The Electronic Angler/ Part one "What is CHIRP?"

Iv'e decided to start a series on fishing electronics as this is one area that I see the most questions on and misunderstanding from new Anglers. I usually tell people that I can not teach them to effectively use their electronics in one conversation and that they need to spend a lot of time on the water watching their sonar unit "fish TV" to begin to understand what it is they are seeing.

Today their are many awesome units by many manufactures that are relativity affordable, however listening to a sales associate at Bass Pro Shops or like retail outlet can be like they are speaking a foreign language to the novice. I mean what type of unit or technology do I need and what do I want it to do for me. The first step will be in understanding each option and it's pros and cons.


The latest technology to hit the market is CHIRP, although this has been available a few years in a limited number of units, Lowrance abandoned its Broadband HDI series released last year for this unit because of the obvious benefits.

Before CHIRP most fish finders used a single frequency signal, The 200khz frequency has always been considered to be a good frequency for shallow to mid range depths. and 50khz was considered for greater depths than 300ft. Single frequency operation has it's drawbacks, for instance to increase sensitivity to see more detailed returns you will get more clutter on your screen both near the surface and in the water column. When you reduce the sensitivity to reduce the clutter on your screen you could miss or not see fish targets.

Because CHIRP sonar uses multiple frequencies within the signal you get the benefit of seeing more fish targets with a less cluttered display. Better than ever before individual game fish can be clearly identified in and around bait schools and when holding in or a round structure. In essence CHIRP sonar provides for a more clutter free display plus enhanced targets in all types of water.

CHIRP sonar also provides for a continuous range of frequencies in the high, mid and low range settings depending on your transducer model. Because this unit can use more than one set of signals it is important to understand which one is best suited for you and the type of water you will be fishing in.
HIGH setting:
This setting is the most widely used and is ideal for fresh water. It provides the greatest detail for tracking smaller objects like your lure or identifying game fish from bait fish schools. It also helps tremendously in identifying targets on the bottom or in cover.
Medium setting:
This setting has a wider coverage area so you can scan wider areas more quickly, fish arches are larger but it lacks the small target detail as in the High setting.
Low setting:
Provide the greatest depth performance while marking fish targets at all depths. Deep salt water.

Lowrance Built these units to work with their existing transducers so chances are that if you bought an HDI unit you could just buy the head unit and use your existing transducer.

Lowrance 000-11808-001 Elite-4 Fishfinder/Chartplotter with US Basemap, 83/200KHz CHIRP and 455/800KHz DownScan Transducer

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