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How to Use a Portable Fishfinder

Portable fishfinders are increasing in popularity. This fact is mainly due to their perfect fit for recreational fishing. Since they are relatively inexpensive and, of course, portable, they are a perfect out-of-the-box solution for many weekend warriors.

Once you actually purchase a portable fish finder, how do you use it? That is overall a simple question to answer. First, the manuals are generally excellent and for the most part simple to follow, so read the manual! After that, here are some simple steps to follow to help increase your enjoyment during your next fishing trip.

  1. The Power Supply- Most portable fish finders are powered by batteries, generally AA batteries. Make sure when you are purchasing your unit you are aware of what type of batteries are needed. It is advisable to buy re-chargeable batteries as even if the unit has a long battery life you will need to re-charge the batteries after several long fishing trips. Using re-chargeable batteries will greatly reduce your expenses in the long run.
  2. Mounting- How do you mount your fish finder? The answer to this question will depend on the type of fishfinder you are using. Some fishfinders have a suction cup mounting system for the transducer. You can mount these transducers anywhere on your boat as long as they are securely attached and also underwater. If the sonar is not underwater, you will not find any fish! If you mount the fish finder on a boat make sure it is not too close to the motor or else the motor wash will interfere with the sonar readings. The Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy fish finders come with a “mounting clamp” which will allow you to attach the fishfinder to the side of a boat or to a low dock. Lastly, if you have a wireless fish finder you can generally attach the sonar unit to the line and cast it with your lure.
  3. Speed- It is not recommended to use your portable fishfinder at high speeds. In general, high speeds will stress the unit and possibly break it. At high speeds it is best to pull it out of the water and then put it back in while moving at about 1-2 mph to help you scan the bottom of the water.
  4. The Display- Since most portable fishfinders are not as effective at great depths, they are used mostly in shallow freshwater. They can be used in shallow saltwater as well, but that is not as common. So what do you look for on the fishfinder screen? Look for depth, water temperature and bottom structures. Look for drop offs, weed beds, rocks, fallen logs, sand, mud and any sort of transitions. These are areas where fish like to hide.

Now that you have some simple ways to increase your fishing enjoyment using your portable fishfinder, let’s quickly answer the question of why you should use one. First, portable fishfinders can go with you on any fishing trip. They can be used on your boat, your buddy’s boat or even from a land location. Second, portable fishfinders can let you adapt to fish behavior. The wireless fishfinders allow you to cast your transducer with the lure in “stealth” mode thereby not spooking the fish. Lastly, portable fishfinders are very versatile. There are even ice fishing models that can handle the extreme cold. Overall portable fishfinders have brought to recreational fishing what professional fishing has had for years-the ability to find fish quicker so that your true fishing skills are brought to bear.

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