When it comes to fish finders I can deliver my expertise on two levels. First, I worked for several years for a firm that made them. Most people might say that this experience alone would make me an expert, but it does not. In fact, when it comes to discussing fish finders, it often only confuses matters. When it comes to being a fisherman, on the other hand, my experience sets me up well as a person who you can learn a lot from. This is how I can sort through a lot of extraneous information and deliver to you the best information that is going to get you a lot of fish with as few hiccups as possible. That is the whole purpose of this article.
One for the Money
I want to start off by giving you a piece of advice that is going to make a lot of people (most notably my former employer) very angry. That is this: The makers of the most expensive equipment (including my employer) works in the same way as the least expensive equipment. Both take the same signals and deliver the same results, regardless of the maker. This is not to say that there are differences in the way the equipment is made that make it better or lesser made, but the results are the same. This means that the main difference between equipment is what you pay for it and what you get for your money. It’s for that reason that this article is divided into price ranges and what you can plan to get for your dollar.
$100 or Less
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, but you still want a fishfinder, you’re in luck. For $100 or a little less, you can still have a good fish finder. It might have a low-resolution screen that is only black and white and no GPS, it is still a good fish finder. This level of equipment usually has a small screen which combined with the lack of color will make it a little more difficult to interpret the results, but you will get the results. You should also note that at this level you will probably only get a lower power rating and a lower end transducer, which will only give you about 100- to 150-foot depths, but the results will be good.
$100 to $300
Did you get a raise? Or maybe you trimmed your latte habit so you can pick up a little nicer of a fishfinder? You’re in luck. When you finally reach the under $300 price level, you can talk about having considerably more for your money. This is the price range at which things really start to happen. For example, at the $100 or less level you will usually get a pretty small package, but at $100 to $300, your unit may still be small, but it will be packed with more bells and whistles (translation: more technology) for your money. It will probably have more features and color to help you interpret your data. The power rating will be higher, it will have a GPS, and some basic maps. You will probably be able to download maps as well. Some of these models will probably also give you down imaging to about 500 feet.
$300 to $500
In the $100 to $300 range, there is some nice fish finder equipment, but in the $300 to $500 range, things get pretty swanky very quickly. In fact, the under $500 price range, equipment becomes much easier to use for some very valuable information. This is the level that I usually refer my friends to when they ask me about a fish finder. It’s at this level that the men start to separate from the boys. Most equipment at this level will have at least a five-inch display, color, of course, GPS with expandable maps, and down/sonar. Nearly all of the depths at this level are 500 feet.
$600 and up
At this level you will get everything you have gotten with lesser priced equipment plus a couple of more: most notably screen size and expandability. It is important to remember that below this point the screen size is much the same on all of these units until you get to this level since buttons appear on all of the heads until now. This naturally makes the units the same size but the screens smaller n order to fit. On these units, however, screens go from being 5-inch to 7-inch, which is significant when you have been using 5-inch until this point.
Another feature that appears at this point that will be obvious is the expandability of the equipment. Having a powerful sonar, high-definition screens, and powerful mapping packages are great, but having the networking capabilities that some offer to share radars, weather, satellite radio, the ability to network two or more units is priceless. All of these features mean that you can not only gather the data you need to track fish better, but you can share it with other fishermen.
A Look at the Future
If you are a professional or are aspiring to be one, this kind of setup is ideal for you since it will allow you to monitor everything that need access to on your vessel as well as the ability to share that data with others in your group. This is the kind of adaptability that others can only dream of. It’s easy to see at this point that you get a basic unit with whatever you buy. As you progress up the price line, however, you get more and more, right along with all of the adaptability that you can ask for.
This article will serve as your shopping list to what you can get when looking for a fish finder. It should be kept in mind; however, that the more you have the more you can buy with the money. Just as is the case with practically any product, the more you can afford, the more product you can find yourself enjoying and benefitting from.