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May 30, 2016

Best Portable Fish Finder Review: FishHunter Directional 3D, Part 1

Use FishHunter To Find Fish!

Best Portable Fish Finder: First task

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, to catch fish you need to:

Best Portable Fish Finder Review
Spinnerbaits are one of my favorite search baits!


There are several ways to do that.

  • Use search baits (square bill crankbait, spinnerbait, jerk bait)
  • Look for specific cover, structure, or clues (logs, stickup, weeds, baitfish)
  • Electronics (fish finder)


I thought I’d share my opinions on the best portable fish finder. Here’s Part 1 of my review the FishHunter Directional 3D Portable Fish Finder. In this part, I will discuss what I got in the box. Future posts (once I figure out all the tricks!) will discuss using the FishHunter.

Now, if you have a $50 boat, you probably have a fish finder installed. Though I know that doesn’t always mean fishermen USE them, or even understand HOW to use them. But PRO bass fishermen do both.

No Boat?

But what if you fish from shore, or fish from a kayak, or, like this BassHole, fish from a float tube like device? Then you can use a portable fish finder.

FishHunter Directional 3D fish finder

FishHunter 5 Dual Frequency TransducersLike the FishHunter Directional 3D Wireless portable fish fish.

FishHunter makes 3 fish finders:

Today I’m looking at everything that came in the box with my FishHunter Directional 3D, described as “The Most Powerful, Portable Fish Finder EVER.”

First, the accessories

Nylon cord leash
FishHunter Leash

You get 15 feet of nylon cord to use as a leash, and a small clip so you can attach it to your FishHunter. Then you throw it out and let it float next to you.

Alternatively, you can tie your fishing line onto your FishHunter and cast it out into the area where you are seeking fish.

IF you use a rod AND are fishing from shore, of course you want to make certain you’ve got some strong line and a good knot! Probably braided line would be best. You sure don’t want your FishFinder to break off and float away!

Also, I did cast it out with my medium weight rod, and when I try casting again, I’ll use my heavier rod, because the FishHunter weighs 6 1/2 ounces, which is pretty heavy compared to most lures I throw!

I typically use the leash. I clip it to the FishHunter and then use my own clip to connect the hand loop to my Hobie Float Cat, and let it float out beside, in front, or behind me.

4 Sonar Modes (more later!)

I’ll do another video to talk about using the 4 sonar modes, or at least the 3 I use:

  • Directional Casting,
  • 3D Bottom Contour, and
  • Bottom Mapping.

The fourth mode is for Ice Fishing, and though I did go ice fishing once in my life, well, once was enough for me! But if you do ice fish, the FishHunter can help you find the fish hiding under the ice.

Phone Case with Arm Straps & Neck Lanyard

Waterproof phone case
The Phone Case with Wrist Straps

Next up is the Phone Case. The Phone case is waterproof, and comes with 2 different ways of carrying it with you.

Arm Straps

First are two straps you can loop into the back of the phone case so you can wear it on your arm. The straps are elastic, and are quite comfortable. So when you hear the PING! telling you there are fish nearby, you can quickly glance at your arm to see where you should be fishing. And catching!

FishHunter Phone Case
The back of the phone case with straps

If you wear your phone on your arm, the only photos you can take with your phone are selfies.

The other method is a lanyard you can clip to the top of the phone case, which allows you to wear it around your neck. Then you can put into a pocket until you need it, or let it hang around your neck.


I put my iPhone 5 into the pouch, and it’s already in a LifeProof protective case, and it fits easily. There is still some room, so I think the larger phone would also fit. But if you have a tablet, then you would need some other means of keeping it safe from the water.

One point I will make is that with my other phone case (one I got for my birthday), the closures are so tight and hard to open I need to use pliers or something else to pry them open. The case provided by FishHunter opens much more easily.

So you do get a very nice waterproof phone case.


Chargers for FishHunter
FishHunter Chargers

Next up is the charger.

FishHunter advises you to charge your FishHunter for at least 4 hours before you try to use it or synch it with your smartphone.

There’s a USB cord you use to charge your FishHunter. You simply plug it into the FishHunter on the bottom of the unit. The other end can then be plugged into either a unit which can be plugged into any electrical socket in your house, OR, you can use the other adapater, plug the USB cord into it, and charge your FishHunter with what we used to call the cigaretter lighter in your car or boat (now called a power port). So if you have a trolling motor on your kayak or inflatable boat, and a power port, then you can recharge while you are fishing.

The FishHunter Directional 3D Portable Fish Finder

FishHunter Sonar Device
The FishHunter Directional 3D Portable Fish Finder

And now, the main event! The FishHunter Directional 3D Portable Fish Finder.

Here it is. It floats in the water, and when it is in the water, a WiFi transmitter is activated.

5 Transducers

The FishHunter 3D has 5 transducers that work at a dual frequency so you can view quality renderings of underwater contours in 3D. The sonar will render picture quality images p to 160 feet elow the surface.

FishHunter App

FishHunter App

Before you can connect the FishHunter to your smartphone or tablet, you do need to download the FishHunter App. I did that even before I got the FishHunter, and so don’t need to wait for your FishHunter to arrive to download the App. Just search for FishHunter wherever you normally get your Apps.


  • Easy to connect to your Smartphone, iPhone, or tablet.

I was able to synch the FishHunter to my phone in my home. It just needs to be in water, which activates the device. So I drew a sink of water and floated the FishHunter. My phone instantly found the WiFi link.

  • Easy to use. I took my FishHunter out without even looking at the instructions, and was able to figure out how to work it. However, I got a much better understanding by watching videos provided by FishHunter. To see how the 4 modes work, check out these videos:

==> Click here to see FishHunter’s 4 Great Views <==

  • 5x the coverage area (due to the 5 transducers).
  • Create your own 3D bottom maps.
  • WiFi Data Speed 4x faster than Bluetooth.
  • View depths up to 160 feet.
  • WiFi range of 200 feet.
  • Easy App updates.
  • Great screens. Below I’ve included versions of the images available with your FishHunter:
FishHunter Directional Casting image
Directional Casting is my favorite mode! Cast to the right, 10 feet deep.


3D Bottom Contouring image
Here’s another great view. Fish below!


I'm looking forward to mapping the bottom of my favorite lakes for more information.
I’m looking forward to mapping the bottom of my favorite lakes for more information.

Ice Fishing Flasher
Here’s the Ice Fishing Flasher. Don’t freeze your bass off!


  • 4 foot minimum depth required. For the FishHunter sonar to work properly, you do need to be in water at least 4 feet deep, so it is somewhat restricted regarding shoreline fishing.
  • Not cheap. At about $250.00, the FishHunter Directional 3D is pricey. Other offerings by FishHunter are less expensive, but the features of this version really make it a good value.

 Final (for now!) Thoughts & Tips

Rating: 9 out of 10 (which could be increased in the future)

Recommendation: BUY! 

Buy the FishHunter Directional 3D Wireless Portable Fish Finder on Amazon.

The FishHunter floats, and sends a signal to your smartphone or tablet, depending on which mode you are in. I’ll create more videos to talk about USING the FishHunter, especially when I figure it all out completely!

Directional Casting

Right now I mostly use “Directional Casting.” That mode shows you where the FishHunter Sonar has located fish, at what depth, and where they are in relation to the FishHunter.

I’ll confess I haven’t caught any of the fish the FishHunter has alerted me to, but I will say I’m much more confident that I have some chance thanks to the PING! of the FishHuner Sonar.

Adjust Phone Settings

My iPhone 5’s battery must not be very powerful. So before I use the FishHunter, I always check to make sure:

  • Bluetooth is off. Great feature for connecting to my car while driving, but it drains a lot of energy.
  • All other Apps are closed. Open apps also needlessly drain energy.
  • Camera is closed. OK, so it is another app, but since I take photos with my phone, it’s necessary for me to remember to close the app!
  • Sleep mode increased. Though this will take more power, if my phone goes to sleep, then I have to reconnect to the WiFi, and do everything over again.

Read the Instructions!

  • This Has User Error written all over it! I managed to figure out a lot of how the FishHunter works without reading anything, but watching the videos referenced above and even flipping through the booklet included with the FishFinder vastly improved my success.
  • Click the “Fish View” toggle. I love the fish images, and by taking the advice offered above, I learned how to make sure they are available.

My Verdict?

I definitely believe the FishHunter Directional 3D Portable Fish Finder will revolutionize my bass fishing.


  • Being able to learn the bottom contours of the lakes I fish over and over again to discover structure, ledges, troughs, and so forth, where bass hang out.
  • Locating bass hanging out in deeper water.
  • Finding the depth where the fish are holding, so I can choose the appropriate lures and fish them at the optimum depth.

What’s next?

I’ll post again once I’ve had the opportunity to use these features (hopefully NOT the Ice Fishing Flasher for a while yet!) and let you know how they help.

I’m excited!

If you have any feedback on the FishHunter, or any other fish finder, or any other topic at all, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, ask a question, or share your fishing adventures!

Tight lines!

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

Catch-Big-Bass http://catch-big-bass.com/ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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The Smiling BassHole

I'm a BassHole!Kickin' Bass and lettin' them go.

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Wow! That’s so cool! I didn’t know they had portable fish finders. I always see the big ones when fishing out in the ocean for salmon. Technology is so amazing that we’re now able to use fish finders anywhere even for shore fishing. And I love how all you need is the fish finder and a smart phone to run the app. So convenient! Even though it costs $250 looks like you get professional results and the app has so many great features. I’m excited to see it in action the next time you go out fishing. Great review video by the way! Loved it!

    • Thanks Andy!

      You are so right about technology! Of course I know you are well aware of how great technology and apps are, since you have your own post about an app that predicts earthquakes! I’d think an app that can predict earthquakes is even more amazing than one that can locate fish!

      I certainly do agree that despite the price, this product can really pay off over the years. When you think how much we BassHoles spend on fishing gear, then this is just another investment that will help you catch those fish!

      Glad you enjoyed the video!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi Roger,

    What a great review! I love your video! It is entertaining, very visual and shows how to connect all the dots. What a great invention! Who ever discovered that is a genius! I also think that the Fish Hunter will revolutionise your fish catching as well. I am so going to recommend it to my cousin!!! But i am sure he heard about it already. Since when is this product out on the market? Because i personally have never heard about it!

    Another thing i would be interested to know is how does it change your fishing experience? Meaning as of now it finds a fish for you, you do not need to sort of wait for it…:)

    Yes, looking forward in hearing your experiences in using Fish Finder Devices. As I think it will be a great choice for a gift set for everyone who loves fishing.
    Thank you for sharing this guide. And Good Luck in catching all that Bass.

    • Thanks Joana!

      Fishing sonar, both on boats and portable models, have been around for quite a while, though so far I haven’t been able to figure out HOW long!

      Be sure and let me know what your cousin thinks, and invite him to share his thoughts on fish finders, fishing, and whatever else he may be interested in!

      How does it revolutionize my fishing?

      Presently, all I can see is the top of the water (unless I’ve up at the shore and the water is shallow and clear). The FishHunter can show me the structure of the bottom: humps, rock piles, submerged logs, old channels, etc. ANY change in depth is a spot where bass will congregate to ambush their prey. So now I can glimpse that structure and figure out where to look for fish.

      Plus, the FishHunter actually identifies fish in the area, and what depth they are holding at. Then I can use the technique to get to that depth and hopefully entice the fish to bite.

      That doesn’t always happen! But at least I’m fishing where the fish are!

      Thanks for the comment!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Great Information I was looking for a Fathers day gift for my dad and now that he is retired he goes fishing once or twice a week he would really love one of these toys. technology is amazing the next step would be for it to catch the fish for you. Lol I see that you say smartphone, iphone or tablet but you dont specifically say android, does that app work with android devices.


    • Thanks Juan!

      What a great gift for Father’s Day! Good idea! I’m sure he will love it!

      And yes, the FishHunter is compatible with Android. Just look for the FishHunter app wherever you get your android apps.

      Well, not sure technology will ever catch the fish for you, and frankly not sure I’d want it to! I want to have the fun of doing THAT myself!

      Thanks for the comment!

      Tight lines.

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Thank you Mr Ford for your interesting input. I just bought the Fishhunter 3D, I downloaded the app for my IPhone 5s and created an account. Now that I am trying to learn to use the sonar and the application, at home in a 3 feet container of water, I have a problem. Since you are using the same phone, I guess, you would know what I am not doing correctly.
    After putting the sonar in the water, it does flash to tell me that communication WIFI is possible. I then select the Wifi Fishunter and it becomes active. After that, I open the application Fishunter on my phone but when I try to sign in to my account in order to use it, it answers me that it requires internet connection to do so…. I am connected by Wifi to the Fishunter sonar but not to Internet … since I won’t be connected to internet while on the lake ! What do you think I do which is not correct ?? When I connect to internet, everything works fine but this will not be the reality on the lake !

    • Jean-Paul,

      I’m not really an expert yet, but let me offer a few suggestions.

      First, the WIFI from the FishHunter is the internet connection that you want. And when you are out on the lake, there won’t be any other internet choices to conflict with your FishHunter, at least none that you regularly sign into.

      That said, I have had sporadic issues when my phone says there is no connection, when there certainly should be, to my FishHunter. In fact, sometimes it’s just a few minutes after I was using the unit. I just shut down and start over, and sometimes that works. Why it doesn’t work all the time I haven’t figured out yet!

      The fact that you are using 3 feet of water may be part of the issue. I’m not sure, but I believe FishHunter needs at least 4 feet for the sonar to work. Still, the connection should still be made.

      Here are some FishHunter resources you may find useful.

      First, here is a link to the FishHunter general support page.

      Second, here is a link to how to use the FishHunter Pro 3D. It does say it requires 4 feet of water to work correctly.

      Third, here is a set of videos I find useful in “mastering” the FishHunter Pro.

      Let’s hope the main issue is with the water depth, and that when you get to the lake you connect easily!

      I hope these links help you get started, and please keep me posted on your progress. I’ve still got a lot to learn using the FishHunter Pro myself, so we may as well help each other!

      Tight lines, and remember to have fun out there!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

    • Kris,

      Good question! I contacted FishHunter directly and referred your question to them.

      I also asked them to tell me how I can improve my FishHunter expertise.

      So I hope to share my increased knowledge in future posts!

      Tight lines!
      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Kris,

    I contacted FishHunter regarding your question. Here is there response:

    “The FishHunter will unfortunately not be able to pick up bottom fish or crab as they will look like the bottom structure depending on the view option you are using. ”

    I hope that answers your question!

    Tight lines!

    Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • When you get a new iphone, save your old iphone to use with the Fish Hunter so your new phone’s battery won’t be drained by the Fish Hunter. I’m already using an old iphone to run a GoPro camera. And you’re right, anything communicating with your phone by bluetooth or wifi will drain the battery quick.

    • Good advice, Fred!

      And I’m HOPING we can get new iPhones, maybe this year? We’ll see what the boss (my wife, Brenda) says!

      I hope that answers your question.

      I’m writing a new report on “How To Find Bass Fast.” If you are interested, you can sign up for the report here:


      Tight Lines and Kick Bass!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Roger one more thing – how long does the Fish Hunter work on one charge. Is the battery replaceable or do you have to throw it out when the battery dies?

    • Great question, Fred!

      I haven’t ever had the Fish Hunter run out of charge while on the water. And yes, you can recharge it. It’s like a cell phone.

      That said, I DO find my iPhone (iPhone 5C) runs out of charge when I’m fishing. Maybe because there’s no cell coverage?

      I hope that answers your question.

      I’m writing a new report on “How To Find Bass Fast.” If you are interested, you can sign up for the report here:


      Tight Lines and Kick Bass!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

    • Thanks for the question, Luke!

      It’s about the size of a baseball.

      I hope that answers your question.

      I’m writing a new report on “How To Find Bass Fast.” If you are interested, you can sign up for the report here:


      Tight Lines and Kick Bass!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

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