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How To Set Up And Use Electronic Fish Locators

By Greg Holmes

Electronic fish locators have fast become one of the most popular tools of many boaters and anglers. These helpful devices allow fishers to see beneath the surface of the water to view fish, debris and other structures. Additionally, these products give other valuable information, like water depth and temperature. In this article, we’ll share some valuable tips to help you get the most of your high tech fishing gear.

The key to the effectiveness of a fish locator is the transducer. This is what emits the sonar signal in a cone shape and transmits the data back to the screen where you can view it. By bouncing a sonar signal, you will be able to see not only fish, but weeds and underwater structures. Many fish locators use a dual beam sonar. One beam is emitted at 60 degrees to discover the fish and the other is at 20 degrees to accurately display the bottom of the body of water and its structure.

Many smaller models have transducers attached to a suction cup that will stick to any material. These versions are compact enough and light enough to be utilized in small watercraft like speedboats, canoes, and even inflatable boats.

For those purchasing fish locators for larger boats, figuring out where to mount the components is important to ensure the best performance. Most fish finders come with a standard mounting bracket and transom mounting transducers. Ideally, it should be mounted somewhere convenient and accessible, like near the steering wheel. The transducer is mounted on the transom in a spot where it will be submerged both at low speeds and high speeds so that the sonar signal can do its depth finder job and scan the water even while you’re moving.

Operating a fish locator is as simple as pushing a button. After switching on the instrument, digital readouts will show up on the display. Based on which model you get, these will correspond to depth, water temperature and boat speed. The line running across the bottom of the display represents the floor of the lake, river or reservoir. The waves on the screen reveal the terrain on the bottom. A thick, dark line represents a hard bottom, and a thin, light line indicates a soft bottom. Fish will appear as arches or icons.

Once you have installed the view screen and transducer, it’s time to program your unit. Most electronic fish locators come with default settings that you can modify to your needs. Start by selecting the “Normal” operation mode. This is suitable for most fishing situations. To adjust the settings, press the “View” button while in “Normal” mode to cycle through the different sonar modes. There will be several different options on this menu, from standard fish finder sonar all the way to side-looking sonar. You can save these settings so that you don’t have to reset the device every time you use it.

If you want to increase your odds of catching fish, you should consider investing in a fish finder. But how do you know if the Furuno FCV 295 10.4″ fish finder is better than the Garmin 140, for example? You need to read a fish finder review to help you decide on the right model for your needs.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Holmes, Greg "How To Set Up And Use Electronic Fish Locators." How To Set Up And Use Electronic Fish Locators. 22 Jun. 2010. 11 Feb 2016 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Holmes, G (2010, June 22). How To Set Up And Use Electronic Fish Locators. Retrieved February 11, 2016, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Holmes, Greg "How To Set Up And Use Electronic Fish Locators"

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