I used to use them extensively (back when I had a boat). Not to "find fish" per-say, but more to get an idea of bottom structure, water depth, temp, and bottom composition as well as weedline location. I feel naked (or more blind, actually) when i'm fishing from a boat without one.
I use mine at least 99% of the time when I'm on the boat. I have to admit, I don't always use it to find fish - I use it mostly to find structure, especially at night. I can float my boat on 1.5 feet of water and when in shallow areas (like the sunken island at Cherry Creek or in the shallow area at Chatfield), I use it more as a navigation tool. It is also good for finding that drop off, that channel where fish like to hang out, etc. You can rely on it to find fish, but you have to keep in mind sometimes you'll get false readings. It can also be really frustrating to use when you see a ton of fish stacked up and you aren't catching anything!
I do, I do. Honestly, I'd be lost without mine. It would be like fishing blind. Got one on the console and one on the bow mounted trolling motor. Even if all you look at is how deep you are and basic bottom contour, it makes a hugh difference.
I use a Fishnbuddy III on my belly boat, especially at Delaney. It is outstanding for locating structure for sinking lines and for finding fish at night. Cabelas sells a harness made particularly for this finder and a float tube, as it hooks up right on the side.
They are so choice, if you have the means I highly recommend picking one up.
I run two finders, one bow on my electric trolling motor and one stern. If you buy one, go with a quality unit with high resolution as the low resolution units in my opinion don't show enough detail. I use mine to find structure and fish. Some people say you should use your electronics to fish structure, not fish but I don't subscribe to that, I do both. Sonar helps improve your angling success for all species as your knowledge in reading your sonar improves. I have Humminbird and like them, although I would only go with their higher end units as they're lower end stuff is not as good as say Lowrance, IMO. Lowrance is an excellent all around choice and will be on my next boat, not because I'm unhappy with Humminbird, but because of the new LowranceNet system which I think is awesome. http://www.lowrance.com/LowranceNet/LowranceNet_Advantages.asp
i had a fishing buddy sidefinder that i used on my pontoon and had noting but problems, only seemed to work for reading depth, never helped me catch any fish, i think it used to get a lot of false signals. on a big boat i don't see how you could fish without a fish finder though..
When you start using one, you will realize that there are huge areas of lakes that have few or no fish in them. No sense fishing where they aren't. I realize that fish go into and out of areas, but it's still nice to know wether they're in the area or not. I agree that the most important use is to pinpoint structure, but trout & kokanee, for instance, along w/wipers are less prone to hang on structure and more into cruising-just like a bunch of teenagers on Saturday night. Once you start using a sonar, you'll wonder why you waited so long to get one!
I agree, a must have, ice fishing, or in a boat. There is no doubt they will help you put fish in the boat. In shallow water (<10 feet) - not so much - your not going to see fish, the cone is too small, but it will tell you whats going on, where the structure is. In water deeper than 15 feet I would be totally lost without one, you know when there is bait, fish, weeds, structure, a tree trunk, big rock.... Not only that, but after a while you will know if your looking at a small fish, or a big fish.
I use 2 hummingbirds one in front mounted on trolling motor and one at helm (transducer mounted inside bottom of boat in the rear). shoots thru hull and works as well as front by the way. I locate fish and or structure with either and then take a look with the aqua view. Since I started using this tactic I seem to be catching more fish. They also assist in navigation. I do not run expensive units seem to get buy fine with the cheaper 140.00 electronics.
We have a Hummingbird 565 and absolutely love it........wouldn't go fishing on our boat without it.
It might be a little "pricey" for some folks ($203.00), but it tells us all the info we want to know. It is a pretty powerful unit and has a "quick disconnect", so we can take it off of the boat when we get home.
Since we don't know that much about connecting electronic stuff to a boat, we had Aurora Marine install it for us.
So, if you are looking to get a fishfinder (sonar), get a descent one and it will help you greatly.
Cody (cowboyfisherman) & Wife