Modernization has placed the old rod and reel fishing instinct in the corner and introduced the portable fish finder technology. Fish finders are effective tools that allow you to locate fish underwater. This technology works using the SONAR (sound navigation and ranging) technology system.
This portable tool shows a fish’s location in a digital screen, which can be either an LCD or a CRT type. The technology of the fish finder has constantly been upgraded since the 1990s. Today, it is one of the most sophisticated devices as other features have been integrated. Helpful tools such as the GPS, electronic compass, and radar have now been incorporated.
Here is how a fish finder works: A transmitter, which is found on the ship, sends signals in the waves. The SONAR system utilizes the aspect of echoes to reflect back the waves to the transmitter. These reflected waves are recorded. And then, a signal will be sent to your screen.
As they say, there are plenty of fish in the sea. The question is what the best fish finder device there is is. Today, we will take a deeper look into the fish finders from iBobber, Deeper Pro, and Fish Hunter Pro.
iBobber Smart Fish Finder
The iBobber was designed with portability and flexibility in mind. It is an excellent choice for those who are hunting for an affordable, portable, and user-friendly fish finder. Without a doubt, anglers of all skill levels and types can take this on the go. All you need is your smartphone or tablet, and you will not have a hard time setting this tool up. Impressively, its Bluetooth technology is very effective. You can use the device even within a 100-foot range. It is energy-efficient too so this will not suck up much of your battery life too.
When using the iBobber, keep in mind that this is quite a simple device. Do not expect the same accuracy and precision regular fish finders have. This will just help
- Makes use of your existing mobile device. The iBobber uses your smartphone or tablet as controller and display. This is actually a good way to chop down on costs. Also, this allows you to see a sonar display on a large screen. Most fish finders have very small
- Scans depths of up to 135 feet. Its transducer module operates with a 118 kHz
- Marks a fish based on its size. The iBobber categorizes the fish it finds – they are either under 15 inches or over 15 inches long.
- Ideal for kayak, raft, or canoe fishing. It also works well on bottom sounding areas that cannot be accessed by boats.
- Works on both freshwater and saltwater
- Comes with two Snap swivel connections to use a bobber or remote as a fishfinder
- Price is friendly to the pocket. The iBobber is one of the cheapest fishfinders on the market today with a price tag of less than $100.
- Uses low energy Bluetooth connection. Most devices with Bluetooth or wireless connectivity often end up draining the battery really But the iBobber requires less power, so the battery lasts longer.
- You can easily snug this down into your pocket or bag. It weighs only 1.7 ounces and has a 2.3-inch diameter.
- Very convenient to use. The free app that comes with the device lets you take full control of the fish finder. It also allows you to log waterbeds, log spots, and map water temperatures and depths.
- Package includes a lunar calendar. This can help give you relevant information like predictions on the temperature, wind speed, rain, and atmospheric pressure. These are actually useful data you need to consider before going on fishing.
- Packed with rechargeable batteries and comes with a charge status indicator light
- Equipped with a built-in LED beacon
- Compatible with iOS and Android app as well as Google Watch and iWatch
- Has fish and strike alarms
- Your mobile device is at risk of falling into the water. Keeping your smartphone secured inside a waterproof case is highly recommended.
Deeper Smart Sonar PRO
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro is the most recent portable wireless fish finder from Deep Sonar. It boasts of a few upgrades from its popular FishFinder 3.0 model predecessor. You can easily install this in a jiff with no drilling, batteries, or wires. Check out if its features are deep enough to interest you.
- Allows you to view sonar feedback straight to your device, sent from your castable sonar unit
- Operates on an independent Wi-Fi connection. This allows you to use the units anywhere even in areas without any cellular services.
- Packed with a rechargeable lithium polymer battery with 2-hour charge time. The battery can last 6 hours of continuous use.
- Operates on dual-beam 290 kHz / 90 kHz sonar frequencies. In freshwater, it has a 260 feet max depth range.
- Can be set in Boat Mode and draw Bathymetric maps of local water. Maps can be analyzed on your computer via a free data management software from Deeper called Lakebook. It has two other modes — the Standard and Ice Fishing modes.
- Separates objects in the distance up to 0.5 inches
- Allows to capture smaller underwater units
- Compatible with any smartphones or tablets running iOS 8.0 or later and Android 4.0 or later
- Comes with a downloadable app. The app has other interesting features too like a solunar forecast calendar, fish notes, and weather predictions.
- Wider connectivity coverage. The Wi-Fi connection range reaches up to 330 feet (100 meters). This is a huge improvement from the Bluetooth range of the original Deeper fish finder at 140 feet (42 meters).
- It weighs only 3.5 ounces with a 2.5 inches diameter. It is ideal for hole hopping.
- Has a Boat Mode feature. This allows you to download free online maps, which you can find your location on them.
- Fast scanning rate of 15 scans per seconds
- Has an ice fishing flasher. This lets you assess the water column beneath your hole.
- Suits all styles of fishing (shore, ice, boat, kayak)
- Operates on both freshwater and saltwater
- Three color displays are available
- History mode lets you review every scan and map you made
- You can experience some interferences when others are using sonar in close proximity
- Does not work well in rough water
- You risk your smartphone from dropping into the water
Fish Hunter Pro
The Fish Hunter Pro is a wide-ranging underwater scanning device that will help you look for big schools of fish. This sonar device floats on the water. It can easily be cast, trolled, or placed in your ice hole where it can detect and record relevant data including temperature, depth, fish spots, and bottom contour. It gives a “ping” sound if it detects any disturbances in the water.
- Offers two views. The RAW view gives you the actual results from the transducer. You can see the sonar feedback in a plain, traditional sonar view. On the other hand, the FISH view collects the RAW sonar data and reconfigures them on the app. Fish are drawn in a water column, so it is simpler to view.
- Uses dual beam sonar of 475 kHz and 675 kHz
- Utilizes a high-quality Tri Frequency Transducer. This can work on different frequencies ranging between 381 kHz, 475 kHz, and 675 kHz. This also allows you to go near the CHIRP sonar for a high definition sonar feedback. Both shallow and deep water readings are also possible.
- Raw sonar and fish tagging views are available
- Works as an ice fishing flasher too
- Can withstand cold weathers (as low as -22oF or -30 oC)
- Sends notification when fish is detected. You can turn on an alarm and get notifications when a fish is captivated within your sonar “net.”
- Faster display action of up to 150 feet depth range and 160 feet width beam
- Battery life lasts up to 10 hours
- Bathymetric mapping lets you keep track of your journey and save your favorite locations
- Wi-Fi Casting range is four times faster than Bluetooth
- Can be trolled up to 2.5 mph from boat or shore
- Split screen and full screen allow you to look at the bottom, the bottom depth, and temperature on your smartphone
- Allows you to share on social media directly (optional, of course)
- A bit heavy for a fish finder at 5.5 ounces
- Requires 4 hours initial battery charge time
- Intermittent connection drops can happen
- Screen glares when hit by sunlight
Comparison of iBobber Smart Fish Finder, Deeper Smart Sonar Pro, and Fish Hunter Pro
Depth and Casting Range
The fish finder from Deeper scans deeper and cast further compared with the iBobber. The Deeper cast up to 330 feet, which is three times further than iBobber’s capability. It can also scan down to 260 feet, enabling you to detect the most productive fishing zones. iBobber can only do up to 135 feet. That being said, the iBobber will work fine on small bodies of water. Lastly, the FishHunter Pro can reach a depth of up to 150 feet for ice fishing and 100 feet for jig tracking, with four times faster display action. It can scan a width beam of 160 feet.
Both the iBobber and Deeper are capable of marking fish. The iBobber only has one sonar frequency at 118 kHz (42o cone). Such a wide beam allows you to look at the fish’s general area only, but not the specific location. Moreover, the deeper you go, the harder it will be to pinpoint the fish’s exact spot.
Meanwhile, the Deeper is equipped with both wide and narrow beam scanning at 90 kHz (55o cone) and 290 kHz (15o cone), respectively. You can use the wide beam to scan the area first and then switch to narrow to lock a target.
The FishFinder Pro provides a more detailed feedback. It boasts of a Tri-Frequency transducer too that work on three different frequencies. It can be set at 381 kHz, 475 kHz, and 675 kHz. A higher frequency will give you the most accurate readings. However, it does not work well on deeper water as you will need a lower frequency to see the picture clearly. Take note though that it needs to be placed in at least 4 feet of water to function. Using the RAW view, fish are identified as ‘arches’ of color in the water column or near the bottom.
The iBobber is not created for ice fishing. But technically speaking, it can operate in below freezing temperatures. However, it will have a hard time. First, remember that this only uses a wide beam scanning frequency. It might only work on a very thin ice surface. Second, it has a low frequency so it will be difficult to pick up signals. Lastly, it has no ice fishing setting so it will be impossible to zoom in or track your lure.
Meanwhile, ice fishing is one of Deeper’s forte. As mentioned earlier, it both has a wide and narrow beam scanning frequency. The wide beam can be used even on small lures and jigs, while the narrow in ice holes. The app features an ice fishing mode and a GPS Ice Hole marking. The latter allows you to save data on every ice hole you fish.
The FishHunter Pro has been designed as an ice fishing flasher. The device is made for ice as it can withstand extremely low weather conditions as low as – 30oC (-22oF). The Ice Fishing Fisher View makes use of two ultra-high frequencies 475 kHz and 675 kHz. This can let you see your jig in real time. The Split Screen (Flasher/ RAW Data) and Full Screen (Raw Data only) allows you to check the bottom, the bottom depth, and the temperature straight to your mobile device.
Continuous Scanning Time and Battery Life
The iBobber has longer continuous scanning time as it utilizes low-frequency sonars. The device can last up to 10 hours of scanning. Meanwhile, the Deeper Pro uses dual frequency sonars and scans 15 times per second. While it has better accuracy, it only lasts within 6 hours. The FishHunter Pro is a wide-ranging underwater scanning device. Its scan range can reach up to 160 feet.
Long battery life is one of the holy grails in any devices. The iBobber does a pretty good job, giving anglers up to 10 plus hours of battery life. The battery is rechargeable, and it comes with an indicator light for your charge status.
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro can last up to 5.5 hours of usage. It will take 2 hours to recharge the battery. The device can also remain for up to 6 months in sleep mode without charging. It is important to note that very cold temperatures can quickly drain a battery’s life.
Meanwhile, the FishHunter Pro is packed with a rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery that can last up to 10 hours. When put on standby, battery life lasts up to 500 hours.
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Fish Finder
There are several factors you need to consider before purchasing your own fish finder. The most important one probably is that it should successfully locate the kind of fish you are hunting for. Ease of use, durability, and reliability are also included. But most fishermen are very specific. Other than the comparisons mentioned above, here are the things fishermen look at and compare.
- Transducers—These are an important part that sends and receives sonar signals underwater. You should also consider the frequency at which a transducer
- Cone Angle—This represents how wide of a “net” the signal will cast after it has been deploWyed into the water. Cone angles usually range between 15o and 20 o. Some use multiple cones.
- Display screen—Most recent fish finders now flaunt full-color screens. Colored ones have a bigger advantage as details are much clearer. The lowest recommended screen resolution is 240 x 160. Taking those numbers up would really be beneficial.
- GPS capabilities—Nothing is more convenient than having a fish finder and GPS all in one device.
Overall, fish finders are not a “one size fits all” device. We all have different necessities. We vary on what we look for on any devices. Whether you want to fish on the water or shore during hot or cold weather, there is always something for you. So labeling a certain fish finder as the “best” appears like disregarding other people’s needs.
All three devices have their own strengths and weaknesses. They are suitable for people from the beginner to pro in the fishing field. A piece of advice, get something that will provide you with your need. Extra features can get confusing and frustrating for some anglers. Just study each one closely and pick the one that will give the results you demand.
We hope that you find this review helpful. We hope you will have a great fishing time.