Published on March 23rd, 2014 | by Greg
FishHunter: Sonar For Your Smartphone
There are a lot of great fishing and hunting games to play on your smartphone. And we’ve even seen an accessory that could be able to help you hunt (well, that might be a stretch, but it’s a fun simulation of using a bow). But we haven’t seen a smartphone or tablet add-on that can actually serve as a fishing tool, offering an easy way to track down those crafty fish in their natural environment.
Meet FishHunter- the “military grade” portable smartphone fishfinder. It connects to your device via Bluetooh- what else?- and offers some advantages over traditional fish finders, especially if you already take your Android or iOS smartphone. Perfect for the gadget-loving , it adds tracking of weather and moon cycles, a fish encyclopedia, and location tracking, allowing you to log your catches and see your history- so you can head right back to the same spot or avoid that dead area. We liked the maps integration, for the most part, and you can drop pins to indicate various things. And share them as well- it might just make this most solitary of pursuits a little more social.
Installing the app and configuring it was simple, as was connecting to the cute little ball that is the FishHunter. It comes with a battery charging dock (which will give you about six to eight hours of life on the water), and we made sure to give it a full charge before heading out. The sonar transducer floats on top of the water thanks to an orange rubber sleeve (which oddly was packaged separately from the unit itself)- lose this and you’re in trouble though! You can expect your new sonar to reach up to 120 feet, with three different settings allowing you to target where you’re aiming. Usable in many environments- even ice fishing (down to -30 degrees) but also off-shore fishing, at the lakeside, or from your boat, kayak, or canoe.
“Fish can swim, but they can’t hide.” It’s a cute tagline, but fishing even with sonar helping isn’t a game, and we found this out quickly. Granted, none of us are pros, and we had to borrow equipment and rely on the help of guides and others, but the restrictions of sonar quickly became clear. You can only get about 80 feet from the ball before your phone will disconnect, less in rough waters. You’ll spot random obstacles and detritus, as with any sonar, but one cool part is that there is both a “raw data” mode which you can attempt to figure out yourself as well as a clever interpreted mode that does some of the work for you. It’s a fraction of the cost of higher-end GPS and sonar models, as long as you’re willing to use your smartphone or tablet- we’d recommend a waterproof, floating case. There’s no temperature sensor, if that matters to you, and no real speed reading either (but this is aimed at a different crowd). Of course, there are some other stand-alone models in this price range with better range, but generally with screens that are hard to read, less portable, and without many of the other fun features that make the FishHunter stand out. Solid and pretty easy to use, the FishHunter is available now for around $229.