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What is the Best Fish Finder?


Seems pretty simple right? However, too many anglers end up purchasing a fish finder with features well beyond or below their fishing needs. If you are looking to purchase the best fish finder for the occasional kayaking trip in a local pond you don’t need a $2,500 GPS capable chartplotter with a large 15” HDI display and CHIRP technology. On the flip side, a serious bass angler who is looking for the best fish finder technology and to navigate unknown waters will benefit from the appropriate fish finder unit that has these capabilities. This guide composed by will make the selection a fish finder easier and ensures you have the right fish finder that will find fish!

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Types Of Fish Finders

Stand Alone Fish Finders – These fish finder units are standalone sonar units. Most can be bracket or flush mounted or can also come portable with a battery pack and charger. A standalone unit can be purchased with or without a transducer. Our units start at entry level budgets under $300 but more powerful units for deep water fishing are also available.

GPS fishfinder combo units – These units combine the fish finder sonar with GPS chartplotting capabilities. Most units come with a base map such as pre-loaded Navionics Maps. Although GPS Chartplotter Fish Finders are generally more expensive they are well worth the added expense for fishermen navigating larger inland freshwaters, coastal waterways or the open sea. Some GPS fish finders have “trackback” features allowing you to automatically navigate back to the spot where desired targets appeared. Some other GPS Chartplotter fish finders allow users to create waypoints, load optional fishing hot spots or even create your own map from real sonar data.

Multifunctional Displays (MFD) – If you are looking for a complete Marine electronic solution for your boat a networked multifunctional display is what you need. MFD’s are able to tie together all of your boat’s electronics such the fishing Sonar, GPS, Radar, Video, XM radio and Digital Fuel Flow Gauges. This type of solution is very easy to expand and is ideal for larger fish vessels who want the best.

Color Vs. BW Screens

Even though a variety fish finders with Black and White screens are available, color screens are the new standard in fish finders; Color fish finders are much easier to read and the image views on the color display are much clearer to interpret than black and white models. Black and white models can provide a little more value per feature when shopping for a fish finder on a tight budget. For mid-range fish finders especially GPS chartplotter combo units, color screens are a must-have.

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Screen Resolution

Screens come in all sizes and resolutions. Higher resolution screens contain more total pixel dots. Suppose you have a 480 X 480 resolution screen which means 480 pixels per column and 480 pixels per row. More Pixels mean more detailed views of small objects such as underwater plants, shrubs and small baitfish.

Screen resolution combined with screen size will determine how clear your display is. The smaller the screen and lower the resolution the less expensive the unit will be. If a larger screen will fit your boat, our recommendation is to get the largest and best resolution screen that fits your budget.

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The strength of a fish finder is often expressed in watts RMS and directly determines how well your Fish Finder will be able to see as you go deeper in water, through fast-moving currents or identify targets and bottom structure. As a guideline, for shallow bottom fishing around 200 watts is needed. For coastal water or deeper lakes fish applications, 500 watts is more than sufficient. Finally, for deep water blue water anglers, a 1000 watt system is minimally required.

Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the started.