What sounder should I buy.

What sounder should I buy?

Over all our social media channels, email and messages, we probably get asked, “What sounder should I buy?” about 10-15 times a day.


Funnily enough, that question in itself is not that helpful when looking for a new sounder/fish finder.

Ask instead, “What transducer will suit me best?”

I am amazed at the number of people that join our online course Sounder Skills 2, after just purchasing a new sounder, only to discover it is not fit for their needs.

They might have even been better off keeping their old one!

The critical choice you need to make is not what sounder should I buy. But what transducer.

For example, in shallow water estuaries fishing for Bream and Whiting, Bass in the lakes, Barra in the north and Snook in the US, a transducer with high frequency side scan is the go. No more zig zagging round the ledges and snags and doing multiple circles to find fish. Simply drive straight up the creek looking for fish.


What sounder should I buy if I fish creeks and estuaries. One with high definition side scan

What sounder should I buy if I fish creeks and estuaries? One with high definition side scan. Here are a few small school size barramundi huddled in a drain out to the side of the boat.

But as you step up in frequency you lose the ability to see as far, because the sound waves produced by the transducer are smaller in intensity but touch a lot more objects, hence the extra clarity. So it is important to remember that the higher the frequency the more it is suited to shallower situations like fishing inshore.

Most units that have high definition side view also have down view.


You can make out the shapes of fish with high definition down scan.

Most units that have high definition side view also have down view. Here is a school of large (80cm to 100 cm) barramundi schooling under the boat.

So for fishing shallow creeks and estuaries….

What sounder should I buy is one that will take a high definition side scan transducer, such as Garmin’s offering, the EchoMap Ultra paired with a GT56 transducer. There is also the Humminbird Mega that is a great option but they have no livescope equivalent.

And if you’ve never seen Livescope. All I can say is… Save your pennies!

Once you determine the transducer/frequencies you’re going to run, then you’ll want to look at processing speed. Nothing worse than the sounder freezing right when you’ve come across a promising location.

It is confusing and daunting. Which is why we have decided to offer sounders as well as our courses.

We just field so many inquiries from people who have been sold the wrong units. Not everyone on YouTube is as clever as they profess to be.

What sounder should I buy when fishing deeper water?

Again, the question to ask is what transducer should I buy.

To penetrate deeper water you need a completely different transducer.

You also want to consider if you want to find new spots at depth (side scan is helpful up to about 100 m deep).  But to assess those spots for fish you’ll need the right frequency in your traditional 2D mode.

Using another Garmin example (we love Garmin can’t you tell). The GT51 transducer is easily unrivaled in its ability to Side Image in deeper water. You can look for new structure out to around 150 m either side of your boat! The GT51 has a dual-frequency capability in Side View. The more traditionally utilised 455 kHz and the deeper water frequency of 260 kHz.

What sounder should I buy can get confusing.

There are different frequencies not only for each application (deep water, shallow water, searching for new ground, assessing known locations for fish) but for each mode (side scan, down scan and traditional 2D). It can get really confusing which is why you need to speak to an expert.

How important is power, beam angles, etc?

When considering the question, What sounder should I buy, you may want to consider some other variables.

  • 600 W, 1 KW or 3 KW.  Do I need to pay for this extra power? In some cases No. And in some cases, your unit will not handle a more powerful transducer.
  • Beam angles. The new high wide transducers are taking the world by storm, covering much more ground. But what happens to resolution?
  • Do I need more bells and whistles? In many cases, you won’t even use these extra features so why choose a unit based on features you won’t use.
  • After-sales info. Learning to set up and interpret your unit can be frustrating and challenging. The only way to ground truth your “interpretation” is to jump overboard and take a look. Or get advice from successful anglers who have been driving these units for years.


AND show you how to use it with our Sounder Skills 2 course.



What sounder should I buy can be a minefield of misinformation.

The difficulty here is that this could be a 3000-word post. Much would not apply to different readers. It really is such an individual thing.

So if you are in the market for a new sounder, or you’d just like to know if you’re running the right transducer, please complete the very short (1-2 minute) survey via the button below, and we can have my good mate Paul from Burdekin Communications to get back to you.

Sounder Skills 1 is included in all sounder purchases free of charge and a $100 discount for Sounder Skills 2 applies. 

Already got Sounder Skills 1 or 2? Just nominate a mate and we will transfer access. OR provide a $100 coupon code off one of our other courses* (cannot be used during a sale).

If he gets inundated it may take a few days so please be patient. Help us speed up the process by completing the short questionnaire.

PLEASE GENUINE INQUIRIES ONLY – If you still need to clear the purchase of a unit or transducer with your accountant, partner or even your own conscience, please don’t waste our time. If you have to wait for the boat to be finished, for the kids to finish high school or find a way to hide the purchase from your Missus. Simply come back to us when you are right to go. If your intention is to pick our experienced brains then purchase for less online, please think about how it would feel if done to you. Our time is valuable too so please respect that. While our prices are competitive, please note chain stores buy in bulk, employ teenagers with no experience and offer very little after sales service or trouble shooting. We offer decades of experience and old-fashioned service so please, no tyre kickers.




World class online training on how to use your unit.

Not only does our partner Burdekin Communications sell a vast range of Garmin sounders (our preferred brand at the moment), but our part of the bargain is teaching you how to use it.

Unlike most salespeople, Ryan has been a charter guide for 30 years and run pretty much all the brands over the years (except Lowrance).

When purchasing a sounder through us, you'll also get the opportunity to access our world class training at a huge discount.

You won't get a heap of tech jargon from us. Just practical useful advice from people who have been using sounders every day for 30 years and has the results to prove their proficiency.

Plus we've been training anglers to catch more fish in less time since 2014 with great success.

So we will make sure you get the right unit and the right transducer in your price point, to maximise your success.

Learn how to use your sounder to the best of your ability.

Our Sounder Skills 2 course is changing the way anglers understand and use their sounder.

Knowledge equals power and our students are knocking it out of the park with their catches.

Even experienced anglers that have used a sounder for years are blown away by the content.





This is what happens when you mix knowledge with action.

"Last week we spent a few days over at Macushla, magic weather! We had a whole tribe with us fishing and camping 5 boats in total. Needless to say, we ended up being the talk of the trip. We headed out to an area, my first time there. These same boys originally paid out on me at work when I purchased Sounder skills 2. I got the last laugh last though thanks champ. Using what I learned, we were seeing 2 fish and catching 2 fish and moving on. Stuff all fish caught throughout all other boats but man did we come home with the goods.
Anyway enough rant. Your a legend in my book and have taken many years off my learning of sounders. Heres a few pics for your time"


Case Study - Peter Tafaiolas








If you are new to this page and like this content, please enter your name and email below to get on our mailing list. Top fishing tips sent out each fortnight and you'll also get in the draw for a Sounder Masterclass on your boat with Ryan Moody. He only does this once or twice a year so it is EXCLUSIVE. 



  • coupon codes for sounder purchases cannot be used on sale/special prices.
About The Author

Karen Rudkin

Karen Rudkin-Moody became hooked on fishing after being introduced to the sport in 1989. Karen is a marine biologist specializing in estuarine marine protected areas, finishing her successful career in Queensland Marine Parks as Ranger In Charge of the Wet Tropics region within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Karen now works with her husband, accomplished fishing guide Ryan Moody, encouraging people to get away from their computers and into the great outdoors.

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1 Comment

  • Glen Ralph

    Reply Reply May 2, 2021

    My Lowrance has died and I’m wanting to buy a Garmin in the 12 inch category if possible.I have two boats and the larger one has a Simrad with nmea 2000 connectivity.Will a Garmin be suited with the Simrad as was the Lowrance.I fish mainly in depths of 10m to 60m.Can you give me examples of the sounder and transducer to use.At the moment I have totalscan on both boats.
    Cheers Glen

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