It wasn’t that long ago that the way we found the honey holes for fishing was to line up trees or shore sights and look for certain depths in the water with an anchor rope. It was a very primitive way of finding fish, but some anglers were really good at it. With blinding speed, we have moved from sight lines and ropes to electronic gear that has gotten so sophisticated that you almost need an engineering degree to figure out how to use the stuff.
The new technology allows one to see where the fish are, how big they are, and almost what species they are. These new fish finders can take and make phone calls, send text messages, transfer data to your phone or home computer, and order a pizza if that is what you are inclined to do. Some models also come with complete radar that can replace listening to the NOA weather radio. There is just no limit to the technical explosion occurring with the new fish finders.
There are three basic types of fish finders on the market. They all operate using sonar to create an image. Their accuracy and what they do depends on the type of sonar you have. If you are in the market for a new one, you need to decide what you will be using the fish finder for and how much you want to spend on it.
The first type is a standard sonar system. These have been around for many years and are based on a cone shaped image under the boat that gives a rough idea of what is in that cone shaped area. These are not very accurate but do give a general idea of what’s below the boat in the form of arcs. They are the cheapest sonar on the market today.
The second type of sonar system is known as Down Imaging. This system is much improved over the basic sonar and is much better at providing images of fish that are more detailed and accurate as they swim under the boat. But it is also more difficult to learn and much more expensive.
The third basic sonar system is Side Imaging. Just as the name suggests, this system allows the operator to see fish on both sides of the boat. Anglers can actually see fish, stop the boat and cast off to the side to where the fish are without disturbing them. Side Imaging is also more expensive than the other two types, but for anglers who master its use, it is a very effective technology for locating fish.
These new fish finders can be bought in various packages and combinations. The low-end sonar systems are very reasonable; the high-end units can be very expensive and very complex to learn how to use. Now, you just have to figure out what kind you want and how much you are going to spend.