A fish finder, or fish sounder, is basically a small sonar device that enables a fisherman to ‘See’ in the water to understand what is on the bottom of a lake. These units are basically little sonar devices that send out a pulse of sound energy and recognizing the reflection, or the echo back.
Today’s modern fish finder will interpret the return of these sound pulses in a way that can be understood through a LED display. A depth finder is almost always an integrated part of a fish finder, and you’ll get a numerical value as far as to what the depth of the water actually is.
A fish finder doesn’t always allow you to see exactly where a fish is, though sometimes a few fish or a school of fish will show as a scattering of little dots.
There are really two things a fish finder does that lets you have a much better chance of finding out where the fish are:
It will tell you where the thermocline is. The thermocline is a horizontal boundary between a warmer layer of water, usually above, and a colder layer of water, usually below. If you know the water temperature that a particular species of fish likes to hang out in, you’ll know how deep to set your bait or have a lure swimming. This will vastly increase your chances of getting a hit.
You’ll see on the display screen, a topical graph with colors that represent different objects. This will allow you to distinguish an outcropping of rock from a submerged pile of trees. You’ll also be able to see things like an underwater cliff; all places that fish naturally tend to congregate to hide safely. The information on the display screen will give you a very good idea of the depth of and location of any debris on the sea bottom which will to allow you to fish over or off to one side.
My dad always told me that one of the best ways of learning about any subject is to read the catalogs that featured related products. That means, stopping by Semiahmoo Marina store, or Amazon.com, LFS, West Marine and other marine product sites. They are a good way to educate yourself not only about pricing and availability but more importantly, they’ll give you a better understanding of the subject in general. And on today’s worldwide web, you’ll be able to get first-hand feedback from other boaters who’ve already used the products you’re seeking. Good luck!