One advantage of a fishfinder keypad is being able to use it easily when driving down the lake.
One Fishfinder Feature You Might Not Be Able To Live Without
by Brad Wiegmann
You get what you pay for with a multi-touch touch-screen fishfinder.
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 a feature that should be the primary consideration when selecting a fishfinder is how you are going to control the unit. Before you purchase a multi-touchscreen or non-touchscreen fishfinder, you should know what your preference is when operating the unit.
Here is where I’m going to save you money when buying your next fishfinder. Truth is, a number of anglers will never change the settings or even mark a waypoint on their graph. I’m not saying that’s good or bad. It’s just a fact. For those anglers having a multi-touch touch screen, it’s a feature they can live without.
Typically, the price range of multi-touch touchscreens are more per unit because they have a keypad, touchscreen and some type of directional keypad or dial. This allows an angler to operate a fishfinder similar to controlling a smartphone. A non-touchscreen fishfinder relies on front-panel push buttons 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 push buttons 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 honeyholes overlaying a preloaded or upgraded chart. This can be done quickly and easily with a touchscreen fishfinder by filling in letters or numbers touching the screen compared to pushing several keypads to identify the location. You will find out quick that entering data or labeling becomes a tedious task, especially the more waypoints you mark.
Changing the down imaging, side imaging and live imaging sonar (LIS) settings is controlled by the angler, a preset factory setting or auto settings. Truthfully, 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 a touchscreen fishfinder, or would it be better to purchase a larger, higher-pixel-count screen? You decide.
(Brad Wiegmann of Springdale, Arkansas is a professional photographer, videographer and outdoor writer published in dozens of print and electronic media outlets. Every month he provides CatfishNOW readers with the latest information on the ever-changing world of fishing electronics. He is also a well-known guide, podcaster and social media influencer. Learn more about Wiegmann at BradWiegmann.com.)