How to Use a Sounder Ice Fishing

With the year end approaching, the fisherman is already thinking about his future early season and often it comes to investing in a sounder or simply renew their equipment, the latter becoming somewhat obsolete. So you start to search the net and you come across the electronic jungle with barbarous terms. How do your choices for your future sonar or echo sounder!

Operating principle of a sounder

I will address this issue quickly enough because it does not really allow you to make your choice but just to understand the mechanics of the system!

A sonar consists of two distinct parts:

  • A probe, which transforms an electrical signal into ultrasound.Beneath the surface, it is both transmitter and receiver!
  • A housing (sonar or echo sounder) is the largest party, which certainly is the most expensive too ….This section receives the electrical impulses of the probe and you retransmits the images to facilitate reading.

The ultrasound emitted by the probe will go hit the bottom but also the barriers between the surface and the bottom (fish, algae, and other obstacles on the bottom, tree or rock). When the waves encounter an obstacle, they bounce and go in reverse. The sensor captures the return and sending the information to the sonar or echo sounder.

The case will calculate the time between transmission and reception and will show you this information in pictures!

Here’s a quick and succinct explanation of the operation. Now with different characteristics that should help you to choose ice fishing lures from Andrewfishing.

The choice of brand for your unit

The brand is a common question, and on this every fisherman in his opinion or his heart stroke! There are three brands that stand out for technology pollsters or finders:

  • Garmin
  • Humminbird
  • Lowrance

For my part I am not sponsored and I used these three brands for several years. What I remember:

  • Garmin still has a little face behind these two competitors, but it should be filled in 2015 with the echo map technology that the brand has unveiled.To test !
  • Humminbird: I used a combined GPS / sounder for four years at sea with more difficult conditions!A few intuitive menu but beautiful detection capability and some technical problems over the years (System clips of the case that fatigue, difficulty with depth scales)
  • Lowrance, for me a new lease on the market pollsters with the addition of a touch screen for the range HDS Touch.Ease of working with its sonar (scale score, menu changes) A ​​robust housing and a beautiful definition screen against an obsolete wiring system and not fast!

You understood each brand its own advantages and disadvantages and the choice should not be focused on a brand but rather on embedded technology for your needs!

What choose probe and for what use?

One of the most important choice is definitely your choice of probe !!! This is indeed the mainstay of your installation. There are several criteria for selecting a probe or transducer also known. The frequency and angle are two popular criteria but there are also the composition of the probe and power, we are interested less in our level!

Frequency: We meet at our level, usually three frequencies; 50khz; 83kHz and 200Khz but with the advent of new technology will also accede to two new frequencies generally used in the scan down;455kHz and 800kHz.

To make your choice, you should know:

  • 50 Khz can serve you at sea mainly for large bottom (100m) by against the accuracy is worse!
  • 83 Khz frequency is adapted to freshwater and prospecting.Small to medium background with a broader vision.
  • 200 Khz improved accuracy but limited depth, it is the ideal frequency for shallow depths!However the vision is narrow !!!

For freshwater, a 83/200 kHz probe will be perfectly suited. To the sea, although watching your fishing areas and their depth, 50 / 200Khz is often more suitable.

Power: the ‘normal’ probe we use almost all made 600 Watt but there Watt 1K, 2K Watt and more. The power improves the scope of the probe but also sensitivity.

The angle: Or opening cone will indicate the surface on which the waves propagate in optimum power! This is sort of the displayed area by sonar.

A cone of 90 ° in single frequency scan a surface two times the water depth. For example, by 4 meters deep you visualize a circle of 8 meters

A dual-frequency sonar as the most generally found, for example 50 / 200Khz, the small frequency will have a wide (60 °) and scan an area equal to the depth! The frequency will 200Khz it a much smaller taper (about 20 °) and scan a surface 1/3 of the depth

Prospect with small frequency (wide) you will save time, once the marked area spend on the high frequency (small angle) for more accuracy and less noise!

Composition: Each sensor is composed of piezoceramic elements, these elements allow the processing of an electric signal into sound waves and vice versa. Typically the probes are composed of a single element for both frequencies (50/200 or 83/200) and the sensitivity is much worse! On the high end probes include several piezoceramic elements for small frequencies, which eliminates or minimizes the default of these low frequencies greatly increasing accuracy !!!

Other details for your choice of sensor is its fastening system. TA means fixing probe with transom ideal for our outboards. TR corresponds to probe through fixing and application of pierce your shell, ideal for large boats that are less likely to plane.

Other criteria for choosing your sonar or echo sounder!

Apart from the brand and the probe, there are other criteria that may tip the scales on a particular model!

The screen size and resolution: Screen Size is important to view information sent by your probe is essentially a question of comfort! The definition is very important because a high-end probe with a low screen quality does not satisfy you completely.

The first figure is the number of pixels vertically and thus allow you to display more detail on your screen (the higher it is the better) The second number is the number of pixels horizontally and thus keeps your information on the screen for more time!

You can also choose between a black and white screen and a color screen. The color screen will enable you to more easily read the information provided by the probe, it is a significant comfort.

The arrival with touch screens, such as Lowrance HDS Touch also pushes the market fluidity and ease of access to your information, even a point to take no account but the budget will follow ….

Multifunction and connectivity: Pollsters, especially the combined GPS / sounder can now become the nerve center of your boat. Indeed, with networking by the NMEA 2000 bus (the same for all manufacturers), you can connect your information to your GPS and sounder autopilot, to set alarms for more! Or conversely, to connect to your combined GPS / sounder, your engine information, your cameras or your radar.

The world of electronics on board of our boats is growing annually at a very high speed and it is increasingly difficult to choose. For me, this year I would be equipped with a combined GPS / Sonar Lowrance HDS 9 Touch that satisfies me fully. After trying the three major brands, it is for me one that has an edge but costs more expensive unfortunately…

Feel free to ask me your questions, I will try to respond as quickly as possible to help you in your choice!