bowfishing woman holding carp with bow

Bowfishing Tips: Before You Get Started and What You’ll Need

Let’s talk about some bowfishing tips that every bowfisher should know for this new-age of the “eOutdoors” (the term is a slight exaggeration, but hopefully it drives home the point).

Check out the bowfishing tips below as well as what you’ll need to get started bowfishing!

Bowfishing Tips

A big step in this growth process of bowfishing is gaining acceptance and coordination within the outdoor community before broadcasting to new audiences. To do this, we need to improve our reputation collectively.

man hold carp with bowfishing arrow stuck in it

Some farmers or local zoos may be interested in fish harvested while bowfishing. Never dump them in public areas of boat ramps.

These first two tips (“rules”) are dedicated to improving the reputation of the sport of bowfishing. And, if you’re new to the sport, these first two are especially important. But, even if you’re a seasoned bowfisher, a refresher is certainly always helpful.

Tip 1: Don’t dump fish in public areas or boat ramps.

Dumping fish in these areas gives bowfishers a bad reputation. Additionally, doesn’t help make the public water access points smell particularly inviting.

One alternative solution would be to find local farmers who may want to use the fish for fertilization purposes. Another option is to dump them on a large plot of personal private land where the smell would not bother anyone.

There are plenty of legal pitfalls when it comes to bowfishing, and you want to make sure all of your ducks in a row so no one is enjoying the sport illegally.

If you want to get really creative, look for a local organization that may be interested in taking on the fish. For example, some local zoos encourage bowfishers to donate excess fish to feed birds and other animals.

You could also eat the fish. But, if the sound of gar fish doesn’t exactly sound inviting to your taste buds, it’s good to know there are still options.

Tip 2: Know the laws in your area regarding species, bag limits and seasons

Be sure to call your local game warden, and they will (usually) be more than happy to let you know what the bowfishing laws are in your area before you have the chance to make a mistake.

If your game warden isn’t accessible, or the thought of doing so seems like too much of a hassle, there are tons of online resources you can find on the subject with a quick Google search.

The final tip relates to all bowfishers both old and new. This is one that was relevant years ago, but it is especially critical now.

Not only does it involve preserving a positive reputation for bowfishing in the outdoor community, but it involves setting a positive example for the rest of the world as well.

Tip 3: ALWAYS be mindful of your surroundings.

Guess what? With the rise of smart phones, everyone has a camera on them all hours of the day, and the internet loves to amplify bad choices.

We lecture kids on this topic quite a lot, but they are growing up in a social media-centric world and it’s just modern-day life. To be honest, adults need a refresher in this course just as badly as the younger generation does.

man bowfishing

Those who bowfish should always be sure to be courteous of other boaters and those who may live nearby.

All it takes is one video of someone doing something they’re not supposed to for public opinion to shift on an outdoor activity like bowfishing.

This tip has a second relevant component as well. Try to avoid fishing heavily populated areas (especially at night). And, if you must be near houses on a crowded lake, try to be conscious of where you are shining your lights.

The same can be said about music. By all means, play whatever you like until your heart is content, but be sure to turn it down for temporarily when you are near houses at night, or when passing another group of boaters.

These things are simple, common courtesy. And, as human beings, we should really try to bring more of this back into this divided world. Lead by example and don’t follow the norm, especially if it’s not the standard your parents raised you by.

What you need to get started bowfishing

Now that we have covered the “dos and don’ts” of bowfishing in this new age, let’s talk about what you need to get started.

If you’re already an avid bowfisher, you can probably skip this next section. But, if you aren’t already bowfishing on a boat surrounded by LED lights and a pricy bow, you may want to stick around.

One of the big concerns we hear with bowfishing is that it’s expensive to get into. However, this is not necessarily the case. Below is another three-step process for getting into the sport.

two guys bowfishing

You can get started by bowfishing from the banks of lakes and waterways in your area. But, should you decide to invest in a boat, you can start by searching Facebook or Craigslist.

Start Simple

Just like if you were going to start learning traditional fishing and wanted to start out simple… it’s no different with bowfishing.

First, all you really need to get started is a bow with a reel and string, an arrow or two, and some polarized sunglasses. This could be a compound bow or also a recurve. Rather than investing in a boat right off the bat, you can “test the waters” by simply finding a bank to bowfish from.

Next stop: A boat

Secondly, once you and your buddies are comfortable with the sport of bowfishing and know it’s something that you will continue to enjoy, you can start the process of looking for a boat.

Obviously, boats can be expensive. But, you can keep things pretty cheap if you hunt for deals on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

Once you have acquired a boat, all you will need is a trolling motor and some cheap LED lights you can buy off Amazon to put on your new boat (even if it’s used, it’s new to you, right?)

A quick search shows us you can get a two-pack of 40-Watt LED lights for around $40. Buy three of these, and you are all decked out and ready to go!

Share your content

The great thing about the evolution of technology is that you can get your start creating content with your smartphone.

You don’t have to start off with fancy cameras and GoPros. Just download some editing software onto your phone and start making movies about your life. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with this, then you can invest in some nicer equipment.

Here’s how you can spread the word about bowfishing: Create great bowfishing content and share it with the world!

If you make videos, we guarantee it will be worth the investment.

When we started 573 Outdoors, we sat at a kitchen table and realized that documenting our lives wouldn’t just be for other people. All of our biggest catches, failures, and unforgettable experiences in the outdoors could be for us to cherish forever as well.

It is something we can show our kids someday and say, “look how ridiculous we were.”

>> Check out hunting and fishing t-shirt designs

You can’t put a price tag on documenting memories with your best buddies.

You can still send in your favorite clips to different pages to promote (and we definitely love to see that content pour in), but it is important for you to start stitching together your own videos as well.

Our fans are who have built us up so rapidly, But, we feel like it would be selfish to suggest you should send all of your experiences only to us. We care more about the longevity of the sport of bowfishing than we do our own business.

The Future of Bowfishing

Today, you can flip on the Outdoor Channel and see all sorts of activities. From bass fishing to buck hunting, the new age of technology has done wonders for the outdoor community via television and online streaming.

girl holding bowfishing gar

Some of the critics of the sport of bowfishing think that it’s too barbaric.

More money and notoriety continue to flood these sports which when coupled with new-age platforms, allows content creators like LunkersTV, John B, Lojo Fishing, and many more to reach audiences one would have never thought possible until recently.

Education Via YouTube

In the early 2000s, most people were only going to discover hunting or fishing was if their family member or friend introduced them to it.

Now, you can type “fishing” into the YouTube search bar and learn all about traditional and lesser-known types of fishing from scratch within hours. This opens up an entirely new world of possibilities for kids who aren’t fortunate enough to grow up in the great outdoors.

While these are certainly exciting times in the outdoor industry, one outdoor sport has been slower to gain an online identity… bowfishing.

young kids shooting at archery target

Kids are starting younger than ever to learn the sport of archery, which positions the sport of bowfishing for future growth.

This is not to say that bowfishing content isn’t accessible, but the people who are primarily posting online content about it are hunters and bass fishermen who try to shake things up for their fans while enjoying the occasional bowfishing outing.

While technology has allowed many hunting and fishing content creators do a great job, the sport is really missing its own creators dedicated solely to bowfishing, just as there are many YouTubers, bloggers, and podcasters dedicated to bass fishing or deer hunting.

This could be due to stereotypes that often plague the sport, or simply because no one has taken that leap of faith yet into uncharted territory.

Why Bowfishing Will Thrive

So, let’s talk about why bowfishing has a bright future and why it should thrive online.

If you’ve heard about or seen videos of bowfishing, but aren’t familiar with the sport, you may be thinking “It’s far too barbaric to last; especially as society’s attitudes shift.”

However, bowfishing is better prepared to survive than it may seem at first glance. 

The younger audience is alive and well

Most of the pictures submitted to us are from kids who are still in high school or are recently graduated.

In addition, archery is one of the fastest growing high-school and college sports in the United States. So, although archery has been around for thousands of years, the younger generation is developing the skills needed to bowfish more than ever before. This bodes well for the future of a sport that relies on archery technique. Bowfishing is a much more daunting sport if you don’t have an archery and/or bowhunting background.

Bowfishing: Answering tough questions

“Okay, so we know people can do it, but it’s just so brutal. I mean, modern media can handle hooking some fish, but we are much more environmentally sensitive now, right?”

We are certainly more environmentally sensitive than in the past. But, that’s exactly why bowfishing can find acceptance.

Many of the fish we shoot are invasive species that pose a threat to the balance of the ecosystem. Even many of the other “non-invasive” targeted fish need some level of population control so that the “game fish” we all love to reel in can thrive.

Much like with deer hunting, bowfishing can serve as a means of maintaining balance in our waterways. Since bowfishing can be a powerful tool for conservation, there are not many restrictions in place currently pertaining to the number of fish one can shoot.

This is something we think people could get behind and support, or at least accept out of necessity.

“If bowfishing can grow with the times, and has a built-in future generation of capable participants, why can’t we just leave it be and hope this will be enough to carry the sport?”

In the early 2000s, bass fishing was doing well, but there was a pretty clear divide between recreational participants and its professionals.

Instead of being a passion that someone could pursue, it was deemed more of a hobby for country folk after a hard day at work or in school.

But, then YouTube came along, and before you know it, content creators emerged from the woodwork and took the sport by storm.

man holding carp with bowfishing arrows

One of the benefits of bowfishing is that it helps to control the populations of invasive species.

Many individuals from different walks of life took up the sport. (Remember what we said about archery being one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S? Well, bass fishing is right there as well, thanks to these YouTubers and many others in the sport).

In fact, the founder of our company got into bass fishing, not by watching professionals on TV, but by watching ordinary people take on the sport with a camera in their hands or on their heads.

Bowfishing growth just beginning

Sponsors have taken notice of this trend, and more attention is on the sport than ever before. Many of the tournaments can be watched on a live-feed, and before you know it, we are going to have a generation of kids that saw fishing for the first time on a phone screen.

Just like traditional fishing and hunting exposure has grown with the rise of social media, bowfishing will continue to grow as the outdoor community continues to be exposed to the sport.

But, regardless of how fast bowfishing may grow during this generation, we must be careful not to lose that peaceful connection with the outdoors that makes it so special in the 21st century.

The Path Forward

We started 573 Outdoors to celebrate our friendship, become a part of a fantastic community, and to start a revolution in the world of bowfishing. To do that, we can’t be the only ones out here. We want to create a lasting impact on the sport.

While we love amplifying other people’s content in conjunction with our own, we don’t want to be the only ones (or one of an elite few) shouting to the masses forever.

If we can get people on board with this and gain some traction, the money will arrive and be put into the sport, leading to more popularity and more eyes.

Maybe there can even be a Major League Bowfishing tour someday as there is with bassfishing. It all starts with this next group of content creators, and if we leave a good reputation and try to make a difference, we can leave this thing a heck of a lot better off than we found it, and our sport can grow for the better.

Now, who is ready to jump into the sport of bowfishing with us?

treaver woehr of 573 outdoors
Treaver Woehr is co-founder of 573 Outdoors. Follow on Instagram.
fishing pole bent over

Get In The Fish! | The Best Fish Finders For Every Scenario And Budget

on . Posted in Blog, Fishing

Although the purists out there will say that any fishing technology other than a rod and reel is unnecessary, fish finders are valuable tools to elevate your fishing experience.

Fish Finders give you a pair of eyes under the water. This gives you valuable insight into structure and feeding patterns that cannot be otherwise known.

We will be going over the best fish finders in several categories. Because your fishing needs will vary, certain options may be better for the job than others.

largemouth bass near wood structure

The fish are there… you just need to find them. Check out our list of the best fish finders in various categories!

These categories include: The best fish finders for kayaking, small boats, ice fishing, those of certain budgets, and more! Use this information to make smart decisions and make investments that best work for your fishing needs.

So, lets’ get started covering all the best fish finders in the categories below!

Best Fish Finders For Kayaks

man paddling fishing kayak at dusk

You may not think about needing a fish finder when kayak fishing, but it’s a great tool to help you locate fish, regardless of boat size.

Many people do not think of using electronics when kayak fishing, but it can be super helpful if you can afford it.

So, here are the best fish finders for kayaks!

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

The compact Garmin Striker 4cv is a top choice for those fishing from kayaks.

The Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv is the best fish finder for a kayak if you are okay with a smaller screen and more compact design.

These are very small but pack a punch in terms of quality and performance. The Striker 4cv is a great option for smaller kayaks and anglers who want something that takes up less space.

The Striker Vivid 4cv has dual frequency sonar, a water temperature log and graph, and a split-screen zoom, among other features.

Garmin is a leading brand in the space, so going with the Striker is a worthwhile investment for your kayak fishing adventures.


Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot

The Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot from Lowrance is a great choice for kayak fishers who want an easily visible screen that can also be mounted in minutes to stay out of the way when needed.

The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 SplitShot has a 5-inch waterproof screen that sports a a coating that will help make the screen remain visible even in direct light.

You can also get an installation kit from Lowrance that can be installed in minutes so that the fish finder stays out of your way while kayak fishing.

Lowrance is another established brand, but it tends to be a little more affordable than the others, which is nice.


Best Fish Finders For Canoes

Canoes generally do not have fish finders on them, but if you like to fish from canoes, it may be a worthwhile investment.

Because there might not be a lot of mounting space or need for one on a canoe, some of the more compact fish finders are best.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

Because of its compactness, the Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv makes another appearance as one of the best fish finders for canoes.

Because there is a fair bit of crossover between kayaks and canoes, the Garmin Striker is the best for both.

Because of the compact design and great performance, it can be affixed to your canoe with ease.

Plus, the size allows for a smaller price tag.

This is such a good fish finder, that you will see it again later in the list!

Deeper Pro+ With Smart Sonar

deeper pro smart sonar

The Deeper Pro+ with Smart Sonar is portable and will not take up space inside the canoe, making it a great option for canoe fishing.

One of the more unique offerings is the Deeper Pro + Smart Sonar.

This is a castable fish finder that goes out, maps the area, and uses GPS to give you a good sense of your surroundings.

This is a great canoe option because it is very portable and does not require any mounting or real space in the canoe.

In addition to the built-in GPS, the Deeper Pro+ sports on-shore mapping, a 330-foot cast range and a scanning depth of 260 ft.

It also requires no internet to operate.


Best Fish Finders For Small Boats

Smaller boats, like those of kayaks and canoes, do not need fish finders designed for bigger rigs. This will be overkill and misuse of resources.

So, knowing what the best fish finders for small boats are, you can make a more informed decision.

Lowrance HOOK2 4x with Bullet Transducer

lowrance hook2 bullet fish finder

HOOK² 4x with Bullet Transducer and GPS Plotter is a great option for small boats with a limited storage space.

If you know you will be in smaller bodies of water in a smaller boat, the Lowrance HOOK2 Bullet is a great option.

This is a portable fish finder that comes in a carrying case with spots for a couple of tackle trays.

The interface is kind of basic, but it has everything you would need on a small boat.

It’s available in screens from 4-12″ and it has an easy-to-use interface with quick access key functions.

It comes with a 1-year warranty and also offers a 5-year upgrade, where you can upgrade to a newer model anytime within a 5-year period for a discounted price.


Joywee Phiradar

joywee phiradar

The Phiradar from Joywee is a great option for the cost-conscious small-boat fisherman.

If you want to save a bunch of space and money, the Joywee Phiradar is a decent option.

The screen is small and basic (3.5 inches), but it will show contoured bottoms and fish in the water column, which is enough for many anglers.

It has a depth reading of up to 984 ft. as well as a bottom contour and water temperature indicator.

Its strong point is the sonar system that lets the fish finder work well in many types of water and conditions.


Best Fish Finders Under $500

If you have a moderate budget, but you are still looking for high quality, the $500 and under price range is best.

You can get some excellent fish finders in the $350-500 range. There are even some that fit there that rival the $1000+ fish finders.

Let’s take a look…

Humminbird Helix 5

humminbird helix 5

The Humminbird Helix 5 is one of the best fish finders for under $500, featuring Down Imaging. that gives you timber, brush, rocks and other structure imagery in great detail.

The Helix is Humminbird’s mainstay line, so going with this is a great choice.

It packs a serious punch when it comes to value as it has all that Humminbird is known for, usually under $400.

The screen is not that big (5″), but it has super clear imagery and has sonar systems to provide anything you need on the water.

It has all of the bells and whistles you would expect out of a fish finder at this price range.


Garmin Striker Plus 7SV

garmin striker plus 7sv

The Garmin Striker Plus 7SV sports a 7″ screen and built-in wi-fi, and comes in just under $500.

The Garmin Striker Plus 7SV is a more expensive and larger fish finder than the other two previously mentioned Garmins.

The 7SV has a more traditional display that has more functions than the other models.

This comes in right around $500 and has a 7-inch, easy-to-use display.

It has built-in wi-fi for access to the ActiveCaptain™ app so you can receive smart notifications as well as the Quickdraw Contours Community. It also allows you to transfer waypoints and provides access to software update alerts.


Best Fish Finders Under $200

Sometimes, you just need something to get the job done while not breaking the bank.

For those on a budfet, here are the best fish finders under $200.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

garmin striker vivid 4cv

The Vivid 4cv makes the list again, this time for one of the best fish finders under $200.

This is the third time we have seen the Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv and for good reason. Coming in under $200, this is the best budget, small fish finder on the market.

This fish finder has GPS and enough tools to get the job done without bankrupting your fishing fund.

It travels well, can be found all over the place, and is affordable.

What more could you want?

Lowrance HOOK2 4x

lowrance hook2 bullet fish finder

The HOOK² 4x with Bullet Transducer makes another appearance in the Best Fish Finders under $200 list.

Another repeat mention is the Lowrance HOOK2 4x with Bullet Transducer.

This is one of the only traditionally-shaped fish finders of this size under $200.

It is outfitted with GPS and is considered one of the easiest fish finders to operate.

This is a huge perk, considering it is catered to beginners who are on a budget.

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Best Fish Finders Under $1000

Although there are fish finders over $1000, most of them are overkill or designed for bigger rigs than the usual fishing boat.

Even if you are a hardcore bass angler, for example, you can find proper electronics for under $1000 in cost.

Here are the best fish finders under $1000 that will be worth your while.

Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2

lowrance elite-9 Ti2

The Lowrance Elite-9 Ti2 can display up to 3 inputs on the screen at one time, putting high value fishing information at your fingertips.

Although Lowrance has a reputation for being a more affordable brand, they do have a couple of high-end models.

This is where the Elite-9 Ti2.

It uses active imagining to up to 3 inputs on the screen at once, so you get the most of the information at your disposal.

Features include Lowrance’s highest quality sonar, real-time mapping, an easy-to-use touch screen, and can be integrated with a trolling motor.

This is a little under $1000, but it includes just about anything you need regardless of boat size or fishing endeavors.



simrad GO7 xsr

If luxury is what you are looking for in a fish finder under $1,000, the SIMRAD GO7 XSR fits the bill.

Of all the fish finders today, this is the most like an iPad or tablet because of the quality screen provided.

Not only is the resolution great on the SIMRAD GO7 XSR, but the interface is huge.

This one comes in just under $1000 and makes you feel like you are using a luxurious item.

This is a touch screen fish finder that also comes with a handheld remote so you can switch between interfaces with ease and from any part of the boat.

The touch screen is viewable in the sunlight, has a built-in GPS receiver, and can connect with other mobile devices.


Best Portable Fish Finder

If you find yourself constantly switching between kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, and anything else, a portable fish finder may be best.

These can be brought on the move and be switched all-around at your choosing.

We have already listed a few great portable fish finders, but here is a couple that has yet to be covered.

Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT

humminbird helix 5 g2

Although not necessarily “small,” the Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT has a ton of features for a portable fish finder.

Although many portable fish finders can be stuffed in your backpack or pocket, the Hummingbird 5 G2 is one of the more advanced portable options.

The Helix 5 Sonar G2 PT is a fairly large fish finder, but it comes in a portable carrying bag that makes the use quite easy. Plus, you will get more features with this due to the size about other portable options.

It features SwitchFire Sonar, which allows you to choose with the push of a button how your sonar returns appear as it pertains to water depth, temperature and turbulence.

The Dual Beam PLUS Sonar gives you a generous coverage area to identify fish, contours and structure. You can toggle between narrow and wide beam or view them side-by-side.


Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4

humminbird piranhamax 4

The Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is a sleek, hand-held fish finder option for those looking for portability and affordability.

If you are looking for a more traditional, hand-held portable fish finder, the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 is a top option.

The PiranhaMAX 4 can easily fit in your tackle box and be temporarily mounted wherever you need it.

Despite being affordable and portable, it has excellent mapping skills and can even find fish up to 600 feet deep.

Features include dual beam sonar, tilt and swivel mounting and a 1-year warranty.


Best Fish Finders For Crappie

Crappie are super fun fish to catch, and changing your fish finder choice slightly is important. They are smaller than bass and fish finders can be super helpful for pointing them out on the water.

Below are a couple of fish finders that can work with any species, but excel when targeting crappie.

Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro

raymarine dragonfly 7 pro

The Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro provides photo-like images, which can help identify smaller fish like crappie.

Although the Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Pro is not a huge fish finder, it brings great value to your crappie fishing.

The wide spectrum CHIRP sonar system is great for mapping smaller fish like crappie very clearly and accurately. This, along with some other great features, like built-in wi-fi and online sonar image sharing, makes the Dragonfly 7 Pro fish finder worth checking out.

The Dragonfly 7 generates photo-like sonar images with incredible clarity. It can scan up to 600 ft. deep.

Be aware, though, there are no charts included in the software.


iBobber Wireless Smart Fish Finder

ibobber wireless smart fish finder

The iBobber Wireless Smart Fish finder can be used in kayaks or small boats and is a great option for crappie fishing.

Another fish finder that is using modern technology and a more unique way to map is the iBobber Wireless Smart Fish Finder.

You may not always be using a boat when crappie fishing, or, if you are, it might be a small Jon boat or kayak.

The iBobber is a fish finder that uses a bobber with simple, sonar technology to move information from the water to the app on your phone. It is super portable and great for crappie fishing.


Best Fish Finders For Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a unique subset of the fishing culture. When going through ice, you are automatically fighting an uphill battle.

Using a fish finder is crucial to see under the ice and increase your chances of hooking into a great fish.

Garmin LiveScope

garmin livescope fish finder

The Garmin LiveScope is pricey, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better fish finder for ice fishing.

The Garmin LiveScope is the best ice fish finder on the market as it has the necessary technology and protection to accompany you on the ice.

The 9-inch screen is so accurate that you can watch your lure go down into the water column and a fish eat it in real time!

This is probably the most expensive fish finder on the list, but it will also last the longest and bring an incredible user experience.


Humminbird ICE-55 Color Flasher

humminbrid ice-55 color flasher

The Humminbird ICE-55 Flasher is different than all the other fish finders on this list, but it uses less energy.

If the fancy screens and top-notch fish finders cost a bit too much money, a color flasher may be in the cards.

The Humminbird ICE-55 is a great option for fishing through the cold, hard water.

Reading the information and the lights has a bit of a learning curve, but it is well worth the effort once you master it.

Since there is no screen like the traditional fish finder, this one requires less energy and a totally different way of interpreting the information.

Best Fish Finders With GPS

The better fish finders on the market will be equipped with GPS. This allows you to map bodies of water, mark hotspots, and learn a lot about the area you are in. Here are the best fish finders with GPS!

Humminbird Helix 5

humminbird helix 5

The Helix 5 from Humminbird is a GPS powerhouse, with the ability to store 2500 waypoints.

The Helix 5 has been already featured, and it shows up again for good reason.

This fish finder is outfitted with a fantastic GPS that allows you to store 2500 waypoints, 20,000 track points, and so much more.

You can do a lot with the system, so the investment is well worth it. Along with the GPS, it has a great sonar system and interfaces for ease of use.

Lowrance HDS-Live

lowrance HDS-Live

The HDS-Live is one of Lowrance’s more costly models, but its imaging is top-notch and it features preloaded C-MAP® Contour+ mapping.

The Lowrance HDS-Live is a high-end fish finder outfitted with GPS and active imaging.

These two aspects alone bring a ton of value into the purchase. This is one of Lowrance’s most expensive models, so be prepared to spend some money for those add-ons.

If this is something you can afford, the Lowrance HDS-Live imaging fish finder is an excellent option.


Closing Thoughts On Best Fish Finders

The fish finder you choose needs to fit your needs, budget, and fishing scenarios.

If you can hit all three of those points, you have found the best option for you!

Listed above are the best fish finders in a number of important categories. We hope you find the one that’s right for you… happy fishing!

fish cleaning table full of crappie

How to filet crappie like a pro [TWO different ways!]

Crappie are fun to catch and an incredible-tasting freshwater fish. Many fisherman try to filet crappie, only to be frustrated (especially on the smaller ones), as they typically do not have as large of a filet as a largemouth bass or striped bass, for example.

In this article, I’m going to show you step-by-step how to filet a crappie. I’m going to show you two different ways on the same fish.

black crappie being held

Below are two different ways to clean crappie like a pro!

How To Clean Crappie Step-By-Step

Time needed: 3 minutes.

How to Filet crappie (2 ways)

  1. Cut down backbone with filet knife

    Make an incision at the head, turn the knife and follow the bones of the spine with the tip of the knife. Cut all the way down past the tail.

    how to clean crappie step 1

  2. Cut the underside of the crappie.

    Make another incision, this time from the bottom of the fish between tail and anal fin. Run the tip of your filet knife all the way to the pelvic fin.

    cleaning crappie step 2

  3. Filet meat away from the spine.

    Working again from the top of the fish, pull the meat away from the spine, as you use the knife to get meat away from the rib bones.

    crappie method 1 step 3

  4. Once you have exposed the ribs, you can insert your filet knife at the back of the ribcage and cut through it, cutting toward the head. Once you finish cutting at the head, cut the filet off right at the gil.

    crappie method 1 step 4

  5. Remove skin from back of filet.

    Cut down into meat at the tail, holding the end of the tail against the cutting board. Begin cutting between meat and skin, cutting away from you. As you cut, you can move the tail back and forth, which will move the knife further down the filet, until it exits at the other end of the filet.

    crappie method 1 step 5

  6. Cut out the ribcage.

    Once you have removed the skin, cut out the ribcage from the filet. Done!

    crappie method 1 step 6

  7. Do other side of fish (second method)

    Now that you’ve fileted one side of the fish, let’s do the other side, but in a slightly different manner. This time, instead of cutting through the ribcage, cut the filet off the fish right at the top of it.

    crappie method 2 step 1

  8. Remove skin and compare two filets.

    Once you have cut the filet off the fish near the top of the ribcage, it will look like you left a lot of meat on the fish. However, once you remove the skin as you did before and lay them side by side, you will see they are nearly identical. The only difference is that you didn’t have to cut through the ribcage (dulling your knife) and then remove it.

    crappie method 2 step 2

And there you have TWO different ways to filet crappie, both producing identical filets.

These methods works for grouper, striped bass, and many other types of fish. Of course, it helps to have a bigger knife if you get a bigger fish.

Crappie cleaning instructional video

If you’d like to see and instructional video on how to clean crappie, click below!

Learn two easy ways to filet a crappie!