Skip to content
Karl's Fishing & Outdoors Logo

You Have The Tackle, Now Where Are The Fish?

This guest post was written by Shabbir Nooruddin, founder of Fish Finder SourceEven if you've just started out fishing, you know that using different types of tackle and bait can make all of the difference in the world between a sagging fishing line and a trophy. If you've signed up for Mystery Tackle Box, you already have a (growing) collection of stellar tackle! Still, the best choice of tackle will only get you so still have to get to the fish and a fish finder can help!Fishing is a game of patience and skill, yes, but patience doesn't mean waiting for fish to cross an entire lake to get to you! So how does patience work? I'd say patience is waiting until you get the right one! If fishing patiently meant staring at the water, I doubt many people would be doing it at all!Did you know that some of the world's top anglers, such as Don Allphin profess that 90% of the fish are found in just 10% of the water? To make your tackle work the most for you, you need to be in that 10%!

Getting To The Fish With A Fish Finder

Luckily, there is something that can get us exactly there...a fish finder! The term "fish finder," in my opinion, is a bit of a misnomer, because they don't magically tell you the exact location of all the fish in any given lake. But, what they are good at is showing you what's underneath your boat...and once you know where fish like to be, and you get good at reading the signs, well, that's when the fun starts!When using a fish finder, the screen will show whatever is below your boat in the form of echo readings...essentially, it will be a bunch of blobs or arches, and at the bottom of your screen, you will see the water bed or "bottom."Here are some quick tips for reading echoes:

  • If it's attached to the bottom, it's most probably some form of cover such as trees, plants, rocks, or some submerged object. Places where there is cover is an excellent place to find fish.
  • If it's floating around, there is a good chance it is fish. A giant blob with some holes in the middle could indicate a school of baitfish, a long horizontal line could indicate game fish, and arches are also usually gamefish.
  • Whenever there is a drop-off in the bottom, the area between the shallow and the deep is a good place for finding fish. Some gamefish like to swim in the deeper water, and come to the shallower water to forage for food.
  • When you cast your line, you should be able to see the line as well. This makes your fish finder a great tool to cast exactly as deep as you need.

If you are using the new 3D SONAR, which are called DownScan by Lowrance and Down Imaging by Humminbird, there won't be much guesswork involved. You will pretty much see everything for what it is, a tree will be a tree and a rock will be a rock. The only catch is that these are less powerful and can't see quite as deep as the traditional fish finders.

So, Which Finder Find Will It Be?

This one's a toughie! There are so many choices nowadays that you can even have your budget be your only deciding factor. Most fish finders see at least 100 feet deep, so for most neighborhood lakes, that should be fine. The next feature would be DownScan or Down Imaging, and GPS capability would be an added bonus, but all with an increase in price.From what I've heard from other anglers, in terms of ease of use, they find Garmin fish finders, such as the "echo" series and the GPSMAP series to be the most intuitive and user-friendly. If you want features like 3D SONAR though, you would be better off going for a Lowrance or Humminbird. All three brands have stellar service and all 3 brands come with a warranty.In the end, having a fish finder will help you catch a lot more fish and it help you put your tackle to good use! Try observing patterns in the echoes you see, and combining that with different types of tackle to see which one gives you the best result!Have you noticed any patterns in echoes that have helped you get a lot more bites? Please share with us in the comments!

Updated January 22nd, 2021 at 2:36 AM CT