, it is very unlikely that it will be equally productive in all of the environments. We would recommend that you stick to using high-frequency fish finders in shallow waters and low-frequency fish finders in deeper waters to ensure you can obtain accurate data. If you are someone who likes to fish in a range of different water depths, you should look into getting a multi-frequency fish finder.