Fish Finder is an incredibly useful tool for people who takes fishing as a profession or as a hobby and wants to take it to the next level. Fishermen since the ancient era used intuition-driven analytical thinking to determine which part of a water body could contain the highest concentration of fish. Sometimes it worked at the first attempt, and sometimes it took several hits and misses. But this electronic gadget known as “Fish Finder” takes the guesswork out of the equation.
If you are into fishing business or practice it as your favorite holiday past time, here we list top 5 Fish finder GPS combo currently available at the market which you can consider purchasing. But before that we present few facts on Fish finder and a thorough buying guide.
What is a Fish Finder?
Fish Finder is an instrument that lets you locate fish underwater with precision.
Fish finders work on the Sonar principle. In this technique, sound waves originating from beneath the surface of the water are detected and translated into location data. Fish finder utilize the active sonar principle. First, high-frequency sound waves are generated by the device which are fed into the waterbody. Then they hit fish and other things along the way and generate echo. This gets captured and recorded by the sonar units as fish location, density, and movement.
The data is then interpreted by a visualization device to display in the fish finder screen. As the fishes make their movement, the visualization scrolls across and create dynamic and ongoing 2D images of what’s underneath the surface.
The distance and location is calculated by measuring the time it takes by the sound wave to hit back the sonar detection device (also known as transducer) once it is emitted. Based on other factors like signal strength, the detector can determine other characteristics of the object, or fish in this case.
The other type of Sonar is passive sonar. In passive sonar principle, there’s no emission of sound waves and relies solely on listening to the sound waves generating underneath.
Fish Finder GPS Combo
When Fish finders initially came to the market, their capabilities were very limited and could only perform a handful of operations like determining large-scale structure of the lake/pond, water depth, and sometimes inaccurate fish location.
Fast forward to 2019 and you will get supercharged fish finders with capabilities that provide a wealth of supplemental data to make your fishing activity a grand success. Among the many features, the GPS capability is a stand out feature for many fishing enthusiasts.
When you purchase a GPS-enabled fish finder, you locate not only the fish location, but also save the location for future fishing action. GPS stands for Global Positioning System. With the technology, you can pinpoint your own location accurately and navigate it whenever the need arises. This makes is easier for fishermen to track back to the location where they found success and angle at that location one more time. Thus it saves both time and effort.
What To Look For When Buying Best Fish finder GPS Combo?
Currently there are lot of Fish finder GPS combo devices available in the market. The most seasoned fishermen will be able to pick out the best from the pack with ease. But unless you’re one of them, getting the best Fish Finder gps combo suitable for you can be a difficult task.
To help you out, here we list some points which you should look for in a fish finder. You can prioritize each point according to your requirements.
Sonar Power and Frequency
The more powerful the fish finder, the clearer and accurate readings you will get. Power output is measured in watts and is symbolized by “W”. When more power is delivered, signals are send to far out enough and deeper into the water. The waves will have more energy when they hit the fish and reflect back, resulting in a clearer image.
Also check for frequency in which the device operates. The device sends out sound waves of a certain frequency. Lower frequency is better when you’re dealing with great depth, while higher frequency is considered better for shallow water. The best Fish finder GPS combos are able to send out multiple frequencies, and hence are for multi-purpose.
A good display will do justification to high power and multiple frequency. The screen should have high resolution and large enough to be handled easily at an arm’s distance. The more advanced fish finder units have split-screen mode which enables you to visualize two different data (like fish data and GPS information) simultaneously. Furthermore, you have the option of choosing between a touchscreen display and normal TFT/LED display.
It is important to take into consideration all the features that a fish finder GPS combo comes with. This will allow you to compare it against each other in juxtaposition.
Of all the features, navigation and mapping is the most important feature you should take into account. GPS is just one of the navigational feature. You have the option of purchasing the ones that have chart plotting capabilities. This will provide you more information about your location and you can add more info yourself.
Features to take into consideration are:
- Installation type
- Water Temperature probe
- Maps and charts (preloaded or downloadable)
- Wireless capability
- Target separation
While you are at the store, it might get overwhelming just looking at the sheer number of options you have available at your disposal. Therefore, it is always better to figure out just the features you wish to have in a GPS-enabled fish finder before heading for the store. Your purchasing process will be much easier.
The total size determines how bulky the device will be. Generally, the mid-sized gadgets that are neither too big, nor too small are the best. But the best fish finder GPS combos have packed lots of capabilities packed into relative smaller size. So it might make sense to purchase premium ones for better portability experience.
Lastly, don’t forget the budget range in which you are looking for a Fish finder. They can range from $100 to $500 and upwards depending upon brand and features. However, you shouldn’t go for the cheapest option available. If you regularly go to fishing and want to make a long term investment, then it is better to purchase fish finder GPS combos that are in the upper-middle range.
5 Best Fish finder GPS Combo
Garmin Striker 4cv with transducer
Garmin is a reputed GPS manufacturer which has been in the business since 1989. But it forayed into the fish finders and other electronic devices. Being a company coming from a GPS background, needless to say it has GPS in-built in all of its fish finder products. The Striker 4CV model is very much similar to Striker 4. In addition to its trademark CHIRP 2D sonar, the Garmin Striker 4CV also has a ClearVü transducer installed which provides wider imaging.
The combination of CHIRP and ClearVü transducer really help this product stand out. It is capable of operating at frequencies ranging from 50 Khz to 800 Khz, which ensures clearer imaging. The sonar pulse makes sure there’s better target definition and separation capability.
This device comes with Circular Flasher mode capability. This lets you visualize the sonar data and other information like targets and obstacles. The inner rings inform you about depth while outer rings indicate strength of the returning sonar waves. This is extremely useful for fishing in icy conditions.
Moreover, it can work as an intelligent assistant as it can automatically filter unwanted noise, thanks to the Auto Gain mode. Fishes are marked as Fish Symbols in the screen for easy targeting. When driving the boat at higher speed, you can utilize the Ultrascroll feature which will enable you keep pace with changing speed and scroll faster.
The fish finder GPS combo has a 3.5 inch screen (diagonally) which isn’t radically big, but just big enough to observe the surrounding and fish targets clearly.
High-sensitive in-built GPS, Temperature Log, Temperature Graph, AutoGain, UltraScroll, Fish Symbols, Bottom Lock, Fish Alarms, waterproof, LED backlight, tilt/swivel mount.
- Accurate readings.
- Multiple sonar features.
- Small in size, easily portable.
- Can calculate boat speed and respond accordingly.
- Affordable and easy to install.
- Can store up to 5000 waypoints.
- Images lose quality at higher boat speeds
- Does not offer Sonar recording and Sonar rewind feature
- Doesn’t offer QuickDraw Contours, which means no community-driven data to play with
- No built-in charts
- No microSD card reader
The product is rated highly for its just-about-right all around features. It is not too expensive, and this is actually a bargain.
Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder
The HELIX 5 Fish Finder is the second generation fish finder from Humminbird that features a CHIRP G2 sonar which lets you scan underwater with multiple frequencies simultaneously. With this fish finder, you can scan depths of up to 3,300 feet, and the images they generate are often superior to other GPS fish finder combos in the same range.
The in-built 2D sonar makes sure you spot fish clearly irrespective of the location. It shoots waves in all direction and covers a wider area. HELIX 5’s DualBeam feature lets you combine two beams for even better detailing of the waterbody.
Additionally, the HELIX 5 comes with digital CHIRP which produces multiple frequencies and power output of almost 500 Watts, hence returning richer sets of data. The uncompromising wide-screen which is 5 inches long diagonally gives you a different viewing experience altogether.
SwitchFire (control the way your returned frequencies are displayed), 2D Sonar, CHIRP, DualBeam, Superior Imaging, Built-in base map, Autochart Live, Target Separation.
- Built-in speedometer
- Clearer returns with multiple viewing option
- MicroSD card slot
- Down imaging to 100′
- Up to 2500 waypoints storage capacity
- 800X480 resolution with 5″ display, 1500-nit brightness
- No chart plotting functionality
The product is loaded with smart and useful features that you can wish for in the best fish finder GPS combo.
Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter/Fishfinder
The Simrad GO7 XSE offers an optimized and improved experience than its older siblings and features a tablet-like interface to work with. It has a touch-sensitive 7″ screen with quick access to features like zoom in, waypoint creation, DownScan imaging and ForwardScan sonar.
The built-in sounder can detect depth precisely and in real time which is useful in detecting shoals. It boasts of incredible charting experience with integrated navigation data and maps.
Cruise charting view, multi-touch screen, ForwardScan, HD imaging, DownScan, TripIntel, Wi-Fi.
- 7″ multi-touch display
- CHIRP and structured scan
- Compatible with multiple cartographies
- Highly priced
- Complex installation process
Some of the features have been sacrificed for touchscreen and Wi-Fi capability. But with cost under $800, it might be a good fish finder GPS combo to purchase.
Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3
The HDS-7 Generation 3 fish finder GPS combo is one of the most technically advanced one you find in the market. It has 3 in 1 capability with Active Sonar Imaging, Fish Targeting, and smartphone integration all packed into one. Furthermore, it is equipped with most advanced fish finder technology with StructureScan 3D and HD, SideScan and DownScan imaging. Dual-core processing ensures no lag time and smooth operation, while Color sonar offers high visibility contrast. With a 7″ display, it is sure to woo fishermen and hobbyists alike. Just like other Lowrance products, this device comes in multiple screen size variants: 7″, 9″, 12″, and 16″.
HD screen with 800H x 480V pixel matrix, multi-touch display, upto 5,000 waypoints, 500 Watts power output, multiple frequency, 750 ft depth capability, SpotlightScan, StructureScan, and CHIRP sonar, FishID, FishReveal Smart Target View, TrackBack, Easy automatic routing and navigation.
- Ease of use
- Advanced Sonar
- 360 imaging with SpotlightScan
- Preloaded Insight USA charts
- Can store upto 5000 waypoints
- Wireless capability
- LED backlight
- Not useful outside the US
- No weather radar
This is bit expensive but if you are looking for a premium fish finder GPS combo, then this might be your best bet.
Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro
The Dragonfly 7 Pro is probably the best offering from Raymarine family with its improved technology and better interpretation of signals ever. The company has entirely focused its efforts on creating a device that will ensure the efforts of fishermen don’t go in vain and help them catch more fish with the aid of technology. The superior imaging, bottom-tracking, and CHIRP sonars do their job perfectly. This is a mid-range fish finder GPS combo that has just enough features to satisfy your data-driven fishing needs.
Some quality effort has been put into the screen as well. The 7″ screen offers vibrant colors, which the company claims never fogs up even in misty weather. Plus, this device offers seamless integration with other software like US Novaris Charting and Wi-Fish, its own proprietary mobile app, to name a few.
Optical-bonding LCD display, CHIRP sonar imagers, 2D Down imaging, 500 Watts power output, DownVision, upto 3,000 waypoint storage, fish targeting.
- Upto 900 meters depth scanning
- US Navionics charting
- Easy to use interface
- Integrated GPS
- No software upgradable feature
- No backlit display
The Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro has a larger screen than other entry-level products in the market. Moreover, the features are just enough to get you through a good fishing experience. Overall, this is an excellent buying option if you are looking for a mid-range fish finder GPS combo.
All of the products mentioned above are best in their own category with their unique features and characteristics, and we have tried to give you a variety of option, rather than limiting you to a specific category. With that said, each one of fish finders will definitely help you catch more fish irrespective of what fishing environment you are fishing in.
The CHIRP sonar has been truly a revolutionary product which offers better imaging. With GPS capability, you can combine the power of past recorded data and present data to craft the best future scenario. Therefore, more and more people are opting for the best fish finder GPS combos and are willing to shell out more money for it.
While going for the most expensive one is not always the best option, going for the one that exactly fulfills all of your requirements and provides a greater ROI is considered as the best way. Concluding, we wish you all the very best in your fishing adventure.