Fish Hunter 3D Portable Sonar Fish Finder Review




Recently there has been an explosion of portable sonar fish finder devices. As a kid angler, I could only dream of getting my own boat and mounting a sonar to it. It seemed like an eternity till this dream could ever be realized. Now, you can purchase all sorts of portable fish finders, including several exciting models that sync with your phone via Bluetooth or WiFi. Many of these can be casted or trolled, allowing anglers to learn precious information on bottom contour and fish locations. 


One of the more powerful portable options is the Fish Hunter 3D. This device is jam packed with fish catching tools, all packed into a ball-shaped sonar roughly the size of a baseball. Courtesy of the guys behind Fish Hunter, I've been using one on recent fishing trips and wanted to share my thoughts on it. I hope this review is useful for anyone considering such a portable fish finder!




As I mentioned, there are a lot of different portable fishing sonar devices out. The Fish Hunter is one of the most feature-packed and also most expensive options currently. Check out this comparison chart looking at how the different models stack up.

To use, first you'll need to download the iOS or Android app. Then, register an account (do this before going out on the water). Charge the device fully with the included unique wall and cigarette lighter adapter (traditional USB attachments won't charge this guy), then turn on Bluetooth, Wifi, and Location/GPS on your phone. Once the sonar is in the water (needs minimum of 3-4ft) it will automatically turn on, so connect to it through your phone's WiFi. Range is up to 200ft, allowing you plenty of room to cast it out or troll it behind your kayak or small boat. Then, select from the multiple viewing modes: 3D Directional Casting, 3D bottom contouring, Ice Fishing Flasher, or 3D Bottom Mapping. All these options can be a little overwhelming at first, so definitely take the time to get familiar with the unit before setting out on a fishing trip with it. 


Unique charger


In short: Directional Casting scans in 5 directions and alerts you what direction and at what depth relative to Fish Hunter probe the fish are at. 
Bottom Contouring gives you immediate 3D scan of the water below, bottom structure, and fish location.
Bottom Mapping saves a detailed 3D map of the region, as you scan it, and is linked via GPS data to Google Maps view, allowing you to view the map of the bottom at a later date when not on the water.
Ice Fishing Flash gives a 2D view of the bottom, with a flasher indicating fish location and reportedly works in temps down to -20 F. 



Fortunately, Fish Hunter includes a Demo mode (great inclusion guys!) that allows you to play around with it when not on the water and become comfortable with the different settings. Do this! 

The Fish Hunter had not one but five different sonar transducers on the bottom of it. This really what sets the Fish Hunter apart from other sonar devices (Deeper, iBobber, T-Pod, etc), as the multiple transducers allow users to create 3D maps of the bottom AND offer the neat 3D Directional Casting mode. 



Keep in mind there are two models available of the Fish Hunter. I received the latest version, the Fish Hunter 3D. The initial model does not come with e awesome 5 sonar scanning feature.


Accessories

Also included with the Fish Hunter is a nylon rope tether (roughly 15Ft), a water resistant phone holder/armband, handy carrying case, and charger. The nylon rope wasn't long enough for pier fishing, and I didn't want to risk losing the Fish Hunter on light fishing line. Instead, if you plan to use this for pier fishing, bring a longer rope. 

So, all features aside, how does it perform?

Swinging into action


Basically, great, with a few hiccups. 
This Fish Hunter weighs 180 g (0.4 pounds). I do a lot of light line fishing and wasn't comfortable casting it on up to 8lb mono and a lightweight rod. Instead, I resorted to chucking it out from the shore baseball style, which worked fairly well. I had it still tied to my fishing line to reel in as I scanned the bottom. It floats really well, and the blinking light helped me spot it in low-light conditions. Watch out for algae, kelp, or other snags that could get hung up on the device.



Syncing was simple; my phone found the Fish Hunter immediately. It maintained contact the whole time I fished with it from the shore, even in choppy surf. Bottom scanning was pretty cool to watch, although once the depth rose to only 1-2 feet, the accuracy seemed off and wasn't consistent. Definitely better to use for 4ft plus water.



 Can you spot the Fish Hunter?

Almost completely reeled back to the shore

The million dollar question: Does it detect fish? YES! I actually dove into the water beforehand and snorkeled around in the surf, found one spot that was loaded with surf perch and other finned friends that didn't seem to want to leave. Came back and chucked the Fish Hunter immediately into their vicinity and it picked them up quickly. The audible beeps as it found them was really exciting and gave fishing a whole-new tech feel to it. In regions I knew didn't have fish by snorkeling them before, it didn't spot any. Sure, this isn't a 100% foolproof way of testing it out (fish do swim, after all), but I feel confident in its ability to spot fish and don't think many other tests on portable sonar devices have been carried out in the manner!

Little too lightweight to handle the .4lb device

The app for Fish Hunter is not only a screen for the device as it scans and a playback viewer for saved maps, but also a social media fishing feature. Here, you can view others catches, linked with Geolocation data and comment away. The team behind Fish Hunter has put a lot of effort into creating a solid user experience and is easy to reach. 

I'll try to post more updates on trips using the Fish Hunter or other reports in the near future. There are a lot of local lakes and other bodies of water I want to test this on and learn more about where I have been fishing. I wish it was light enough that I could easily cast it on light line, but that's probably unrealistic at this time. For now, you can check out the Fish Hunter at Amazon. They also have a lower-priced, less advanced model that has received good reviews online available as well, the Fish Hunter 3.0. Check out their website here: http://www.fishhunter.com/home

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9 comments

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January 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM delete

I really like it.
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March 16, 2016 at 7:49 PM delete

I've always been very suspicious about the fishfinders that are used from the shore. I always thought the best fish finder results are on the boat, but your review convinced to give it a try.

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March 16, 2016 at 7:50 PM delete

I've always been very suspicious about the fishfinders that are used from the shore. I always thought the best fish finder results are on the boat, but your review convinced to give it a try.

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