Lowrance is a dominant force in the fish finder industry. The company has made products that have helped anglers catch trophy-sized fish around the world, and it has garnered a loyal following of anglers who are a little more picky about their fishing gear.
The company’s reputation was earned by consistently creating some of the best fishing products on the market. I personally prefer Lowrance’s higher end offerings.
They make it easy to spot fish, they’re easy to use, and they’re a bit more robust than other options.
In this article, I’ll give you a few tips on how to purchase a fish finder, and then I’ll provide you with a Lowrance Hook 4 review. That’s not all, though. As an added bonus, I’m adding a Lowrance Hook 4X review to give you the perfect alternative if you want something a little more advanced.
Things To Consider
You have to take a few things into consideration when you start shopping for a fish finder. Fish finders are a lot like rods and reels. Some models are great for a specific fishing style, but they often lack the ability to perform well in other situations. Here’s what you need to consider.
Type Of Fishing
First and foremost, you need to have a clear understanding of your preferred fishing style. Do you like to fish on the muddy bottom of a freshwater lake, or do you like to enjoy the bright sun and blue water that the ocean provides? Do you like fishing in the heat, or do you like fishing during the coldest winter months?
All of those things will affect how your fish finder performs, and if you don’t buy one that can handle your preferred fishing style, you may get a sour taste in your mouth and think that the product is bad. In reality, it’s not the machine’s fault. It’s your fault for using it wrong.
Look for saltwater depth ratings and freshwater depth ratings. Also, look for features that allow it to work well in the cold if you prefer to fish during the winter. Most fish finders will work just fine during the summer, but you usually have to buy something special if you want to fish during the colder months.
The depth rating of a fish finder isn’t really important most of the time. As long as you have something that can read more than 150-feet of water, you should be fine in most situations.
However, that is not the case if you know that you fish in very deep lakes or in the ocean, and you’ll want to buy something with a better depth rating if you do that. Luckily, both of the Lowrance Hook 4 models that I’ll be reviewing can scan the bottom of pretty much any lake, and they can scan the deeper parts of the ocean that you’re actually likely to fish in.
Your fish finder isn’t just a tool that you use to spot fish. That might sound dumb to a lot of people, but it’s true. You’ll rely on it to navigate, read the characteristics of the water, read the bottom of the water, and spot fish. You might even use it to generate maps of your favorite fishing spots while you fish. In essence, a fish finder is your personal assistant while you’re out on the lake.
So, you want to make sure that your particular unit has enough features to do its job well. You don’t have to worry about having a lot of bonus features if you’re buying a backup unit or your first sonar unit, but if you’re buying a fish finder to use on your boat frequently, you’ll want something that does more than just tell you where the fish are.
I recommend ensuring that your fish finder has a thermometer, a map system, and multiple sonar systems. If you get one that has more than that, you’ll be happier with it, but those three features are the most important to look out for.
Preventing Sun Damage
Your fish finder is one of the few electronics you’ll ever own that you’ll frequently leave in direct sunlight for hours at a time, but it’s no more resistant to UV light and sun damage than an average cellphone.
So, you might want to invest in a cover that protects it when it’s not in use. That’s usually an extra expense. Most models don’t come with covers. However, if you bother to spend a little extra money, your fish finder will last a lot longer, and you won’t have to worry about replacing it every couple of years. Try to buy a cover when you buy a fish finder. It’ll save you money in the future.
Lowrance Hook 4 Review
This is the base model of the Hook 4 product line. It’s fairly advanced, and it can easily outperform other fish finders in its price range.
The Hook 4 is designed to be kept on your boat year-round, and it performs perfectly regardless of the weather or type of water that you’re fishing in.
It features two separate sonar systems, a powerful transducer, and an advanced display that makes it easy for you to tell what you’re looking at. Let’s start digging into its features in-depth.
Features of the Lowrance Hook 4
Here are the different features that make the Hook 4 so useful.
Two Sonar Systems
The most important feature of any fish finder is its sonar system. The Hook 4 actually has two different forms of sonar, and both of them are high-quality systems that were built using the most reliable technology possible.
First, you get a CHIRP sonar option that allows you to barrage the water with a wide range of sonar frequencies to pick up as much information about the underwater environment as possible. The CHIRP system is probably the one that you’ll use the most. It’s just so versatile that it’ll be your best option in most situations.
However, you also get a down-imaging sonar system that can effectively work in the middle and the bottom of the water column. The down-imaging system won’t work nearly as well as the CHIRP sonar when you’re fishing near the top of the water column, but it’ll be invaluable when you start fishing in deeper parts of the lake.
Includes A Trandsducer
A lot of the other models in this price range tend to force you to buy a transducer separately when they have multiple sonar systems. That’s not the case with the Hook 4. The Hook 4 comes with a high-powered down-imaging transducer that also handles all of the signals that the CHIRP system sends out. So, you’re ready to fish the second you mount the Hook 4 to your boat. You don’t have to buy anything separately.
Advanced signal processing software is included with the Hook 4. The ASP system actively adjusts your Hook 4’s settings as you fish. It doesn’t change any depth markers that you’ve place or anything like that. It adjusts the way that signals are processed to ensure that you can see what’s going on under the water.
With other fish finders, you usually have to adjust your settings manually, and that takes time away from your fishing trip. It’s also pretty complicated if you’re not used to doing it. This feature would have made it a lot easier for me to learn how to use my first piece of sonar equipment. So, I think that a lot of beginners will benefit from it.
With most fish finders that are in the Hook 4’s class, you only get one viewing window, and you have to perform a ton of button presses just to switch to a different view.
The Hook 4 has a multi-window display that allows you to quickly choose from several page presets, and each page preset displays several types of information in a unique way. So, if a particular view isn’t helping you out, you can press a single button to quickly choose a different preset layout. There’s even a three-panel option that displays all of the information gathered by the Hook 4 at once.
As I said in an earlier section, you usually have to buy a cover separately. If that extra expense made you think twice about investing in an expensive fish finder, you’ll be happy to know that the Hook 4 includes one.
The cover is designed to be resistant to rips and tears, and that’s a necessity when you’re constantly throwing sharp hooks around next to it or cleaning bait fish. It’s also resistant to the UV rays that damage fish finders, and it protects your Hook 4 from sunlight entirely.
To use it, you simply slip it over your Hook 4 whenever you’re not on the lake.
Lowrance Hook 4X Review
For the most part, the Hook 4X is just an upgraded version of the Hook 4. It has all of the features that the Hook 4 has, but each feature is enhanced. It also has a bonus feature that advanced fishermen will absolutely love.
Instead of rehashing what the Hook 4 product line is for, I’m going to dive right into the features that the Hook 4X has, and you’ll quickly see why it’s considered an upgraded version of the original.
Features of the Lowrance Hook 4X
This section is going to look very similar to the section that was devoted to the Hook 4’s features, but I assure you that they’re very different from each other.
The Hook 4X has the same screen setup as the Hook 4, but it’s four-inches across instead of 3.5-inches. This is probably the only upgrade that won’t impact your fishing experience in a major way. It is a nice touch, though.
If you read the Hook 4 review, you know that it also has CHIRP sonar and down-imaging sonar. However, the two weren’t combined. They were separate sonar units that you had to view separately.
With the Hook 4X, both sonar systems show their returns on the same screen, and they do so at the same time. This is due to the Down-Scan Overlay system.
Having the two sonar returns combined into one image makes it easier for you to gather information in less time, and it helps make both of the sonar returns look like one cohesive image. You don’t have to have this feature, but it’s extremely beneficial, and I think it’s worth the increased price of the 4X.
Finally, both sonar systems are enhanced. The CHIRP system on the 4X has more range than the 4’s system, and the down-imaging system can read the entire water column accurately. It’s not limited to medium and deep depths like the system on the base model.
Like the base model, the Hook 4X has advanced signal processing software. This is the exact same system that is used in the base model. So, I don’t think I have to talk about it a whole lot in this section.
Essentially, it automatically adjusts your Hook 4X’s settings to ensure that fish, structures, and debris are all separated on the screen.
Track Back System
The Track Back system is a form of recording software, and it’s invaluable if you’re an avid fisherman. Instead of being forced to read your sonar returns in real-time, you can basically rewind the sonar feed to view things that you might have missed.
If you’re like me, you probably don’t stare at your fish finder the entire time you’re fishing. With other models, that means that you’re likely to miss a lot of fish because you didn’t see them when the sonar system picked them up. The Track Back system fixes that problem.
If you’re trolling at a faster speed, and you think you might have missed something, you can watch the recorded footage to see what the system has recorded over the last few minutes or so. You might actually realize that you floated right by a record-setting fish!
As always, I turned to the internet to see what other anglers think of the Hook 4 product line. While my opinions are based on research and use, they are still just my opinions. If you want a second opinion, here’s what other anglers think.
The Hook 4 has been a respected part of the fishing industry for a long time. It’s one of those products that almost every serious fisherman has used at least once, and that’s because it’s so reliable.
Fishermen often praise it for its ability to handle any fishing situation, and its clear presentation of information is often held in high regard.
The Hook 4X receives the same praise, but it’s quickly taking over the Hook 4’s spot as one of the most respected fish finders in the world. Its advanced set of upgraded features makes everything that anglers love about the Hook 4 several times more appealing. Within the next few years, it’s likely that the Hook 4X will be the preferred fish finder among anglers.
If neither of those amazing fish finders appealed to you, or if they’re a bit too expensive for your budget, you can check out these alternatives.
#1 HDS-7 Live
The HDS-7 Live is one of the most advanced fish finders you can get. It’s expensive, but it’s one of the few fish finders that completely blows the Hook 4 out of the water.
It has three transducers, Active Imaging software, WiFi compatibility, and a lot of other features. If the Hook 4X wasn’t advanced enough for you, you’ll love the HDS-7 Live. It’s a lot more than a fish finder. It’s a full-blown fishing companion.
Here’s a link that will allow you to check it out for yourself.
#2 Hook 2 9-Inch
If you loved the Hook 4, but you didn’t like how small it was, you should try out the Hook 2. It has most of the same features as the Hook 4, and it’s built to the same high-quality standards as the Hook 4, but it has a 9-inch screen.
However, you should know that it doesn’t have dual sonar systems like the Hook 4 does.
If you want to take a look at it, here’s a link.
#3 Lucky Wireless
If the Hook 4 models that I reviewed were out of your price range, but you still need a decent fish finder, the Lucky Wireless is a good model for you. It isn’t nearly as advanced as the Hook 4 product line, but it costs less than $60, and it’s quite easy to use. You’ll only get basic bits of information from it, but it’s enough to get the job done.
Here’s a link for you to look at it yourself.
Both of the Hook 4 models in this review are high-end fish finders. They point out fish like they’re supposed to, but they also have several advanced features that make it a lot easier to actually catch something worthwhile.
I don’t recommend them to beginners, but if you’re aiming to upgrade your boat’s capabilities, and you have a bit of experience with fish finders, the Hook 4 or Hook 4X are the perfect pieces of kit to add to your setup.
If you want to look at the Hook 4, you can click here. If you’re looking to purchase the more advanced Hook 4X, you can click here.