Even if you’re fishing from a kayak, you may make use of contemporary maritime electronics. A good fish finder may substantially enhance the kayak fishing experience while yet maintaining the benefits of small-craft fishing. Affordability, fitness, the thrill of close-quarters fishing, and the fact that kayaks can be launched from and fished in almost any type of water are just a few of the advantages.
It’s time to start equipping your new fishing kayak with a productive fishing machine once you’ve received it. A good fish finder will be one of the first things you add to your kayak. Choosing the finest fish finder for kayak fishing necessitates various considerations than choosing the best fish finder for a boat. Continue reading our recommendations and guidelines for the finest fish finders for kayaks.
Best Kayak Fish Finder of 2023
Humminbird – Helix 5 CHIRP GPS SI GPS G2 Fish Finder
Garmin Striker 4
HawkEye FishTrax 1C
Lowrance HOOK 2
LUCKY Fish Finders for Boats
LUCKY Portable Fish Finder with Sonar Transducer
ReelSonar iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder
PowerVision PowerDolphin Wizard (Drone) Mobile Fish Finder
The first is the Humminbird Helix 5, which is a terrific fishing tool but not cheap. I figured I’d get it out of the way before showing you the rest of the excellent list of features.
The CHIRP dual-beam sonar uses two frequencies – 83/200 kHz – to ensure good coverage and detailed imaging, with the beams penetrating to 1500 feet. It has GPS and is powered by a 12V battery that isn’t included in the package.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t the conventional Helix 5 model! This is the side imaging fish finder unit (SI), which is an addition to CHIRP DownVision and will provide a fantastic side-to-side perspective on the world under the surface.
No fish or waterbed feature is likely to escape missed, especially as it also has the largest screen on the list – a 5-inch display.
Isn’t it true that the name “Garmin” drew your attention?
So, let’s see if the construction, features, and usefulness of the Garmin Striker 4 match up to the expectations.
The dual-beam Clear VU CHIRP sonar with dual frequencies of 77/200 kHz already promises above-average transducer performance and detailed data on the 3.5-inch colored display.
You may also use GPS compatibility to make your own unique fishing maps, plan your journeys, mark your favorite fishing places, and navigate new seas.
It features an IPX7 water resistance rating and saltwater and freshwater depth range of 750 to 1600 feet, respectively. So there aren’t any issues there either.
It does, however, require a 12-volt Lithium-ion battery, which limits its portability.
The HawkEye FishTrax 1C is probably one of the smallest fish-finder models I’ve seen. It’s all about portability, with a 3-inch VirtuView HD color display, a floatable, boat-mountable, troll-able sensor, and four AAA batteries to power it.
Fish may be detected at depths of up to 240 feet using the FishTrax sonar’s sophisticated dual-beam sonar and dual 83/200 kHz frequency. Fish Finder, Ice-Mode DigitalFlasher, and Data modes are available, as well as integrated fish and depth alerts, sensitivity settings, and FishArc and FishID indications with exact depth targeting.
That’s a device that fits in the palm of your hand.
The combination of portability and compactness, as well as minimal performance tradeoffs, made this an instant hit. HawkEye fish finder is the way to go if you’re low on space.
This fish finder’s not-so-affordable price tag is difficult to overlook. Still, if you want a pro-level gadget that’s both feature-rich and simple to use, the Lowrance HOOK2 is a good option.
The TripleShot transducer with wide-angle CHIRP sonar technology and both down- and side-scan imaging justifies the price tag — to some extent, at least.
The HOOK2 features auto-tuning sonar, an SD card slot, and a huge 5-inch SolarMAX screen with a smartphone-like menu for easy navigation. It’s also pre-loaded with high-detail US maps and 4000 lakes in its base, and it comes with GPS as standard.
All of this makes the HOOK2 a power-hungry device, necessitating the use of a 12V battery.
This LUCKY fish finder could be the best bet if you want to acquire more complex readings. No, it has nothing to do with luck:
The machine, which is powered by four AAA batteries, allows you to select a fishing mode based on the environment: general, shallow water, raft, ice fishing, or slope. In addition to working as a fish finder, it has several handy extra capabilities such as water temperature and air pressure readouts.
At depths of 328 feet, the single-beam sonar identifies water depth, approximates fish positions, recognizes waterbed structures, and even informs you when fish appear. The fact that this fish finder can fit all of that information into a little 2.2-inch LCD is astounding.
If you want something basic but functional, consider this less expensive choice from the same manufacturer – Lucky.
The wired transducer operates at a frequency of 200 kHz, has a 45-degree beam scan angle, and a depth range of up to 328 feet, which is sufficient for shallow waters. The four AAA batteries last about four to five hours on average, however, the battery-saving mode is useful.
It has fish alarms and a five-level sensitivity adjustment for varied uses. You’ll see where the fish are, as well as the water depth, sand, pebbles, and weeds.
It does, however, have the tiniest display on the list, a 2-inch LCD color screen with an optional backlight, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
The iBobber from ReelSonar is another pretty low-cost solution worth examining here:
The versatile, pocket-sized device uses Bluetooth Smart technology to connect to (and show information from) your smartphone via an iOS or Android app. Oh, and the software is completely free!
The transducer can be strung on a fishing line and thrown into the water. At a depth of 135 feet, it detects data such as fish position and waterbed structure. The built-in LED beacon, color-coded fish icons, alerts, GPS-enabled spot tagging, and trip log are all welcome additions.
The iBobber comes with a 10-hour rechargeable battery, which is a nice feature.
You’re looking at a remote-controlled water surface drone with a camera and fish-finding capabilities. Yes, the PowerDolphin is as pricey as it appears.
A 4K UHD camera, a 0.5-mile picture transmission range, PowerSeeker sonar with a 262-foot maximum depth, and a bait box for fishing are all included in this PowerVision aquatic drone. So, not only will you be able to shoot some great photos, but you’ll also be able to find the best fishing sites along the road!
While the two-hour battery life is amazing for a drone, it may not be enough if you intend to employ the drone’s fish-finding capabilities.
Kayak Fish Finder Buying Guide
There are a lot of sophisticated bells and whistles on some of the fish finders we’ve selected to review above. However, in this buying guide, we’ll go over the fundamentals that will influence how you utilize your fish finder every time you get in your kayak.
When it comes to choosing a fish finder, one of the first and most crucial significant features to consider is the screen size.
As you might expect, a huge screen allows you to see images more clearly without having to get up close or squint to see them from a distance.
However, an adjustable backlight, which allows you to modify the display brightness based on the conditions in the area around you, is a feature that we believe all fish finders should have.
You won’t want a particularly bright screen if you’re fishing at dusk or in the dark, for example, because it will obstruct your night vision and make it difficult to see items.
However, if you’re fishing in the middle of the day, you’ll need a bright, backlit screen that you can see even when the sun is shining directly on it. So look for a fish finder with a brightness-adjustable screen.
Also, keep in mind that selecting a fish finder with a large screen necessitates selecting a large model in general.
So, if you don’t have a lot of spare space on your kayak, a more compact model with a smaller screen size would be a better option.
Touchscreen navigation is now standard on many of the most advanced fish finders on the market. While many of us are accustomed to touchscreen navigation on our current smartphones, not all kayak fishermen will like it.
The more classic push-button navigation, which was more widespread in cell phones and GPS devices approximately 15 years ago, is an alternative. This method of navigating is preferred by some kayak anglers since it may be utilized even if your fingers are wet or sticky.
While a touchscreen may seem cool (and it may work for some fishermen), it increases the chances of dirt, oils, and other material collecting on the screen.
And, if you’re counting on the screen to help you find fish, you’ll want to maintain it as clean and clear as possible.
Consider how filthy, bloody, and greasy your hands and fingers may become while kayak fishing. You don’t want to be rubbing that stuff all over your fish finder’s screen to start your next phase of fish locating or route navigation when you catch and have to clean a fish.
When comparing and contrasting different fish finder models, the technique with which you’ll mount your fish finder to your kayak is also crucial to consider. Some are designed to be permanently installed to your kayak’s stern, bow, or gunwales.
Others are made to be trolled behind or floated beside your kayak when fishing from a fixed spot. Others are handheld units that can be hung around your neck or placed in the cockpit of your kayak when you’re not actively looking at them.
The best kayak fish finders allow you a variety of mounting, trolling and floating choices for attaching, trolling, and floating them behind your kayak. Finally, the strategy that best suits your kayak fishing style will be determined by where and how you fish on a daily basis.
A permanently attached fish finder, for example, can be useful because you don’t have to remember to bring it with you every time you leave the house. As long as you have your kayak, you can rest assured that you’ll have your fish finder as well.
However, when moving your kayak, you’ll need to consider how to safeguard your fish finder from harm.
Are Fish Finders Waterproof?
Although not all of them are, the greatest kayak fish finders should be. That’s all I have to say on the subject.
Putting aside the jokes, you’ll be out on the water, exposed to the unpredictable weather.
Doesn’t that sound like a situation where some water resistance would be useful?
Your fish finder will come into contact with water no matter how careful you are. So, err on the side of caution and choose one with a higher level of water resistance, or at the very least, a heavy-duty protective cover to keep the fish finder secure.
How Will You Mount the Transducer to Your Kayak?
You’ll need to pick a transducer that suits the mount on your boat, depending on its configuration. Some are designed to be fastened to the trolling motor, while others must adhere to the bottom of the transom.
Scupper holes in the hull of many new yaks allow you to insert the gadget through the hull and attach it to the transom. So, take a look at your kayak’s setup and pick a gadget that will work with it.