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are fish finders worth it?


trevortex

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trevortex

Hi,

For those of you who have fished with finders before, how much did the finder really help you? because I got a fishfinder a year ago, and after a whole season of fishing with it, i have never seen a fish on the finder, and caught it. all the fish i have caught have been at random, and never shown up on the finder. May be it can happen because my finder sucks, but If you had good experience, suggest me some good fish finders. 

Thanks
 

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1 hour ago, trevortex said:

Hi,

For those of you who have fished with finders before, how much did the finder really help you? because I got a fishfinder a year ago, and after a whole season of fishing with it, i have never seen a fish on the finder, and caught it. all the fish i have caught have been at random, and never shown up on the finder. May be it can happen because my finder sucks, but If you had good experience, suggest me some good fish finders. 

Thanks
 

Fish finder is not an accurate description in my opinion. Maybe with some of the newer side imaging and wide angle transducers it gets a little better but in the end, what you really use them for is to find bottom depth, bottom composition, weed edges, transitions between hard and soft bottoms or depth or edges of weeds and so forth. 

 

The most common transducer angle for traditional sonar used is 60 degrees and probably more like 20 degrees with ice packs. A 60 degree cone angle reflects an area from the bottom the diameter of the depth you're fishing so if you're in 15' of water, what you see on the screen is anything that comes into view up to a 15' diameter at the very bottom and less diameter moving up in the water column. Example, if you see a fish at 10' down it is within a 10' diameter area. At that depth, I'd be willing to bet that fish have moved out as your boat moves by so you may not see too many. It is this fish migration that makes outriggers effective.

 

Can you see fish? Sure but I would say it is more likely there are more fish outside the coverage area of your sonar unit. 

 

Are they worth it? I believe so especially for locating those transition areas I spoke of and coupled with a good GPS mapping software they can be very well used to locate mid-lake humps and other structure. They can also be worth their weight in gold if you're on a lake known for hazards like rocks and such. An example might be Lake Traverse or Big Stone. 

 

I know there are guys that will not fish an area if they don't see fish on the sonar but I think they are omitting a lot of opportunity. 

 

Just my :2c:.

Edited by BobT
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gimruis
1 hour ago, BobT said:

They can also be worth their weight in gold if you're on a lake known for hazards like rocks and such

At the very least, every watercraft that can move at a reasonable speed should have basic sonar so they know how deep it is, just purely for safety purposes.  I would never fire up an outboard motor and start cruising along unless I knew it was deep enough, and basic sonar indicates that.  You can't tell how deep an area is just by looking at it.

 

I've never fished without modern GPS in a boat.  My family always had one in our boat growing up along with sonar.  So its something I'm just used to having as both a tool to locate and tool of navigation.  I also fish at night sometimes and going out without GPS on a reasonable sized lake is a bad idea.  Water temperature is also a basic measurement that I find very useful at certain times of the year.  Fish are looking for warmer water in the spring and fall.

 

Modern electronics are constantly advancing and improving.  Even if you buy a new one now, its probably going to seem outdated in a couple years.  Most people can't afford to upgrade their electronics every year.

Edited by gimruis
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Kettle

Even though I only have a vexilar for summer and winter fishing it's a world of difference to be able to tell the bottom transitions. I predominantly fish for walleye where knowing when it goes from rock to mud and break lines. Without it I'd aimlessly be fishing in the middle of a lake. I also have a handheld GPS and I use that to get me close but the fidhfinfer gets the finer details 

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leech~~
3 hours ago, trevortex said:

Hi,

For those of you who have fished with finders before, how much did the finder really help you? because I got a fishfinder a year ago, and after a whole season of fishing with it, i have never seen a fish on the finder, and caught it. all the fish i have caught have been at random, and never shown up on the finder. May be it can happen because my finder sucks, but If you had good experience, suggest me some good fish finders. 

Thanks
 

Fish locators tell you if there is fish there. If your not seeing fish once in a while on your locator. Move spots or to another lake. Your the "fish finder", get a lake map and find out where they may be and use your locator to check.  😉

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whateverisbiting

Just getting a flasher was revolutionary for me...knowing the depth is critical but you could also tell if it is weedy, rocky, or muddy.  I now have a Helix-9 with down and side imaging and of course the map and I love it.  The fish marking ability is helpful especially outside the weed line but it is so much more than that.  In deeper water (15+) if I am not seeing fish I rarely catch a lot of fish.

 

I spend hours just looking at the lake bottom!  When I catch fish I am looking at the pattern on the bottom.  I then look for other parts of the lake with a similar pattern and usually they are productive as well.  Looking at down and regular imaging at the same time I can differentiate better what is a weed and what is a fish.  Side imaging tells me how close I am to the weed line so I can keep right on the edge without getting hung up when trolling.

 

Very much looking forward to this season when my Helix is connected to my trolling motor for following contours or holding a spot via GPS lock.

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eyeguy 54

Won’t fish without it. We drilled about 75 holes today. Fish like to move on the bay we fished. Many holes nothing but some were great. Then gone and at a hole that was zip before.  Drop the jig and wiggle and watch them come up for a visit or a bite. 😁 used three different combos today and all worked great. 

89A50491-D93C-4CC8-A5C4-2D78F62D965D.jpeg

3B3DFFE9-5CD4-47E2-85A8-FB71016856C0.jpeg

554DF5D4-599D-4E63-80D4-BF64BDBD875E.jpeg

1994DB57-89FC-4F47-A925-F81771CADBA2.jpeg

9ED3C41A-6496-49D8-900B-B1C14FA1E320.jpeg

Edited by eyeguy 54
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eyeguy 54

Thx for the beautiful 36 inch ultra light rod @Rick G!  Awesome rod!!!

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Rick G

Yes, a fish finder is definitely worth the investment.  Not only will it help you identify fish and your bait. It's also a great tool for finding weeds,  down trees and brush piles, soft or hard bottom areas and baitfish.  They are a tool, and like pretty much every other tool, the better ones will work as intended. I myself use a Vexilar flasher, but Hummingbird, Marcum or Garmin all make "ice fishing" package units.  I would recommend a Vexilar fl-8 or a marcum  lx-3 as rock solid entry level fish finders that will surely help you see and hopefully catch more fish.

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gimruis

I think there is some confusion about this.  After reading some responses, its obvious some are referring to ice fishing and some are referring to open water fishing from a boat.  The OP didn't clarify which one though.  While some units are designed for both and can be converted, some can't.  Make sure you check the manual to see if you can as cold temps can ruin a screen if its not designed for it.

 

I don't specifically use my Lowrance electronics from my boat for ice fishing.  Never have, never will.

 

Also, the term "fish finder" is really not accurate anymore.  It doesn't really do that.  Its not like you turn it on and whammo it takes you to where the fish are.  There are various types of electronics from sonar to GPS to flashers, etc but none of them should be referred to as fish finders anymore.

Edited by gimruis
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papadarv

"Fish Finders" are Sonar. They provide information on whats in the water below you. Typically the more you spend, the greater the information provided. A basic sonar easily defines bottom, weeds, fish, structures etc. You need to interpret what its telling you. I would not go fishing without one.

 

This sonar shows a "bait ball" in 5 to 13 FOW. Above the ball are a few smaller fish (pan fish) below larger larger fish (walleye, pike). Hard bottom at 19 ft and  water temp.

841287944_SPbaitfish.thumb.PNG.413ee382fb7f7f31ba82ca9b11e417f3.PNG

A more expensive unit like the Helix 9 has basic sonar, down image, side image showing below and each side of you. Love fishing with this unit.

20200912_093821.thumb.jpg.d399171ad41e1d43e77b4c7772155554.jpg

Under ice is most commonly a flasher. Vexilar, Marcum, Garmin etc. Shows your jig/bait and when fish are near your bait. 

20200221_111729.thumb.jpg.05843cae29900c39fbde1566a136799a.jpg

The underwater camera provides a live image on how fish react to your fishing technique. You can learn a lot ice fishing with a camera. 

Edited by papadarv
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eyeguy 54

Fish finder. Probably just meant fish locator. It’s winter so I just assumed thru ice. 😁

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leech~~
14 hours ago, eyeguy 54 said:

Thx for the beautiful 36 inch ultra light rod @Rick G!  Awesome rod!!!

You looking for a hoody or sumtin? 😆

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6 hours ago, papadarv said:

"Fish Finders" are Sonar. They provide information on whats in the water below you. Typically the more you spend, the greater the information provided. A basic sonar easily defines bottom, weeds, fish, structures etc. You need to interpret what its telling you. I would not go fishing without one.

 

This sonar shows a "bait ball" in 5 to 13 FOW. Above the ball are a few smaller fish (pan fish) below larger larger fish (walleye, pike). Hard bottom at 19 ft and  water temp.

841287944_SPbaitfish.thumb.PNG.413ee382fb7f7f31ba82ca9b11e417f3.PNG

A more expensive unit like the Helix 9 has basic sonar, down image, side image showing below and each side of you. Love fishing with this unit.

20200912_093821.thumb.jpg.d399171ad41e1d43e77b4c7772155554.jpg

Under ice is most commonly a flasher. Vexilar, Marcum, Garmin etc. Shows your jig/bait and when fish are near your bait. 

20200221_111729.thumb.jpg.05843cae29900c39fbde1566a136799a.jpg

The underwater camera provides a live image on how fish react to your fishing technique. You can learn a lot ice fishing with a camera. 

 

What is the 78% value displayed in the first image? I've never seen that on a sonar screen. 

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papadarv
34 minutes ago, BobT said:

What is the 78% value displayed in the first image? I've never seen that on a sonar screen. 

Its my Vexilar SonarPhone runs wireless to my Samsung 10" tablet. The 78% is the density of the sonar return signal. Lower value reduces noise. I usually run at 50%. I cranked it up for better definition of the multitude of fish. And yes those big fish images below the bait ball were Northern.

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whateverisbiting

If this is a winter question then that is a different answer.  You can combine this with a camera to get additional info.  But, since the sonar is directly above the bait, if you don't see any fish on the sonar, you will not catch a fish.

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Hi! I have a fish finder and it usually really helps. I love having one in my kayak. where I live the water is always muddy, so you have no idea what is down there without one. Me and a couple friends fished an area not long ago that was 3 to 10 feet deep pretty much everywhere, but it was super hot out and I knew fish would be in deeper water. Paddled around and found an area that dropped off to 20+ feet deep, dropped some bait down in the hole and pulled up 3 black drum over 15 pounds. So, personally, I don't know why it doesn't help you...

 

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