Are you looking for the best fish finder for 2018? Well I have good news… We’ve found it…..
When I first started fishing there were no such things as fish finders. The closest thing I had to a fish finder was my spinnerbait. I would tie on my spinnerbait and just start fishing. Once I got a few bits, I knew I was in a good spot.
I also remember how difficult it was to locate the same spot again, especially if it was in open water. It was nearly impossible to remember exactly where there was a laydown or underwater crib. What I would have given for a fish finder equipped with GPS at the time.
It is without a doubt, that things have certainly changed. With the invention of fish finders. It has made fishing more productive and thus more enjoyable. However, with so many fish finders on the market it may be difficult to decide which one best suits my fishing needs.
In this post, we are going to discuss what we think is the best fish finder of 2018. Enjoy!
What is the best fish finder?Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder
- Compatible with both Android and Apple phones
- Connects via bluetooth
- Dual Beam 290 kHz, 90kHz
- Use in up to 130 feet of water
- 6 hour batter life
- Free Application that includes fishing diary, calendar, weather and maps.
- Extremely portable
- Good battery life
- Can experience connection issues at time
- Limited depth
One of the biggest disadvantages of a fish finder is obviously you need to have a boat. No boat, no fish finder! However, recently all of that has changed with one of the best fish finders to come onto the market the Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder. I love this fish finder, because you no longer need to have a boat to use it. This device was designed with the bank fisherman in mind.
Another reason why I love this fish finder is because it is extremely easy to use and to read. This device uses your phone or even your tablet as the screen. So in order to use the deeper. The first thing you want to do it connect your phone/tablet to the device. This can be done by turning on the bluetooth and selecting the device. Once it has been connected, simply tie it to your fishing rod and start to reel it in. Yes, it is that easy!
As you reel it in you will begin to see why this fish finder is so popular. The dual beam option (290 kHz and 90kHz) works great in telling you the depth, the temperature of the water as well as it shows such things as if there is any grass under the water and most importantly the composition of the bottom.
Finally, if you decide to purchase the Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder you don’t have to limit yourself to bank fishing. You can also use it on the boat, kayak fishing, and best of all ice fishing.
Learn more about just how easy this fish finder is to use in one of my favorite YouTube channels 1Rod1ReelFishing below:
Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ | Best Portable Fish Finder
- Compatible with Android and Apple Phones
- Connects to device via a WiFi connection
- Onshore GPS capabilities
- Boat mode GPS capabilities
- Safe to use in saltwater
- Dual frequency
- 5.5 hours of batter life
- Use in up to 330ft of water
- Higher scanning frequency
- Extremely portable
- High scanning frequency
- Easy to use
- While the WiFi connection allows for longer casts, it does still can at times have connection issues.
Just when you thought a product was good they make it even better. That is exactly what they did with the deeper fish finder series. They have released a better, more accurate and more powerful fish finder, it is the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+.
One of the biggest differences you will see in the two fish finders is the connection type. Bluetooth can at times be tricky and the results can be frustrating. To fix some of those connection issues deeper has transitioned to a WiFi connection. This allows for a better connection and less connections issues allowing for longer casts.
Another great change is that the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ has a more powerful sonar. You will see the noticeable differences with the ability to be used in waters as deep as 330 feet, it has a much high scanning frequency and a much larger dynamic range.
What this means for you as a fisherman is that you will have more accurate results. More accurate results means (hopefully) more fish. Remeber the fish finder, finds the fish. We have to catch them.
The sonar is equipped with a very high frequency scan ratio and a much larger dynamic range. This works great in telling you exactly what is going on underwater and does a nice job in differentiating what is grass, mud or other things in the water from the real fish.
Lastly and perhaps one of the best changes is the GPS capabilities. This function has really made this device not just for the bank fisherman, but a great overall fish finder.
As you will shortly see in the video below, once you go into boat mode and turn on the GPS you can actually make fishing maps, much like you can in other GPS enabled fish finding devices. This great feature also will allow you to mark your favorite fishing spots or other things that you find allow the way such as laydowns, or underwater cover that you might want to pay a visit to later.
Don’t have a boat? No worries! The GPS will also allow you to track your cast, so you can easily map out your backyard pond or favorite fishing lake.
These GPS capabilities really widens the uses for this device. Just think about what you can do with this device? You can use it bank fishing, kayak fishing, boat fishing, ice fishing and now you can even use it to make maps.
Without a doubt the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ is the best portable fish finder.
Learn more about the GPS capabilities in the following video:
- Side Imaging/Down Imaging
- 360 Imaging Capability
- Dual Beam 200 kHz, 83kHz
- 455kHz Side Imagining
- Built-In Map
- 7 inch color Display
- GPS Capabilities
- Ethernet Network Capabilities
- Dual Card Reader
- User Friendly
- Crystal Clear color screen
- Side Imaging is only available in HD with a HD Transducer
What separates a good fish finder from the best fish finder? One key feature… Side imaging. You may have also heard it called 360 imaging. What is side imaging? To answer that question let’s first look at what is down imaging. Downward imaging is when your transducer sends a cone size beam that, depending on the frequency, shoots straight down. This limits your views as it only tells you what is going on directly underneath your boat.
On the otherhand, side imaging shoots a beam outwards. This not only tells you what is going on behind your boat, but also what is going on around your boat. Some fish finders are able to send a beam up to 100 or 200 feet. This greatly enhances what you see in the water and thus enhances your chances of catching more fish.
If you are looking into purchasing a depth finder that has side imagining I would recommend the HUMMINBIRD 899ci HD Side Imaging Fish Finder. The reason I would recommend this one over the many others on the market is because of all the features you get for the price.
The HUMMINBIRD 899ci HD Side Imaging Fish Finder has a 7 inch HD color screen. It has a dual down imaging beam of 200kHz or 83kHz. It also has the capability of side imaging with an image frequency of 455kHz.
Humminbird offers a variety of great fish finders that offer side imagining. All of which are available at a variety of different price points. Here are just a few great pieces of equipment: Humminbird Helix 9, Humminbird 1199ci, Humminbird Helix 7 SI.
Not sure how to set up your Humminbird 899 for fishing? Check out the following video:
- Down Imaging Sonar
- HD Color Display
- 5 inch display
- User – Friendly Design
- Dual Beam 200 kHz or 83 kHz
- 1500 feet Depth Capacity
- Side Imaging Model Available Here – Humminbird HELIX 5 SI
- Easy to navigate
- Color Display
- Not the best built-in maps
The next one on our list of the best fish finder is the Humminbird HELIX 5. If you are just starting to get into fishing with a fish finder this is a great one to start with. It is easy to use at an affordable price for all the features this gadget has.
One of the greatest features is that it is User Friendly. One of the last things we want to do when on the water is sit and try to figure out how the menu buttons work. Many have found this to be true especially with older fish finder models. Well, Humminbird has heard your concerns and made some changes. One such change is making the Helix 5 easy to use.
With an inbuilt GPS, you can easily mark laydowns, stumps or whatever else you may see on the bottom of the water that you want to return to at a later time. This finder employs UniMap cartography technology which can help an angler for chart plotting and travel planning. As a regular angler you want to return to your favorite spot another day and the micro SD card on this gadget will help you save your waypoints.
This gadget will exceed most angler’s expectations. Why say so? Because it has been tried and tested. Its built-in transducer boasts with the capability to measure water surface temperature helping you to find the best fish locations.
Outfitted with a dual beam of 200 kHz frequency and 83 kHz frequency. This will allow you to view a narrow coverage for more detail and a more extensive field for more broad view.
Lastly, you won’t be disappointed with the display. It is fitted with a 5-inch 800H x 400V, 256 display color screen which allows you to view clear and sharper images as they are transmitted to the transducer.
Learn how to setup your Helix 5 in the following video:
Lowrance Elite-3X | Best Ice Fishing Sonar
- Down Imaging Sonar
- 3 Inch Backlit Color Disply
- Dual Beam 200 kHz or 83kHz
- 800 Foot Depth Capacity
- Designed for fishing with kayaks or small boats
- Easy to navigate
- Color Display
- Small and Lightweight
- Smaller Screen
Are you looking for a fish finder that is easy to use? Do you do most of your fishing in a kayak? If you answered yes to the above questions we believe we have the fish finder for you. We believe the best kayak fish finder is the Lowrance Elite-3X. This is an extremely easy to use fish finder specifically designed for the kayak fisherman.
One of the first things I look at when choosing a fish finder is the display. Simply put, if I can’t read the display at midday what is the point in having one in the first place. The Lowrance Elite 3X has full color 240 x 360 LED backlit display. What this means is that even at midday when the sunny is at its brightest you will be able to see the screen and menus with ease. You won’t be disappointed with the Elite 3x display.
Not only do we believe this fish finder is the best kayak fish finder, but we also believe it is the best ice fishing sonar. In fact, with the Lowrance Elite 3x Season Pack, you not only get a good fish finder and the tools to mount it to a small boat, but you also receive the tools needed to turn this device into the best ice fishing sonar as well.
Garmin Striker 4 | Best Portable Fish Finder
- Down Imaging Sonar
- 3 1/2 Inch Backlit Color Disply
- Built-In GPS
- Built-In Flasher
- CHIRP Technology
- Dual Beam 200 kHz or 77kHz
- Depth Capacity 1600 feet in freshwater
- Depth Capacity 750 feet in saltwater
- Easy to navigate
- Color Display
- Can be used as an ice fishing flasher
- Smaller Screen
- No maps
Another great fish finder that can also can be used as a ice fishing flasher is the Garmin Striker 4. This device may seem quite small in comparasion with other fish finders on the market, but don’t let the size fool you. This little gadget has a lot of great features to make up for its size.
The first unique feature that I want to highlight is that it has CHIRP technology. What does this mean? The simple answer is that it gives you better definition. The technical answer to this question is that CHIRP sends out a series of different frequencies rather than just one beam. This helps the fish finder to distinguish what is really going on underneath your boat. Once it distinguishes what is going on, it is able to accurately tell you on the display what is a fish and what is not. This provides you the fisherman with the best information available so you can catch more fish.
Learn more about CHIRP Technology in the follow video:
The 3 1/2 inch color display my be much smaller than other fish finders, but it is very easy to read a sunny day. Because its size it is portable and can be used on kayaks and small boats as well as large bass boats. The menu buttons are easy to navigate. If you can operate an iPad you can navigate the Garmin Striker 4.
The last feature that I really like about this device is the different menu option. One such menu option allows you to turn your fish finder into a fish flasher.
Not only will this fish finder be effective on the water, but you can now take it on the ice. This feature along just might make it the best fish flasher for ice fishing. Thus not only do you get a great fish finder, but you have a great ice fishing flasher as well.
- Side Imagining
- Down Imagining
- Huge 10 Inch Color Display
- Built-In GPS
- Auto Chart Live
- Bright, clear Screen
- Huge Screen
To conclude our search of the best fish finder, I wanted to highlight one high-end fish finder. Once such device is the Humminbird Helix 10 SI.
If you are having difficult seeing the screen when out on the water, you will have no such difficult with the Helix 10.
This is a down imagining and side imagining fish finder creater by Humminbird. It has a 10 inch color display. Yes, you read that correctly ten inches. You will have no difficulty reading your fish finder. In fact, you probably will be able to read it from the back of the boat.
Would you believe me if I said you can get one even bigger than 10 inches? Just when you thought they couldn’t get any bigger they do. Humminbird has released the Humminbird Helix 12 Chirp. Basically the same as the Helix 10, but with a bigger screen and better resolution.
The other notable difference is the Helix 12 is equipped with CHIRP technology. This technology is used to get better definition and see fish more clearly.
You won’t be missing any fish with the Humminbird Helix 12 Chirp.
See the Helix 10 in action in the following video:
There you have it! Our list of the best fish finders of 2018.
Before I conclude this very long post about the best fish finder on the market. I thought I would add a few tips to get the most out of your fish finder. After all, you can have the best device on the market, but if you don’t use it correctly it is useless.
A few tips on how to get the most out of your device…
Know Your Device. Just because you have the best fish finder on the market doesn’t necessarily mean you will catch more fish. You need to learn how to use it. The single most important thing you can do to increase how well you use your fish finder is to learn how the device you have actually works. Due to the immense volume of different models of fish finders it would obviously be impossible for me to explain how to use each device but there are a few aspects of your device that you need to know to get the best results.
With that in mind don’t be afraid to go out on the water and experiment with your device. In fact, I would actually recommend you do this before going fishing. Nothing can be more frustrating than trying out new equipment out on the water when you are pressured to catch fish. With that in mind, try going out on the water just to see how your fish finder works. Test different features to see which ones work best with your style of fishing.
Don’t Become Overwhelmed. At first, one can become easily overwhelmed by all the bells and whistles your that your device has to offer. It’s important to remember that while many of these things are useful, it isn’t necessary to understand them all in order to begin to use your device. Start simple, choose a few features you want to master. Go out and test them on the water. Once you begin to master some of the features you can begin to dive into the more difficult ones.
Carefully Adjust The Sensitivity. Sensitivity is quite possibly the single most important feature of a fish finder and if you could only invest time into learning how to use one feature, I’d recommend it be sensitivity.
Sensitivity is analogous to the volume on a hearing aid and can be used, with practice, to extract some incredibly useful information from the water.
Just like volume on a hearing aid, too much sensitivity can be counterproductive. Imagine turning a hearing aid all the way up only to have someone yell into your ear. Setting the sensitivity of your sounder is a little bit more complicated than just putting it on the highest setting you have available. With that in mind it’s just as harmful to turn the sensitivity down low; there’s no point in having a hearing aid if it’s turned off.
This is the tricky part, finding the sweet spot for sensitivity can be difficult especially when it changes with the depth of the water and the fish you’re targeting. As a rule of thumb it is often best to stick between 75-100% sensitivity for beginners.
Fishing at the top of the water column generally calls for a sensitivity on the lower side of this region in order to cancel out some of the extra noise that’ll otherwise cover up what you need to see. On the other hand, higher sensitivity can be detrimental for surface fishing, when you’re interested in looking nearer to the bottom you’ll definitely need to turn up the sensitivity. At a sensitivity on the higher end of the region mentioned above a sounder will pick up more things and at a greater distance.
Use The Depth Cursor Wisely. An incredibly useful tool that is included in many fish finders today is the depth cursor which displays a single horizontal line across the screen of your sounder. This line comes with a reading for the depth of items on the sounder along the line and it can be moved up or down to find the depth of specific objects in the water. Use this to pinpoint the exact depth of a school of bait or a particular fish to make it all that much easier to reel in your catch.
Adjust The Frequency. Many fish finders also come with the added options of changing the frequency of the transducer’s sonar. Frequency is another very important aspect of using a depth sounder that every fisherman should understand. Even if you don’t own a device that can change frequencies this information can be used in the future, along with knowledge of how deep your fishing spots are likely to be, to pick out which device is a good fit for you.
Use Your GPS. Almost all fish finders on the market today, come with GPS. This feature is invaluable. however, more often than not, I see fishermen not using this feature. Make sure to take advantage of this feature to get the most our of your device and to catch more fish. You can use it to mark, laydowns, dropoffs or anything else of interest that is going on under the water. Remember, you are marking these spots not just to be fished later in the day, but possibly later in the season.
Keep Calm! Lastly, keep calm. I know it may sound cliché, but remember much fishing was done before fish finders even hit the market. So if you are having a hard time at first understanding how to use your device, keep calm, take a break and just enjoy fishing. Like I said earlier, at first all these features may seem overwhelming but by focusing on a few features at a time it will help you to gain a substantial understanding of how to make the best of your equipment.
What are you thoughts? What do you think is the best fish finder? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Learn more about fish finders in links below: