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Fish Finders Buying Guide

Fishing can be a satisfying or a deeply frustrating hobby depending upon your goals and your success. Many fishing enthusiasts will reach the conclusion that they must either invest in better equipment if they are to continue pursuing this popular past time, or they will have to settle for days without any catches out on the water. For example, after a few disappointing experiences a fishing enthusiast may decide that a fish finder is something that can prevent them from wasting any further time on a particular body of water or a particular area.

In fact, of all of the "go-to" items that fishing enthusiasts choose to buy, it is a fish finder that tops the list. This is because the item does exactly as it says - it helps to find the fish. However, not all fish finders are alike, and so we'll go over several major issues to consider when shopping for the ideal fish finder.


This means two different things were fish finders are concerned. There is the power that relates to wattage, and with fish finders, it is usually a case of the more wattage the better. This is because a higher wattage allows the machine to be faster and more effective. The wattage is also going to be a major factor when the fish finder is used in deeper water as well. So, if you are an ocean fisher or someone hoping for luck in deeper lakes, go for higher wattage.

The other way that power is related to a fish finder is in its ability to actually find fish, and this is done with the transducer.


Known as sonar, transducers are what emit the sound waves that seek the movement or density that identifies fish. While you want to first consider the frequency of the transducer, which is described in kHz, you also have to consider the "cone angle" too. Frequencies will range from 50 to 200 kHz, with the higher frequencies best for shallow water and the lower for deep water fishing.

The cone angle is a description of the beam that the fish finder uses, and this effectively describes the view beneath the water that the device is capturing. The wider the degrees in the cone angle, the larger your overall view of the scene, but keep in mind that the sensitivity lessens as the angle reaches its greatest extent.

The best measure is a cone of twenty degrees, and many units are available within the sixteen to twenty-degree ranges.

The transducers may also fire single or dual beams. The most affordable models tend to use the single beam while the multiple beam units tend to cost more because they give greater performance.


Of course, a good fish finder has to be relatively easy to read and use, and so you have to take into consideration the display resolution and the size of the display too. Obviously, the higher the resolution on the screen the easier it will be to read, and there are already HD or high definition models available. These are worth the price because they make it easier than ever to understand the information being returned by the unit.

You can really improve the outcome of fishing excursions with a higher resolution screen and a larger overall display. The standard sizes are from four to eight inches, and it is always a "bigger is better" issue with the size of the display too.

Should you avoid black and white and lower resolution? Not at all, any sort of help with finding fish is beneficial and if your budget limits you to a smaller unit, it is still going to give you invaluable information.


The final issue is portability. If you are someone who does not own their own boat or who finds themselves out with other fishing enthusiasts on their boats, it is a good idea to consider investing in a portable rather than a fixed unit. If, however, you own the boat and use it often for fishing adventures, you are usually going to get the best features on the fixed models.


The list of possible extras where your fish finder is concerned is pretty extensive. There are options for audible alarms, GPS, waterproofing, software enhancements, advanced controls, and more.

Popular Brands

Some of the top names in fish finders are Lowrance, Furuno, Simrad, and Garmin. To choose the best fish finder means knowing your budget and then selecting a unit that provides all of the features you need within that range. You will be surprised at how many are available!

Find, compare prices and buy from NZ's best online shops.

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