How to determine bottom hardness

Understanding whether the bottom is soft or hard can be crucial when searching for a fishing spot. With Deeper PRO and CHIRP series, determining the bottom composition is extremely easy.

Recommended settings:

  • Beam: Narrow (PRO and CHIRP models) or Mid (CHIRP models).

Note: Do not use Wide beam for determining bottom hardness or features. Wide beam is not suited for accurate bottom feature detection.

  • Sensitivity: 90-100%, depending on how clear the water is. Reduce this setting gradually until the screen is free from clutter and small dots. Keep this setting at maximum if the water is crystal clear.
  • Screen color palette: Day

There are 3 factors that need to be considered when evaluating the hardness of the bottom:

1. Color. The more vivid and bright colors mean harder bottoms. In Day Color Palette, hard bottom will always be shown in bright yellow color. Soft bottom will consist of darker colors, and you will see more blue and red.

2. The thickness of the line representing the bottom is also an indicator of the bottom hardness, the thicker the line, the harder the bottom. Keep track of the color as well - if a bottom line that consists of yellow color gradually turns red, and becomes thicker - it doesn't mean that the bottom is harder in the spot that you are scanning. It simply means that there is a thicker layer of softer soil. Color should be the first factor to consider (yellow = hard, red = medium, blue = soft).

Hard bottom:

Soft bottom:



3. Second sonar return. Sometimes you might see a second bottom line that stretches below the bottom line. This is called a second sonar return, which is an indication of a very hard bottom. The sonar beam has reflected from the very hard bottom up to the surface, bounced down again, reflected off the bottom and been picked up by your sonar. If you see a second sonar return, it usually means that the bottom consists of gravel.