Fishing is fun when you have the right equipment. In fact, getting the right gear is an integral part of fishing for many reasons. The most obvious one is that you don’t want to lose a fish just because you have a piece of shoddy equipment. Apart from that, keeping the right gear also ensures your safety.

The modern-day fishing market is filled with different types of equipment and tackle to turn your fishing day into a fun affair. If you are going to fish on your boat, then it is essential to make sure that you have all those crucial gears that make it easier to locate and catch fish. One such gear is a fish finder.

What Is A Fish Finder?

As the name suggests, a fish finder is electronic equipment that saves an angler’s time and effort by identifying a fish using advanced technology. The GPS-enabled device eliminates the guesswork to identify a fish and provides the angler with a graphic representation of what beneath the boat.

Fish finders come in all sorts and sizes. You’ve got low budget ones, medium budget ones and high budget ones. The higher the price segment, the more features you’ll find on there, generally speaking. Some fish finders are also equipped with sonar. Fish finders that are equipped with both sonar as well as GPS are called “GPS fish finder combos”, as explained by BOE Marine.

Choosing The Best Fish Finder

Shopping for a fish finder is a challenging task for both the experienced angler and the amateur, thanks to the technology. From transducers to sonars and echoes, there are plenty of things associated with the gear that can make you lost in the technical talk.

Apart from that, the fishing gear market has a plethora of fish finding devices by different manufacturers that may confuse you. Therefore, if you want to get the best marine fish finders for your fishing requirements, then you need to dig deeper into the technical world of a fish finder. There are plenty of things that you must look for in a fish finder to ensure you purchase the best gear.


A fish finder comes with a transducer to send out and receive sonar waves. When these waves are discharged into the seawater, they bounce off of an object there. Then, the transducer collects these waves to generate data. After that, the collected information is transferred to the central unit, which studies the received signals and produces an image to display on the fish finder’s screen.

Transducers are the crucial parts of a fish finder, so it is essential to ensure that a fish finder you are choosing has a transducer that suits your boat. For example, transducers feature various kinds of mounts. The transom mount is the easiest to install while the thru-hull mount is a good option for bigger boats.

Transducer Material

In addition to different types of mounts, transducers are available in different materials- including plastic, bronze, and others. If you are fishing for fun, then a transducer with a plastic transom mount can be your ideal choice because it is compatible with different types of boats. On the other hand, a transducer with a thru-hull of metal or fiber may require plastic housings.

The best fish finders for amateur or recreational fishers feature trolling motor or transom mount transducers. These are all-rounder transducers that work well with almost all kinds of boats and produce satisfactory outcomes. If you think a thru-hull transducer is the best option for your fishing needs, then you have to choose between plastic and bronze material.

Cone Angle

Cone angle of a fish finder is one of the essential elements to consider when shopping for the best equipment to catch fish. It is the width of a beam discharged by a fish finder on a boat into the seawater. When the equipment emits a signal into the water, the angle goes in the shape of a cone. When the beam goes down, the angle spreads and covers more area. A device with a wider angle means more area to locate fish. The best fish finders are the ones that feature transducers covering more area.

The fishing-gear market has transducers capable of covering 9 degrees to over 60 degrees. Most of them have a cone that can range up to 20 degrees. If you are an amateur fisherman, then a 20-degree cone is the right choice for your needs.

Instead of getting traditional transducers, you can get new-age transducers equipped with the latest technology. Unlike conventional devices, they are capable of emitting multiple cones from one point. Some of these transducers can emit two or three beams while others have side beam for better results. Although a fish finder with dual beams is little costlier than one with the single beam, it is more effective in the shallow water than its counterpart.

There are fish finders with both single beam and multiple beam options. These different types of beam options can decide the price of gear. For example, dual beams are costlier than single beam fish finders, but they cover more area and produce better results in shallow water.


In the world of smart devices, many fish finders feature a black and white screen with the shades of gray. However, you also have the option to buy a fish finder with a color display. The equipment displays results in many colors and allows the angler to easily understand what is going on underwater. One more limitation of fish finders with a black and white display is that they are hard to read, especially in the sunlight. Apart from that, they lack the ability to produce results when the weather is cloudy.

The only thing that goes in favor of gear with a black and white screen is that these are more cost-effective than the ones with a color display.

When you are searching for the best fish finder for your needs, make sure you pay attention to the device’s screen resolution. How many pixels the right gear needs to have? To understand it in a simple way, remember that more pixels mean more detail. For example, if your device has a 320 x 320 resolution, then there are 320 horizontal dots and 320 vertical dots.

A good fish finder will have at least 240 x 160 pixels. However, you require a device with a better resolution to quickly locate fish beneath the water. A piece of equipment with a bigger screen is capable of showing higher details than one with a small display. A fish finder with a small screen may display cluttered readings, which are difficult to read and understand.


Here, the angler needs to dig deeper into technology to choose the best fish finding equipment. It is essential to pay attention to a device’s frequency as it has a direct impact on its cone size. Transducers come in different frequencies that range from 50 kHz to 200 kHz. If you are fishing in shallow water, then the best transducer has high frequencies (192 and 200 kHz). In case you are a professional angler, get transducers with 50 kHz.

Here, the angler needs to remember that a device with high frequency offers detailed results on the device’s display. It means a fish finder with higher frequency sends/receives more sonar waves than equipment producing low frequency. When you are roaming the market in search of a good fish finder, you may come across some devices that provide frequency up to 400 kHz or more. With these higher frequencies, the device displays high-quality and detailed images on the screen.


Like screen and frequency, power is also an important element to consider in your fish finder. A device with high wattage is capable of quickly giving deeper readings than units with low wattage. A fish finder with lower wattage performs well in shallow water. For professional fishing, you need a high wattage unit. It is because a gear with more power produces faster sonar waves and displays reliable outputs on the screen.

Here, you need to understand that a fish finder that displays readings from around 400 feet will have 100 watts of power and frequency of 50 kHz.


Many anglers, including the experienced ones, neglect this crucial point when buying a fish finder. Whether you have a big boat or a small vessel, water resistance is an important element to consider. A fish finder you are purchasing must be water resistance certified gear. The certification ensures that the device is safe to use in splashing water. There are various kinds of fish finders that work effectively on large vessels but fail to produce results when you use them on a kayak. You need to inspect the device and understand everything about its water resistance before purchasing it.


Once you have considered all the factors mentioned above, the next thing is to ensure that you are getting a fish finder manufactured by a reputable brand. Instead of falling for a cheap device, purchase one that features all essential functionalities and that comes with a warranty, so that you can work with it effectively for a long time. Your fish finder needs to be an advanced electronic device equipped with modern-day technology. All these things come together to ensure that you are investing in fishing gear that is going to produce accurate results and help you get the most fun out of your fishing trip.

About the Author Brian

Hello, I'm Cindy. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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