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.

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