Kayak fishing has recently become one of the most practiced exercises because kayaks enable you to fish in various places; however, not being able to detect the location of fish is frustrating.
We have to thank the technology guys for they have developed excellent fish finders for kayaks, so that you can enjoy fishing with ease.
There are various fish finders, each with different specifications, so it’s not easy to choose the one that is most suitable to your needs.
In this article, we have managed to compile a list of the best devices on the market, hoping that you could find the best kayak fish finder among them.
List of the Best Kayak Fish Finders:
- Garmin Striker 4 – Best Overall Kayak Fish Finder
- Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar – Runner Up
- HawkEye Fishtrax 1C – Long Battery Life
- Humminbird 5 410260-1 – Features CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar
- ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart – Best for its Strike Alarm
- Vexilar SP200 – Turns Your Phone into a Fish Finder
- Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar – Features 5 Modes Sensitivity Options
Our Top Picks
Garmin Striker 4
|3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 in.||8 ounces||480 X 320||1600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater|
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
|3 x 5.3 x 5.9 in.||3.52 ounces||–|
HawkEye Fishtrax 1C
|6 x 3 x 2 in.||10.2 ounces||–|
Humminbird 5 410260-1
|1.1 x 7.5 x 4.3 in.||9 lbs.||800 x 400||1500 feet|
ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart
|2 x 2 x 1 in.||0.16 ounces|
|7.2 x 3.8 x 5.8 in.||1 lb.||–||240 feet|
Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar
|5.9 x 3.9 x 3.9 in.||1.1 lbs.||–||328 feet|
The 7 Best Kayak Fish Finders in 2020
1. Garmin Striker 4 – Best Overall Kayak Fish Finder
If you are going to fish in deep water or saltwater, Garmin Striker 4 will help you do this with ease as it features the CHIRP sonar technology. The CHIRP sonar, unlike the traditional sonar, emits a continuous range of waves so that you can see down to 1600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater. Moreover, the CHIRP technology helps you distinguish between the cluster of fish and small targets, and offers clear images.
Besides, it features a double display ability that allows you to check the waypoint map and reader on the same display at the same time. You can also view the 77 and 200 kHz signals at the same time for a fuller underwater reading.
Having the ability to choose from a device with a 3.5, 5, and 7-inch display sizes is excellent because you can select a display size that suits the size of your kayak. You will also enjoy its 480 X 320 resolution that displays crystal clear and sharp information and images on its full-color screen.
It comes with a standard transducer that you should mount on a transom arm that you will also find included in the package.
Furthermore, you can use this babe in harsh weather because it is IPX7, so it can pretty much stand any weather.
Besides, this is the best kayak GPS fishfinder because its GPS is extra accurate as it uses two conical beams when it is detecting fish so that it pinpoints a wider surface area. It also has a waypoint map so you can navigate and also mark locations. Why is the ability to mark locations extra great? It is essential because it saves you the time you would otherwise spend searching for the perfect fishing spots you have come across before.
However, some users complain about it not having maps.
- Can be read it in bright light
- Excellent resolution
- CHIRP sonar
- Comes with a battery
- No Maps function
- No MNEA connectivity
To say the least, this is the best waterproof fish finder. Get it if you need a fish finder that you can use in any weather. You can also get it if you need a fish finder with high resolution and one that can be read in sunlight.
2. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar – Runner Up
The feature we most admire about Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is that it helps you find the greatest fishing spots because it lets you tie it with the fishing line, cast out, and receive a scan of the area lying between you and the end of the line. By doing this, you can detect the perfect direction to cast, how far to cast, and also determine the depth of the fish in certain places.
Moreover, Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is the perfect castable fish finder that is also lightweight, portable, and wireless. Whether you will be shore fishing, ice fishing, or boat fishing, it won’t let you down. It can scan down to 260 feet and can make up to 15 scans per second.
It is also easy to start, given that you will only need to place the pod in the water and sync it easily with Android and iOS devices via Wi-Fi hotspot. It is okay if you are not a user of any of these because it works with all platforms (yay!).
Customers don’t like its battery that only lives for 5.5 hours if you use it continuously. Moreover, it is very kind-of-heavy weight means that you must use a stiff rod to cast it. However, we believe that its other features make it one of the impressive portable fish finders for kayaks.
- Covers a wide area
- Must be used with a stiff rod
- No CHIRP
- Short battery life
If you want a castable fish finder, this babe is for you.
3. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C – Long Battery Life
Delivering accurate information (due to the presence of an algorithmic software programming) down to 240 feet is HawkEye Fishtrax 1C’s best feature. It features a 25-degree sonar beam, so it easily shows where the fish are.
It is also effortless to use, so it is suitable for beginners and to those who do not have much experience with fish finders. It is especially great for beginners because it makes an alarm whenever it detects fish. Moreover, it is super simple to use thanks to its three user-friendly modes. Among these modes, there is the Ice Mode’s digital flasher that makes this device usable during all seasons. You can even use it while you are ice fishing.
Moreover, it is one of the very best portable fish finders for kayaks because it is not only trollable, but also boat mountable, and floatable.
It comes with a transducer, side-scan adapter, 30 feet of cable, a cable strap, and sensor float that can be used in icy conditions and deep weeds. You can even submerge it down to one meter because it is IPX7.
It also has FishArc and FishID fish finder indicators that target the fish depth and HD bottom landscape imaging. It has a long battery life of about 20 hours.
Sadly, it uses dual-frequency instead of the more significant CHIRP technology. It also does not feature GPS, which might not be a good start for beginners providing that they can easily get lost.
- Long battery life
- Sunlight readable
- Two-year warranty
- Features FishArc and FishID fish finder indicators
- No CHIRP sonar
- No GPS
If having a GPS is a must, this device won’t suit you. However, given its other features, it is an attractive bargain.
4. Humminbird 5 410260-1 – Features CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar
Being able to scan down to 1500 feet deep with its portable CHIRP dual beam PLUS Sonar is this baby’s thing. Also, its battery lasts for about 16 hours, so you can rest assured that your trip will be productive.
Moreover, this great depth finder for kayaks has a 5-inch color WVGA display, which is pretty big so that you can see the information. Furthermore, you can read it in sunlight with ease. The display is also colored for better readability.
To be able to track your time out of the water, to save waypoints, and to check optional maps, this babe is equipped with a built-in GPS plotting system with built-in Anima cartography. Do you want to save your best fishing spots so that you can return to them on your next trip? We have got you covered with the device’s MicroSD slot as it allows you to save the locations you want to save.
- Portable CHIRP dual beam PLUS Sonar
- Five-inch color WVGA display
- 16-hour battery life
- Built-in GPS
- Poor interface
Aside from having a poor interface, this device’s built-in GPS, large screen, and ability to scan down to 1500 feet are hard to say no to.
5. ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart – Best for its Strike Alarm
This is the best kayak fish finder if you are looking for one to sync with your mobile phone. It displays all its readings on your cell phone using its free app.
It is also an impressive Bluetooth fish finder as it uses low power Bluetooth so as not to drain your battery’s life. By the way, you will probably only need to recharge the battery every 10 hour-use.
It is also versatile because you can use it as a bobber on your fishing line or as a remote fish finder.
Another significant aspect of ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart is that it gives you information about your trip’s log time, location, water temperature, and conditions. Moreover, it detects the number of fish you have got and their species. To sum up, it does most of your job for you as it even strikes an alarm when there are fish on your line.
It syncs with iOS (Apple) 10.0 and later operating systems and Android 4.3, or later that use Bluetooth Smart (4.0). To add fun to the trip, you can share your trip and the information on social media. It also has a GPS spot tagging with an interactive map.
Regarding accuracy, this device can give you precise readings down to 135 feet. The thing that you will have to detect on your own is how far you can cast it up before it loses its connection to your mobile because it is stated that it can be connected if you cast it up to 100 feet, but users claim that it loses the connection after 10 feet.
- Allows you to share your trip on social media
- Durable battery
- Has a strike alarm
- May need to get charged before 10 hours
- May lose its connection to your smartphone if it passes 10 feet
This is an affordable, yet durable and versatile fish finder that comes with many impressive features. If you love sharing events on social media, this might be the best kayak fish finder for you.
6. Vexilar SP200 – Turns Your Phone Into a Fish Finder
If you are looking for a portable fish finder that can be synced with your cell phone, Vexilar SP200 is one of the best ones. It uses its Wi-Fi hotspot to turn your phone or tablet into a full-functioning fish-finding sonar. The Wi-Fi hotspot ensures that the device works in any place in the entire world. Moreover, the app is extra easy to use.
To easily mount it on the kayak, it comes with pre-drilled holes, offering many accessories and options to mount it. It also comes with a neoprene arm-band for your phone so that you don’t have to secure and mount your fishfinder every time you use it.
Besides, this device detects water temperature and scans down to 240 feet.
However, some people report that it is only compatible with iOS 10.0 and higher.
- Super lightweight
- Two-year warranty
- Easy to mount
- One-year warranty for the battery
- Only compatible with iOS 10.0 and higher.
This is one of the greatest portable fish finders for kayaks. It is also specially designed for those who need a lightweight fish finder that they can easily sync to their mobile phones.
7. Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar – Features 5 Modes Sensitivity Options
At an affordable price, you can get -the best handheld fish finder- Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar and enjoy its specs. Luckily, it can be used in various ways to suit your circumstances. For instance, you can attach the transducer to the side of your kayak, let it float on the surface with the included float, or attach it to a pole.
Moreover, you can mount the display in a suitable place with the 25-foot transducer cable that comes with the device.
To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity, it features an alarm for fish and fish school. It also detects the approximate fish location, weeds, sand, and rock at the bottom.
It features 5 modes of sensitivity options so you can use it in different fishing environments, including offshore fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, lake fishing, and sea fishing.
However, it does not scan too deep down the water as it can only scan down to 328-feet deep. Also, it can continuously work from 4 to 5 hours, which won’t prove handy if you are into long trips. Yet, with battery save mode, they can last a bit longer.
- Can be used in various ways
- Tells you whether you are floating on weed, sand or rocks
- Features fish and fish school alarms
- Features 5 modes of sensitivity options
- Short battery life
- Does not scan too deep
- Battery not included
It cannot only be used in different fishing environments but can also be used in various ways so that you can choose the way that best suits you. Its main downside is its battery’s short life and the absence of the CHIRP sonar.
Why Is It Important To Mount a Fish Finder On Your Kayak?
Having an Eye Underwater
Whether you fish to sell or for fun, being able to see what is underneath the kayak is always a huge plus. You have no idea how many underwater structures you’re going to discover with a fish finder. Some people object to this by saying that they are going to spook the fish in this area. To be honest, there is a possibility this could happen; however, you can always mark the spot and get back to it later.
Moreover, a fish finder can detect the holes and canals that may be full of fish, and you would never know without a fish finder. What a loss, right?
Marking Spots and Finding Your Way Back Home
Most fish finders have a GPS. Given this, you can easily use it to mark the best fishing spots you come across so that you can go right to them on your next trip. Moreover, fishing with a kayak helps you get to places that other boats or ships can’t get into, and that increases the possibility of losing your way.
Since it is a nightmare to find yourself lost in the sea, a fish finder can track all the places you go to so that you can follow them and return to the site from where you have started the trip.
Yes, you can use the GPS on your phone to do this, but it is nicer and safer to have a waterproof device that has a durable battery.
Having a Versatile Device
A fish finder is mainly used to detect the fish structure and place, but it can do a lot more than just that, like marking fishing spots and helping you find your way back home. Moreover, some fish finders detect the water temperature and detect fish even when you are ice fishing. It can also help you find seamless routes for a more enjoyable trip.
How to Pick a Fish Finder
1. Mounting Space and Portability
Again, since the kayak is small, you must, before buying a fish finder, check where you are going to mount it on your kayak. Make sure you choose a place where you can easily access the fish finder and a place that does not get in your way when you are fishing. For example, let’s say you need to get a device with a large display screen, check first if the kayak is going to be able to accommodate such a big fish finder.
Besides, getting a portable fish finder enhances the ease by which you can check the information since it is a bit of a hassle to hold a fish finder with one hand and paddle or throw the line. On the other hand, some fish finders allow you to connect them to your mobile phones via Bluetooth, for example.
2. Screen Size
Of course, having a fish finder with a bigger screen size will allow you to see the information with more detail; however, you won’t like it if you get a fish finder with a size that doesn’t go hand in hand with the size of our kayak. So, if you have a small kayak, 3.5 to 4 inches of screen display would be great. If the kayak is not very small, you can go for a 5-inch screen display.
It is needless to say that the higher the resolution, the better the quality of the display screen. If the resolution is good enough, you will be able to see detailed images and know exactly where the fish are. Stay away from any fishfinder with a resolution lower than 240 × 160 because it won’t be clear enough; however, 640 × 640 and higher is an excellent resolution. Yet, you must know that the higher the resolution, the more costly the device is.
Each fish finder has a specific depth range. You must decide how deep you will be fishing to pick a device that suits you. Also, decide if you are going to fish in a lake, in the ocean or a river, because each of them has a maximum depth.
Having a fish finder that can detect fish that are so deep down in the water will definitely help you find more fish.
The higher the power of the fish finder, the faster it displays the information on its screen. Opt for a fish finder with high power if you are going to fish in deep water or saltwater; however, if you will only fish in shallow water, then you won’t need a device with so much power.
If you think that it is better to get a high-powered device regardless of where you will fish, I must inform you that this means that you are going to pay extra money in vain.
It is a critical part of the fish finder as it sends sound waves into the water. It is very much related to the cone angle because the waves it transmits are cone-shaped. Such waves enable it to display what is going on underwater onto your display screen.
Logically, the wider the beam width, the more you will be able to see. They usually vary between 9° and 60. A 20° cone angle is the ideal angle for all depths.
High frequency helps you receive more detailed images on the screen. High frequency means that more sonar waves are getting into the water and received from the transducer. The frequency you opt for is also dependent on the depth you will paddle in. For example, if you are fishing in shallow water, go for a frequency between 192 and 200 kHz, and if you go in deep water, a lower transducer of around 50 kHz will do.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is the Best Place to Mount a Fishfinder and a Transducer On a Kayak?
You must put it somewhere that is within your arm’s reach but on a side that would allow your arms to be at ease and free to paddle. Regarding the transducer, you better install it at the bottom of your kayak to send out signals and collect data efficiently. However, some people prefer to install it in the hull.
What Is a CHIRP Sonar?
Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse (also known as CHIRP) uses enhanced sonar technology that sends a continuous range of sonar frequencies from low to high. In other words, a CHIRP sonar displays more data than a traditional sonar that emits a single frequency.
What Is a Chartplotter Fish Finder?
A kind of fish finder that delivers an advanced navigation system. It delivers GPS data that is easier to read using visual data like maps and charts to help you track your way and see what is around you and underneath you.
We believe that you have already found the best kayak fish finder. However, because we are keen on making sure you are satisfied, we will recommend you some.
If you are mainly looking for a device with CHIRP sonar, you can either go for Garmin Striker 4 or Humminbird 5 410260-1. The former is also great for its dual-frequency and ability to read down to 1600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater.
In case you are into sharing your trip updates with your followers on social media, get ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart. Moreover, its strike alarm is extra helpful because it, in some way, ensures that you won’t miss an opportunity.