Electronics for fishing – Our advice in 2023
Most anglers expect to catch something when they are out on the water, which is why they often rely on certain electronic devices. Fish finders, marine GPS devices, sonars, chart plotters and depth finders can all dramatically improve an angler’s chances of reeling in the “big one” or at least catching something worthy of showing off. While there might be anglers who truly enjoy waiting patiently for a bite that might never come, most fishermen prefer a little more certainty before they toss in a line.
With sport and competition fishing gaining in popularity and cash prizes becoming more common, anglers are often finding that the help they get from these electronic devices is invaluable. Instead of guessing and simply hoping that you are casting in the right area, a fish finder will quickly locate and identify any fish that are swimming nearby. GPS devices and chart plotters will help you get to your destination and back to the dock again, while depth finders and sonar give you a clear picture of the bottom so you know exactly what is underneath the boat.
The many uses of fishing electronics
There are several types of electronic devices that can help make any fishing trip a success, and each one is designed for a particular use. If you want to quickly find your way to a favorite fishing spot or are navigating an unfamiliar lake a marine GPS or chartplotter can help you get to your destination quickly and easily. These electronic devices can also help you safely find your way back home at night or even in bad weather. Some marine GPS units will also broadcast the location of your boat in the event of an emergency. Saltwater fishermen often depend on these devices when they are out on the open water.
Fish and depth finders, along with sonar systems allow anglers to scan the underwater environment so they can find the best spot to drop in a line. Depth finders will accurately show how deep the water is, so you can decide if the fish you are searching for will inhabit that area. Sport and competition fishermen often rely on fish finders, especially when there is prize money involved. Fish finders display a complete image of the water column so you know exactly what is swimming around the boat. These convenient devices will also identify the fish, and often show any obstacles that might be lying on the bottom. Not only do fish like to hide in and around these obstacles, knowing exactly what is in the water can also prevent you from snagging your line on debris.
Types of fishing electronics
The best fish finder will come with a single or multi beam transducer so you can easily search for large or small fish in the water. Models with higher pixel counts ensure that the images relaid to the monitor are easily visible, especially if it comes with a color display. Some fish finders also come with convenient GPS capabilities so you can mark favorite spots, and even find your way back to the dock.
If you do most of your fishing from a boat you might want to consider a fixed fish finder. These devices easily mount to the stern or hull, and often come with convenient features. Since they are designed to be permanently mounted on the boat fixed fish finders are generally larger in size, but have the advantage of being priced lower than other types. Some of the most common fish finders are portable or handheld, so you can take it with you on almost any trip. Portable models are great for use on a boat, while handheld fish finders can help you reel in noteworthy catches from the shore.
Anglers who are looking for something small and extremely easy to use, will probably benefit from a rod mounted or watch fish finder. A rod mounted fish finder will relay accurate information back to a small display on the pole, while a watch style model attaches to the line. Easy to carry and use, if you just need to see what is swimming in the immediate area for a quick bite one of these fish finders might be just what you need.
The best marine GPS units will not only track the position of the boat, it will also provide accurate information on the intended course and speed. Some higher priced models will also provide lunar and solar data, along with tracking the tides, so you can fish like a professional angler.
If you are enjoying a day saltwater fishing a marine GPS can ensure you make it safely back to dry land, even if a storm blows in from the ocean. It can serve as a backup to the boat’s permanent onboard navigation system, and these handheld devices are generally easy to program and read.
With safety being your main consideration when you are out on the open water, it only makes sense to have a marine GPS along. These devices can also give you a slight advantage in competitions since they will provide you with the precise coordinates of any fishing spot you may have marked in the past .
The best sonar system will quickly locate and transmit images underwater, and these convenient devices are used by recreational and professional fishermen around the world.
Commonly employed by commercial fishing vessels, sonar systems are also becoming popular with regular anglers. Using sound waves to detect underwater objects, these devices will transmit the images to the connected monitor so anglers know exactly what is swimming in the area.
Sonar systems with higher frequencies are ideal for penetrating deeper waters and finding any targets to bounce the signal off of. As the sonar beam moves through the water sound is bounced off of the fish and appears as a mark on the display.
The marks can change depending on the movements of the fish, which will help you know exactly where to cast. The sonar will also reveal any underwater objects that might hide fish or break your line. If you are fishing in a new location a sonar system can help you find the best spot and it can even let you know exactly what is swimming around at a favorite spot.
The best chartplotter will have a screen large enough to read when you are piloting the boat, and most anglers recommend choosing one that measures at least 5 inches.
Since the purpose of the device is to help you plot and navigate a predetermined course, it is important to be able to clearly see the coordinates that are being displayed. Models with plenty of pixels ensures that the numbers are clearly visible, and power is also important for a crisp picture.
Since the chartplotter will be on a boat you want to make sure that it comes with a durable construction, and that it is waterproof. No matter how careful you are the chartplotter will get wet and to keep it functioning properly it is important that it is able to keep water from getting inside.
This also applies to the connectors which are necessary if you want to hook the chartplotter up to the monitor or boat. Even though the connectors are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace, it is not something you want to do every time you want to take the chartplotter out on a boat.
Whether you are plotting a course to a potential new favorite spot or want to make sure you can find your way back after spending a day on the open water, a chartplotter can help make your fishing trip fun, safe and successful.
A depth finder is a convenient device to have regardless of your skill as a fisherman. It can save you time searching for the perfect spot to toss in your line, along with money that might be spent replacing lost lures and broken lines.
The best depth finder will have enough power to transmit accurate readings, and the amount needed will depend on your budget and where you are fishing.
If you love fishing on one of the Great Lakes or out on the ocean you will want a depth finder with plenty of power to accurately read the deeper water. Less powerful depth finders are great for shallow lakes and ponds, and these convenient devices often come at a lower price. Frequency is another important factor to consider, especially if you want to see plenty of details transmitted to the monitor.
Higher frequencies translate into clearer images, and this can make the difference between a successful or disappointing fishing trip. With a depth finder you will be able to tell if the water is deep enough for the type of fish you are looking for so you don’t waste valuable time casting for something that isn’t there.