In the past fishers relied on expert knowledge of fish and their movement patterns to guess where the fish would be. As such, some people spent hours and even days on end fishing without no real results as sometimes the information they had was wrong. Today with a fishfinder GPS combo, fishers can take the guesswork out of the fishing equation. Fishfinder GPS combos under 1000 provide an affordable option that lets you know where most of the fish are, and in some cases, they even provide navigation services. Consequently, you get more fruitful results from your fishing labors.
These devices are still significant investments and ones that you should want to serve you for a long time to come. That being the case, you would be shooting your foot if you didn’t take into consideration some critical aspects of the gadgets before ordering online or making a purchase. These include the display size and resolution so you can have a more accurate picture of what is under the water. In addition to that, the body material is essential. You don’t want flimsy body materials. They may end up breaking under the slightest bit of pressure, and that would invalidate your investment. Also, the depth of the fishfinder combo will help determine how useful your tool is both in shallow and deep water. We came up with a list of 4 best options, and the Garmin Striker 4 just tops them all.
The Garmin Striker™ 4 is arguably the cheapest fishfinder on our list. However, this is still a high-quality piece of equipment with features you would expect to find in higher-end models. The display size is admittedly not all that impressive given the amount of detail this gadget picks up from the water around you. It comes in at 3.5” screen. However, you can choose to upgrade to the 5” and 7” screen size options provided. You should be aware that this tool performs better depth-wise when you use it in freshwater rather than in saltwater. As such you would be better off purchasing the Striker™ 4 if you plan on using it on a lake rather than in the ocean.
Where you want to operate the gadget, it is easy to use even without prior instructions on the same. The minimal button layout and configuration is easy to figure out. However, make sure to read and understand any instructions provided as that may even help with the maintenance of the tool. The device features the Garmin chirp transducer which is rumored to offer better clarity results than traditional sensors at its level. The chirp technology will send multiple frequencies one after the other and then analyze the data sent back. The said frequencies range from high to low, and that information is used to paint a more accurate picture of what is beneath the water surface.
If you do choose to upgrade to the high-performance Garmin chirp technology the resulting images are said to be clearer. The device also has GPS capabilities. As such, you may be able to use it to navigate waters by marking waypoints. If you find a location, you would rather remember, all you have to do is mark it with the fishfinder. Later you can use it to find your way back to that particular spot. In addition to that, you can keep your eye on the current boat speed. This helps determine if you are cruising at the right speed to allow you to catch the type of fish in your vicinity.
As a second option, you can purchase Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder. This will typically cost you more than our first option, and it’s up to you to decide whether the features are worth the extra cost. This device uses the Chirp dual beam plus sonar and uses it more or less in the same way that the Garmin Striker™ 4 functions. It sends a variety of sonar pulses into the water and then uses the feedback from these pulses to create a more accurate picture that is then displayed to you on the screen.
The dual-beam includes a wide and narrow option. The wide beam will, of course, cover more ground than the narrow one. However, where you want to fish deep, the narrow option is a better alternative. If you check the depth rating we have highlighted above, you will notice that this gadget scans deeper than the Garmin whether it is in saltwater or freshwater. Also, with switchfire technology that is incorporated, you are allowed to select how much detail you want to see in the scanning images provided by switching between max and clear modes.
Perhaps most impressive with this tool is the imaging capabilities. As a first, you get side imaging. By scanning the lake from the sides of your boat, the HELIX 5 fishfinder will collate the images and then provide you with the result of how the bottom of the lake looks like. This is assuming that the depth is shallow enough that the sonar can reach the bottom. In another scenario, you can use sound waves and sonar to create a fish-eye view of what the bottom looks like from above. These images may help you determine the best way to go about your fishing.
Once you get the Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder, you will also realize that there are lake maps included. This will help mostly in navigation and getting to your fishing destination quicker. In addition to that, you can add a micro SD card to the provided slot and later use it to save waypoints. While the screen is only available in the five-inch option, you still get a button interface similar to that of the Garmin.
The Lowrance HOOK2 Transducer is seemingly the most expensive item on our list. All that remains is your decision on whether you are getting value for money in the specifications and features provided. Just like the name suggests, the screen on this device is seven inches which is the biggest thus far. You will still need to use the buttons provided to control the various functionalities of the device once you have it on your boat. Speaking of functionalities, the device has quite an array of impressive ones.
You get wide sonar in comparison to what you would find in other models. Where you previously saw a limited range now, you see in more detail the numbers of fish in a particular area, and that helps you fish more accurately. Also, you get various mounting options which make this device one of the easiest to own. In addition to that, the gadget is rather straightforward to use. It features phone-like menus that you have grown accustomed to through the use of smartphones every day. As such, navigating the device is a piece of cake.
Most users inside the US will appreciate the included maps as they cover most of their lakes. However, for anyone outside that general location, you might have to add your own. As such, the SD card slot is of importance as it allows you to do just that.
Where the above is not enough to convince you to buy the tool, the triple shot transducer should do the trick. What is included in this transducer is a down-scan sonar which, as the name suggests, will scan depths and give you an accurate image of what the bottom looks like. The same is the case for the side-scan only this one works for 91m to the sides of your boat. The third component is, of course, the usual sonar that allows you to locate fish.
Again we feature another Garmin product on our list. As we have come to expect of their devices, the interface is similar featuring a screen and button controls that are straightforward to use. However, this gadget’s screen is slightly bigger at five inches. Where frequencies are concerned, the fishing tool features quite an array ranging from low to high options, all of which may come in handy when looking for a suitable fishing location.
Garmin CHIRP technology is used to carry out the scanning of the water, and if the manufacturer’s claims are anything to go by, then you will be able to see separate targets and with clear definition. The information you get by using CHIRP is also recordable, and you can play it back at a later point if you couple the device with Homeport software on a personal computer. Also, the fact that the device supports the use of a data-sharing cable means you can share your fishing information with a couple of your friends who use similar tools.
Where you are only a beginner in fishing, you will appreciate the inclusion of maps in the device. However, over time, the provided maps may not be enough. As such, the Quickdraw contours feature may come highly appreciated as it allows you to create personalized maps of where you like to fish. Also, for more accurate descriptions of your location at any particular time, the device can refresh up to five times in a single second.
Where you want to buy one of these devices, it is easy to pick a tool that doesn’t necessarily serve your needs. This is evident when you check the reviews section for most devices on sale. As such, the process of picking out a Fishfinder GPS combo is a delicate one and one that should be done with utmost care. As with any other quality purchase, you should plan to purchase the device beforehand. This may also help with budgeting requirements. Listed below are important features to consider before you take out your wallet and make a purchase.
Of course, the screen of the device is essential; otherwise you won’t be able to see the necessary information that should make your fishing easier. While display size factors a lot, what is more important is the clarity of the imagery. Remember that more often than not, you will be using these devices in direct sunlight. Consequently, if the display doesn’t perform as well in sunlight, then you are likely to have poor fishing experiences. However, you can find options where the screen is sufficiently big and bright enough. An example of this is seen in our editor’s choice the Lowrance HOOK2. Nevertheless, this is a matter of preference as what counts as a big enough screen is different for every fisher.
The scanner or transducer is what makes imaging on the screen possible and as such is an integral part of the combo. Different scanners have different capabilities, and as such, you should carefully evaluate each scanner against the standards you want in your device. Typically the scanner will emit sonar which when it hits an object or the bottom of the water body will bounce back, giving you an image of how things are under the surface.
Basic scanners can only provide you with simple capabilities such as checking for fish. More advanced options will offer navigation and side by side imaging and down-imaging options so you can get an accurate view of the lake bottom.
You pick one depending on your fishing needs and your budget. The Humminbird HELIX 5 Fish Finder is one such option with multiple imaging options.
Transmit power is listed in all our devices, and as such, it plays a crucial role in determining the usability of a machine. If you want to go fishing in deep waters, you are going to need a higher transmit power like the 500 W provided by the Garmin echoMAP™ CHIRP 54cv. On the other hand, you don’t require as much transmit power if you typically fish on a river or a small lake.
As much as the transmit power affects the depth you can reach with your scanner, technology also plays a role. You might find a device with a low power rating that reaches deeper depths than those with a high transmit power. However, deeper depth functionality would be wasted on a boat that you don’t use in deep waters. As such, you might do well to do some homework on your preferred fishing ground before you go shopping for gear.
You will no doubt have noticed that each of the devices we mentioned comes at a price point of less than 1000 dollars. If you are keen and also check the pricing of mentioned gadgets, you will also have noticed that even in this limited range, the cost of a device can range from 100 dollars up to 500 dollars. As such you might do well to budget beforehand. If you pick a more expensive option chances are you will have more features to play around with when you go on your fishing trips.
On the other hand, some of these features may be wasted on you as you may have no use for them. The wise thing to do is to create a list of preferred features then compare devices that fit the bill with their pricing. If you want the best price GPS fishfinder combo, you should pick the option where you get the most value for money.
On the other hand, side imaging will work in shallow depths but will give you a look into what is happening around your boat. If a school of fish swims past you, then you are more likely to notice and follow it if you have side imaging. Consequently, both imaging options have their advantages and disadvantages, and having both of them working together will offset their shortcomings.
The Lowrance HOOK2 is one ideal pick that makes it to our top 3 options. A key selling point is a large screen which becomes necessary once you see the superior imaging properties of the device. You get three imaging scans, all of which can be displayed on the screen at the same time. These include down-imaging, side-imaging, and lastly CHIRP sonar so you can see fish.
Our Editor’s Choice, the Garmin Striker 4, is also another quality investment. For the price of slightly over 100 dollars, you get a pretty solid piece of equipment that will not only help you map your preferred water body but also give clear images of fish underwater. Perhaps the only downside is the screen size.
The Humminbird 410210-1 Helix 5 G2 Series comes with an included transducer and mounting hardware, power cable and gimbal mounting bracket.
With the information provided about all four devices, it shouldn’t be hard to pick one and install it on your boat. All that’s left is for you to make your buying decision.