Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

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bowman316

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For those of you who have fished with finders before, how much did the finder really help you? because i Got a fishfinder a year ago, and after a whole season of fishing with it, i have never seen a fish on the finder, and caught it. all the fish i have caught have been at random, and never shown up on the finder.

maybe i just don't know how to read the screen in relation to where the fish actually are.
 

JB

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

It depends on what you are fishing for, Bowman.

A properly adjusted SONAR can find schooling fish and structure, but catching them is your job.

Over the years I believe that using SONAR has improved my catch of crappies, walleye and other suspended fish by showing me where they were.
 

Seon

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

I troll for Stripers here in the CA Delta. It help me in determining whether to fish the area or move on based on fish either being marked or not. I won't catch fish if I don't mark them.
 

Islandbrah

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

Maybe you need to adjust your preset parameters. I wouldn't fish without one. I fish in SWFL out of a flats boat and a 25'cc offshore machine. Both boats have a Lowrance HDS5 unit. I have had great luck after I tinkered on the displays and sonar settings. Most importantly I use it to find wrecks and bottom structure. You may not always ping a fish but if you are on a reef or structure you can bet there are fish there. I have also identified fish schooling in the water column with my unit. I have fished without one also and have had more luck with.
 

Bondo

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

Ayuh,... While I doubt I ever caught a fish I could actually see on the sonar,...
If I'm not marking Any fish,... There's no sense in straining empty water either...
I troll where ever I mark fish...
 

Silvertip

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

A fish finder is a poor name for these devices since they don't "find" fish. They can show if there are fish "where you happen to be". So with that understanding, you need to understand the habits of the fish you happen to be fishing for. If fish inhabit shallow flats for example, you wouldn't want to be in really deep water. The locator therefore shows you the structure beneath the water you are above. Now if you have the sensitivity and other parameters set properly any fish within the cone of the transducer should show up -- but so will any debris and surface clutter. Once you are "on the fish" only experience, patience and the right bait/lure will entice the fish to hit. Used properly, locators are excellent tools but it will not allow you to catch more fish if you don't understand how to use it.
 

bowman316

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

do you turn the fish symbols on or off? they say if you turn the fish id off, it will show an arch for really big fish. and sometimes clutter appears as fish.

i have a lowrance m68 c
 

Silvertip

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

Fish symbols require that the locator interpret something in the water as a fish. Unfortunately not everything in the water is a fish. With fish symbols turned off, envision an upside down cone looking downward through the water column. A fish swimming into the cone from the side will begin to paint a trace on the screen in almost real time. As the fish swims further into the cone and then out of it again the display forms an arch. The size of the fish and the speed at which it passes through determines the shape of the arch. A log or a very large fish passing very slowly through the cone may appear as a fairly large relatively straight line. where a smaller fish passing quickly may be a more pronounced arch. A large school of fish can be a real jumble of small or large arches and lines. Search on-line for locator user manuals. They do a pretty fair job of explaining what you are looking at. Key to all of this is the "sensitivity" setting.
 

Huron Angler

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

Is your Lowrance the GPS/finder combo?

If so they work great in conjunction with one another. When you mark tons of fish...mark a waypoint. When you catch fish...mark another one and keep track of what numbers represent what activity and what depth.

Course...my fishin hole is imprinted in my mind so much that a GPS wouldn't make much difference. On large lakes with unrecognizable shoreline/fishing offshore GPS is priceless.
 

seabob4

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

Keep in mind that fish orient to structure, be it a drop-off, a ledge, a point, a reef, a boxcar, some sunken tires, whatever. That is what I use mine for, to identify those bottom irregularities that will hold fish.

I don't believe I've ever caught a fish that my FF "said" was there. But my FF shows me the most likely spots that hold fish, especially when bait schools are depicted, which looks like a big cloud.

The rest is up to me...:eek:
 

bowman316

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

yes, mine is a gps, fishfinder combo.
I have used it to mark where i set my crab traps before.

seabob, I like to do that to. move along the bottom till you find a big hill, or a sharp point in the bottom, or a dropoff.
 

seabob4

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

yes, mine is a gps, fishfinder combo.
I have used it to mark where i set my crab traps before.

seabob, I like to do that to. move along the bottom till you find a big hill, or a sharp point in the bottom, or a dropoff.

Keep in mind a "narrowing" of a particular structure, which will speed up current. Down here in Tampa Bay, the passes between the keys and the bay are awesome for snook on an incoming tide, as the current really speeds up, and the little guys just can't fight it. The snook just suspend...and eat! They eat my stuff as well!:D
 

Nova II 260

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

I use an Eagle GPS/Fishfinder although it has never gotten me lost, it is a liar when it comes to finding catch-able fish. It'll beep all day but only shows schools of recently fed fish....
It's why the sport is called "fishing" and not "catching".
 

Texasmark

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

I was sitting in the front seat of my (then) BB and I had mounted a second transducer directly under the seat (had another at the transom for depth when underway). I was minnow fishing tight line, over the side with the bait directly under the boat and the prey was White Crappie. I caught a mess of fish that day and the coolest thing was that I would get a blip on my "flasher type" depth finder, drop my minnow to that depth and whammo; almost every time I got a return.

Otherwise I use it to locate structure, not so much fish per se as a lot of times turbulence causes false readings. Structure is where I find most of my fish.

Mark
 

Tacklewasher

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

Once I saw a fish come up from the bottom to the depth my rod was at and then the rod took off. Unfortunately, it was a Pike Minnow but it was cool to see.

I've also seen fish at a depth, dropped my downrigger to that depth and caught fish.

I've also seen fish at the depth I was at and not caught anything (all day).

But if I don't see fish on the finder, I move to another location.

A good chunk of my fishing is for Kokanee that seem to be at 40 ft in a lake over 100 ft deep. No structure and no real reason for them to be where I see them, but I have spots marked where I consistently both see and catch fish. It would be a lot tougher without the ff/gps to get back to those spots.
 

Huron Angler

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

A good chunk of my fishing is for Kokanee that seem to be at 40 ft in a lake over 100 ft deep. No structure and no real reason for them to be where I see them, but I have spots marked where I consistently both see and catch fish.

Is there a thermocline at 40ft that is their feeding temp? We used to check temp at depth with a fishhawk that attaches to your downrigger cable to find 54-56 degrees where the Chinook like to eat alewives here in Lake Michigan and Huron.
 

a70eliminator

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

I've had a few different basic $100 units, IMO they are only good for locating underwater structure and depth.
I've caught many fish never seeing anything on the screen and other times just the opposite, a lit screen and no fish caught.
I can't vouche for the higher end $500 units, but id the fish aren't active it doesn't matter much how good the electronics are.
 

bowman316

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

do you think when the water gets to 35 degrees, bucause of a really cold winter. The fish stop eating and basically hibernate?
We have a small pond we keep a fish in. And over winter it freezes, but the fish just stays in the pond, and lives till spring. We don't feed him or anything. I think he eats algee.
But he does not move much in the winter.
 

dingbat

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Re: Does a fishfinder really help you catch more fish?

do you think when the water gets to 35 degrees, bucause of a really cold winter. The fish stop eating and basically hibernate?
The fishing in your area is very good right now. You just need to know where to look and what they like to eat. ;);)
 
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