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.
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.
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 our sounder 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.
NEWS FLASH: WHY NOT GET INSIDER INFO FROM ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S BEST FISHING EDUCATORS TO GET YOU INTO THE RIGHT SOUNDER!
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, and you’d like to ensure you make the correct choice, take a look at our Sounder Skills 2 course.
World class online training on how to use your unit.
Unlike most salespeople, Ryan has been a charter guide for 30 years and run pretty much all the brands over the years (except Lowrance).
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 all the right info to choose the right unit and the right transducer in your price point, to maximise your success. Better still you’ll learn what is imperitive to have and what bells and whistles sound great but are not necessary if your budget is tight. You’d actually be amazed at how few functions Ryan actually uses in a modern sounder. He just uses what he has to the best of it’s ability.
You might not even need a new sounder after doing this course.
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”