One advantage of a touchscreen fishfinder is being able to use it more easily when driving down the lake. (Photo: Brad Wiegmann)
One Fishfinder Feature You May Not Want to Pay For
by Brad Wiegmann
When it comes to what feature you might not be able to live without in a fishfinder, it might surprise you.
Dimensions and pixel count will change the display of any fishfinder, but the feature that should be the primary consideration when selecting a fishfinder is how you are going to control the unit. Before you purchase any fishfinder an angler should know if they want a multi-touchscreen or non-touchscreen when operating the unit.
Here is where I’m going to save you some money. The truth is, many anglers will NEVER change the settings or even mark a waypoint on their graph. I’m not saying that is good or bad. It is just a fact. For those anglers, there is no reason for you to pay the extra money for a multi-touch touch screen.
Why your fishfinder is similar to a smartphone.
Typically, the price range of multi-touch touchscreens are more per unit since it has a keypad, touchscreen and some type of directional keypad or dial. This allows an angler to operate their fishfinder similar to controlling a smartphone. A non-touchscreen fishfinder relies on front panel pushbuttons and a directional keypad to operate every feature.
One of the most important features of any fishfinder is mapping. Remember how you control the display is based on your unit being touch, directional keypad or rotating a dial or non-touchscreen. So, moving, adjusting or zooming in or out with the screen can be done by a simple touch of a finger or old school by pushing a directional keypad and pushbuttons on the fishfinder. It’s like having a smartphone or old school flip phone.
The mapping setting on fishfinders allow anglers to mark and name waypoints to see where they have located cover, structure or honey holes overlaying a preloaded or upgraded chart. This can be done quick and easy with a touchscreen fishfinder by filling in letters or numbers touching the screen. But without touchscreen, you will find that entering data or labeling becomes a tedious task. But again, if you don’t expect to do that very often, why pay for it?
Changing the sonar, down imaging, side imaging and live imaging sonar (LIS) settings are controlled by an angler, a preset factory setting or auto settings. This is where having a touchscreen fishfinder makes routine changes or adjustment easier and faster. Plus, an angler is more likely to adjust any of these setting with a touchscreen unit including depth and range in LIS that most anglers constantly are adjusting to see fish, cover or structure better.
In the end, an angler has to decide what is important and what features they will be using. A fishfinder can just be turned on and left on factory settings, however, that is limiting what it’s capable of doing.
Cost is also a consideration. Touchscreen units by Lowrance, Garmin and Humminbird are more expensive than non-touch units. Is it worth having touchscreen fishfinder or would it be better to purchase a larger, higher pixel count screen? You decide.
From Springdale, Arkansas, Brad Wiegmann is a professional photographer, videographer and outdoor writer published in dozens of print and electronic media outlets all across the nation. He is also a well-known guide, podcaster and social media influencer. Learn more about Wiegmann and his lengthy experience and expertise at BradWiegmann.com.