How to Buy a Fishfinder

How to Buy a Fishfinder
Fishfinders use sonar to present an underwater picture on a viewfinder mounted on the dashboard of a boat. The device sends sound waves from a transducer mounted on the boat's hull to the bottom of a body of water. The sound waves bounce back to the fishfinder, which translates the information into images and icons on a small screen. Fishfinders are available with an array of features, with the fancier models carrying heftier price tags.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Decide how much you are willing to spend. Entry-level depth finders are available for less than $100 in 2009, while fishfinders with GPS, audio signals, color screens and other extras can cost more than $4,000.
Step 2
Review the key features of fishfinders to select the right combination for your budget and angling needs. Fishfinders come with three components: a transducer that mounts to the boat's hull, a display monitor and a swivel bracket for mounting the monitor. The main features that contribute to the cost of a fishfinder are monitor quality (including color versus black and white), the transducer frequency and number of beams and whether the unit is equipped with GPS.
Step 3
Choose between a portable fishfinder or a permanent unit that will be installed on your vessel. Portable units are often less powerful and require more manual adjustments for effective use on the water.
Step 4
Check out different fishfinders at tackle shops and sporting-goods stores so you can see what the displays look like and test out some of the features in person.

Tips & Warnings

Shop during the winter months to take advantage of lower prices. When demand is low and inventories are high, you are more likely to find better prices on fishfinders and get more features for your money.

Article Written By James Clark

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.

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