The importance of best fish finders cannot be denied. Especially, I as an angler cannot resist adding these fish finders to my collection. For newbies, who don’t know what fish finder is about, I’ll explain them. A fish finder is an extremely useful tool (or you may say device) that helps an angler to locate a fish under the water. Fish finders use a technology called the SONAR system (Sound Navigation and Ranging System). It is a sound technology that is used underwater or under marine life to detect objects. In this case, it is used to detect fishes. The results are displayed on a digital screen; that could be either LCD or CRT.
During my student life, I had a very tight budget to help myself with fishing equipment. So I always wanted to go something under $200. Luckily, I was able to collect a lot of best fish finders with different specifications under $200. Today, I’ll share what you can get under this price range to accompany you during fishing trips:
Best Fish Finders under $200
Garmin Striker 4cv
3.5-inch display, with 480×320 pixel count, LED backlight and sharp HVGA colors make up the Garmin Striker 4cv. This pretty device has a feature of high sensitivity CHRIP. CHIRP is another fancy way of saying Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse. It helps you in detecting fishes that SONAR cannot. This is because SONAR sends one frequency at a time whereas CHIRP sends a lot of frequencies at once. This doesn’t limit the catch and benefits more.
I personally prefer CHIRP because:
- It helps in detecting more fishes as compared to SONAR
- It helps in locating the structure
- It also helps in differentiating between obstacles and targets, so you don’t mix it up.
- CHIRP also gives a better resolution and a clear image.
Talking about its body, first of all, it is very portable and easy to carry. You can keep it in your bag or a separate pouch. It weighs only 230g with a dimension of 91.6 by 150.8 by 42.8 cm. I find it really cool and I used to slide it in a bag.
Moreover, Garmin Striker 4cv is waterproof. So it can resist water splashes and rain. I am relaxed and don’t have to worry about the device getting wet.
Lastly, something sad about this fish finder is that it doesn’t have an SD card slot. Moreover, it doesn’t have any screen protection so you as an angler have to be extremely careful with the screen.
To wind up, I’d say that Garmin Striker 4cv is not a bad option u of best fish finder under 200 dollars. I brought it and have used it for a very long period. The only thing that annoys me is that it doesn’t have any SD card slot and I always had to be careful with the screen.
Deeper CHIRP Castable Fish Finder
A rescue fish finder it is. You know why? Because its battery is something that will last forever and it is the first thing that convinced me to use it for a longer period of time. As I keep on adding new fish finders in my collection, but when I got this, I didn’t bring any new ones for a longer period of time. Longer batteries are usually impressive (at least for me because). Without a charged battery, you won’t be able to use a fish finder, even if it comes with all bells and whistles.
Not only the battery time is impressive, but even when I ran out of charging, it took only 1 hour 10 minutes to charge! Yes, you read it right. After 1 hour 10 minutes, it was all ready to serve for 4 hours. Although I was a little tense when I ran out of charging, the experience it gave is unforgettable.
Also, this fish finder comes with 3 attachments. The top-most attachment is used to attach to the boat. The middle attachment is for casting out and drifting in the boat, whereas the bottom attachment is for casting on the shore.
We all know that Ghost Lake is always freezing. When I went there for fishing, the ice was almost 3 feet over 100 feet of water. But its performance didn’t get affected. Despite ice all around the water, the device was delivering correct information on my gadgets regarding the fishes. Isn’t that just amazing?
Ghost Lake is 100 feet deeper; still, I could detect the smaller and larger fishes. It was easy to identify fishes. Its arch system is really impressive.
My Kayak was surrounded by all mountains around me, with no cell phone signals, but still, the satellite allowed me to locate exact accurate large sections of the lake from shore without any inconvenience. Also, it displays the water temperature on the screen.
Unfortunately, the device still needs to be an only half sink in the water otherwise Wi-Fi connectivity won’t work efficiently.
To sum up, I prefer this castable fish finder to beginner anglers too as it is very user friendly. As a beginner, I used to get confused while operating other best fish finders under 200, but this one was the easiest. However, its Wi-Fi connectivity deducts its points.
Lowrance HOOK2 4x
We again got something for beginners. Like for Deeper CHIRP Castable Fish Finder, its battery time was something that I couldn’t resist on, for Lowrance HOOK2 4x, it is user-friendly options that are perfect for beginners. As a newbie, this fish finder was as simple as grabbing it out of the box. I just went through the manual and I was all set to use it. I highly recommend Lowrance HOOK2 4x for beginners.
One more exciting thing for beginners is that you don’t need to figure out yourself in order to find out which settings would be best for the environment you are in. Its auto-tuning feature will do it for you. This is another reason why I recommend it to beginners because newbies might mess up between settings and stuff.
Moreover, the range is an important aspect when it comes to select a fish finder. Lowrance HOOK2 4x covers the widest range among many fish finders under $200. As it covers a huge part of water, you don’t need to randomly move around the water looking for fishes. It will eventually save you precious time and gas.
As I mentioned above that I used to be very tight on budget so, for this reason, I always preferred something that is durable, stronger, and waterproof. My fish finder dealer suggested me Lowrance HOOK2 4x without any second thought. This is because apart from being sturdy, it has an IPX7 waterproofing rating. Just in case if your kayak or boat trips over, this fish finder will get through it. Well, I don’t mean to capsize your kayak (don’t get me wrong), but just in case…
The mini bullet size transducer lets it get fit at every corner of the boat to keep is safe from all sea hazards like water-pumping or crashes.
Ricank Portable Fish Finder
Okay one thing that annoys me in this fish finder is that it has a black and white screen. That is cool for some people but I don’t find it interesting. My dad (who is a pro in fishing) says that black and white screens are actually clearer, but uhh not just in my case.
Well, don’t be afraid Ricank Portable Fish Finder is not that bad. It has a yellow float that is connected to the transducer. It helps in identifying the fishes more easily. Ricank Portable Fish Finder can cover up to 300 feet of water; this means that it can help you in finding fishes within the range of 300 feet (CONVINCED). I used it in multi ways. Like, I have used it in shallow water, as well as deepwater too. So it means Ricank Portable Fish Finder can serve you in both ways.
Another thing that convinces me is that it has a battery time of 5 hours and batteries can be recharged with transducers or handheld scanners. In case you want your battery to accompany you more, you can just switch on the battery-saving settings. So, Ricank Portable Fish Finder is not that bad.
Moreover, the sound wave emitted from the Ricank Portable Fish Finder is 45 degrees. This angle doesn’t have any flexibility but I still believe that is enough for many types of fish catch.
Despite its screen, I am still convinced to use it. But it would have been a lot better if it came with a fancy screen. Although the black and white screen is not a problem for many (including my dad) still I prefer it that way. Secondly, Ricank Portable Fish Finder doesn’t have integrated GPS like other best fish finders. Otherwise, it would have been a lot more exciting experience.
Humminbird PiranhaMax 4 PT
Humminbird PiranhaMax 4 PT is my first choice when I have to fulfill my fishing desire in harsh weather conditions. This fish finder is the most reliable one as it is equipped with dual-frequency SONAR technology. This eases the fishing experience for me.
Okay, so brace yourselves because I am sharing something very thrilling. Not bragging, but it can cover up to 600 FEET!!! Yes, even I was shocked when I came to know this. Humminbird PiranhaMax 4 PT comes with an XPT 9 28 T transducer along with a suction cup instead of trolling mount or transom. It has two conical beams:
- 16° at 455 kHz
- 28° at 200 kHz
200 kHz enables you to detect the fishes up to 600 feet too. I guess that’s more than enough to convince you. What else you need in $200?
But wait, this is not designed for very high speeds. You need to slow down your boat or kayak in order to identify the objects under the water. The speed should be 6 MPH, maximum. But I guess, this shouldn’t be a huge problem.
Moreover, its battery time is amazing. It features 7 AMP battery to accompany you. You can enjoy fishing for a longer period of time. As an angler, I believe that battery time really matters a lot. This is because imagine you are all surrounded by mountains, in the middle of water and you lose connectivity due to no charging. Yet, thumbs up for 7 AMP battery.
You also get notified by an alarm when a specific size fish is detected. Isn’t it cool? Also, you get notified when you’ve reached a specific depth. This is another impressive part of Humminbird PiranhaMax 4 PT. Its 4.3-inch display with 256 color 480 × 272H makes it easy for you to read the readings. One more thing, it gives very reliable readings so you don’t need to worry about authenticity.
One thing that would have increased its efficiency is that it doesn’t have a built-in integrated GPS. You need to purchase it separately. This adds to the cost.
However, I’d still prefer going on fishing adventures with Humminbird PiranhaMax 4 PT because its battery made it worth it.
You get what you pay for. But I tried covering the best fish finders under $200 options that could have been available. I agree that beginner anglers don’t want to risk their money by purchasing very expensive fish finders and ending up by not understanding its features.
Few things I’d learned from my mistake are that always begin with baby steps unless you don’t have a pro to guide you. Secondly, battery time really matters a lot; and this for both, either a beginner angler or a pro one. You just cannot risk yourself by splashing into the water along with your best fishing kayak or boat without any backup.