Tips For More Success With Your Fish Finder
Fish finders are among the most powerful tools anglers have for catching more fish. High-end fish finders can give you information about bottom structure, can guide you to the best fishing spots, and, of course, can show you how and where fish are moving underwater.
Many fish finders are almost plug-and-play – that is to say, once they’re installed, you can start fishing with them almost immediately, with few (or no) changes to the settings. You can, however, get more out of your fish finder with a few relatively simple tips. Follow these steps, and you should be catching more fish in no time!
Installation is the most important step
You can buy the most expensive fish finder on the market, but if you don’t have it mounted correctly, it’ll be as useful to your fishing efforts as the cardboard box it came in.
The best way to mount your transducer is to first install a mounting board. There are a variety of different boards on the market. Most of them need to be drilled into the transom of your boat. The advantage of these boards is that you’ll never have to drill a transducer into your transom, as you can always install them onto the board.
There’s also a board that you can install without drilling, called the Stern Saver. We’ve yet to test this one, but it sure looks promising.
You’ll also need to play with the location and angle of the transducer. That’s one of the reasons a mounting board is so important – you don’t want to drill a dozen holes into your boat while you’re trying to find the best location for your transducer.
Your transducer should always be in the water, it should sit as close to level as possible, and it should be able to see both sides of the boat with as little interference as possible. You’ll almost never get it right on the first try – that’s why you’ve got a mounting board.
Play with your settings
While fish finders are almost all nearly plug-and-play, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t adjust the settings. No two anglers are the same, after all! Start with aesthetic options – find color palettes and views that suit your needs. Customize your home screen. That kind of thing.
Then, when you’re out on the water, play with some of the other features. You may need to adjust your sensitivity. If there are other anglers using tech on your boat, you may also need to play around with interference rejection. Don’t be afraid to push buttons.
Know what you’re looking for
This one comes with experience, but don’t get frustrated! Your first time using sonar, it can be difficult to tell what “mood” fish are in. Are they ready to attack any bait that comes their way? Are they going to be sluggish? Look at their formation, and keep track of which formations tend to yield the best results.
You can also use imaging to get a better idea of what your targets look like off of sonar. This can help you ID fish. Some fish finders also have a “fish ID” setting that changes sonar reads to fish icons, to make this process easier.
Take advantage of charting features
The best fish finders all have charting features – they’re what we call fish finder/GPS or fish finder/chartplotter combos. You should be setting waypoints on your fish finder constantly, especially if you’re in a body of water you plan on fishing a lot. Mark structure. Mark good fishing spots. Mark hazards, and docks, and every other notable thing you see.
There are a lot of other fish finder-related tips we could give, but the ones above are the most generically helpful. You can get a lot of different tips for your particular fish finder. Start with our reviews – even if you’ve already purchased the fish finder, we detail the features on each model, in depth. Visit forums. Watch YouTube videos. The best tip for using fish finders is to be as informed as possible!