For the last two decades, fish finders have been the most outstanding innovation in the fish industry. These tools are the most critical elements for kayak fishing. Probably the most asked question among beginners is how to read a fish finder. This guide will provide you with technical knowledge on how to handle a fish finder to maximize your fishing output.

It is interesting to use a fish finder for several reasons. First, you’ll be using an incredible tech to target fish under the water, and secondly, you can locate the depths and the exact structure of the target’s location. For that reason, fish finders are essential if you want to attain more remarkable fishing routine results.

How Does a Fish Finder Work?

Before you get a fish finder, you have probably checked fish finder and depth finder review to determine the right one. After getting your idea fish finder, you need first to understand how the entire system work.

Fish finders are the best options for getting a clear view of the water surface underneath your boat. They use a specific technology called sonar to send a beam down the body, thereby creating a visual image of the elements underwater.

Now the trick comes on reading the screen effectively. You need to apply a few tricks to achieve more results from reading the screen sonar. We are going to cover some of these tricks in this guide.

Components of a Fish Finder

Understanding the components of a fish finder will help you get insight into how the model works. A fish finder is made up of a display or a computer you can mount on your boat. Second, there is the transducer, which sends out an underwater sensor. This sensor’s main task is to capture all the related info and send it back to the main display.

Lastly, you will learn how the sonar waves work underneath the water. These waves are so powerful because they help approximate the size of the fish and estimate depth. Generally, that is how a fish finder work. It combines technology and physics to achieve the desired results.

Various Types of Fish Finders

There are different brands of fish finders out there, but we’ll only focus on the types for now. These principal components are:

  • Grey fish finders

  • Color Display Fish finders

Color Display Fish Finders

These are the most recent types of fish finders. Unlike other types of fish finders, they use the latest technology to display a comparatively unique beam on display. Some of its features include:

  • They come with a specified sonar technology, which is ideal for harsh weather conditions. Color display fish finders will work well in a dark and cloudy environment.

  • You can easily set the brightness and see through the display without itching your eyes.

  • It comes with a diverse range of color settings, and you can choose one according to your preference.

  • The fish and any underwater object will pop on display.

  • These models are considered the best when it comes to healthy visioning.

Grey Fish finders

These are less used fish finders in kayak fishing today. Most people believe that a grey screen or a black one isn’t that effective in displaying shiny objects, which is wrong. Grey fish finders have been used for the past decade, and they have proven their worth in delivered results from an advanced tech.

A grey fish finder is as useful as a colored one and even surpasses the former in several ways. These are some of the specifications of the fish finder.

  • The model uses a unique GPS technology to estimate the location of the fish from the boat.

  • It is the right choice for beginners since it is user-friendly. You will find it easy to navigate through the screen.

  • Grey fish finders can operate in all kinds of water and weather conditions.

  • You’ll get a noise reduction feature which helps for catching a fast-moving fish.

  • It has an inbuilt trackback feature.

  • The fish finder includes a side scan feature for discerning the surroundings and giving you the desired targets.

  • It comes with a fish alarm.

  • You’ll get a zoom in/out feature.

Some of the fish finders don’t have a GPS feature, and you have to improvise. You can go for the big brands which come with a reliable GPS combo.

Category of Information in a fish finder display

To understand how a fish finder works, you need to be thorough with reading the display. The first step in reading the display is getting an insight into the type of information that the screen displays.

  • Location

There are several ways that the fish finder uses to display the location of the targets underwater. The traditional sonar and the recent technology blend with the side imaging and the down imaging to approximate the fish’s exact location.

Side imaging is essential for estimating the location of the fish around the boat. The down imaging analyses the multiple targets of fish that are beyond the boat surface. It is easy to know and read the location of fish thanks to sonar technology and GPS.

  • Temperature

It is essential to know the temperature of the outer and inner surface of the water. The external temperature of the water is quite different from the underwater temperature. It is also essential to note that the underwater temperature keeps on changing after a short duration of time.

Fish finders come with an ability to display the variation of temperature on the computer screen. This feature is vital since the dynamic change in temp greatly influences the biting time. The fish finder will display the temperature on the screen in a numerical way, and that’s the way you can calculate the perfect biting time.

  • Depth

The water has varying levels of depth in which most fish are located. A fish finder will analyze the different depths and come up with the exact hiding places for fish. This inbuilt capacity uniquely displays each depth.

Most fish finders numerically display the depth. You can utilize the finder’s display well to calculate the various centers of your target to maximize the sonar’s efficiency.

Step by Step Guide on How to Read a Fish Finder
Step 1: Identifying the Fish

First and foremost, you need to learn how to identify fish using Fish-ID technology. This tech provides enough information from raw data visualization, which is easy to interpret. The fish finder comes with two different ways of identifying the fish.

  • Fish Arches

  • Fish Icons

Fish Arches

Fish arches use ones and arches from the transducer to display to identify the fish from other objects on the water’s surface. You should expect a lot of these lines and arcs if you have an arch fish finder. The fish arches are more accurate than the Fish IDs since they represent the fish arch more clearly.

How does Fish Arches Work?

When the arche fish finder identifies the fish, it displays small arches on display as a curved dash or lines. After that, the sonar and the GPS tracts the fish’s movement to achieve the desired location until the end of the sonar cone. That’s how the finder analyzes the speed and the direction of the fish immediately it pops on display.

The more prominent arches represent the big fish, while the small arch shows a smaller fish. It is quite a hassle to differentiate the fish from the rocks and other objects as a beginner. The only reliable trick here is learning how to identify your target’s perfect structure based on the readings of the display.

Tricks on how to identify the fish using the fish arches

  • Always seek for the thickness of the arch and not the size. It would help if you were aiming for the biggest fish, and you can easily do that by checking on the thickest size.

  • You have to understand that half arch does not always represent a small fish. The screen can display half arche when the fish moves to one part of the sonar cone, and it might be a big fish in that case. So, you might take your chance, and you might end up lucky.

Fish Icons

In most cases, fish icons look similar to fish. The icons come on your screen as a result of a successful track from the sonar technology. However, you must be careful because even the most accurate fish finders can never be 100%.

How does fish ID technology works?

The fish Id technology is the right choice for identifying various water objects, such as stones, plants, and fish. You need to read the information sent to the screen to calculate the depth of each icon.

Fish-ID technology is not always reliable since it can display stones as a school of fish. For that reason, you must take caution when reading the information sent by the sonar. It would be best if you had more experience and time to use the fish-IDs effectively.

Step 2: Determining the Structure

The only way to understand what’s inside the water is by understanding the topography or gradient of the underwater structure. It would help if you never kept the fish finder stationary while kayak fishing. The work of the finder is to help you analyze the relevant distance between you and your target.

Fish finders keep scanning the area underneath the water, so supporting them stationary means they will only show the surface’s flat depth. It would be best if you kept moving the finder to achieve accurate readings of the underneath structure.

Tips to consider

  • Always ensure you read the accurate depth. The fish finder will scan various depths at a go, and it’s crucial to analyze the readings correctly to come up with the right depth.

  • Keep sure you keep moving the fish finder for accurate readings.

  • In most fish finders, the reading at the top right is the depth of the surface. This reading will change if you try scanning several drops off points.

  • It would help if you always focused on understanding the sonar for a straightforward interpretation of the display’s readings.

Step 3: Identifying weeds and other vegetation

Places of thick vegetation and weeds be a good starting point, especially if you have limited places to scan. Fish finders use two ways to spot vegetation whenever you bump into such areas.

  • Vertical Lines

The first way you can easily spot vegetation on a fish finder is in the form of vertical lines or otherwise bumps. Professionals label this method as Depressions. V-shaped dips appear on the bottom of the contour when the fish finder gets something underneath the area you are strolling or reeling.

  • Points

Points are better spots than the depression V-shaped dips that provide better accuracy on account of incline. Getting accurate reading using points requires you to continue reeling or strolling.

You should make sure that the sonar beams are narrow when picking up depressions and points because of the thinner the sonar beams, the shorter the reading. Shorter readings are more accurate to analyze.

Step 4: Getting to Know the Bottom Thickness and Graphics

The bottom thickness will allow you to get the feel of the water quickly. The display will show grainy or cloudy reading when the water is hard. A straight line will also appear on the display when the water is soft and thus effortless to penetrate.

If you are using a 2D graphic fish finder, it will show dark or light shades for accurate readings. For example, the display will produce a dark shade for an echo if there is hard water. The colored version makes readings easier because it displays either dark or light colors.

Final Words

There are different versions of fish finders, and each will come with various displays and margins. However, we have researched and analyzed the best info that will help you to learn how to read a fish finder using any brand.

The fish finding is an exciting activity, and you need to enjoy it more often when you out to the sea. These models allow you to identify the fish, understand the underwater structure, and develop a strategy that will get you bigger fishes. Just try these steps, and you will be amazed at how successful your trips will be.

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