How to Read a Fish Finder

Modern fish finders come with floatable sensors that sit on top of the water and monitor the events happening underneath. The position of the angler is not relevant in this case. If you are new to fish finders or have used old-fashioned flashers, you must understand how modern fish finders locate fish.

In a flasher, the 2D ultrasonic transducer is attached to the stern of the sailboat. The screen shows the depth of water, location, the position of the sailboat, and type of bottom. On the chart, the surface of the water is viewed as X-axis, and the electromagnetic sonar waves run along the Y-axis. Such is not the case with modern fish finders.

The introduction of the Z-axis has had several anglers (with no technical background) confused. A dual-spectrum CHIRP Sonar has more maneuverability. You can point it towards the desired direction in the water, and it will send back crystal clear images of the fish and other objects underneath. This post will help you use a modern fish finder efficiently.

How to Read a Fish Finder

Whether you are a hobbyist angler or a professional fisherman, using a modern commercial fish finder does require some preparation. Modern fish finders are equipped with a 3D CHIRP Sonar to lead you straight to the fish’s direction without wasting any time. You can also map the bottom of the waterbody, check water depth under the keel, and identify the fish species without having to move an inch.

Given below are the steps to read a fish finder screen:

Step 1:

Before heading out there in open waters, pack up all the equipment and load them in the fishing boat. Make sure the deep cycle marine battery is charged to its full capacity.

Step 2:

After you step in the vessel, connect the transducer to the screen via the connecting cables. Then power up the device. Depending on where (shallow or deep water) you plan to fish, head out to the fishing spot.

Step 3:

Modern fish finders display the depth of the water, speed of the fishing boat, and temperature of the water on the bottom-left corner of the screen. You don’t have to navigate to a separate screen.

Tap open the screen to view the bottom of the waterbody. Observe the bedrock in high definition clarity. A CHIRP Sonar allows you to “sidescan” and “downscan.” You are no longer bound to a specific range.

To observe the surrounding bedrock, simply navigate to the “Side Imaging” option in the menu. Most species of freshwater fish prefer to stay near a large pile of gravel or rocks. The rocks protect them from bigger fish.

Step 4:

Humminbird fish finders are known for their Side Imaging feature. To use this feature, mark a waypoint on one of the rocks. The sonar will send you live footage of the bedrocks on your screen. With a mere tap on the screen, you can zoom in to get a closer look at the fish settled near the bedrocks. The images will appear similar to the below illustration.

Humminbird Side Imaging

Source: Wikipedia

Step 5:

You will be glad to know that a modern CHIRP Sonar fish finder also retains the ability to downscan. The 2D sonar transducer can be employed either solo or alongside the 3D sonar. To downscan, simply tap the menu and navigate to the Down Imaging option.

The screen will show you both actual images and graphical representation of the bedrocks. The RGB graph lets you know the dimensions of the rocks and other objects near the water body’s bottom.

Step 6:

Further, you use the Down Imaging feature to scan through the dense plantation on the bedrocks. The blending of 2D and 3D sonar makes finding the fish effortless. Most fish finders will indicate the presence of fish even in waters with dense plantations.

With the graphical representation, locating big game fish is a lot simpler than finding the smaller ones. Once you locate the right spot, throw in a marker boy in the water, and toss the line close to it. You have a greater chance of catching a fish when you know their exact location.

How Does a Fish Finder Tell Between a Fish and Other Objects in the Water?

Both 2D and 3D Sonar transducers transmit sound waves into the water and convert the echo into a pictorial representation. Depending on the manufacturer, the fish and other objects will appear in different sizes, shapes, and colors.

A fish finder can tell the difference between a fish and any other object (let’s say, a lump of seaweed) because the fish has a gas-filled swim bladder inside it. Objects other than fish appear blocky or in their true form.

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