Each fisherman knows how difficult it is to find fish sites, especially if you are in the pond for the first time. Finding a promising fishing spot using a depth gauge takes a lot of time and effort, especially with strong winds and currents. But even after unevenness of the bottom is found (edge, channel, elevation and other interesting places where the fish can stand), there is no guarantee that at the moment there is fish. It is a completely different thing when you use a fish finder. Drop the sensor overboard, turn on the device (it only takes a few seconds) and observe the underwater world with interest. On the sounder screen you will see the full picture: bottom topography with digital depth indication, stones, driftwood, water plants. You can judge its structure by the color of the bottom image. And most importantly – you will see the fish! An echo sounder will show how deep it is, its size and quantity. In the future, having accumulated some experience, you will be able to distinguish between fish (forest bream, pike, catfish).
In winter, anglers often have to drill a lot of holes to measure the depth and find unevenness of the bottom, which is difficult and long to do, especially when the thickness of the ice is greater than the length of the auger screw. To find and lure fish to the hole, you have to spend a large amount of expensive bait. Then you need to check each well-fed hole. Given that the winter day is short, there is very little time left for fishing. Using an echo sounder, you will quickly find a promising place and fish. By lowering the sensor into the hole, you can observe what is happening under the ice, how the fish reacts to bait and lowered fishing tackle. The echo sounder is a compact and lightweight device, easy to use and quite affordable. It can be used all year round: in frost and heat, in rain and snow. It is always easy to choose a model for a rubber boat, boat, yacht.
Echo sounders are divided into three main groups: two-dimensional, three-dimensional and two-dimensional with a wide view. Two-dimensional echo sounders transmit on the screen an image of a layer of water in a cone with an angle of 20 ° directly below the sensor of the device. When moving on the screen, the bottom topography and underwater inhabitants located under the boat are displayed. Three-dimensional echo sounders are equipped, as a rule, with four-beam sensors. Four beam-cones with angles of about 20 ° are located across the boat, which allows you to simultaneously observe the underwater world on the screen directly under the boat, as well as to the left and right of it. The total width of the "capture" in this case is 90 °. The main feature of a three-dimensional echo sounder is the display of a three-dimensional image not only longitudinal (in the direction of
genius), but also of the transverse topography of the bottom, as well as the characters found above the topography of the fish. Unfortunately, modern three-dimensional echo sounders do not provide reliable information about the transverse topography of the bottom; therefore, so far (until this significant drawback has been eliminated) they have been discontinued. Two-dimensional wide-field echo sounders are equipped with three-beam sensors. The width of each of the three conical rays is 20 °. The rays are arranged so that the total "capture" is equal to 150 °.
Objects located in the area of one ray or any two rays are projected onto the screen of a two-dimensional echo sounder. In the latter case, the screen is divided into two parts. On the screen of the two-dimensional echo sounder "Strata View" with a wide overview, measurements of three rays are displayed at once. In this case, the depth of the bottom is measured by the middle ray, and the location of the fish and the depth at which they are (the number above the fish symbol) are all three rays. The letter R on the screen indicates that the fish is "captured" by the right ray, L – by the left ray, the number and symbol of the fish without a letter – by the middle one.
After a brief fascination with three-dimensional echo sounders and echo sounders with a wide view, the leading manufacturers return to the classic single-beam models, but with significantly better images, improved signal processing and a more convenient menu. For example, the new Optima model only works with single-beam 20-degree sensors, but the screen has a resolution of 240 pixels vertically. At the same time, the earlier, most expensive and bulky yacht models had a screen resolution of 200 points, and the Optima class echo sounders in size, cost and the possibility of autonomous use in summer and winter fishing had 130 points.
The leading position in the production of echo sounders is occupied by the American firms Lowrance and Eagle. The products of these firms complement each other. Devices differ in the size of the liquid crystal screen, the possibility of a three-dimensional image or a wide view, compatibility with additional equipment. Echo sounders allow you to view the entire thickness of the water and in more detail its individual layers. Sound signals are provided at a certain depth and when fish are detected; adjustment of sensitivity, contrast, backlight level, etc. The larger the screen and the more expensive the device, the higher its resolution, finer tuning and a wider list of additional features. Of the auxiliary equipment for the echo sounder, the temperature and speed sensors are most popular. You can connect a global navigation module, which receives information from satellites, to a number of Lowrance and Eagle devices. Such systems allow anywhere on the globe to display the coordinates of the vessel, its route, mark points on the route, transmit digital information to a computer.
The operation of the echo sounder consists in a series of sequential measurements and the display of their results on the screen. With a single measurement, the distances to objects located in the "field of view" of the echo sounder — a cone with a full angle, as a rule of 20 °, are determined. The value of the beam width is a conditional quantity and is usually defined as the angle at which the radiation power is half that of the center. In fact, echo-sounders with powerful radiation are able to detect small fish at angles of 50-60 ° at depths of 10-15 m. When forming an image, all objects from the "field of view" of the echo-sounder are transferred (projected) onto the axis of the cone while maintaining their distance from the transmitter . In this case, reflections from different objects add up if their distances from the transmitter coincide. That is, the echo sounder at a single measurement distinguishes objects only by distance, but not by direction. The dark stroke from the bottom fish is inside a wide stroke from the boulder, that is, the bottom fish is in the "dead zone" and is not visible. With a complex configuration of the bottom, "dead zones" always arise, since in places located below the upper point of the observed bottom surface, objects appear shaded.
As a result of a single measurement, a column appears on the right of the sonar screen. The result of the following measurement is similarly displayed: in the rightmost position, a new column appears on the screen, and the previous one moves one position to the left. After processing each of the subsequent measurements, the previously obtained image on the screen is shifted one position to the left, and the freed right column is filled with the result of the last measurement. A column that reaches the leftmost position on the screen disappears. Thus, in the stationary measurement mode, when the vessel does not move, and all objects in the "field of view" of the echo sounder are stationary, they will be displayed on the screen in the form of dark horizontal stripes. If one of the fish leaves the "field of view", then the corresponding strip will be interrupted and, conversely, when a new fish appears in the cone, an additional strip appears.
When the ship moves, the image on the screen quite clearly represents the underwater world. Before the boulder gets into the "field of view" of the echo sounder, only a flat bottom is visible at the bottom of the screen. When the boulder falls into the "field of view" of the echo sounder and all the while it remains there, an image in the form of a column against the background of a flat bottom will be continuously formed on the screen. The horizontal length of the column depends on the speed of the vessel, and the higher it is, the less time the boulder will be in the "field of view" of the echo sounder and the narrower the column will be. With further movement of the vessel, the image of the boulder will shift to the left border of the screen, and upon reaching it, it will disappear. When a fish appears on the edge of the "field of view" of the echo sounder, a thin dark stripe appears on the screen. This is because the radiation power of the transmitter decreases from the axis of the cone to the periphery, so that the first image of even large fish will be barely noticeable. As the fish approaches the axis of the cone, the thickness of the strip increases significantly, it remains wide while the fish is near the axis of the cone.
Then the strip becomes thinner and disappears when the fish leaves the "field of view" of the echo sounder. The ends of the strip depicting the fish are bent down, since the distance to the fish increases as it moves at the same depth from the axis of the cone to the periphery. Thus, when the ship moves, the fish is depicted as a crescent (arc). The image of the fish is distorted by its active movement, and may also look like a horizontal stroke with a short stay at the edge of the "field of view" of the echo sounder. All Lowrance echo sounders can distinguish between hard and soft objects. In this case, solid objects look gray, soft – black. This allows you to detect fish near a hard bottom, determine the structure of the bottom, distinguish algae from boulders, etc.
Fish finders "Lowrance" have built-in fish identification programs (Fish ID). When you turn on this program, real fish images are replaced by symbols in the places where the fish are identified. So, with a single measurement, dark strokes on the screen are replaced by fish symbols, and the sizes of the symbols depend on the signal strength and correspond to the identification of tiny, small, medium or large fish.
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