Every angler knows that it’s difficult to catch fish if you don’t know where they are. You have to spend some time locating them and finding the perfect spot to catch them.
I’ve been an angler for quite a while now, and just like you, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find where the fishes are.
I’d go out fishing two times a week - especially during the weekend - but never got a single catch because I was fishing blindly in the water.
There was a time when I no longer enjoyed it and thought of quitting.
But then something came up. My friend Garret invited me to a local boat show. Garret took me inside his boat and showed me the fish finder GPS Combo.
He had a Garmin model, and he showed me how the unit could show all these topographical maps, thermal images and be used to locate fish.
I was blown away by the experience. The solution to my problem was right in front of me.
I knew I had to get one, but Garret said there are different models in the market and I should choose one that will work best for me.
And so I did my research and came up with the list of top 5 best fish finder GPS Combo that every angler should try.
I. Choosing the Best Fish Finder GPS Combo
Fish finders are an essential part of an angler’s arsenal. Whether you are into commercial fishing or sports fishing, you need a fish finder to boost your feat. But with a wide variety of fish finders our there to choose from, how do we know which ones are the best?
If you look into the current trends in the market, you will see that the best-upgraded fish finders are fitted with GPS. You will find it easy to navigate through bodies of water and track down game fish with swift accuracy and efficiency if you use GPS for your fish finder.
When it comes to choosing the best item, you might be unsure because of the many available options in the market. And the specifications of these models often leave you more confused. The technical jargons can be difficult to understand which often misleads you to your goal in purchasing the technology in the first place – finding fish.
We prepared this post to highlight some of the most important points to remember when buying the best device for you. We also listed the top 5 best fish finder GPS combo 2018.
So keep reading until the end...
II. Important Features to Consider in Choosing the Right GPS Combo
1. Screen Display. GPS comes with display screens. The interface or display is decisive in allowing you to see through bodies of water and process the information displayed on the monitor. It is important that you understand what is displayed on the screen so you can quickly and safely navigate through waters and find fish with ease. Thus, readability must be one of the features of the display that you wish to purchase.
You can find different designs available in the market that will suit your preference. Displays come in various colors and sharp details. But they also come in black and white displays that allow you to differentiate objects through contrasts in color.
Here are initial features that can help you select the right display for your GPS and fish finder:
2. Device Size. The overall device size is critical in your choice. A larger device can probably give you larger displays but it will also be bulky and space-consuming affecting its portability.
The appropriate size that we endorse is the mid-sized device. It is the right size that will allow you to store or keep it without losing it easily (too small) or to transport it without having problems (too large). The device also comes with the right cases for storage and transport.
Screen size can also vary from the 3 1/3 inch Lowrance echo to the 5 inch Lowerance displays, to a 7 inch Garmin, or even larger. Mind size would be somewhere between 5-6 inches. Such size would give you enough screen space.
3. Technology Highlights. If you want to get the best, you will definitely get the fish finder with the latest upgrades including the latest GPS. The latest models are often the most efficient in fish finding.
Here are some highlight features to look for when choosing the best fish finder and GPS before you go on your next fishing expedition. These features have very important use if you want to find fish with accuracy and speed. These include the following.
4. Resolution of the Screen. The resolution of the screen is one crucial feature in choosing a fish finder. The resolution is the measure of how obvious the display on the screens is. A high resolution equates to clear images displayed on the screen allowing you better and more accurate readings.
5. Frequency. The frequency of the fish finder is equivalent to the number of ultrasound or sonar pulses the transducer emits. These frequencies range from 15 kHz to 200 kHz. You can adjust your frequencies to locate fish depending on the depth of the water. A lower frequency is usually used in looking for fish in a wider area.
A higher frequency is usually used in a narrower area. Higher frequency shows clearer images on the display monitor. The usual frequencies used are 50 kHz and 200 kHz. In dual transducers, the device uses two cones or two sonar beams.
The use of the appropriate frequency in the proper time is crucial in efficiently tracking down fish and catching them.
If you want to catch fish in shallow waters, you can adjust your frequency to high which emits sonar beams at a smaller area and narrower cones. If you're going to catch fishes from deep water, you can adjust the frequency to low allowing you to search for a wider area and deeper depth.
6. Transducer. A transducer is a critical part of the fish finder. It is the part that emits the signals of sonar waves into the water and receives signals that bounce back to the fish finder monitor which interprets the signals into actual graphs, shapes, and images. It is important that your transducer is functional and reliable.
An example of a transducer is a transom mount. This transducer is convenient to install or easy to mount.
7. Power. Fish finder, as with other devices, consumes power. It is imperative that you check the power consumption of your device. The power consumption is computed in watts. A high wattage gives more power and thus, good device function and display. A low wattage gives you low power and thus, poor device function and display.
Your consumption will also depend on the extent of use of your device. If you use the device to fish in shallow waters and where fish can easily be tracked, you can do with low wattage. If you use the device for deep-water fishing and where fish is often difficult to see, you can opt for high wattage.
Check out this video on How to choose the right Fish Finder GPS Combo:
III. The Top 5 Fish Finder GPS Combo 2018
1. Humminbird 409820-1 Helix 7 Fishfinder/GPS - Best Fishfinder gps Combo under $500
The Humminbird HELIX 7 GPS with sonar gives you eyes underwater and provides a clear picture of the environment. It’s so clear that the widescreen provides bright and crisp images under 480 x 800 pixels of resolution enhanced by the products high-tech display.
The screen provides a clear, bright picture in different angles (without the glare) regardless of whether the sun is high or low. The 16:9 displays provide the best aspect for cartography and sonar simultaneously showing all the essential details.
The device’s processor has also been enhanced, doubling the RAM for split-second management and screen refresh. With peak-peak power of over 500 watts RMS/4000, the HELIX7 Sonar GPS delivers crystal-clear Sonar images while managing 2500/45 routes, and support HotMaps/Navionics Gold, AutoChart Pro, AutoChart and LakeMaster mapping programs though a Micro SD card slot.
Incorporates built-in Contour XD map and Internal precision GPS. It has a 2D sonar depth of 600’; 1500’ and a XD transducer.
2. Raymarine Dragonfly - Best Fish Finder under 200$
Raymarine features its Dragonfly Pro Series which incorporates CHIRP technology. The CHIRP technology boasts of wide-spectrum sonar beams which allow you a wider view of the underwater, increased number of visible fish, and clear screen display.
The series also features specifically designed optical bonding in each model LCD. The Dragonfly models also bring to popular market the technology used exclusively for high-end use. The technology includes fog-resistance, detailed contrast and vivid colors suitable for various types of weather.
The mounting system of the Dragonfly series is ball and socket for ease of use and adjustment and convenience in installation.
3. Lowrance Elite-7 Chirp Gold Combo 83/200+455/800 Tm Ducer
The Lowrance features the ELITE-7 Model with HDI or Hybrid Dual Imaging. The model comes with an antenna for GPS. It uses Broadband Sounder for dual imaging and mapping. The display screen displays colored images in HD and LED backlights.
The model is easy to use and relatively budget-friendly compared to other brands. It is a best-seller among fish finder models and brands because of its user-friendly interface and commands. With its HDI technology, you can see through underwater as if it was your backyard.
The cartography of ELITE-7 models contains detailed maps of US waters. The pre-programmed maps of around 3,000 rivers, lakes and marine waters up to a thousand feet deep. Combined with built-in GPS, the device allows for accurate readings.
The Elite-7 also features Advanced Signal Processing. The ASP allows users to capture images of fish and underwater structures with clarity and precision lessening the time spent on making setting adjustments for better readings.
4. Garmin Striker 7sv - Best Fishfinder GPS Combo Under $400
Designed for overall use and reliability, the Garmin Striker 7sv features the right size and the right weight of a device for different water depths. The device measuring 9.3 inches in width, 5.5 inches in height and 2.3 inches in depth weighs only around 1.5 lbs.
The screen has an adequate backlight for clear images even under bright sunlight measuring 3.6 inches x 5.9 inches. The screen can also display multiple images simultaneously using command buttons on the device. The device is powered by a rechargeable battery that comes installed inside the device.
The battery powers a GT52 model transducer emitting multiple sonar frequencies such as 77 kHz and up to 455 kHz. The frequencies are ideal for different depths where fishes usually thrive. The device is mounted using a swivel for easy installment and use. The transducer uses transom mount and trolling mount also for easy installment and use.
5. Lowrance Hook-4 Sonar/GPS
Lowrance also features the Hook-4 model that scans and saves sonar readings for review. The readings are displayed in clear images of fish and structures underwater. Users can easily locate fish and significant locations using the reviews saved in the device.
Lowrance devices are well-known for built-in maps of US bodies of waters programming around 3,000 rivers, lakes and marine waters. The map complements GPS readings fed from an antenna. Custom made maps can also be made using saved maps and editing them on featured apps in the device. Users can also upgrade the device using Navionics Gold and other maps.
The device display screen also measures 4-inches and displays colored images of data received from the device and GPS. Lowrance devices also come in three-panel view and other settings that allow users to personalize the layout for their easy access. Users can also set their measurements to either imperial or metric. Down Scan Imaging is another notable feature of the Hook-4 from Lowrance.
IV. Final Words
Those are the top 5 Best Fish Finder GPS Combo 2018. Among those brands, the Lowrance ELITE-4 HDI Plotter is my favorite. I like the fact that the model also allows users to make maps using data from sonar in real time using Insight Genesis and transfer images to the Broadband Sounder from the Down Scan Imaging using the Down Scan Overlay command.
The fish finder is a highly useful tool when one takes on the feat of catching fish without relying purely on one’s expectations and perseverance. The right combination of features overall impacts the functionality and efficiency of fish finders. Fish finders equipped with GPS makes fishing less of an inconvenience and more of leisure.
We hope you enjoyed this post. Which among the top 5 brands is your favorite? Feel free to share your choice in the comments – we would love to hear from you. And share this post with your friends if they love fishing as you do.