OK, I'll admit it — I actually knew this was an electronics market niche, even before I saw the movie Jaws . But with the advent of GPS, fish finders have not only become more high-tech, they've become a premium product market with price tags up to $3,000. The least expensive are about $80.
Fish finders use components such as transmitters, transducers, amplifiers, and LCDs. The main technology is SONAR and works the same way navigational equipment does (on a much smaller scale). According to the Website fishfinders.com:
- The concept of many electronic fish finders is simple; however, how they actually work is far from straightforward. Almost all fish finders work using sound waves. A small electrical impulse is released and converted to a sound wave, which transmits through the water. Initially, the sound wave is narrow, but as it penetrates the water, it spreads into a beam. The frequency is inaudible to both humans and the fish. When this sound wave hits an object, it transmits back to the original source, and then shows its results on a screen. The device calculates the distance to the object by using the amount of time between the sound wave leaving the unit and returning. Depending on how good the fish finder is, it will then display the size, shape and even give you an idea as to where the fish is located. The display will often show you the bottom of the bed, alongside all plants and sediments. Each fish finder has its own symbol for what it believes may be a fish, and it displays this information on the screen.
I'm no more a fisher than I am a smoker, so I don't have any first-hand experience with this market. (See: Market Niche We Never Knew We Had: E-Cigarettes.) For folks that run fishing charters, fish finders must be an invaluable tool. They are no doubt a necessity for commercial fishing.
For pleasure fishing, though, is it cheating?
Since we are higher up on the food chain and actually have the ability to invent this kind of stuff, I'd say it's every fish for itself. I'd suggest a more high-tech name for the market, however: ichthyoid location devices, anyone?