Sonar Tip: Andy Learns To Read a Flasher Type Fish Finder

Many of us know exactly how to use a flasher and others of us are completely dumbfounded and have no idea what were looking at when we see the flasher-type of fish finder. That being the case, Andy TheCameraMan made a trip up to RadioWorld to get a quick demo and lesson on what, when and how to use a flasher.

Flasher-type fish finders are very accurate and quick to translate what's happening below you. Compared to your typical down-imaging or side-imaging fish finder, the flasher shows what's happening below you right at this moment whereas the others show you what happened in the past (a historical image of what happened). 

Because the translation of what is occurring is so instant flasher's are ideal when your boat is moving at a higher speed and also there are a favourite for ice fishing. 

The coolest experience of this tool is not only do you get a very accurate detail of the bottom and where your lure/bait is but also that you can actually see and predict when a fish strike is about to happen. The presentation looks so confusing and hi fi - but it is remarkably simple and lo-fi. 

If you don't know how fish-finders work, here is a very simple and "lay person" explanation. The transducer is placed in the water and it sends a beam electrical impulses into the water. Objects within the beam will reflect the sonar back to the transducer where it will measure the distance of these objects based on the amount of time it takes for sonar impulses to return to the transducer. This information is then converted and displayed on the screen. Wether you're using a traditional fish finder or a flasher-type fish finder the transducer and sonar functions are the same. The difference comes in how the information is interpreted and displayed. The higher resolution fish finders show more detail and information but take more time to display and interpret it where a flasher type is almost instantaneously.

The sonar is sent from the transducer in a cone shape. Imagine an ice-cream cone coming out of the transducer with the pointed tip being attached to the transducer. As the water is deeper the big end of the cone gets bigger. The typical ratio of depth to cone size is about one third. So if you're in 10 feet of water the circle end of your cone would have a 3 foot diameter. If you were in 30 feet of water your cone size would have a 10 foot diameter. Therefore on a flasher type, you'll have a greater chance of seeing fish when you're in deeper water because you have a bigger cone of visibility.

On the flasher screen you'll see the surface and bottom, along with a circle that indicates water depth. When a fish enters or moves through the cone of your sonar beam a blip will appear. Generally, the darker the blip indicates that the fish stayed in the cone longer. It's important to know that sonar can't distinguish between fish and other objects that might be suspended in the water. You'll anything that enters the cone between the transducer and the bottom, including your lure. This is great for vertical fishing when you are presenting your bait directly below you (such as ice fishing or jigging for walleye). You'll be able to see your lure on screen and exactly how far from the bottom you are. And sometimes you'll even see a fish move from one depth to meet the depth of your bait and you'll see and feel the strike.

Very cool!

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