What Is A Fish Finder And How Does A Fish Finder Work?

When fishing one of the biggest complaints people have is not catching any fish. If you are new to the sport, then you don’t want to go out for hours and get no bites. Well, if you use a fish finder, then this will no longer happen.

For experienced fishers, some people just like to go out and relax and don’t really care about catching fish. For new people, however, and for some fishers, they want to catch fish. Using a fish finder makes catching fish easier. Read on to learn all you need to know about fish finders. Learn what they are and also how they work.

What Is A Fish Finder And How Does It Work?

What Is A Fish Finder And How Does It Work?

What is a Fish Finder?

So, the first thing we are going to cover is what a fish finder is. Well, as the name suggests, it is a tool that is used to help you find fish. The way the tool works is it is an echo sounder or sonar device. This means that it puts out invisible waves and if they hit something they bounce back to the device. The fish finder then compiles the information and lets you know where the fish is. They can also tell how deep the water is.

The wave making a part is only one part of the fish finder though. The other part of the fish finder is a screen. The screen is normally LCD today, but older models they are CRT. The screen on the fish finder is the main part you will be looking at. On the screen will be around the image with a line that is spinning around. When a fish is detected a dot will pop up when the line gets to that spot. The line spinning is the fish finder updating. More advanced and newer fish finders however don’t display this way anymore. Read on to learn how the displays on them work.

When do you use a fish finder?

So, this brings us to the question of when you might use a fish finder. Well, you obviously use it when you are fishing, but what kind of fishing exactly? Well, the main time a fish finder is used is when you are doing boat fishing. The fish finder is hooked onto the end or front of the boat and it hangs down into the water. You can use it however on any type of water. It can be used for lake or pond fishing, river fishing, or large bodies of water such as ocean fishing. The key is to just make sure you have the right type of fish finder for the type of fishing. You want to make sure the one you have can be used and work in salt water if you are doing ocean fishing.

How does a Fish Finder work?

So, we have briefly touched on how a fish finder works, but here in this section, we will get into the more scientific explanation. This is important, especially when trying to find a good quality fish finder and when looking at the different types. The scientific way that a fish finder works is it transmits an electrical impulse. The impulse, however, is not the thing that actually travels out into the water though. Instead, the impulse is changed into a sound wave using a transducer or hydrophone. The transducer or hydrophone is mounted on the hull of the boat and is what is under the water.

The sound wave travels out and if it hits something it bounces back. When it gets back to the device it calculates how long it took the wave to get back and the size of the wave that made it back to calculate the position, size, and shape of the fish. The better the fish finder you have the more detail is given because a stronger pulse is being sent out more often. The signal is applied and sent to the display for you to see where the fish is at.

Kinds of Fish Finders

So, now that you know what fish finders are and how they work we can go into the different kinds of fish finders. There are three main kinds of fish finders available. They are standalone fish finders, combination fishfinder/chart plotter, and networked system fish finders. Depending on how serious of fisher you are will probably determine which kind is best for you. In this article and section, we are only going to give a brief break down of each type.

A standalone fishfinder is like the name says just a regular simple fish finder. They normally have large screens, but just show where fish are. These are the kinds that have the spinning circle on the display to show you where the fish are at. They are the best bang for your buck but they are not the fanciest. They get the job done though and are great for people that just like basic fishing.

The next kind is a fish finder and chart plotter. These fish finders are fancier than standalone units. They have a GPS to help you navigate to where the fish are, but they also have the regular screen of a basic unit. Most basic fish finders these days can have a GPS attached to them which will turn them into a combo unit. Also, most char plotters can be turned into combo units if you just add a black box sounder module. You also might have to install a transducer with it to be able to do this.

The last kind of fish finder is a network attached fish finder. This kind will display a full-fledged map of the area you are fishing with where you are located as well as where the fish are located. They can be used with many types of systems including radar, raster, and vector GPS charts. Many also allow Bluetooth and wifi and SiriusXM. You can use multiple displays and technology is getting better every year. These are the kind used on big boats, for fishing tournaments, or by people really into fishing.


Their is a lot more advanced details that you can learn about fish finders such as display specs information and transducer information, but that is more detailed then this basic article needs to get. The key of these articles is to just explain to you what a fish finder is and how it works. It also covers the main basic types. After reading this though you should now have a better understanding of what a fish finder is, what it is used for, and other basic knowledge. That way you can figure out if you might want to start using one when you are fishing

Tom Chandler

"When your hands hit the floor, they get cut up. When mine hit the floor, they slide with ease"

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