How to Install a Fishfinder: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Install A Fishfinder

Fishing is a popular activity enjoyed by many, but it can be frustrating if you’re not catching any fish. Fortunately, technology has made it easier to find fish, and one of the best tools for this purpose is a fishfinder. A fishfinder is a device that uses sonar to locate fish underwater, making it an invaluable tool for anglers. In this article, we’ll show you how to install a fishfinder on your boat, so you can start catching more fish.

Choosing the Right Fishfinder

List of tools and materials needed to properly install a fishfinder
List of tools and materials needed to properly install a fishfinder

Before you can install a fishfinder, you need to choose the right one for your needs. There are several factors to consider when selecting a fishfinder, including the type of fishing you’ll be doing, the size of your boat, and your budget.

Types of Fishfinders

There are two main types of fishfinders: standalone and combo units. Standalone fishfinders are dedicated devices that only display sonar data, while combo units combine a fishfinder with other features like GPS and chartplotting.

Standalone fishfinders are ideal if you’re on a budget or have limited space on your boat. Combo units are more expensive, but they offer more features and are more convenient if you want an all-in-one device.

Features to Consider

When choosing a fishfinder, there are several features to consider, including:

  • Frequency: A higher frequency provides more detail but less depth, while a lower frequency provides less detail but more depth.

  • Transducer: The transducer is the part of the fishfinder that sends and receives sonar signals. Make sure you choose a transducer that is compatible with your fishfinder and your boat.

  • Display: The display is where the sonar data is shown. Look for a display that is easy to read in bright sunlight and has a high resolution.

  • Power: The power of the fishfinder affects how deep it can penetrate the water. A higher power will provide better performance in deeper water.

  • GPS and chartplotting: These features are useful if you want to mark locations where you’ve caught fish or navigate to specific spots on the water.

By considering these factors, you can choose a fishfinder that meets your needs and budget.

Required Tools and Materials

Once you’ve selected a fishfinder, it’s time to gather the tools and materials you’ll need to install it. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Fishfinder and transducer
  • Power source (battery or wiring)
  • Mounting bracket
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Screws and bolts
  • Silicone sealant
  • Wire connectors and crimping tool
  • Heat gun or lighter (optional)

Having the right tools and materials is essential for a successful fishfinder installation. In the next section, we’ll cover the preparation steps you need to take before installing the fishfinder.

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Required Tools and Materials

Before you start installing the fishfinder, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials. Having the right tools will make the installation process easier and more efficient. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:


  • Drill and drill bits: You’ll need a drill to make holes for the mounting bracket and wires.

  • Screws and bolts: These are used to secure the mounting bracket to the boat and the fishfinder to the bracket.

  • Silicone sealant: This is used to seal around the holes you’ve drilled to prevent water from getting into the boat.

  • Wire connectors and crimping tool: These are used to connect the wires from the fishfinder to the power source.

  • Heat gun or lighter (optional): These are used to heat the shrink tubing around the wire connectors to make them more secure.


  • Fishfinder and transducer: These are the main components of the fishfinder system.

  • Power source (battery or wiring): You’ll need to power the fishfinder, either by connecting it to your boat’s battery or by wiring it to a separate power source.

  • Mounting bracket: This is used to attach the fishfinder to your boat.

Having the right tools and materials is important for a successful fishfinder installation. Make sure you have everything you need before you start.

Preparation for Installation

Before you can install the fishfinder, you need to find the right location for it on your boat. The ideal location will depend on the type of boat you have, the type of fishing you’ll be doing, and personal preference. Here are some things to consider when choosing a location:


The depth of the water you’ll be fishing in will affect where you mount the transducer. If you’ll be fishing in shallow water, you’ll want to mount the transducer closer to the bow of the boat. If you’ll be fishing in deep water, you’ll want to mount the transducer closer to the stern of the boat.


The transducer sends and receives sonar signals, so it’s important to mount it in a location that won’t be affected by other electronics or equipment on your boat. Avoid mounting the transducer near the motor or other equipment that could interfere with the sonar signals.


Make sure you mount the fishfinder in a location that is easy to access and view while you’re fishing. You don’t want to have to climb over other equipment or reach awkwardly to see the display.

Once you’ve found the right location for the fishfinder, it’s time to prepare the boat for installation. This involves installing the mounting bracket and drilling holes for the wires. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the bracket and drilling the holes. Once the bracket is installed, you’re ready to mount the fishfinder and connect the wires.

In the next section, we’ll cover the step-by-step process for installing the fishfinder.

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Installation Process

Now that you have all the necessary tools and materials, it’s time to install the fishfinder. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose the location: Decide where you want to mount the fishfinder display and transducer. Make sure it’s in a convenient location and easily visible while you’re fishing.

  2. Mount the bracket: Attach the mounting bracket to the boat using screws and bolts. Use silicone sealant to prevent water from leaking into the boat.

  3. Install the transducer: Mount the transducer on the transom of the boat using the mounting bracket. Make sure the transducer is level and facing straight down. Use silicone sealant to secure it in place.

  4. Run the wires: Run the fishfinder wires from the transducer to the display unit. Use wire clips to secure the wires and prevent them from getting tangled.

  5. Connect the wires: Connect the fishfinder wires to the battery or wiring system of the boat. Use wire connectors and a crimping tool to ensure a secure connection.

  6. Attach the display: Attach the fishfinder display to the mounting bracket. Make sure it’s level and secure.

  7. Power up: Turn on the fishfinder and test it to make sure it’s working properly.

Testing and Calibration

Once you’ve installed the fishfinder, it’s important to test it and calibrate it to ensure accurate readings.

  1. Testing: Take your boat out on the water and test the fishfinder. Look for fish and other underwater objects on the display. Adjust the sensitivity and other settings as needed to get the best results.

  2. Calibration: To calibrate the fishfinder, start by setting the depth range to the maximum depth you’ll be fishing in. Then, drop a weighted object into the water, like a lead weight or heavy sinker, and watch the fishfinder display. The display should show the weight sinking to the bottom and then rising back up. Adjust the fishfinder settings as needed to get an accurate reading.

By following these steps, you can install and calibrate your fishfinder for optimal performance. With your new fishfinder, you’ll be able to locate fish with ease and improve your chances of a successful fishing trip.

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