Fish finders are for the serious fisherman. Whether you would like to depend on catching a fish routinely for food, or simply are sick of fishing all day with no reward, a fish finder is a popular tool to use. On this page, we will break down how to read a fish finder, regardless of which model and brand you choose to purchase.
Will A Fish Finder Help Me Catch More Fish?
First things first realize that a fish finder will not be your saving grace. At the end of the day, each of the tools you use as a fisherman are simply that, tools. Even with the fanciest poles, bait, boats, and fish finder, it will still take a certain level of skill to bring in fish like the professionals.
Although a fish finder will definitely help you locate where to cast your line, you shouldn’t rely on it too much. After all, if you are the type of fisherman who tends to lose fish that bite your bait and/or lure and then immediately let go, you should consider taking some lessons on bringing a fish in.
How to Read a Fish Finder (3 Easy Steps):
In a nutshell, fish finders work by sending out SONAR signals to give you a map of the water below you and if there are any fish nearby. Putting this aside, let’s go ahead and now break down how to read a fish finder.
Step 1: Read the Basic Information
Once you get a nice fish finder, it will be as worthless as a brick if you don’t know how to read and process the information. This is why it’s important that you first understand how the information is processed, and how to adjust your technique accordingly.
Fish finders work by emitting sonar waves to provide a rough map of the water below you. This will typically include rough estimates of where the water floor is, any sort of vegetation or logs, and other anomalies at the bottom of the water. This will help you decide how deep you can position your bait.
This is a feature best reserved for a knowledgeable fisherman who knows which type of fish that they want and their species’ habits. For example, some fish like the water of a certain temperature. Catfish, for example, like water which is between 75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this feature is also useful if you
Much how you have a speedometer for your vehicle, a fish finder also normally comes equipped with one. This will help you keep track of how fast you are moving on the water. This is an excellent tool for people who want to cap their speed so that they don’t move too fast on the water, or simply keep track of how fast their motor can go.
Step 2: Process the SONAR Readings
Assuming you spent enough money on a fish finder which reads back with color, the darker the color the denser the area is. For example, the bottom of the water will be the darkest portion of the screen, followed by the fish and vegetation. Black and white fish finders will act similarly, just not as precisely as one with color.
For example, the above pictures show a typical reading on both a simple black and white fish finder and one which is in color. As we can clearly see, the color readings are much more precise and give you a better estimate of where the fish currently is, if there are more fish nearby, and the size of the fish. In comparison, a black and white fish finder is a lot simpler and cheaper.
Step 3: Make an Educated Cast Using the Information Provided
Once you understand how to read a fish finder, you can start making more educated casts. Keep in mind that some low-end fish finders will actually mistake rocks or vegetation as a school of fish. Accordingly, don’t depend on this information. Instead, use it as a guide.
If you wish to have the most accurate readings possible, then you need to consider getting one of the best fish finders possible. However, keep in mind that many fish finders will have advanced recognition to help point out where certain rocks are. A professional fisherman could use this information and know that the fish they want to catch will likely be near this rock.
Understanding Arch Shapes
If a fish stays in one position for too long, they will die. They need to keep moving to keep water pumping through their gills. The exception to this is in a river or conditions where the water is moving so that fish can stay stationary.
Often times, a reading on many models of fish finders will show the shape of an arch. More often than not, this is a reading which shows the fish size, whether or not it’s in motion, its surroundings, and so on. An experienced fisherman will know they need to cast strategically using this information instead of simply throwing their lure right where the fish was pinpointed using the fish finder.
How to Read a Fish Finder: Summary
It can take weeks, months, and even years to learn how to use a fish finder. Keeping this in mind, the above information is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning how to master using these tools. In any case, you might need a some more information if you are serious about learning how to use a fish finder. As long as you can use the basic controls, the rest should fall in line rather quickly.
In your quest to finding the best fish finder and learning how to use it successfully, there will be many different successes and failures that you will experience. Remember that even the most professional fisherman makes mistakes, and so will you. This is why there are many different tips and tricks for fish finders that you will master as you develop. However, learning from these mistakes and adapting your technique will prove to be priceless in becoming the best fisherman possible.