Highest Rated Fishfinders
1Humminbird Helix 5 CHIRP G2
2Lowrance HDS 7 Gen3
3Garmin Striker 7sv
4Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 73sv
5Raymarine Dragonfly 7 PRO

Fish Finder Features Explained

Fish finders that use sonar emit sound waves under the water and detect the sound waves that bounce back off of objects and surfaces under the water. The echoed soundwaves are converted into an image of the objects and surfaces beneath the water using a transducer.

Structure Scan fishfinderStructureScan uses a specialized transducer that builds three dimensional images of the area underneath the boat including the topography of the bottom of the lake, the locations of fish and structures in which fish may be hiding. It uses multiple beams of sound (multi-beam sonar technology) to get incredibly detailed 180 degree views beneath the boat. With this wide area, anglers can identify piles of rocks or brush, plantbeds, and abrupt changes in depth where fish may be hiding and determine the location of these things relative to their boat.

  • Note: Lowrance calls their technology DownScan, SideScan, StructureScan. Humminbird calls theirs Down Imaging, Side Imaging. Garmin calls theirs DownVu and SideVu. They all refer to the same technology.

Side Imaging uses an ultra-thin beam of radar beam to scan a 180-degree area that includes up to 240 feet to the left and right of your boat (total coverage 480 feet). The image that is gathered from each slice of the 180-degree area is added to images taken immediately before and after to build view of lake bottom that you can zoom in on or mark the location of using the GPS capability of the fish finder. Side Imaging’s high frequency beams show structure, cover, and contour changes clearly.

Down Imaging uses high frequency sound waves emitted in very thin slices. The sonar that returns from these waves is used to produce a two dimensional image of what is below the boat.

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SwitchFire is used to filter out noise in sonar images and provide a clearer view of lake beds, fish, and structures that standard sonar imaging alone. SwitchFire can be used to add or remove detail from an image to account for the depth of the water, the temperature of the water, and turbulence. The benefit of SwitchFire is that it provides easy viewing even in rough water.

CHIRP is an acronym for compressed high-intensity radar pulse. CHIRP-enabled sonar devices provide excellent deep water penetration. Unlike traditional sonar, which uses a single frequency of sound, CHIRP sends pulses of different frequencies which allows the processer to produce a more accurate and detailed sonar image than traditional methods. Using bursts of different frequencies, units with CHIRP technology can compensate for inconsistencies in the way different objects and materials reflect sonar pulse. Different objects will reflect better or worse with different frequencies, by scanning multiple frequencies, CHIRP-capable devices get more detailed images than devices without CHIRP technology. Increased clarity lets you differentiate the size of individual fish in a school or even differentiate between a school of smaller fish and a school of larger fish.

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Dual Beam uses two different sonar beams to combine great detail and a wide coverage area. Dual beam technology combines a narrower, higher frequency beam provides great detail over a small area and a wider, lower frequency beam that provides less detailed information about a larger area frequency beam gives larger area. You can choose between the two different beams or view the beams together to gain information from both beams at once.

360 Imaging creates a 300-foot circle of visible area around your boat by rotating a thin wall of sonar through 360 degrees. 360 imaging allows anglers to choose from five beam speeds to optimize the image quality and refresh rate for their needs based on boat speed, water conditions, and need for detail. Alternatively, the 360 imaging capability allows users to choose a section between 10 degrees and 360 degrees. This means that you can optimize your settings to look at the area in front of your boat, on the right of your boat, or behind your boat. Simply drop the probe into the water and start scanning.

360 Imaging technology fish finder

Chartplotter fishfinderChartplotter shows boat’s current location and course with depth readings, contours, and navigational aids. It can be used to plot courses, create trails of your boat’s path, place markers on your favorite fishing spots or identify navigational hazards.

These new advancements make it possible to get the most information out of your sonar signal. From increasing the amount of information collected to filtering out effects of temperatures, speeds, and water conditions, these options will let you see what is underneath the surface of the murkiest waters as though they were crystal clear.

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