how to install a fishfinder

How to Install a Fishfinder?

Besides the fishing rod and tackle, the fish finder is probably the most essential piece in any fisherman’s arsenal. The fish finder is essentially a sonar that uses sound waves to bounce off fish and also to find depth and obstructions on the bottom of the lake or sea. Depending on the model, the fish finder can show the size of fish, the depth that it is at, as well as the actual depth to the floor. In order for a fish finder to work properly, it needs to get installed correctly. Follow these steps to ensure a great set-up.

Fishing a huge lake or ocean can often lead to poor fishing days without the use to technology. The invention of the fish finder has eliminated a lot of the guesswork in fishing. Fish finders have come a long way in a few short years. Not only do they show you the depth of the water, they now come with fish icons and temperature readings to help you locate the best fishing spot. While the use of fish finders has become easier, installing them has not. Installing a fish finder to your boat can seem like a daunting task, but even the most novice angler can accomplish it. Read on and learn how to properly install a fish finder on your boat.

To install a fishfinder, it is important to decide the right place for the transducer, then the user needs to mount the transducer, route the cable for it, then install and wire the fish finder. Following this, the fish finder can be connected, tested and will be ready for use.

Determine The Optimal Place For The Transducer

The transducer is either mounted through suction or is attached to the boat. The recommended place to mount the transducer is on the hull, in a space free of ribs and at least a foot from the prop. Make sure that the transducer does not get touched when loading or unloading the boat from a trailer.


Mount The Transducer

Use the mounting bracket that most likely came with the transducer, and mark using a pen or marker the area in which the screws to mount the transducer to the boat are. In addition, mark the area in which a hole needs to get drilled for wiring. Make sure everything is level, and use a small drill bit to make a starter hole before drilling the larger hole. Run the wire through the hole, and seal the hole with silicone caulk. Finish by attaching the transducer to the hull with the mounting bracket.

transduce mount

Install The Transducer

The transducer, the part of the fish finder mounted under the boat, always stays in contact with the water. You should mount the transducer at least a foot away from the center-line of your boat to avoid adding turbulence and conflict with the motor.

Route Your Cable

Once you have properly mounted the transducer to the bottom of your boat, you need to route a cable from the transducer to the head of the fish finder. Avoid slack in the cable that could get snagged or that might trip you. Use plastic cable ties every foot and coil the excess cable in an area does not interfere with its surroundings.

Install The Fish Finder

Mount the main fish finder unit on a sturdy and accessible spot. Drill starter holes followed by larger holes to mount the bracket. Attach the bracket with the screwdriver, and then attach the finder to the mounting bracket.

Wire The Fish Finder

Connect the electrical wire from the fish finder to either the battery or fuse box. Instructions on wiring are provided with the fish finder unit.

Mount The Head

For this last (and easiest) step, simply use whatever mounting hardware that came with your fish finder and mount the head to the ideal location on your boat. Once you have securely mounted the head and connected the cable, you can fish all day.

Connect The Fish Finder To The Transducer, And Test

Connect the wire that you ran from the transducer up to the inside of the boat, and connect with the fish finder, making sure that the wire is out of the way. Once connected, turn on the fish finder. If in the water, determine if the signal is working by moving around the water to see if the depth is changing and is able to recognize signal.

How To Use A Fish Finder?

Fish finders are handy tools used to determine the water depth and where fish are while you are out on a boat. They work through bouncing sound waves off the bottom of the lake. These finders can help ensure that your fishing trip results in a lot of caught fish to bring home.

elite 5 lowrance

Mount The Finder

Mount the finder’s transducer in a location that is not too close to the engine. The engine could cause turbulence and radio interference, making it difficult to pick up the location of fish. You can mount the transducer on the side of the boat, or even inside with only one layer of hull separating the finder from the bottom of the boat. The transducer is responsible for bouncing the sound waves and then sending information back to the finder.

Adjust Your Controls

Adjust the sensitivity control to somewhere between 75 and 100 percent. A higher sensitivity increases your chances of finding fish in the water. You also need to adjust the chart speed according to how fast your boat is going. Use a slower chart speed when you are going fast, and a faster chart speed when you are going slow.

Learn To Read Your Finder

The fish finder shows a graphic whenever it locates fish in the area. If there is a large school of fish, the finder shows multiple fish on the screen. For small schools of fish, only one or two fish appear on the screen. If you fish often in the same area, it is helpful to write down what you see on the fish finder for future usage. Knowing that certain areas hold large schools of fish can save you time on your next fishing trip.

How To Use A Fish Finder For Ice Fishing?

Fish finding devices are excellent gifts for those who enjoy ice fishing. The devices allow a fisherman to locate schools of fish underneath the dense and thick ice, as this ice prevents visible evidence that there are, in fact, fish in the area. The device uses sonar technology to penetrate the ice and sends back images to the user, indicating whether or not that there is any hope of catching any fish.

Fish finders also penetrate the ice, so they help to locate fish under the ice. In cold weather the device needs to warm up a little, and it is also smart to wait as the fish are able sense the noises when the user walks on the ice and tend to flee. After that, drill a hole and catch the fish with the proper baits and lures. Relocate to a different spot if necessary.

fishfinder ice fishing


Turn the device on and allow it to warm up. After scouting locations without the device, go to a spot in which you wish to fish. Set the fish locator in a steady spot. The screen alerts you to the presence of fish in the area. Fish are skittish and are likely to flee if you are tromping around on the ice above them. It is a good idea to wait up to an hour or two so that the fish are less suspicious.

Cast The Line

After monitoring the fish locator for a length of time, cast the line into a hole that was drilled specifically for ice fishing. Baits and lures depend on the type of fish you wish to catch. Continue to watch the fish monitor for changes in the sonar field.

Try A Different Location

If you have no luck catching fish, and/or there is a lack of fish on the fish finder, locate a different spot to try. The fish finder is a great tool to have and generally accurate when attempting to locate fish through the thick ice.

How To Use A Portable Fish Finder?

Fish finders are one of the most valuable and resourceful tools that you have in your fishing arsenal. Once you have purchased a portable fish finder, the next step is getting out on the water and putting it to use. Portable fish finders are generally rather easy to operate and extremely efficient. Your owner’s manual is full of vital information and operational capabilities, so you should refer to your manual first and foremost. Here are some basic tips on how to operate your fish finder.

In order to use a portable fish finder, the user needs to apply the right power supply, that is, batteries to the device. Portable devices are a little less effective than regular fish finders, as they reach shorter depths, but they can be easily mounted anywhere on the boat. They operate similarly to their regular counterparts.

Power Supply

Once you find out what type of batteries your unit requires, it is advisable that you purchase rechargeable batteries. Even if your batteries possess a long battery life, you are likely going to need to recharge the batteries after several fishing trips. Using rechargeable batteries lowers your expenses over the long run.


Most portable fish finders are equipped with a suction-cup mounting system, making them easy to mount nearly anywhere on your boat. The transducer is good when mounted anywhere on your boat, as long as it is secure and underwater, so the sonar functions properly. Avoid placing your transducer near the motor, as it may interfere with your readings.


Place your display screen in a highly visible area that is easy to get to. Pay particular attention to the water depth; most portable fish finders are not as effective at great depths as they are in shallower water. Temperature and structures also matter, so stay alert for drop-offs, weed beds, fallen logs and rocks. These are areas where fish are often abundant. Locate where the fish are, and cast away.