This item is definitely a luxury but one that I am loath to leave behind. Most anglers refer to them as ‘fish finders’ but I think that this title is rather misleading. Any of the units that I have used either do not show up fish or they misinterpret the returned signals. Perhaps this is because I have only used cheaper models and can’t afford the luxury of a top of the range kit? What they do show very effectively is structure on the bottom, things like wrecks or sunken trees as well as steep drop off and various other bottom contours. If you can interpret the pixels on your display screen you will soon learn to spot different features on the bottom and where you find features, you will generally find fish.
The echo sounders work in conjunction with a transducer that sits below the surface of the water. A beam is transmitted from the transducer down through the water column. As this beam hits anything in its path, be it a log, a rock or a fish then the beam is reflected back towards the kayak and picked up again by the transducer. The electronics inside interpret the signals that are being sent and received by the transducer and converts them into readable data in the form of pixelated images on the display screen situated in front of the angler. They are an incredibly useful tool for the angler and despite what some people believe they will not magically put fish onto the end of your line. What they will do is they will save the angler a lot of time allowing them to concentrate on areas of the water that contain features, rather than wasting hours fishing dull, lifeless expanses of water.
For the record, I have used various models made by Lowrance. Their software and equipment is easy to navigate and understand. If you do wish to buy an echo sounder for your kayak then make sure it is fully waterproof. Easily available from any type of fishing outlet and some of the better electronics shops, an echo sounder should not be difficult to find.