If you’ve been a on a fishing boat any time in the last several decades then there’s a chance that you’ve noticed a fish finder somewhere on the craft. When I bought my first fish finding piece of electronics the year was probably 1988. At the time all I could afford as a new parent was a base model that had the ability to show blobs of dots in variations of gray on a screen about the size of a deck of cards. The screen was hard to see and the numbers and text so little that the blobs were really all I noticed.

At the time I was thrilled. According to the packaging and sales literature I now had the ability to find fish where ever they were in the water. Hopefully the blobs shown on the screen indicated a big fish, or some smaller fish, or possibly a submerged prop killing rock or submerged log. I was pretty excited when I first used it. I even caught some fish! But now, looking back at the whole situation… I’m amazed I could even read what the blobs on the small screen were indicating.

- Looking for Fish Finders? Look No further!

There were countless things that I did not understand about fish finders at the time and one of them was how water temperature played into the images shown and the effectiveness of the product. We’ve come a long way fellow fishermen!

Old Time Temps

Back in the day when I had my first fish finder I really did not take into consideration variations in water temperature like anglers do today. If it was hot we fished in the shade or deep. If it was spring with cool water in the morning and warmer water later in the day we fished all over the place while hitting crappie on their beds.

In essence, we rode around on the lakes blissfully unaware what our black and white, low resolution, small screened devices were trying to tell us! Yes, there may be fish directly under the boat. But, perhaps more importantly, the water temps fluctuated seemingly at will. My old fish finder showed blobs of fish and other things, the bottom, and a reading of the water temperature in number form off to the side. It was buried under the depth number and a few other readings that I really don’t remember.

I do remember fishing during one of the first times out with my new piece of fishing electronics and my buddy John asked me what the water temperature was. I said “Heck, jump in a find out!” After he stared at me for a minute he offered up the information that it was probably shown on the screen. After I looked for a few minutes I noticed the number with the little circle near it which indicated the number as being a temperature and not how deep the water was.

I know that sounds dumb today but back then we were still getting used to Mrs. Pac Man and Asteroids as well as the first versions of Macintosh computers. Yes, I know that the more expensive versions of a fish finder available in the late 80’s did plenty more than my bargain basement version. But I can promise you that back then more people in my circle of friends could afford the cheaper ones as opposed to the high priced ones aimed at serious anglers, guides, and pro fishermen.

Temperature Readings Today

If I had to pick out one single advancement in the development of fish finders over the years I would have to say that the way the majority of units now read, and show, temperatures is close to the top of the list. The vital piece of knowledge that my old units failed to easily show me was that water temps were almost a living thing!

In the river, or on the lakes, there were constantly changing flows of liquid with different temperatures all over. There was not just one constant set depth where you could call the water cold at one depth and then an inch higher the water was warmer. Today’s fish finders have the ability to more accurately indicated to users pockets of warm or cold water, temperature lines, and how the fish are interacting with them.

You may have no idea that a damn several miles upstream increased its flow or that unusually cool rain fell several miles upstream and those pockets of cool water are now passing under your boat.

The Bottom Line

The average water temperature on the lake or river back in the 80’s would have probably stayed the same on my old fish finder for hours without changing. But with today’s incredible products you can adjust your unit to show averages, thermal lines, thermal changes, cool spots, hot spots, and even see how the fish are dealing with the changes more than ever before.

That’s worth taking into consideration when you’re selecting your new fish finder.

- Looking for Fish Finders? Look No further!

Image: Experience Kissimmee, Florida


Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Outdoor Gear
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