Best Fish Finder
Best pick fish finder on the market in the UK (September 2020).
#1 Selection: My Rating = 90%
#2: Best Ranked Runner-Up
#3: Top User Review Scores
Fish Finders: A Buyer’s Guide
Some anglers will tell you that the true thrill of fishing lies in not knowing when and where you’ll get a bite! Others, however, will tell you that the mystery can get really annoying. If you’ve ever spent hours at a time waiting for even the slightest of nibbles, you’re probably going to wonder why you bother fishing at all! The fact is, many people simply enjoy sitting out in the cool air. It’s a very meditative experience! For everyone else who really wants to take home a fish or two, there are fish finders.
Fish finders, as the name might suggest, are great at finding nearby catches which might be lurking beneath the depths. It’s somewhat like your own personal radar. Unless you are some kind of dedicated fish whisperer, you’re otherwise going to need to work on your wits alone. A fish finder takes away a lot of the guesswork, which can be very useful if you are taking part in competitions, for example, which allow you to use them. The technology has come a long way, too, which means you can now start scanning for gilled beauties from your own smartphone. Who’d have thought this technology was even possible just a few years ago?
In this buying guide, we will take you through absolutely everything you need to know before you buy your own aquatic radar system. We’ll also answer a few frequently asked questions at the end of the guide, too, to make sure you know exactly what to expect while shopping around.
How Do Fish Finders Work?
It’s a good idea to know a little bit about how fish finding technology actually works before you go ahead and buy into it! A fish finder is a handheld device which works through something called a transducer. A transducer will emit sonar signals into the water, and receive them back again. These work by bouncing off things which lurk beneath the depths. While you may think this is where you end up fishing for rocks and plants, a good fish finder will give you a clear, moving picture of what to expect.
That’s the basic technology involved! You may find that some transducers are built in plastic, while others are built in bronze. The fish finder and transducer you choose will depend on what your hull is made of.
Now that we know a little bit about the technology behind fish finding, it’s time to consider what you should shop around for when choosing the ideal model.
What to Look For
When shopping for a fish finder the first time around, there are naturally going to be plenty of questions you’d like to ask. Don’t worry! We’ve gone to the effort of rounding up all the features you need to know about, as well as some common queries.
Here are the main factors and features you should be looking for when you buy a fish finder, whether online or offline.
An essential part of any fish finder is, of course, the display. How else are you going to spot fish below the water? You can choose between monochrome or colour displays are generally a lot easier to read than black and white models, which is obviously going to be a plus. Also, they tend to work better in bad weather.
However, you may end up paying more for colour models, for obvious reasons. You can still buy monochrome or black and white fish finders, and generally, you should pay less. However, those monochrome finders still in production will likely have lots more going for them than traditional models!
All transducers work through a cone. Your cone is the scope of radar you use to find fish. Therefore, you can buy fish finders with narrow and wide cones. You can also buy cones which angle in specific ways. To begin with, it can be hard to choose the ideal cone angle or width. Therefore, our advice would be to simply pick the widest available for your money. You can fine-tune this, of course, the more experienced you are in fishing!
This can also list in marketing and product details as detection range. You may think it’s best to go for as wide a range as possible, however, you may think differently once you’ve been fishing for a while. Let’s not get too deep into things just yet – no pun intended.
Yes, this is where things can start to get a little bit complex. But don’t worry! Data mapping allows you to take full control of any beasties you find beneath the water. This means you can easily connect them to smartphone apps and external software, too. In many cases, all the data that’s captured, and all you’ll need, is shown on-screen. This may be all you want! However, if you’re the sort of person who loves to consume data, you may wish to look for models which will sync to apps and programs. It’s your choice – but again, you may need to pay more.
Some fish finders are perfect for use in any kinds of water all over the world. Others, however, tend to work best in specific conditions. For example, you may buy a fish finder that works best in saltwater. Others work better in fresh streams and lakes. If you buy a specialist fish finder, it is probably more likely to deliver better results wherever you need it. However, there is certainly nothing wrong with buying an all-around device.
Believe it or not, yes, you can also measure fish finders in terms of power. The higher the wattage, the deeper your transducer is likely to probe. Therefore, if you are having real difficulty finding anything on your own, you should go for a super-powerful system. If you are looking for specific fish that swim in mid-range, however, you may wish to opt for a less beefy unit. Again, price can also dictate what you go for in this regard.
You’d assume that all fish finders are water resistant or waterproof by design. It’s not always the case! Looking for a system with an IP rating. These will tell you how far a device can submerge and still work. It’s useful to bear these things in mind if you think you’re likely to drop your finder overboard!
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at what shoppers have to ask while looking around for the perfect fish finder.
Do Fish Finders Take the Fun Out of Angling?
Not at all! Some people prefer the mystery and challenge in fishing, while others prefer the glory! However, using a fish finder doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to catch something. There’s a lot more you need to do to make sure your chosen fish take the bait! In fact, many people use fish finders so they can focus on their catching techniques. It’s a serious piece of kit for serious fisherpeople.
Are There Any Differences Between Fish Finders and Sonars?
While fish finders work in a similar fashion to sonar, they can actually cover a lot more ground. They can hunt for fish at various angles and in several directions. Sonar, meanwhile, is much more static. For a more dynamic sweep, you’ll want to choose a fish finder. However, as stated in our guide, you can choose angles and scope sizes, too.
Are There Fish Finder Apps I Can Use?
Yes! There are actually a few. Some apps come with devices you buy, while others work with many different finders. It’s worth taking a good look around at some of the apps available, as well as fish finders, to check compatibility. This way, you’re at least not muddling around with apps and hardware that don’t communicate.
Not everyone uses smartphone apps to hunt for fish. It is, obviously, a more modern invention than standardised transducers. However, they can help you to store and access data easier, and it also means you can access your fishing data on the go at any time. For many anglers and enthusiasts, this could be a very attractive proposition!
How Much Do Fish Finders Cost?
As mentioned in our guide above, price can sometimes dictate what features you get, and how reliable a fish finder can be. However, you can also find some real bargains if you look closely enough. Interestingly, the market is very wide on fish finders, which means you should start low if you’re not sure what to go for. You can buy fish finders as cheaply as £40 to £50, however, the best models go for more than £200 to £300. It’s a big investment!
Fish finders are fantastic at helping to narrow down the seemingly impossible search. Some people prefer to go it alone and to trust their instincts. Others, meanwhile, simply love their gadgets, and all the data that comes with them! Take a look for the best fish finders around, and make sure to read up on what verified buyers have to say.