The idea that it would be nice to look under the water and observe the life processes of fish, stirred the consciousness of more than one generation of fishermen. Indeed, everything we know about the behavior of fish, all the properties that we attribute to them, is based on speculation and ichthyological paradigms, which are usually considered axiomatic. Take, for example, the thesis that in the autumn white fish rushes to the deepest parts of water bodies: it would seem, choose a point for fishing with the maximum depth and fish for your own pleasure! However, not everything is so simple – for several hours the angler does not see a bite – it seems that there are no fish. But in fact, for some reason that only she can understand, the fish “hangs” in the middle of the water and does not want to sink to the bottom in any way!
Echo sounders. The principle of operation and main elements
But how does the angler know if there is a fish at the point of fishing and at what depth it “hangs”? The best way to solve this problem is to use an echo sounder-a compact device that was originally intended for navigation, but has found great use among fishermen.
A modern fish finder consists of the following main components::
Sensor-an emitter that emits ultrasonic waves and receives the reflected singal back. It can have different connection methods –both wired and wireless, based on Bluetooth and WiFi signal reception;
A Central module that includes a receiver-signal Converter, an amplifier, a display module, and many other functional elements. They receive the signal received by the sensor, amplify and process it, displaying it on the screen in the form of a picture that is understandable to the angler;
A battery that serves as a battery for the entire system. Depending on the design of the echo sounder, the battery can be built into the device or be portable. In the latter case, a portable traction battery for an electric motor and other devices similar to it can act as a power source.;
What are echo sounders?
Under the General name “echo sounder” there are quite a lot of different devices that differ not only in their characteristics, but also in their functional purpose.
Classic fish finder echo sounders
The most common and popular type of such devices. The above scheme is fully applicable to them. There is always a three-dimensional module with a screen, an external battery (usually remote) and a fairly large sensor connected to the device using a cable.
Perfectly shows not only the fish, but also the features of the bottom relief;
Long battery life on a single charge;
Bulky devices that require a separate carrying case;
The most functional device of the road;
The range of use is limited by the length of the cord;
Wireless echo sounders
Compact models designed for onshore operation. They are divided into two types: the first is the classic models, which are a Central unit with a built-in battery and a wireless sensor. The second type is compact devices, all components of which are hidden inside the sensor. As a screen, a smartphone with installed software is used here.
Charging from a wall outlet or USB port;
The ability to throw from the shore at a distance of up to 40-50 meters;
Limited functionality due to the use of a weaker emitter;
Minimum operating time on a single charge;
Winter echo sounders
In General, these devices represent a symbiosis of the two classes described above. Winter models are compact in size and also have a built-in battery, but the sensor is connected to the Central unit via a compatible cable.
Simplicity of operation;
Inability to use it for shore fishing;
Short battery life on a single charge;
Main criteria for selecting an echo sounder
Having decided on the operating conditions, as well as the class of device that you need, it’s time to study in detail the main characteristics of specific devices.
As with a mobile phone, the higher the screen resolution – the more detailed the image appears before your eyes. However, you can hardly find high-quality Amoled matrices with FullHD resolution here. A high-quality VGA screen (640×480 and 800×600 pixels) with a color depth of 65K is considered high-quality. However, these screens are installed exclusively on top-end, expensive models. The vast majority of budget models are equipped with monochrome displays with a resolution of 160×160 or 160×320 pixels.
Finger – operated echo sounders are the most compact and versatile. You can replace the battery even in field conditions. However, such models are almost always the weakest, and they also consume battery power very quickly;
Models running on a built-in battery are better in this regard: with similar portability, they hold a charge much better. As nuances, the need for regular recharging of the device is highlighted, which is not easy to do in the field;
Devices that are powered by an external battery are the most functional and powerful, and they can work for a day or more on a single charge. However, it will not do without pitfalls – such devices are bulky and heavy, they require a separate box for storage and transportation.
Which one should I choose – with one or two beams?
Another important parameter that directly affects the accuracy of the displayed information.
Single-beam models are characterized by a democratic price and very good functionality. They are able to scan the bottom at a fairly wide angle, showing the angler all the information he is interested in. They have only one drawback – a wide beam (about 45 degrees) it is not able to carefully scan small, local depressions of the bottom, as a result of which they simply disappear from view;
Two-and more beam models are much better in this regard. One beam of these devices has a significant width and is designed for volumetric bottom scanning. The second one is narrow: it works exclusively under the boat and detects the smallest irregularities of the bottom, displaying information on the screen. Such devices are much more functional, but they are also more expensive.
Modern echo sounders are equipped with the latest technology, turning from a portable sonar into a full-fledged fish search complex. The function of detecting fish of a certain size, zooming and variable scrolling speed, adjustable sensitivity and depth range, the ability to record GPS coordinates of a specific point and make a route, comparing depths with coordinates and drawing a detailed map of the reservoir-this is just a short list of what modern echo sounders can do. The disadvantage of all this charm is one-the high price: the higher the functionality of the device, the more expensive it will cost the buyer.
Rating of echo sounders for fishing
Having decided on the specific characteristics that are required from a particular echo sounder, as well as with the operating conditions, it’s time to bring some of the most interesting models that have an excellent price-performance ratio.
Best classic echo sounder-HUMMINBIRD PIRANHAMAX 4
A compact, portable model with decent functionality. The device is equipped with a two-beam transducer (16 and 28 degrees, respectively), which allows you to “punch” the bottom at a distance of up to 180 meters, a high-quality color display with a resolution of 480×272 dots, as well as a decent list of additional options. The device is clad in a fairly compact case and operates from an external power source.
Best wireless echo sounder – FISH FINDER FD 19
A portable device that will surely appeal to lovers of coastal fishing. The Central unit of the device and the sensor do not have a rigid connection, they work via wireless data transmission. The effective working radius is up to 70 meters. The sensor is equipped with two beams operating at different frequencies and allows you to scan the bottom at an angle of up to 90 degrees. The FSTN display with a resolution of 128×64 pixels is responsible for displaying the received information, which is more than enough for such operating conditions. Another advantage of this device is the power supply scheme – the device works perfectly on four finger batteries and does not require connecting an additional power source.
Best device for winter use – MARCUM SHOWDOWN TROLLER
A miniature device wrapped in a compact, impact-resistant case. It fits easily in your pocket and allows you to quickly find a promising fishing spot. The transducer in this model has a single-beam design designed specifically for ice fishing – its coverage angle is 20 degrees – the best option for scanning the bottom under the hole! The device displays information on a bright and high-contrast display with a resolution of 128×64 dots – it shows not only the depth, but also the water temperature, the presence of brows and changes in the bottom relief, as well as the presence or absence of fish and its size. The device runs on 6 standard finger batteries and allows the installation of both conventional batteries and batteries of this type.
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