Fish finders [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fish finders

07-21-2005, 07:58 PM
I've always thought fish finders were somehow "cheating," but last week I went fishing with someone who had one on his boat and now I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't be so prejudiced. The finder was great for locating underwater structure in a lake we had never fished . . . and I quickly learned that knowing where the trout were didn't really make them any easier to catch. In fact, what amazed me the most was how many hundreds of fish we had to cast over before we caught even one. This was a real revelation for me . . . I never had realized what a god awful fisherman I am! It hardly seemed like cheating--it was more like humiliation. In fact, at one point, we turned the damn thing off because the constant beeping as a steady stream of fish swam under our boat was just mocking us mercilessly.

So . . . what do others think about using fish finders? Are they sporting or is using them akin to shooting grouse out of trees? Also--if these gadgets are sporting--does anyone make a portable one that could be used on a canoe? If I succumb to temptation, I'll want to buy one that can be used from my canoe.

Greg Pavlov
07-21-2005, 11:03 PM
Were you using a fish symbol display mode ? If yes, turn it off next time: a lot of those fish are phantoms.

We've always used "fishfinders" to give a sense of bottom & structure. We've never counted on them to actually find fish.

If you really want to test the bounds of cheating, try out one of the underwater video rigs that have come out in recent years :-)

07-22-2005, 08:40 AM
Were you using a fish symbol display mode ? If yes, turn it off next time: a lot of those fish are phantoms.

Thanks Greg--this is very good for my ego--all those fish we missed certainly must have been phantoms!

Dble Haul
07-22-2005, 09:22 AM
We've always used "fishfinders" to give a sense of bottom & structure.

Same here. I also count on them for safety to alert me to drastic changes in bottom contour (deep to very shallow).

07-29-2005, 03:02 AM
IMHO fish finders are great for finding structures or sudden drops/rises. You can notice a big difference in results if fishing for bottom dwelling fish such as walleyes. Often you don’t catch fish you seem to see and on the other hand you will catch some if you don’t see anything at all on the screen. Most fish finders have a probing cone of 9°, so especially if you are fishing shallow waters that shows you only a very small area at the bottom (if you think of buying one this cone angle is something to consider) Also they come in handy in order to locate the depth of fish swimming. E.g. in warmer water conditions trout often stay at the boundary of thermal layers in the reservoirs we fish. The depth at which such a layer exists depends on temperature, wind, etc. But, I feel like fish often are not really fond of the (to human standards) impossible to hear “beep” (cannot state it, just to my opinion after years of using it). So, if you have the info of the bottom, etc you need, switch it off.
You asked for portable ones: I have been using a Bottomline Fishing Buddy for 8 years now (starting to malfunction lately after using it in the salt) which I can recommend. They exist as small as ones you can cast such as the Humminbird Smartcast. Just run a Google-check and you will find lots of them.
The “shooting-at-sitting-duck” stories if you are using a fish finder normally come from those inexperienced with it. It’s not a wonder tool, just an aid. (and if days are really slow a sudden beep keeps me awake) ;)

07-29-2005, 06:34 AM
The SmartCast's work great, but I'm having some reliablitiy issues out of my yak. I'm thinking it may be related to the saltwater and the wrist unit. They did just come out with a new model though, may be worth checking out.