How to read a fish finder

How to Read a Fish Finder: Essential Tips for the Beginners

Having a fish finder is an excellent milestone for successful angling. However, the fish finder will not be useful if you do not know how to read it. Note that it is not straight forward as looking at the screen. It uses a technology that requires your understanding before you could pinpoint the exact location of the fish. Though there is other information such as the condition of the bottom and other objects, you will not know this without getting acquainted with the fish finder. This gear is essential, and once you get used to it, fishing will never be the same again. But first things first, get the vital tips below, especially if you are starting out.

Every fish finder is different from the other. But, there are some basics that cut across that make it possible to operate any fish finder in the market. Below are the essential tips that will make you use a fish finder like a pro!

1. Identifying the Fish

Why else will you buy the gear if it is not for pinpointing the fish? Though I must acknowledge that some people only need it to check the bottom of the sea, the primary purpose is just that of locating the catch. If it cannot do it, then you got the wrong device. Anyway, let’s see the different ways of identifying the fish.

Fish Icons

The fish finders which use fish-ID technology have icons for locating the catch. The images come in various lengths and shapes that make it easy to differentiate the fish from the other objects underwater. Sometimes beginners will confuse the plants with the school of fish. However, with practice, you will realize there are different icons that represent every structure underwater. The main thing is to be able to read the screen for images displayed, differentiate them, and know their depths, most importantly, that of the catch.

Fish Arches

The fish finders which use transducers display fish in the form of arch and lines. Though it might be hard at the beginning, once you grasp the concept, it becomes easy and quick to interpret what is displayed on the screen. Compared to fish-IDs, the arch images are easy to read since they are more explicit. The size of the arch is directly related to how big the fish is. For instance, a big arc implies that the fish underwater is large in size. Differentiating between the fish and the rocks or plants comes to be difficult for starts, but, with practice, you will be able to do it effortlessly.

2. Judging the Size Of The Fish

Typically, the size of the arc is directly related to the size of the catch. However, in some instances, this is not the case. Sometimes the transducer will pick the images when the fish is on the move making it hard to use the arc to determine its size. Nonetheless, the width, length, and thickness of the arch will guide you in identifying the size of the fish, as discussed below.

Fish Arch Length

If the fish is not in motion and it is captured fully, then the arc will help you identify the size. In this case, the bigger the arch, the bigger the fish. However, if the fish is in motion or you capture two at different speeds, then the size of the arch is not a clear indication of how big the catch is. You can now use the width and the thickness to determine the size.

Fish Arch Thickness

When the length does not work well in determining the size of the fish, the width will do. Width is the thickness of the arc. Do not use horizontal photos; instead, check the vertical images displayed on the device. A thicker arc shows big fish, while thinner ones indicate that the catch is small in size. You can, therefore, spot a trophy fish by looking at the arches that are thicker than others.

Fish Arch Size

The arch can be full or half, giving different meanings all the same. A whole arc will be displayed when a fish is captured swimming in the cone of a sonar. However, if it gets at the cone of a sonar haft arc will be shown. Full arc does not mean the fish is big, which also applies to half, which does not imply the catch is small. The most accurate way to determine the size of fish is by looking at the thickness of the arc, as explained above.

Finding Bait Fish

Baitfish will be represented by dashes, lines, or dots displayed on the screen. They tend to stay together and, therefore, will be seen as balls, and they do not go deep in water. To differentiate them from vegetation, they are displayed in yellow color rather than the green that shows other structures.

3. Identifying Various Kinds Of Underwater Structures

Other structures and the depth of the bottom can be determined using a fish finder. However, it requires one to know better how to interpret the displays. Depth feature in transducer plays a critical role as it will help you understand how deep the water is and therefore spot fish in such depths.

The depths measurement will be displayed at the top corner of the screen in meters. Some device allows you to convert to your chosen unit of measure for easier reading. The color of the screen will help you further to differentiate the other objects underwater. Vegetation will be shown through vertical lines; depression will be confirmed by a small V-shape at the bottom while hard objects will be identified by a repeat return signal. Always read the manual provided as it also contains all necessary information for a specific device.

Final Take

Fishing is an art that requires skills and techniques for success. Traditionally people were relying on luck to get a catch at the end of the day. They could identify the location where fish like to converge depending on previous experience. Nonetheless, this is a thing of the past with the introduction of the fish finders. However, it might not be useful if you do not know how to read the fish finders. But, thanks to this article, you can now comfortably head to shop for one and go out fishing like a pro!

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