How Fish Finders work & how Anglers can read them

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In this article, I am going to share the useful information about the different fish finders, which are currently available in the market along with the ways of reading them. In short, modern fish detectors are mini computers with particular software designed precisely for updating the users in detail regarding what happens under & around a boat.

Well, not all anglers are technology freak thus; it is not a surprise that majority of them do not know the basics of fish finders. In all conscience, the manufactures of fish finder have to do a practical job by educating their users, as the internet is overflowing with myths & misleading information.

Therefore, if you are among those users who are confused & do not know the ways of reading your new angle detector then, this article is surely for you. After reading this, you will understand that how fish detectors work & how you can read them.

The Basics behind How Fish Detectors Work

Majority of the fish detectors are vented as an angle detector GPS combo it means that they come equipped with a head unit, the transducer, and GPS receiver. There are other numerous add-ons, which can easily be connected to angle finders such as Bluetooth, networking devices & advanced sonar add-ons like Panoptix and 360 imaging.

How Does the Transducer on Fish Finder Work?

The transducer plays an important role because if a head unit on the fish detector is a brain then, a transducer is considered as the ears & eyes. The transducer comes in where the actual work of finding starts i.e. what is around & below the boat. Moreover, it sends the information to a heating unit & the software truly works as a magician by painting this information onto a screen.

Currently, transducers are available in different sizes and shapes, however; they all have to do the basic function. The transducers have piezoelectric components inside & they beat at certain rates, releasing beats of the sound into a water column. These elements also come in various shapes and size resting upon the required frequencies.

Chartplotters and GPS

If the fish detector has GPS proficiency then, it will chart the position of anglers by tracking on topmost of the map. Nowadays, some highly recommended fish detectors have an inner GPS receiver, however, an outer receiver could be utilized for showing boat location heading track even at extremely slow speeds.

Anglers should note that a workable GPS & river map is regarded as a worthwhile tool for angling. It is best for navigation & searching for angling areas. Garmin and newer hummingbird fish detectors have particular software that permits the fishers to create different custom maps.


Nowadays, fish detectors are available in different sizes ranging from 3.5” to 16”. However, if anglers can afford the biggest screen then, they should go for it, as it is preferable. The larger screen will let the anglers to view more & more information at a given time. While considering the screens, it is important to gain more information about pixel density because as the size of the screen increase, pixel compactness decreases.


Passionate anglers will have numerous fish detectors on their boats. Generally, they have more than one at a console & bow where anglers do their angling. Resting upon the brand of the fish detector, units will be networked openly among themselves. An Ethernet-based technology is used in Hummingbird while NMEA2000 based technology is used in Garmin and Lowrance.

Ways of Reading the Fish Detector Screen

Another most important and basic thing which every angler should learn is to read an angle finder screen successfully but unfortunately, due to technological advancements, it has lost its importance. Now, anglers have more than $1,000 angle detectors but they do not know the ways of using them properly. Some important ways are as follows:

2-Dimensional Sonar Interpretation

Customary sonars utilize the cone-shaped rays for reading the water support. The cone’s angle rests upon the frequency such as 200 KHz always has a wide cone as compare to 83 KHz & therefore offers a very large area of exposure whereas 83 KHz gives better detail.

Furthermore, trees, brush & solid groups of angle can look like vague blobs because transducer suddenly picks up each & everything inside a cone. Likewise, the angle can appear on the 2-dimensional sonar as round clouds, marks, and arches.

Down Envision Sonar Interpretation

In down envision sonar interpretation, angle appears the exactly similar as on 2-dimensional sonar. Crappie will appear like a small circle or ovals. The hard end is extremely effortless to see directly on envision views. Resting upon the color palette, this will appear a bit brighter as compared to the soft bottom.

Side Envision Sonar Interpretation

An angle will be a bit tough to view since side envisions rays are seeing out to a side in spite of directly overhead.  Anglers will have some brighter returns. The total distance between an angle & shadow will tell anglers how much suspended the angles are in the longer run.

Author: Christian E. Bright

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