A fish finder can be an indispensable tool for a beginner as well as a seasoned angler, since it can pinpoint where the best areas for catching fish are, while eliminating most of the guessing work out of this equation. There are many various fish finders on the market, and some are more efficient than others. However, getting the best fish finder that is out there is not the most important step in getting bigger fish to fry, so to speak. You must learn how to use the fish finder so that you can manage to get the best out of it, and land the fishing trophies you are after. Here are some important tips to take into consideration when you are trying to figure out your fish finder and how it can help you in the most efficient manner.
First things first: figuring out the installation
A fish finder is not exactly a complicated piece of equipment, but it comes with its own set of instructions and you cannot leap over them without getting a poor result. Figuring out how to properly install your fish finder is very important and this is how you should start. Mounting the transducer is the first step of the installation; the transducer should stay immersed in the water all the time, so that it can start detecting the movement of fish. So, what you have to do is to identify a free spot on your hull where you can make sure that the transducer sits under water at all times.
Now that you know where the transducer goes, make sure that all the wiring is set properly. Only after that, you can mount the transducer. By no means you should cut the wires if they are too long. Just fasten them next to the main unit and they will pose no problems.
Turning on the fish finder
When you first power up your fish finder, you will be taken to the factory settings. Some preprogrammed settings are usually available with most models and you can choose from them. However, you will notice that, as time passes, you get more and more familiar with your fish finder and you learn what settings to choose in order to make the best out of it, depending on various circumstances. A recommended way of getting acquainted with your fish finder is by leaving it in the automatic mode and moving around the lake, while taking a look at how the display information changes.
Learning the features of your fish finder
Most fish finders offer quite a great deal of information and it is natural to feel a bit overwhelmed in the beginning. Here is how you should go about learning the features of your fish finder. First of all, you have sensitivity as a setting. As you fiddle with this setting, you can get more information on the fish swimming in the waters below, by having it displayed on the screen of the fish finder. You can try setting your sensitivity to a higher value, so you can get a clearer picture on your display. This is something that varies quite a lot from one model to another.
Now, you most probably want to know how you actually detect fish in the water. The Fish ID setting is the one that lets you in on the very useful fish arches that tell you about the movement taking place in the water. With time, you will become proficient at recognizing these arches and what exactly they mean for the behavior of the fish species you intend to catch.
Auto Depth is another feature you should know about. It is set for the bottom of the water body you are fishing on, so it can tell how the fish moves. However, there are various species of fish that move on the vertical and getting your fish finder to track their movements in higher layer of waters is not easy if you let the Auto Depth setting on. With experience, you will learn how to adjust the depth levels so you can reach the fish you want.
Reading the screen
Knowing about features and installing the fish finder is very important, but you most certainly need to know how to read the screen. The line you will notice at the bottom of your screen offers you information on what kind of bottom the water body has. For instance, if you see a thin blurry line, it means that the bottom is soft and sandy. A thicker line of a darker color indicates a rocky bottom, where fish can hide with ease. Above the line, there is plenty of information available, as well. Vertical lines indicate the presence of trees, while some thick dots show that there is vegetation close to the bottom.
A fish finder will show you the movement of fish under water under the form of moving masses of various colors. A very intense color will let you know that school of fish is very close to your boat. Fading colors indicate schools of fish that are further away.
Your fish finder will also tell you about active fish. Because your boat moves and fish moves as well, your fish finder acts as a sonar that keeps tracks of the time variable, too. Basically, you will see the arches of fish as they move around, and when the center of the mass becomes of a more intense color, it means that fish is really close to your location.
Do not expect a fish finder, no matter how great, to always indicate with pinpoint accuracy where you can find the fish. For instance, if water is muddy or murky, it will certainly influence the accuracy of your fish finder. Learning how to read thermoclines is another lesson for fish finder users. Thermoclines are basically layers of water, based on their different temperatures. When reflected on your fish finder, they can give you an idea about where certain fish species can be found during a certain time of the year.