Best Kayak Fish Finder | Buyer’s Guide & Product Reviews | 2021
A fish finder is an essential accessory for anglers looking to cast from a kayak. The best kayak fish finder will not only give you a good indicator of water depth, topography and temperature, it will also alert you to the presence of nearby fish. The most advanced fish finder devices boast superior sonar technology that can provide you with incredible insight into the kind of fish near to your craft. This means you can decide whether or not stay put and try your luck, or move on to a new fishing round in search of larger catches. Curious to know more about fish finders? Our kayak fish finder guide breaks down all key factors you need to know when buying one for the first time.
Any good fish finder should include a quality transducer. These are the components that emit and receive sonar. When these sonar waves are sent out into the surrounding water, they will bounce off any obstacles they come into contact with. These obstacles can be underwater topography, vegetation or marine life. When they bounce off an obstacle, they are then detected by the transducer of your fish finder. This data is then returned to your fish finder device, with the wave signals being processed into a visual display that can be used to assess your surroundings.
If you want something that is easy to install, go for a transom mount transducer. These are the best option for those looking to fish from a kayak. If you are fishing from a larger kayak or watercraft, you can also think about thru-hull mounts. You also need to consider transducer material when selecting a suitable fish finder for your kayak. Plastic mounts are best for kayaks, although hulls made from alloys and other materials will need a mount made from a suitable material type. The vast majority of fish finders will include transom mounts or trolling motor transducers. Both are widely compatible with a broad range of watercraft so are easy to fit to your kayaks.
Cone Angles & Beam Width
This is another important thing to focus on when selecting a fish finder. A cone angle will determine the overall width of any beam sent out into the water from your fish finder. If you want maximum coverage, go for a fish finder with a wider cone. As the emitted beam travels deeper into the water, the cone angle becomes more substantial, providing you with broad overage. However, the deeper the beam penetrates into the water, the less sensitive it becomes. Some fish finder transducers can emit multiple cones at once. Although a single beam should be more than enough for casual fishing, you may wish to go for a dual beam model for added coverage. A dual beam fish finder is definitely advised if you plan on fishing in substantial bodies of water.
Even the most basic of fish finders will include a colour screen display. A good colour screen will provide you with plenty of detail when it comes to assessing underwater topography. A colour screen is far easier to read and decipher, especially if you have little experience with fish finders and sonar technology. However, there are times when a black and white display may be preferred. If possible, purchase a fish finder that allows you to switch between colour and black and white modes at the press of a button.
Your fish finder screen should also be large enough that you have no issues reviewing the information on screen. The most compact models have small screens measuring only a couple of inches, but is not hard to find affordable models with screen sizes measuring four inches or larger. A bigger screen will also allow you to select more readings to be displayed at once. A backlit screen is also essential if you plan on fishing in bright conditions. When exposed to sunlight, a fish finder screen can be hard to read, particularly if you are viewing in black and white mode. A backlight will compensate for this.
Fish Finder Frequencies
A huge consideration when selecting a fish finder is transducer frequencies. The majority of fish finder transducers will allow you to operate at frequencies of 50, 83, 192 and 200 kHz. When fishing in shallower waters, you should opt for higher frequencies when possible. The higher the frequency, the more detail you will be provided with on the screen of your device. Higher frequencies mean more sonar waves can be emitted into the water, returning more detailed feedback when those waves make contact with obstacles.
This may seem like an obvious point, but it is worth considering that not all fish finder devices are created equal. Water resistance is particularly important if you are planning on mounting your fish finder to the hull of your kayak. Any mounted device should have an IPX rating that is sufficient enough to cope with constant splashes from the water as you cruise through it. You will also be exposed to rainfall, so the housing of your finder should be able to cope with this level of water. There is always the chance your device will free from your hands or its mount and land in the water. Therefore, look for a finder device that will float and allow you to retrieve it quickly. It also makes sense to purchase a device that can cope with temporary immersion in water with no lasting impact on its electronics.
Struggling to to find good hunting grounds when kayak fishing? You definitely need to invest in a reliable fish finder. Below are some of the best fish finder models currently available on the market, with user-friendly designs geared towards kayaking applications.
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5″ GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
The Garmin Striker 4 with transducer is a compact and easy to use fish finder solution. This user-friendly fish finder includes Clear Vu scanning functionality that utilises sonar to let you know what is going in the water around your watercraft. The high-frequency sonar provides you with incredibly detailed imagery of all nearby objects, including the underwater structures and topography, as well as fish outlines. The keyed interface also makes this system very simple to use. All the key functions of this device can be accessed via the durable controls on below the screen. The intuitive design of the keypad means you will have little trouble getting to grips with the ins and outs of the system, even if you are unfamiliar with fish finder devices. The Garmin Striker 4 also comes in a variety of sizes to best meet your requirements.
With a waterproof rating of IPX7, this fish finding device can be used in all conditions. The LCD screen provides you with a clear oversight of the waypoint map. This mapping system can be used to view, mark and navigate your exact location at all times. It also provides good visibility. You can view depths of up to 1,600 feet when kayaking on freshwater. It can also be used when on bodies of saltwater, providing viewing depths of up to 750 feet. The chirp sonar technology sends out a continuous sweep of frequencies, providing you with extensive information about what is going in the water around your kayak. The impressive sonar technology will provide you with crisp and detailed insights into fish arches, as well as deliver superior target separation. An integrated flasher is also included.
LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder Portable Fishing Kayak Fishfinder Fish Depth Finder Fishing Gear with Sonar Transducer and LCD Display
This LUCKY handheld fish finder is a compact and portable angling essential you should definitely think about investing in. This affordable choice of fish finder provides you with reliable information relating to things like fish location, water depth, location of reeds and vegetation and more. This finding device also provides you with a useful depth range readout. This makes it suitable for use in all kinds of fishing environments, but especially useful when it comes to kayaking. With this device, you can effectively monitor the underwater environment even when you are regularly moving between shallow water and deeper conditions. This device can also be used when you are moving. However, you will need to ensure your kayak is travelling no faster than five miles an hour in order to receive useable readings.
You can choose between five different sensitivity modes to best meet your needs. This range of sensitivities also means you can use the device for kayak fishing, ice fishing and shore fishing. The 2-inch colour display with backlight is also very visible, making this device a convenient option for all weather and brightness conditions. This device also includes useful extras to make life easier when kayak fishing. A side-scan adapter is included so you can mount the fish finder onto the side of your hull with minimal effort.
Garmin Striker 4cv with Transducer, 4″ GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional and ClearVu Scanning Sonar Transducer and Built In Quickdraw Contours Mapping Software
This Garmin Striker 4cv with transducer is a compact and reliable option for those looking for the best fish finders for kayaks. This user-friendly device includes a transducer with integrated CHIRP sonar to provide you with accurate readings of your surroundings. It also boasts Clear Vu scanning sonar functionality for more extensive assessment of your environment. Garmin Quickdraw Contours software is also included. This quality fish finder mapping software will allow you to create and store your own maps, with good contour details and exceptional coverage. This ensures you are set for all kayak fishing adventures in a wide range of environments.
This compact fish finder also includes built-in GPS. This will allow you to mark your waypoints, create individual routes and view the speed your kayak is travelling at. Despite the small size, the Garmin Striker 4cv is also easy to read. The 4.3-inch colour display is more than big enough to provide you with detailed oversight of underwater topography and the location of nearby fish. The backlit screen is also easy to read in bright sunlight. The intuitive keypad design also makes it easy to get to grips with the main functions and features of the device, even if you have yet to use a fish finder. The rugged design and waterproof housing also provide you with a good deal of protection against moisture and impacts.
LUCKY Portable Fish Finder Handheld Kayak Fish Finders Wired Fish Depth Finder Sonar Sensor Transducer for Boat Fishing Sea Fishing
This versatile fish finder from LUCKY provides you with all the features you need for kayak fishing, but can also be used for ice fishing and angling at the shore. The 2.4-inch TFT colour display provides you with incredible levels of detail and contour definition. You can constantly monitor water topography, water depth and temperature, fish size and more. You also have two modes of operation on offer here, although the transducer function is what is really important when kayak fishing.
This LUCKY fish finer provides you with three different colour display modes, allowing for all preferences and sight requirements. With this device, you will no trouble getting a good idea of underwater contours to improve your odds when kayak fishing. It is also very straightforward to adjust the sensitivity of this device. You can quickly select how many details you want shown on the screen. When fishing in clear waters, you should find the lower sensitivity settings more than sufficient for your needs, but this device provides you with the option to adjust when faced with murkier conditions.
This finder device also includes an alarm function that alerts you when fish are nearby. The fish alarm will also let you know the size of nearby fish, allowing to you to choose whether or not to start casting or move on to a new fishing ground. This fish finder is also fairly easy to install. You will need to add the transducer separately to the bottom of your hull, but the main device itself can be work around your neck or kept close to hand in your kayak cockpit.
Venterior Portable Rechargeable Fish Finder Wireless Sonar Sensor Fishfinder Depth Locator with Fish Size, Water Temperature, Bottom Contour, Color LCD Display
If you are looking for portability and a clear display screen, this Venterior fish finder is an ideal choice of device. This wireless fish finder offers plenty of amazing technology for a device at this price point. The generous display screen provides you with multiple colour options. You can choose to view real-time data in colour, or opt for black and white readings instead. This provides you with a readable display for any fishing experience, with the black and white display particularly handy when you find yourself in extremely bright conditions.
This Venterior fish finder can detect and display a wide range of metrics, including water depth and temperature, fish depth and size, as well as topography. You can also choose between different units of measurement with ease. This fish finder also impresses when it comes to sonar technology and depth range. A 105-degree sonar angle allows for accurate readings at a maximum depth of 40 metres. You also do not need to worry about complex installation with this device. To use this device, simply tether it to your fishing line and cast it out onto the water when paddling. This saves you the need to drill into the hull of your kayak and worry about mounting brackets and other fixtures. The compact design of this wireless fish finder should also impress those looking for something they can hold in their hand. The intuitive keypad design also allows you to make quick adjustments and sift between display options easily.
The HawkEye Fishtrax provides you with a compact and intelligent solution for ensuring precise readings of nearby fish. With first-rate sonar functionality and side imaging capabilities, this fish finder will allow you to detect readings at a distance of up to 240 feet. A VirtuViw HD colour display is included, providing you with a significant amount of pixels for crisp visual readings. The backlit screen also makes this a glare-free solution, making it suitable for use in bright sunlight. This device is also very versatile. It can be trolled, mounted to your vessel or placed on the surface of the water thanks to its floating design.
This unit provides you with FishArc and FishID functionality, which every angler will find incredibly useful. These fish finder indicators not only let you know the depth of nearby fish, it also provides you with clear landscape imaging, even when used in deep water. The superior software algorithms also make this a very reliable fish finding device. You will have little need to worry about false readings, while audible fish alarms will let you know when potential catches are nearby. The user-friendly design and intuitive keypad will also benefit those looking for something they can use quickly and without much thought. Even compared to the most user-friendly of devices, the HawkEye Fishtrax stands out with its streamlined design and simplified controls.
LUCKY Water Depth Fish Finders Waterproof Portable Fishing Fish Finder Display Handheld Ice Fishing Finder Sonar Sensor Transducer for Boat Kayak Sea Fishing
This advanced fish finder will go down well with anglers looking for a little help to identify catches in deep water. The included sonar transducer makes use of a 200 KHZ sonar beam, with a 45-angle beam delivering a wide detection field. This finder also allows you to make quick adjustments to sensitivity. This makes it simple to tailor your readings to ensure you are only being alerted when the kind of fish you are looking to catch come within close proximity. The sonar transducer will also let you know when you are approaching a particularly shallow area of water. For anglers looking to cast off from a kayak, this shallow alarm feature is particularly handy.
This fish finder also provides you with clear display of underwater topography. You can choose between three colour display options to ensure you have no issues determining the contours of the underwater environment in your immediate vicinity. If you kayak fish on a regular basis, you can also make use of the memory function of this fish finder, saving you the need to tailor your settings every time you use the device. This fish finder is also durable, with a waterproof design that will easily handle splashes and rain. It will also survive being dropped into water for a short time until you can retrieve it. The anti-corrosion build of this device also makes it suitable for use in freshwater and saltwater environments. You will also not need to worry about regularly drying it off. The sonar transducer is also manufactured from polymer, which will deter fish from biting and damaging it.
Deeper Chirp Castable and Portable Fish Finder for Kayaks Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder Smart Sonar Fish Radar Depth Finder
If you are looking for a fish finder that can be cast with your line in deep water, this Deeper Chirp device is a great choice. This fish finder makes use of three beam frequencies to provide you with amazing levels of clarity and very accurate readings. This device will make quick work of separating out one species of fish from another, allowing you to identify the best possible fishing spots. This is also a good option for those looking to cast off in extreme depths, without having to compromise on target separation.
This casting fish finder will also charge incredibly quickly, making it ideal for those who want to take their device with them on last-minute kayak fishing excursions. You can enjoy a full charge in as little as 75 minutes, providing you with all the runtime you need for a day-long adventure. This fish finder also lets you create bathymetric maps on the go. This wi-fi enabled device also allows you to access all of your stored maps and data remotely on a compatible device. You can also download the compatible app to your iOS and Android devices to enjoy full functionality of this first-rate finder.
The Humminbird PiranhaMax 4 DI is both affordable and easy to use. This compact fish finder makes use of dual beam sonar so you can choose between narrow and wider readings. This means you can choose between high levels of detail when searching narrower areas, or opt for more generous coverage across larger areas. No matter which option you go for, you can always count on reliable species identification and a clear indication of underwater contours. It will also alert you to nearby structures beneath the surface of the water, which is particularly useful for those fishing from a kayak.
The down imaging capabilities of this fish finder are particularly good, granting you clear views of what is happening beneath the hull of your kayak. The intuitive keypad design makes it easy to carry out adjustments, while the generous 4.3-inch screen provides you with vivid displays at all times. This finder is also easy to mount to your kayak, without causing much disruption to the hull. The tilt and swivel design also makes it easy to maintain clear visibility from any angle.
Best Fish Finders for Kayakers
As you can see, there are plenty of premium fish finders available on the market. However, you may be still struggling to select one from the many options on offer. The HawkEye Fishtrax 1C is definitely one of the best devices for kayak fishing on the market. This fish finder is a very portable option and allows for easy mounting to kayak hulls. It is also compact enough that it can be removed from its mound and operated by hand when you need to get up close to the screen. The intuitive keypad is also simple to use. You can also use this device with confidence that you are receiving reliable readings. This fish finder has a very low incidence of false readings, with audible alerts letting you know when potential catches are close by.
The Deeper Chirp is an expensive option, but a good model to invest in if you are looking for a fish finder that you can cast with your line. This device is designed for use in deeper water and will perform well at extreme depths. It also uses three beam frequencies for superior target separation and reliable readings. Another huge benefit of this finder is that it charges incredibly quickly. You can plug it in and receive a full charge in as little as 75 minutes, making it ideal for those last-minute excursions. It also comes with an extended 5-year warranty.