If you’re an angler like me who loves to kayak, having the right gear can improve your fishing experience. One piece of equipment that has become essential for many kayak fishermen is a kayak fish finder. A fish finder, also known as a depth finder, helps locate fish and structure below the surface of the water so you know the best spots to drop your line.
Kayak fish finders come in a variety of styles to suit different needs and budgets. The most common are portable fish finders that you can easily mount to your kayak when fishing and remove when transporting or storing your kayak. Portable finders typically have a small display, transducer, and rechargeable battery all in one unit. These are very convenient but may have limited features. If you want a larger display and more advanced sonar, you can get a finder where the display and transducer are separate, allowing you to mount the display near your seat and the transducer in the water.
After trying out different options, I found some great kayak fish finders that have made my time on the water even more enjoyable and productive. In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about kayak fish finders so you can decide if one is right for you.
List of The Best Kayak Fish Finders
Check out the thorough reviews of the best kayak fish finder below.
The Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5 fish finder features a 5-inch SolarMAX display with 800×480 resolution, providing crisp clarity and visibility even in bright sunlight. The innovative FishReveal combines CHIRP sonar and DownScan Imaging to clearly identify fish targets and surrounding structures with photorealistic details.
Moreover, the built-in SplitShot transducer enables anglers to view wide-angle CHIRP sonar and high-resolution DownScan images simultaneously below the boat. It provides versatile scanning with 83/200 kHz sonar coverage to a depth of 1,000 feet and 455/800 kHz DownScan to 300 feet. Also, autotuning sonar automatically adjusts settings to optimize images as conditions change, allowing anglers to spend more time fishing.
The Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv fish finder offers a vibrant 7-inch 800×480 pixel display with a redesigned user interface and captivating HD-IDTM target tracking technology to clearly differentiate fish and suspended targets . Besides, it supports traditional Garmin CHIRP sonar as well as CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars with a compatible transducer to provide near-photographic images below and to the sides of the boat.
With an ultra-sensitive internal GPS receiver, the Striker 7sv fish finder allows marking of waypoints, creating routes, and monitoring the boat’s speed. Additionally, the built-in Quickdraw Contours mapping feature instantly creates personalized HD fishing maps on-screen with up to 1-foot contour lines.
The Lowrance Elite FS 7 Fish Finder features a 7-inch multi-touch display with CHIRP sonar, DownScan and SideScan imaging allowing anglers to view fish and structure with lifelike detail. Also, it offers integrated wireless, NMEA 2000 and Ethernet connectivity enabling users to build a complete marine electronics system and network multiple displays. Preloaded with C-MAP Contour+ cartography provides 1-foot contours and high-resolution mapping for over 15,000 lakes in the U.S. and 9,400 lakes in Canada. Furthermore, with ActiveTarget Live sonar and FishReveal capabilities, anglers can observe fish responding to lures in real-time for an interactive fishing experience.
The Garmin Striker Vivid 9sv Fish Finder is an straightforward 9-inch color fish finder that provides vivid scanning sonar imaging to clearly identify fish and structures below. It supports Garmin’s proven CHIRP traditional sonar as well as CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars for near-photographic representations. Moreover, its high-sensitivity GPS allows anglers to mark specific waypoints, create and navigate routes, and monitor the boat’s speed to within 1/10 of a mile per hour.
The Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv Fish Finder includes a tilt/swivel bailmount bracket and GT20 transducer which provides CHIRP traditional sonar to a depth of 1,600 feet,CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar with 455kHz frequency, and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonar for a wide-angle view of fish and structures up to 200 feet either side of the boat.
With its vibrant 4-inch 800×480 pixel display,the Striker Vivid 4cv Fish Finder generates life-like fish finder images using bright color palettes and wide 160-degree viewing angles which can be seen even in direct sunlight. Furthermore, quickdraw Contours mapping allows users to instantly create personalized fishing maps on screen.
The LUCKY Portable Fish Finder offers anglers a capable yet compact fish detection system for a variety of fishing environments. With an updated 2.4-inch color LCD screen and dual operation modes(Transducer and Simulation), this handheld sonar device detects fish location, depth, size, and underwater contours to a depth of 328 feet and a range of 26 feet.
Powered by a rechargeable battery that provides up to 5 hours of continuous use, the LUCKY Portable Fish Finder features sensitive 200KHz sonar with a 45-degree beam angle. Also, it displays data in either imperial or metric units and allows users to customize settings for sensitivity, depth alarm, fish alarm, zoom, and more. Additionally, the included transducer bracket securely attaches the sensor to vessels including boats, kayaks, and docks.
With a wireless sensor that can be cast up to 262 feet from the handheld color display, the Venterior Fish Finder eliminates the hassle of installing or transporting bulky equipment. Besides, the display shows key data including water depth up to 131 feet, bottom contour, water temperature, and fish location and size. It offers 20 sensitivity levels to customize based on conditions. An audible fish alarm alerts anglers to potential catches. The rechargeable lithium battery allows up to 8 hours of continuous sensor operation and 6 hours of display time at lower backlight settings.
Easy to operate, this fish finder is suitable for boats, kayaks, shore casting, and ice fishing. Moreover, with a 90-degree sonar beam angle, it scans a wide area to locate fish in lakes, rivers, and seas. The clear display is optimized for day or night viewing by selecting either a black or white background.
The HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder delivers precise sonar readings up to 240 feet deep with its dual beam FishTrax Intelligent Sonar. It produces a high-definition colored display on its 2-inch LED-backlit VirtuView screen with FishID and FishArc indicators to target fish locations accurately. Additionally, its algorithmic programming minimizes false readings and alerts anglers to the presence of fish with an audible alarm.
Designed and developed in America, the Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder offers unmatched versatility and portability for fishing from motorboats, kayaks, or shorelines. It has a operating temperature range of 0 to 160 F and a 15-foot transducer cable. With 100-level sensitivity adjustments, multi-level depth ranges, and auto-zoom seabed tracking, anglers can fine-tune sonar readings for shallow or deep waters.
With a casting range of up to 330 feet and depth detection down to 260 feet, the Deeper Pro+ Fish Finder provides real-time insights into underwater terrain, structure and fish location. Equipped with built-in GPS, the Pro+ fish finder creates detailed bathymetric maps to track the best fishing spots.
Updating 15 times per second, the dual-beam sonar generates crisp 0.5-inch target separation. Anglers can view scans, maps, points of interest, photos and notes on the Fish Deeper app, available for both iOS and Android devices. No internet or cell service is required to sync the Pro+ to your phone or tablet.
Powered by a high-performance dual-core processor, the Lowrance HDS-Live fish finder provides lag-free operation, instantaneous chart redraws and rapid sonar updates at 450×800 pixel resolution through a 7-inch multi-touch SolarMAX HD display.
Equipped with built-in CHIRP sonar that operates at up to 83/200kHz, the HDS-Live fish finder supports innovative technologies like Active Imaging, StructureScan 3D and LiveSight real-time sonar to provide comprehensive fishfinding data up to 300ft depth and 300ft to either side of the boat.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Fish Finders?
If you’re an avid kayak angler, a fish finder can be an invaluable tool to help locate fish and structure below the water’s surface. However, with so many options on the market, choosing the right kayak fish finder for your needs can be challenging.
Determine Your Display and Transducer Needs
The first step is to determine what display and transducer will work with your kayak. Kayak fish finders typically come with compact displays, usually around 5 to 7 inches that can be mounted to your kayak. You’ll also want a transducer that can be mounted inside the hull of your kayak since external transducers can get damaged. Most kayak fish finders come with transducers specifically designed for in-hull use.
Consider Your Fishing Environment
Think about the types of waters you’ll be fishing in and the information you need the fish finder to display. If you fish in deep, open waters, a model with a wide depth range, GPS, and sonar is important. For shallow, cover-filled waters, higher frequency sonar and a detailed display is best. Some models also provide data like water temperature, oxygen levels and vegetation coverage to help locate the best spots.
Set a Budget
Kayak fish finders vary widely in price based on features and functionality. You can get a basic model for under $200 that provides basic sonar and depth reading. Higher end models with GPS, mapping, Wi-Fi and other features can cost $500 and up. Set a budget before you start shopping to narrow down your options.
Check out reviews and ratings from other anglers to determine the best kayak fish finders in your budget. Compare models you’re interested in to determine which provides the best performance and value for the money based on your needs. Look for a model with mostly positive reviews that mention good display readability, ease of use and quality sonar.
FAQs When Picking The Best Kayak Fish Finders
Q: What is a kayak fish finder?
A: A kayak fish finder is a specialized fish finder designed for use with kayaks. It has features suited for kayak fishing like a compact display, transom transducer, and portable design.
Q: Do I need a fish finder for my kayak?
A: A fish finder can be very useful for kayak fishing, but it is not always essential. It depends on the type of kayak fishing you do and your budget. If you fish in large, open, or deep waters, a fish finder can help you locate fish and structure. For casual kayak fishing in shallow, familiar waters, a fish finder may not provide as much benefit.
Q: What features should I look for in a kayak fish finder?
A: Key features to consider include:
- Compact display: Around 5 to 7 inches that can be mounted on your kayak.
- Portable and waterproof: Built for temporary outdoor use and able to withstand exposure to water.
- Transom transducer: A transducer that can be mounted inside the hull of your kayak. External transducers are not suitable for most kayaks.
- Basic GPS: Optional feature that shows your location and the locations of key spots. Helpful for navigating open water.
- Sonar with temperature, oxygen, and bottom contour data: Provides more information to locate the best fishing spots.
Q: How do I install and power a kayak fish finder?
A: Most kayak fish finders are designed for easy portable installation:
- Attach the display to your kayak using mounting hardware or strong double-sided tape. Place it within easy viewing range but not obstructing your paddle.
- Apply the transom transducer to the inside of your kayak’s hull, ideally in a location that will be under water when the kayak is balanced. Secure in place with waterproof mounting tape and seal edges with silicone sealant.
- Connect the display to the transducer using the included cable. Route and secure the cable so it does not hang in the water.
- Power the unit using a 12V rechargeable kayak battery. Wire the battery to the fish finder unit and store the battery in a watertight compartment or case.
- Test and adjust the installation before heading out on the water. Ensure all connections are secure and waterproof and that the unit is functioning properly.
Choosing the right kayak fish finder for your needs can transform your kayak fishing experience and help put more fish in your boat. Overall, the models I reviewed here represent some of the best kayak fish finders on the market that provide excellent performance, easy use, and solid value.
Enjoyed this article on the best kayak fish findesr? Then be sure to check out our other guides.
- Best Hoverboard with Handle: Buyers’ Guide
- Best Underwater Sea Scooters in 2023: Buyers’ Guide
- Best Electric Skateboard with Remote Control: Buyer’s Guide
- Best Hoverboard with Seat Attachment: Buyers’ Guide
- Best Skateboard Helmet: The Ultimate Review
- Best Whitewater Kayak Paddles: Buyers’ Guide
- Best Wetsuits For Kayaking: Buyers’ Guide
- Best 3 Person Inflatable Kayaks: Buyers’ Guide
- Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks: Buyers’ Guide
- Best 2 Person Inflatable Kayaks: Buyers’ Guide
- Best Surfing Wetsuits For Men: Buyers’ Guide
- Best Packrafts in 2023: Buyers’ Guide
- Best Kayak Backpacks in 2023: Buyers’ Guide