How to Read Fishing Sonar – Beginner’s Guide

Fishing sonar is becoming more and more popular for use by hunters. It serves to read the terrain, locate objects, determine the depth and obstacles. It has proven to be an essential tool in professional and recreational fishing due to…

Fishing sonar is becoming more and more popular for use by hunters. It serves to read the terrain, locate objects, determine the depth and obstacles. It has proven to be an essential tool in professional and recreational fishing due to the complex data it offers in real-time.

With their help, you can get information about the terrain, the temperature of the water and the speed of the boat you are sailing in. Although reading may seem complicated at first glance, with little knowledge and practice it can become routine, even for beginners.

How does fishing sonar work?

Fishing sonar sends sound pulses through the water and when you encounter the bottom, plants, fish or other obstacles, they are reflected and returned. In this way, it measures the transmitted signals and can organize information about a particular object, about its depth and density, which are displayed on the screen in the form of colored markers, icons and symbols. The sound signals emitted by the device travel in the form of waves that expand in a cone-shaped shape and become wider in depth.

Most devices can control the range by changing the frequency of the scan beam. Broadband scanning gives better results for scanning large areas and obtaining basic information about depth and bottom topography. Suitable for use in shallow water as it does not give in-depth detailed information. A narrow-beam scan is suitable for in-depth inspection as it gives a clearer and better picture in determining the size and dimensions of obstacles.

How to Read Fishing Sonar – Beginner's Guide
How to Read Fishing Sonar – Beginner’s Guide

When reading sonar for fishing, the colors of the images have a specific meaning to determine the terrain:

Yellow – indicates a high intensity of the signal, which can be read as a solid bottom, rocks, very large fish;

red – a solid signal, which means that the bottom is clean and sandy, without silt deposits, large trees, the presence of large fish;

Blue – a weak signal, which means that the fishing sonar locates algae, brushes, small fish, silt and leaf drifts at the bottom.

By following the colors, you’ll know what awaits you in the location of the searched section and make reading easier.

Locate fish on the screen

Different types of hunting sonar indicate the presence of the target in a unique way. Some models use fish icons to read, while others have a rainbow-shaped image, giving more accurate information about exactly what the sonar discovered. The thicker the rainbow and the predominance of red and yellow inside, the larger the fish. The data is read by scanning the arc shown on the screen.

The actual location is always at the top of the bow, and the other parts of the dispersion received by the fishing sonar are formed and are not defined. To read the depth at which the fish is, use a depth gauge and you can use it to see how many meters below the surface of the water you swim in. The deeper the local organism, the larger the ocean in which you can discover it. If the fish is detected using a narrow scan beam and at a shallow depth, you can expect it to be within range of your sonar.

Determine the size of the fish

The color range in the image is crucial for reading the received information. When you locate the desired object, in the form of different rainbows, you can orient yourself around the size through the colors that prevail in the rainbow. The presence of rich yellow and red shades indicates the presence of a very large or even huge fish. Another way to determine the size is to follow the thickness of the arc you see on the screen. When the bow is wide, it means that you have hit a large object. When looking for a passage for small fish, tracking is done in the same way – looking for the thickness and density of lines and arcs shown by your fishing sonar.

How to find out the type of water terrain and bottom?

A proper gear can provide you with a very clear view of the quality of the bottom, open obstacles, presence and size of fish. From it you can read and determine the density and hardness of the bottom. This is done by measuring the time it takes for the audio signal to return to the emitter, taking into account its strength. In this way, information is obtained about how dense the scanned objects are. For hardness and density, you can be guided by the color of the image visible on the screen – the more saturated the color, the denser it is. This is especially important when determining the hardness of the terrain and detected obstacles. When reading data, always track the different layers from top to bottom. Be guided by color saturation – the brighter and more saturated the images, the greater the density. When you read obstacles, they usually reflect as a blue or red dot, but when you also have hard yellow spots, they are a serious obstacle.

How to choose sonar?

When choosing a device, it is important to consider the frequency at which it operates. This is a prerequisite for obtaining a clear and detailed picture of the terrain, of obstacles such as shrubs, logs, algae and rocks, as well as for detecting fish movement. There are different types of devices that may be useful to you, depending on your preferences and habits, that will help you enjoy a rich fishing experience. Consider the following functional features, depending on how you plan to use your device:

Wireless sonar – This type of device allows you more freedom and mobility, as it connects to a screen or mobile phone and thus is greatly easier to read. They give you freedom of movement and don’t necessarily require standing in the water, but they can provide the necessary information about the cleared terrain even if you’re on the beach.

Power – the quality of the received signal depends on how powerful the device you choose. Sonar devices that operate at a higher frequency and have more power provide a clearer image and easier to read.

Screen – When choosing a device, it’s a good idea to match the screen resolution and size to your requirements. By choosing a high-resolution display, you can expect a high-quality image from the scanned objects and a more reliable reading of the received information.

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