Before buying a fish finder think about where and how you’ll be using it. If you fish waters that are less than 300 feet deep a fish finder with a transducer frequency of 200 kHz and a beam width of 20 degrees will give you a more detailed readout. If your waters are deeper than 300 feet a transducer with an eight degree beam width and 50 kHz frequency will work better.
You should also be aware that the vertical pixel count of your fish finder’s display will determine its level of detail. The higher it is, the more you’ll see. Glare is also a problem with some displays. A black and white image will wash out in direct sun so you should get a color display if you can afford one. Get a back-lit display if you like to fish at night.
GPS is all the rage these days but it really shines in a fish finder. You can use it to plot the location of fishing hot spots so you can go back on another day. This is particularly useful when you’re fishing out at sea where there are no visual aids.
Experienced fishermen know that different species of fish are attracted to different water temperatures. Since fish are sensitive to water temperature changes, try to avoid fish finders that don’t sense the temperature. If you know what the temperature is you’ll have an easier time locating the fish you want to catch.
Glare can be a real problem on sunny days and it will keep you from seeing details on your readout. Black and white displays tend to wash out so high-contrast color is the way to go.
The lowest fish finder prices are usually at sites like Amazon and eBay but you should start your search at Epinions.com. They have user reviews and links that compare the prices of top-rated vendors. Why do the research when it’s already been done for you?
Always check the vendor’s terms and conditions, site security and seller reputation before buying anything online. You might also want to visit local merchants as they could have the model you need at a great sale price.
The Eagle Cuda 300 is a good entry-level fish finder. It covers the basics and throws in a few extras at a price of $73 to $111.
The Norcross Hawkeye FF33P is a popular portable that runs on four AAA batteries. Prices range from $44 to $90.
The Lowrance X67C is a surprising value with its high-resolution, full color display and high quality transducer. It’s priced from $159 to $296.
2catchmorefish.com, “Key Features to Consider in a Fish Finder,” 2 Catch More Fish
Karen Janos, “How To Choose a Fish Finder,” Hummingbird Fish Finder
fishfinderreviews.org, “Fish Finder Reviews: Get the Right Product,” Fish Finder Reviews