If you have a favorite brand this will just explain newer technology offered in the market now. Depth finder, sonar, and fish finder are common names for current electronics. The technology of these devices has improved so much in the last few years that now you wouldn’t go fishing without some sort of device.
Sonar is just sound waves transmitted from a device and returned to the device for interpretation. This technology has come to the point where you can see a 3-D image of the bottom and almost the identity of fish and objects. Not long ago you could say there is something on the bottom, but now you can say that is an old boat or reef ball.
The industry is now advancing into side scan and even front scan so you can see objects to the side and even in front of your boat. This is making it easier to locate and properly anchor on structure, as well as increasing your ability to find fish and not spook them from boat noise.
Most depth finders come with GPS so you don’t have to find the spot next time, but you still may want sonar to help find the fish on your structure. GPS trolling motors are replacing anchors for some, as they will keep you’re position without you having to touch them. This feature can make a big difference in the fighting of a fish as there aren’t any ropes to tangle with your line. Navigation is the biggest advantage of GPS as you can imagine, but I still recommend some basic knowledge of navigating by compass.
Cell phones are great for near shore fishing communication, but the signal can be an issue if you go too far off shore. A VHF radio is still the gold standard for most anglers. Local coast guard towers cover the whole area and pick up all local traffic. So for safety sake at least carry a hand held model.
All of this being said, do some research and pick the right size and capability for you’re circumstance. These devices can get into the thousands of dollars, so be smart and upgrade as you can, because a good sonar can make the difference between fish fry and just cleaning the boat again. See these specials.