Fishing Reel & Marine HQ

Fish Finder Basics

Fish finders, depth sounders or echo sounders … what ever you want to call them, can be very overwhelming and difficult to set up and understand.

This post is the first in a series that is aimed to help beginners understand the basics of a fish finder, and what it is all about.

Used properly, this technology can massively improve your catch rate and time on the water.

I am going to use the term Fish Finder through out this article, but it equally applies to depth sounder, or echo sounder.

What Is A Fish Finder For?

Humminbird Sounder

Dumb question right? Obviously for finding fish!

There is a little bit more to it than that.

Whilst they are used to try and detect fish, they also function as a tool for navigation, and finding new underwater structure.

Manufacturers will design a unit with both a transducer and sounder unit, that have a set of functions and options that allow the user to find structure and fish in a given set of conditions.

Understanding how these setting and functions work on a specific sounder unit will have a very positive effect on your ability to find and target fish.

Once you truly understand how to read your fish finder, you will know how to spot fish, and what is the best way to position yourself to catch them.

The Best Way To Learn How To Use Your Fish Finder.

Most fish finders will come with a simulator mode.

So before you get out on the water, read through the manual!

Then set your finder into simulator mode, and start playing around with the settings following the instructions in your manual.

After doing this for 45 minutes or so, you will get that hang of it and you will start to understand how it all works.

Then get out on the water and start exploring these functions of the fish finder you’re familiar with. This is when you can fine tune your settings, and you will start to find it easy to read your screen and know when and how to change settings.

Don’t try and learn all the settings and functions at once, you will overwhelm yourself and quickly lose interest.

Instead take the time to learn a few specific settings and functions that are relevant to the type of fishing you want to do. Then when you are used to what you’re doing, and are able to target more fish, then branch out into exploring more of the functions and settings available to you.

How A Fish Finder Detects Fish:

The units transducer will send a sound wave down to the sea floor.

The sound wave will strike the fish, and this will be reflected back to the unit as an echo signal.

The strength and quality of the signal will depend on a number of factors.

The body and density of a fish are poor reflectors. Therefore the gases in the swim bladder and stomach of the fish are the main factors that contribute to a good reflective signal.

A large massed fish, that has a large swim bladder will produce a nice solid target on the fish finder.

That is all for now. Hopefully this article gave you an idea of the basics of how these systems work.

My advice is to get reading your manual, and start playing around with the functions and settings of your unit before you get on the water.

Choosing The Right Fishing Reel

The fishing reel market has evolved massively over the last few decades.

Reel technology has boomed, and manufacturers have really flooded the market with amazing equipment.

The good news is that the price of fishing reels have dropped considerably, and you can get a reliable reel for less then $100!

So to help you get started, lets take a look at some of the different types of fishing reels, and what they are used for.

Spinning Reels:

Best Spinning Reels

One of the most common types of reel, commonly known as an eggbeater reel.

These are very popular due to their ease of use, and ability to fish in many types of fishing environments.

The sizes of these reels range from a 1000, which is good for freshwater and inshore light species. To a huge 20,000 size which is essentially an oversize reel used for heavy tackle fishing and surf fishing.

These reels can be very expensive, but come with incredible technology.

However, you can also pick up a good quality spinning reel, with plenty of drag for around $100.

The market for these reels is so big, that you will need to do a bit of research to workout which is the best reel for you. If so, make sure you check out the Fishing Reel Reviews ( website, for all the information you need.

Baitcasting Reels:

These can also be known as a low profile reel.

They are a compact style of reel, and they are almost exclusively used for fishing with lures.

These reels can be difficult to use for a novice angler, however with practice baitcasting doesn’t take long to get the hang of.

These reels allow for incredible casting accuracy.

They also come with a thumb bar that allows for a quick release, which helps with quick casting.

Lure fisherman absolutely love these reels as they provide a very high retrieve rate.

Baitcasting reels can be used with both braid and monofilament. They also have a star drag system which gives very precise drag control.

Conventional Reels:

Overhead Reel

Overhead or drum reels can have either a lever drag or start drag.

These are very simple and easy to use reels that are commonly used for bottom fishing and trolling.

They are also fantastic for fishing with live baits.

If you have every been charter fishing, then you most likely will have used an overhead reel.

The most famous of these reels are the Shimano ( TLD and Charter Special series.

A quality overhead/conventional reel doesn’t have to be expensive.

If you’re prepared to look after your reel, and give it regular cleaning and maintenance, then they will last you for years.

I have several Shimano TLD reels, and a charter special that have lasted nearly 30 years, and they are still going strong!

Fly Fishing Reels:

Fly Reel

These reels are a very simple design, but can be very expensive.

They are often made from an alloy that is similar to what you see in aircraft construction!

So they are very light, yet very powerful.

These reels are used for fishing flies in predominantly fresh water, however saltwater fly fishing is becoming more and more popular.

Most fly reels have no drag system, however larger reels will have a basic drag system.

Tips For Maintaining Your Reel:

  1. Store the reel with the drag off/loose.
  2. A light blend of soapy water is good for rinsing your reel with if it has been exposed to a lot of salt spray.
  3. Give your reels a good spray with an anti corrosion spray on a semi regular basis.
  4. Have your reel serviced yearly at a quality tackle store.