How to Choose a GPS Fishfinder: 5 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Fishfinders are electronic devices that use sonar to detect where fish are swimming, eliminating much of the guesswork and frustration involved with fishing. Effective in either freshwater or saltwater, fishfinders come with a number of different features designed to make fishing as effortless as possible, including built-in GPS that reveals your exact location on the water so you can chart your most productive spots. Selecting a good GPS fishfinder requires considering a number of important factors.


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    Portability: GPS fishfinders may be portable devices or instruments designed to affix permanently to your boat. If you rent boats or own more than one fishing craft, portable fishfinders are the way to go, and they're usually compact and come with protective carrying cases. Permanent models are strictly for those who own one primary fishing craft, but they do allow for precise positioning, greater stability and increased durability.
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    Power: Manufacturers measure a GPS fishfinder's power in watts. Higher wattage numbers mean a more efficient, powerful device, while low-wattage models provide slower readouts and a lower performance. Even though an 800-watt fishfinder may be effective, serious fishermen should look for wattage ratings of 3,000 or higher. You should try to tailor the wattage to the waters you normally fish. If you're fishing deep waters, opt for the highest watt rating you can afford. Lower-watt fishfinders are best suited for shallow waters.
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    Display: GPS fishfinders may come with either color or black-and-white displays. While more expensive, color displays provide significant benefits, rendering fish and underwater landscapes with greater detail and making results much easier to read and understand. Some newer displays even offer high definition for enhanced visual quality. Display screen size is also a key consideration, with larger screens costing more money but offering greater visual clarity. A five-inch display screen serves as a good starting point for most fishfinders.
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    Transducers: A transducer is what actually emits the GPS fishfinder's sonar sound wave. The most important factor in fishfinder transducers is cone angle, which determines the sonar beam's width. Larger cone angles produce larger views of the underwater environment. However, the sonar beam's width continues to increase the deeper it travels, and the beam's effectiveness diminishes as it widens. Transducer cone angles typically range from nine degrees to 60 degrees or more, but a 20-degree cone angle serves as a good rating for the average fisherman. Each transducer also comes with a frequency ranging from 50 to 200 kHz, with higher frequencies working best in shallow waters. Fishfinders with two or more transducers, while more expensive, provide greater water coverage.
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    Features: Aside from locating fish and charting your position, some GPS fishfinders offer additional features to make the fishing experience as easy as possible. For example, many models will measure the speed of your boat, which can be valuable information for those who enjoy trolling or drift fishing. GPS fishfinders can also tell water temperature so you can find warm waters or target fish that frequent certain climates.

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