fish finders for kayaks

The Ultimate Guide to Fish Finders for Kayaks


Fish Finder for Kayaks

If you love fishing and kayaking, then you know the importance of having a reliable fish finder on your kayak. A fish finder is a device that uses sonar technology to detect and locate fish underwater. It is a valuable tool for fishermen and kayakers because it makes it easier to find fish and increase their chances of catching them.

For kayakers, fish finders are even more important because kayaks have limited space and no room for a larger sonar unit. With a fish finder specifically designed for kayaks, you can easily determine the depth of the water and locate where the fish are. Plus, fish finders for kayaks are usually smaller, easier to install, and do not require electricity to function.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the world of fish finders for kayaks and provide you with all the information you need to choose the best one for your needs. From discussing the different types of fish finders available to comparing their features, we’ve got you covered.

The Different Types of Fish Finders

Portable Fish Finder

There are different types of fish finders available for kayaks, but the most common ones are portable fish finders, castable fish finders, and GPS fish finders.

Portable fish finders are perfect for kayakers who want a reliable fish finder that is easy to install and transport. These fish finders come with a small display screen, a transducer that sends out sonar waves, and a battery that is usually rechargeable. They are attached to the kayak using a suction cup mount or a clamp mount and are very user-friendly.

Castable fish finders are another type of fish finder that is becoming increasingly popular among kayakers. These fish finders are shaped like a ball and can be easily cast into the water using a fishing rod. They work by transmitting sonar signals and giving you information about the fish, water depth, and structure. Castable fish finders are also affordable and do not require any installation or wiring.

GPS fish finders are another type of fish finder that is perfect for kayakers who want to track their movements and mark their favorite fishing spots. These fish finders come equipped with both GPS and sonar capabilities, allowing you to navigate and locate fish at the same time. They also come with larger displays that are easy to read in direct sunlight and provide more detailed information about the underwater world.

Key Features to Consider

Fish Finder Transducer

When shopping for a fish finder for your kayak, there are several key features that you should consider. These features include the size and weight of the fish finder, the type of transducer it has, the screen resolution, the power source, and the extra features it offers.

The size and weight of the fish finder is an important consideration for kayakers because space is limited. You want a fish finder that is compact and lightweight but still offers all the features you need. The type of transducer is also important because it determines the quality of the sonar signal and the depth range. A dual-frequency transducer is ideal because it allows you to see both shallow and deep waters.

The screen resolution is another essential feature to consider. You want a fish finder that has a high-resolution screen that is easy to read in direct sunlight. Power source is another feature to consider, as some fish finders run on batteries while others require a power source. Finally, extra features such as built-in GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity, and mapping software are all nice additions that can enhance your fishing experience.


Kayak Fishing with Fish Finder

Fish finders for kayaks are a valuable tool for fishermen and kayakers alike. They allow you to locate fish quickly and easily, increasing your chances of having a successful fishing trip. When shopping for a fish finder for your kayak, it’s important to consider the different types available and the key features that are most important to you.

Whether you choose a portable fish finder, a GPS fish finder or a castable fish finder, make sure that it is reliable, user-friendly, and meets your specific needs. With the right fish finder, you can enjoy the ultimate fishing experience from your kayak!

Portable Fish Finders

Portable Fish Finder

Portable fish finders are perfect for kayakers who prefer to switch between different water bodies without any hassle. They are compact, lightweight and require minimal installation. Portable fish finders offer a variety of features such as fish alarms, water temperature measurements and depth readings with excellent accuracy. Portable fish finders come with portable transducers with suction cups that attach to your kayak. They work by emitting sonar waves that reflect back from the water’s bottom, creating a visual representation on your fish finder screen. With portable fish finders, you can select and adjust the type of sonar that you receive for better accuracy when fishing.

One of the many advantages of portable fish finders is that you can take them along on other outdoor activities like camping, hiking, or fishing from the shore. They also work well in finding fish around structures like stumps, rocks, or underwater vegetation. Portable fish finders are budget-friendly and offer a great variety of features for a price that won’t break the bank.

Castable Fish Finders

Castable Fish Finder

Castable fish finders are designed specifically for kayaks, canoes, and boats. They are attached to a fishing line and can be cast out into the water to find fish. Castable fish finders operate in the same way as other fish finders – they emit sonar waves which are reflected back from the bottom of the body of water which is then displayed on the screen.

Castable fish finders are portable, lightweight, and typically have great battery life. They come with several features such as GPS, maps, and Wi-Fi connectivity with smartphones. Some of these features allow for live broadcasting of results, assisting you in locating and catching fish much quicker. Castable fish finders can help find fish up to 200 feet away, making them ideal for those who kayak on large bodies of water.

One of the advantages of using a castable fish finder is its convenience, as it is easy to use with no installation required. They are the perfect option for novice kayak anglers who want to improve their fishing stealthily and more efficiently.

Fixed Mount Fish Finders

Fixed Mount Fish Finders

Fixed mount fish finders are better suited for kayakers and anglers who take on a more serious approach to fishing. These are permanently installed on kayaks and boats, making them more challenging to install but offer better and more accurate results. They come with extensive features such as fish alarms, depth and water temperature readings, GPS, and navigational charts for tracking and marking various locations.

Fixed mount fish finders use transducers that are installed underwater and emit sonar signals that return to the fish finder display to help locate fish and other underwater structures. These fish finders can offer a broad range of functions to help locate fish at various depths. Users can customize the information displayed from the sonar to help distinguish different types of fish, so they don’t waste time targeting the wrong species.

One of the benefits of fixed mount fish finders is the ease of use once installed. Regular fishing enthusiasts use them to determine the bait to use, where to drop it for the specific fish species they are targeting, and the depth to fish at. These fish finders have an advanced set of features that offer anglers better results in a limited period.

Features to Consider

Fish finder for kayak

When it comes to selecting a fish finder for kayaking, there are numerous features that demand careful consideration to make the right choice. Here is a breakdown of these essential features that you should have in mind when choosing the best fish finder for kayaking.


For kayak anglers who enjoy exploring new waters, GPS features on a fish finder are an important consideration. A GPS allows you to mark spots, create routes, navigate waterways, and even anticipate the movement of fish. Even when you are fishing in familiar waters, GPS tracking can help you stay on course and avoid getting lost. Additionally, with GPS-enabled fish finders, you can increase your fishing productivity by identifying potential hotspots and maximizing your efficiency on the water.

If you are planning to fish in saltwater, consider a fish finder equipped with GPS chart plotting capabilities. These systems are specifically designed to offer navigational tools that can help you steer your way back to port or back to your launch site from offshore fishing locations. Additionally, these fish finders provide depth contours, which are valuable in shallow waters as you can sail your kayak along underwater contours looking for fishing spots.

Depth Capability

Another crucial feature to consider when choosing a fish finder for kayaking is the depth capability. Kayaks are known for their ability to navigate shallow waters, and you want a fish finder that matches this capability. A fish finder with a depth capability of at least 250ft to 600ft is recommended. This is because many kayakers often prefer fishing in waters up to 30ft deep, and choosing a fish finder with a shallower range is much better for such conditions.

Also, you want to ensure that you don’t compromise on accuracy. You don’t want to end up with a low-quality fish finder that misreads structure or fish and cost you time and money. Always opt for high-frequency cones as they offer the best depth readings, even in shallow waters.

Screen Size

The size of the screen on the fish finder is another essential factor to consider. As many kayakers use small fishing kayaks for their angling ventures, having a fish finder with a screen that is big enough to read is necessary. A small screen can be challenging to read, especially in the sunlight, and you want to ensure that you can read the details on the screen without straining or squinting.

Additionally, consider the pixel count, color, and contrast of the screen. You want a fish finder with high-resolution images that are easy to read in any light condition. Monochrome screens with high contrast are easy to read in sunlight, while color screens make it easier to differentiate between different types of underwater objects on the screen. Ultimately, you should consider what is best for your fishing style and the waters in which you plan to fish.

Kayak-Specific Considerations

Kayak-specific Considerations

It can be challenging to find a fish finder that works correctly on a kayak. Kayaks have limited space, and you have to consider portability. Additionally, water conditions on kayaks can change very quickly, as can the currents that affect your boat’s movement and stability, which can also affect your fish-finding experience. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a fish finder for your kayak.

1. Battery Life

Battery Life

The battery life is one of the most crucial factors to consider when choosing a fish finder for your kayak. The best fish finder for your kayak is one that has a long battery life. You don’t want to be out on the water fishing, only to find out that your fish finder’s battery is running low. For kayakers who go on extended fishing trips, it’s essential to choose a fish finder with a battery that can last for several hours or even days. This is to ensure that you never miss out on a catch because the battery life has run out.

2. Size/Portability


Size and portability are also factors to consider when selecting a fish finder for your kayak. Most kayaks have limited space, so you must choose a fish finder that is compact and easy to transport. You don’t want a fish finder that is too bulky or heavy as it could affect your kayak’s balance and speed. Choose a model that is small and easy to carry around, and one that can be mounted onto your kayak, so you don’t have to worry about holding it in your hands while fishing.

3. Mounting Options

Mounting Options

As mentioned earlier, a fish finder for a kayak should be mounted onto it. Mounting it ensures that it remains stable and fixed while you’re fishing. There are various mounting options available, such as the scupper hole mount, suction cup mount, and clamp mount. Each mounting option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Scupper hole mounts are easy to install, suction cup mounts can be used on any flat surface, and clamp mounts can be adjusted up or down depending on your preference. Choose the mounting option that works best for you based on the kayak you have.

4. Screen Visibility

Screen Visibility

Another essential factor to consider is screen visibility. The screen of the fish finder should be large enough so that you can read it easily, especially when you’re out on a bright, sunny day. When the sun is shining very brightly, it can be tough to read the screen. This is why it’s essential to get a fish finder with an anti-glare screen, or a screen that is bright enough to see even during the day.

Ultimately, the best fish finder for a kayak is one that depends on your personal preference, budget, and fishing needs. Consider the factors above when choosing a fish finder for your kayak, and you’ll make an informed decision that will ensure an enjoyable and successful fishing trip. Remember, getting the right fish finder is crucial to finding the best fishing spots and catching the most fish.

Top Picks

kayak fish finder

Kayak fishing is becoming more popular every year, and with good reason. Kayaks offer the ability to access fishing spots that were previously unreachable by boat, they are quiet, and they offer a great way to get exercise while enjoying the outdoors. If you’re going to be kayak fishing, one of the most important tools you can have is a fish finder. A fish finder will show you where the fish are, so you can spend more time fishing and less time searching.

1. Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

garmin striker 4

The Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit is a great option for kayak fishermen. This unit comes with a portable carrying case, making it easy to bring with you on the kayak. The unit features a 3.5-inch color display and CHIRP sonar, which provides a clearer and more detailed image of what’s below your kayak. The Garmin Striker 4 also has GPS, which allows you to mark your favorite fishing spots and easily navigate back to them. The downsides of this unit are that the screen is a bit small and it doesn’t have all of the features of higher-end fish finders.

2. Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp Mega DI GPS G3N

humminbird helix 7

If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, the Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp Mega DI GPS G3N is a top-of-the-line fish finder that offers impressive features. This unit has a large 7-inch color display and CHIRP, dual spectrum, and Mega Down Imaging sonar, meaning you’ll get incredibly detailed images of what’s below your kayak. The Humminbird Helix 7 also has GPS with built-in maps, so you can easily navigate to your fishing spot and mark waypoints. The downside of this unit is that it is more expensive than other options on the market.

3. Lowrance HOOK2 4x Bullet

lowrance hook2

The Lowrance HOOK2 4x Bullet is a budget-friendly option that still offers excellent features for kayak fishermen. This unit has a 4-inch color display and a wide-angle sonar that makes it easy to see what’s below your kayak. The Lowrance HOOK2 4x also has a simple interface, making it easy for beginners to use. The downside of this unit is that it doesn’t have GPS or advanced sonar features like some of the more expensive options.

4. Deeper PRO+

deeper pro+

The Deeper PRO+ is a castable fish finder that is perfect for kayak fishermen. This unit casts out into the water and sends sonar back to your smartphone or a handheld device, so you can see what’s below your kayak. The Deeper PRO+ has a 300-foot range and offers GPS mapping, making it easy to mark fishing spots and navigate back to them. The downside of this unit is that it requires a smartphone or handheld device to use, and the screen can be difficult to see in bright sunlight.

5. Lucky Portable Fish Finder

lucky portable fish finder

The Lucky Portable Fish Finder is another great budget-friendly option that offers many of the features of more expensive units. This unit has a 2.4-inch color display and uses wireless sonar to show what’s below your kayak. The Lucky Portable Fish Finder also has a depth range of up to 147 feet and is suitable for use in both saltwater and freshwater. The downside of this unit is that it doesn’t have GPS or advanced sonar features.

No matter which fish finder you choose, having one on your kayak can make a huge difference in your fishing success. Consider your budget and the features that are most important to you when making your decision.


Fish Finder for Kayak Image

By now, you should have a good understanding of the key factors to consider when choosing a fish finder for kayaking. Whether you are an experienced kayak angler or just starting out, investing in a fish finder is a wise decision that will enhance your fishing experience.

Here are the main points to keep in mind:

  1. Type of Fish Finder: You can choose between a standalone fish finder or a combo unit that includes GPS and other features.
  2. Frequencies: Select a fish finder with a frequency that matches the type of water you will be fishing in, and the type of fish you are targeting.
  3. Transducer: Make sure the transducer is compatible with your kayak, and that it is placed in the water correctly for optimal performance.
  4. Display: Consider screen size, resolution, and readability in different lighting conditions.
  5. Power: Look for a fish finder with sufficient power to provide accurate readings based on the depth and type of water you’re fishing in.
  6. Budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend and choose a fish finder that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Remember, a fish finder is an investment that can help you catch more fish, save time, and stay safe on the water. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are affordable options that can still provide valuable information to help you locate fish and improve your chances of success.

So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring the many options available and find the fish finder that’s right for you and your kayak. With the right fish finder in hand, you’ll be prepared for any fishing adventure that comes your way!

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