The way smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives, it was only a matter of time before they started taking over our favorite pastime, too, right?
Smartphones are terrific at making large, bulky things fit in the palm of your hand – and they are no different when it comes to fish finding. These fish finder apps take what used to require a large setup and lots of hardwiring, taking power and location into consideration, and a whole lot of work and turn it into something you can literally fit in the palm of your hand and take wherever you want.
There are a few smartphone fish finder apps out there right now. Here is a quick overview of four of the most popular ones. They are all pretty inexpensive compared to larger fish finders, and all have the advantage of running on a smartphone connected to the internet all the time – so they all have the ability to show an incredible amount of data.
The other advantage of app-based fish finders is that you are no longer limited by screen size. For regular fish finders, screen size plays a huge role in how expensive it is going to be. Bigger screens usually mean more expensive. But with these fish finders for smartphones(and tablets, since they are apps), you probably already have a phone with a decent-size screen, or better yet, you may already have a tablet – so you effectively save on the cost of the screen.
The Deeper is one of the first app-based fish finders to hit the market. It is a little plastic sphere that you attach to your fishing line and cast. Once it hits the water, it sends the SONAR readings it picks up to your app via Bluetooth. Bluetooth is super-fast, so the readings will be like real-time. The Deeper works from 1.5 feet of water all the way to 40 feet, and in both saltwater and freshwater. Although 40 feet of depth is suitable for most fishing, the Deeper is geared more towards shore fishing. If you are going to take it out on a boat, it will only work in shallower water, which is quite amusing, considering the name of the fish finder is Deeper!
The advantage of this, though, is that there’s no way you could fish from the shore with a regular fish finder – so this little unit helps you reach places a fish finder can’t.
Along with SONAR readings, the power of your phone is utilized to provide you lots of information, such as an integrated camera function, up-to-date weather reports, lunar fishing calendar, integrated map function, customized fishing log, and social media networks.
The FishHunter fish finder/app is a high-performance, inexpensive portable fish finder. The fish finder unit is made of military grade materials and can give you depth readings up to 133 feet(in freshwater, saltwater readings will be a little less). One charge will give you 8 hours of performance, giving you plenty of time to catch all those fish!
Like the Deeper, this attaches to your line, and shows you readings of wherever you have cast.
The really cool thing about the FishHunter app is that there are two modes for SONAR readings. For more experienced anglers, it can show true SONAR readings which you can analyze and fish accordingly. For newer anglers, the app can simplify the SONAR readings into what it thinks is the bottom and what it thinks are most likely fish.
The FishHunter comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect of an app, like a lunar fishing calendar, a log for recording what fish you have caught, and also a whole database of different types of fish, where they are likely to be found, and what bait is most effective on them.
You can also “pin” good fishing spots on the map if your phone has GPS and data connectivity, and you can also see what other fishing spots people have “pinned”.
The Vexilar SP-200 is a crossover between a regular fish finder and an app fish finder. The Vexilar comes with a transducer which is like any other fish finder, as well as a wireless module that transmits the SONAR data to your smartphone. The transducer will have to be fixed, so this is a great choice for either a small boat or a kayak. You’ll also need 12 volts to power the transducer and wireless unit.
Once you’ve got that done, though, the Vexilar blows every other fish finder app out of the water. The transducer is as powerful as any other fixed fish finder, so you can get depths of up to 240 feet using the 200kHz beam. The readings are so good that you can actually see your line going in the water and you can see it as you move it up and down.
If you have your own boat, but want some flexibility with screen size, this is the way to go. Since the transducer attached to the boat, you can troll very easily, or even scout the water for fishing spots. With the other app fish finders, you’d have to cast every single time.
For the price, this fish finder can’t be beaten.
The iBobber is a simple, functional, and cheap smartphone fish finder. While it doesn’t have the rugged feel of the Deeper or FishHunter, for $100, it gets the job done. You hook it up to your line, cast out, and get readings up to 130 feet – not bad at all. The iBobber is still much simpler than a regular fish finder – so don’t expect the same championship-winning fish finding from this. It’s more of a nice way to make a good fishing trip great, filling your icebox with more fish than before.
The companion app is pretty good, too, providing lunar phase data, temperature, wind, and atmospheric pressure along with the SONAR readings from the unit itself.