Best Fish Finders: Top 5 Fish Locator Reviews & Guides
There is nothing as annoying as staying on empty all day because you cannot locate any fish in the water. However, having a good fish finder in your boat or float tube can revolutionize your fishing experience. Things have changed today and the time of miraculous catch are gone and dusted! Thanks to modern technology which makes fishing efficient, less tedious and more fruitful. In this post, we have done an in-depth research and reviews of the 5 best fish finders for the money. You don’t have to look any further!
However, before that..!!
What is a Fish Finder?
A fishfinder or sounder can be defined as a sonar device that uses ultrasonic waves transmitted by the transducer to locate fish and underwater objects by detecting reflected sound waves. The transducer then converts these waves into graphic rendition, and the images are displayed on the screen of the device.
Apart from locating fish, it will show you the underwater conditions you could not see with your own eyes, and this includes, depth of the water body, sea/river bed structure & debris. If you are a serious fisher, then this serves as a must have device that will maximize efficiency and enjoyment of each fishing outing.
Overview: Top 5 Fish Finder Reviews
5. Garmin Striker 4 Reviews
Fishing becomes more exciting and full of fun with this Garmin Striker finder. It is easier than ever, and you are going to fish like crazy, thanks to the high-frequency sonar of this fishfinder. The CLEARVU SCANNING SONAR of this fishing tool will give you detailed representations of objects, structures, and fish below your boat.
Not only has this, but it also has a CHIRP SONAR that sends a continuous stream of waves for wider coverage. The good thing with this CHIRP sonar is its ability to create crisper fish arches. This tool is user-friendly, and therefore you won’t experience any problems using it. It features a keyed interface with dedicated buttons, and this makes it very easy to use.
It features a useful WAY-POINT map that helps you navigate to desired locations quickly. This map will also help you find your way back to the boat ramp. On top of this, this fishing gear comes with a 3.5” color screen with built-in GPS.
The high sensitivity GPS system ensures that you never miss your track and you can always go back to your hot spots for a mega-catch. No matter the fishing environment, the BUILT-IN FLASHER helps you to view your sonar data in the classic flasher format.
Above all, you can check your boat speed on the screen, so you will be sure that you are trolling in the right speed for a particular fish species.
Finally but not the least, it is a portable fish finder which makes it one of the best fish finder for Kayaks, canoes, and ice fishing.
- Easy to install
- High sensitivity GPS
- Dual frequency capacities (77/200 kHz and 50/200 kHz)
- Best for budget
- Highly portable
- Can save a maximum of 5,000-way points
- The mount is not useful
4. Garmin Echo 551DV Review
Garmin Echo 551DV is a premier, versatile and all-in-one transducer device. It can take your fishing game a notch higher. First of all, its display screen is designed with a fisherman's needs in mind. Very simple and displays all the data you need along with your fishing trip.
Its resolution is just fine, and the 5-inch screen fits well on the front panel. Moreover, with its smooth transition technology, you can read the feeds without a hitch from shallow to deep water and vice versa.
On top of this, you interpret the readings on a split screen, or in zoomed mode. This side imaging fish finder easily mounts on a transom mount. In addition to this, it has a quick release button that makes installation a snap. Once it’s mounted, you can tilt it to any direction for better viewing.
The sonar system of this device is a bit unusual because the transducer supports both a Dual Beam Sonar and DownVuTM sonar. Since the sensor of this device runs on 500 watts of power, and therefore it can send signals to a depth up to 2300 feet’s.
Moreover, the DownVu scanned images provides clear fish arch returns and detailed data of underwater conditions.
- Can scan up to 2300 feet of water
- Waterproof and portable
- Its transducer supports both DownVuTM and Dual Beam Sonar
- View images in horizontally and vertically split screen
- Nearly photo-like images
- Water temperature sensor
- Fish alarm system that keeps you alert
- Lack a GPS system
3. Venterior Portable Fish Finder Review
This portable wired fish finder serve as a must have device in your fishing arsenal if you are tired of sitting in your boat all day without catching your target fish.
This fishfinder comes with a high sensitive sensor that makes the whole process of identifying fish location less tedious for you. Interestingly, it will show you the exact location of fish even on ice. So you will accomplish your mission in the least possible time. It cannot get better than this!
It will allow you to have a greater view of the waterbed condition & help estimate the depth. It comes with a power saving feature; this device turns off automatically when depth display reads “---“ continuously for 5 minutes.
The transmitter of this device is waterproof and therefore can be submerged into the water. It is also convenient for all types of fishing, thanks to its removable transducer. Moreover, the operation manual included in the package ensures that you cannot go wrong with this device.
- Sonar sensor with a lengthy cable
- Easy to use
- Highly portable
- Identify exact fish locations
- Best for all types of fishing
- Power saving feature
- Waterproof transmitter
- Operate in all environments (lake, river, sea, etc.)
- Lacks a built in GPS
2. Humminbird Helix 9 Review
Coming with a 9” super bright LED display this full-featured Helix 9 series provides crystal-clear images for easy viewing in bright sunlight. You will love this top rated fish finder if you have enough room on your dash or bow for a larger display like this Helix 9 series.
It is also packed with a full range of technologies which allows you to view side-by-side sonar images. Its power Dual Beam PLUS Sonar runs on high power (4000 watts), so it can send signals to greater depths.
Navigation is easy with this device, thanks to its GPS Chart plotting and built-in ContourXD map.
This device also features an Instant Access preset buttons for convenient use.
The Down Imaging Sonar allow you to explore the underwater conditions as you patrol the water and this makes it one of best down-imaging fish detectors.
- Easy to install
- Crystal clear images even in bright daylight
- Built-in GPS and ContourXD map
- Programmable buttons
- Ethernet working capabilities
- Optional in-dash mount
- Bit expensive
1. Deeper Smart Sonar Pro Plus Review
Deeper smartPro has taken the world by a storm with its deeper app. The downloadable app is compatible with iOS and Android devices. With this app, you can receive the sonar feedback on your mobile device, which makes fishing even more exciting.
In addition to this, the application will also give you a Solunar Forecast Calendar, Fish Notes, Weather Forecasts and whole more. According to our research, Deeper is one of the best rated fish finder brand on the market.
One of the best features of this fishfinder is that both the Deeper PRO and Pro+ uses an independent Wi-Fi connection. This makes it possible to use the deeper units anywhere provided they be charged. The units emit their Wi-Fi field, so you don’t need a Wi-Fi internet connection.
It also has a built-in high accuracy GPS receiver that makes it easy for you to pinpoint your catch with ease. Also, this internal GPS receiver helps you to determine the best fishing spots by exploring the underwater conditions of the entire fishing grounds.
Amazingly, this fishfinder comes with a customizable color mode. You will choose the screen color and brightness that corresponds to the time of the day. It brings the best fishing experience, even when fishing onshore. It is a game changer!
Above all, this device is suitable for all types of fishing. This review goes without saying that this Deeper Smart sonar Pro+ is a must have addition to your fishing gear arsenal.
- Lightweight and therefore highly portable
- An iOS and Android app ideal for smartphones and tablets
- Custom bathymetric maps
- On shore GPS
- Independent wireless Wi-Fi connection
- Dual-frequency sonar
- Rechargeable battery with 5.5-hour runtime
- Operates in both Fresh & Salt water
- Bit expensive
- No options for down imaging and side imaging
How does a fish finder work?
Before you spend a dime, make sure you understand how the device works, this will help you know how to use your device. Remember you can have the very best GPS combo in your boat but if you don’t know how to use it will not help you either.
In the first place, fish finders use sonar. This is a technology that uses sound waves to display underwater conditions or features. This unit produces signals (sound waves), and the transducers send the signals through the water.
As the signals penetrate deep in the water, it spread in the form of a cone (also called beam). When the signals meet an object, the signal is sent back to the transducer. The sensor calculates the time between when the sound was sent and when the feedback was received to determine the depth or distance, and this is displayed on the screen.
When the signals don’t encounter anything, they travel to the bottom of the seabed. The nature of the base delivers different results. When it’s soft, it absorbs the signals, but when it is a hard rock, then it reflects back a much stronger signal.
The transducer receives these reflections and displays it on the screen. You will, therefore, view the nature of the bottom and anything the sound waves encountered in between.
Buyers Guide: Choosing the Best Fish Finders for Your Needs
The fish finder market today is flooded with countless fish finder brands, models and a variety of types. On top of this, technology has taken the fish locator market by a storm, with some devices coming fully featured than others.
Not only this, the prices are very competitive, and this also makes the buying process a bit tricky and time-consuming for beginners. On top of this, a high-quality fish detector is not a cheap device. The good news is we’ve prepared the following buyers guide to empower you so that you choose the right product without many hassles. Moreover, with our extensive reviews above, you can easily settle for the best.
A Global Positioning System (GPS) is an important feature of a fish finder. A GPS will help you locate a fishing ground you previously marked without much effort. Not only this but it will also help you navigate through the waters easily. With a GPS fish finder combo, you can fish even in new environments and still chart your way home. However, not all fish finders will come with a GPS option, so you need to make a right choice when buying fish finders.
This is what sends out signals to help you locate the fish. When it comes to transducers, the cone angle defines how efficient your fish detector will be. A transducer with a large cone angle provides a larger view of the underwaters, and this is very useful where there are no otherwise. Cone angle also determines the frequencies of a fish finder, the higher the frequencies, the greater the view in shallow waters. However, most of all, the best device is one that can deliver more than one frequencies.
When it comes to choosing a transducer, the cone angle will determine how sensitive your sensor will be. The sonar waves sent by the transducer spreads from one point and widens as they move deeper. The more the waves extends, the more it loses their sensitivity. A great fish finder is one with a narrow cone angle as it can go to deeper heights and remain sensitive.
The display of your fish finder is crucial. A black and white screen will function well, but a color screen is more appealing and gives precise details of different types of fish available. Also, you may need to check the size of the screen.
A larger screen is best as it provides wider viewport. This helps you to interpret and distinguish between different features under your boat. However, note that a larger screen may cost you a more.
In most cases, this functionality will come built in the GPS system. It will help improve your fishing efficiency as you will know whether you’re moving at the right speed for a particular type of fish.
Power is an important consideration when choosing a fish finder. In depth finders, power is measured in watts. A good fish finder should be powerful enough. High wattage means the device will show faster and accurate readings. The best fish finders have a minimum wattage of about 600 watts. However power will also depend on the depth of fishing, shallow water requires less power compared to deep waters.
When looking for a high-quality fish finder, the level of experience and boat ownership will determine which device is right for you. If you are a pro, a fixed fish locator will be more suitable for you as you can mount it on any ideal location in your boat. However, if you don’t own the vessel, then a portable unit is a perfect choice for you.
Price is often related to value. So many fishers believe that expensive devices are the best. This is not the case, a best fish finder is one that you can use with ease, and give you a remarkable performance. Some of the expensive devices are of poor quality and not up to the task. Consider your budget and choose what work best for you. After all, it is all about satisfaction and getting more fish.
Having to lead you through our top 5 fish finder reviews, buyers guide and finally educated you on how it works. We believe that you can comfortably compare and contrast the options to get the very best fish finder for you. If you are satisfied with our reviews, we recommend you to try the Deeper Smart Sonar Pro Plus which emerged as the top pick.
The final decision on what to buy depends on you, but with the knowledge, you have gained so far will help you make an informed decision. One thing you can be sure of is that the units reviewed here are absolutely among the best fish finders on the market. So get one today and experience the magic of a huge catch!