Best Handheld GPS for Fishing – Your Guide to the Best Fishing Equipment

Have you ever been lost out in the water on your boat? Or have you lost that really good fishing spot you found in your last trip? If you have, chances are you are like me who is in need of the best handheld GPS for fishing.

Not only will this device allow you to lock your coordinates. It will also give you confidence to explore new fishing spots.

Never Miss a Great Spot – Features of the Best Handheld GPS for Fishing

The best thing about GPS is it gives you a sense of security that you will always find your way back. When you are out in the water, situations like getting lost or stranded can be stressful and even dangerous. This takes fun away from fishing.

Trust me, I know. A handheld GPS device will help you through these issues. The latest GPS technology now allows you to mark fishing spots where you’ve been to before.

This makes it so much easier to navigate your way, while finding the boat ramp without much hassle as well. This also makes it so much easier to go through different locations without worrying you may not be able to find your way back again.

I’ve also experienced navigating through familiar locations once only to lose my way when the tide changes. This can be tricky for unfamiliar territories where you need a GPS to help you find your way there and back again.

Via wildernessmastery.com

Having said that, there are so many models in the market these days and finding the best one can be tricky. There are certain features and qualities to look for. This includes:

  • Display
  • Functionality in different weather conditions
  • Interface
  • Maps
  • Waypoints and Tracking Features

There are additional features of course that may be important for your unique purposes. Personally, for example, I need a device that is waterproof and comes with a display that is easy to view in different conditions.

In terms of features, I do not require a lot, but I much prefer a device that has fast processing, accurate GPS mapping, and a memory that can help me find my way back again should I find a good fishing spot. These are pretty standard requirements, but some models offer this better than the rest.

HOW to Choose Your Handheld GPS for Fishing

1. Display

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Display is everything in a GPS. It is virtually useless if the images are unclear. Therefore, you need a display technology that is sun-readable, LED, and LCD with color display.

The idea here is that you should be able to see easily what’s on the screen in different angles. It is also very handy to have a display that you can view in any lighting conditions.

This way you can view images whether under the glare of the sun or any other weather conditions that usually don’t favour clarity of images.


2. Functionality in Different Weather Conditions

Via gpscity.com

Despite weather predictions, you can never fully tell what awaits you when you are out fishing for hours. This is why you need a GPS that can withstand different weather conditions. In fact, never settle for a device that is not waterproof.

Also consider the conditions where you frequently fish in. For example, if you are the type to go frequently out in saltwater, consider whether the device is made of materials that corrode with constant exposure to saltwater.

At the same time, go for a device that is designed to withstand the harsh conditions of being out in the water fishing. You want a device that doesn’t scratch easily or lose functionality when the conditions become unfavourable.


3. Interface

Most devices today may have buttons or touchscreen for interface. Most anglers looking for GPS don’t consider this factor that much only to end up disappointed with their choice of model.

Both button and touchscreen interface has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this case, you want to consider your fishing style more when choosing the type of interface to go for.

For example, touchscreen is very easy and convenient to use. They also allow for quick navigation especially if you are operating your boat at the same time as using the GPS.

However, these types of device may not be highly recommended if you are often fishing in cold areas. Wearing thick gloves will hinder you from operating your touchscreen device. At the same time, these devices also tend to lose battery faster than the button variety.


4. Maps

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GPS are made all the more handy with maps. Most base maps in the most recent models are built in. Others allow you to install maps that are not within the device’s archive.

Although there are good quality models that do not have maps, it is recommended to choose one that has this additional feature especially if you are navigating a new area.


5. Waypoints and Tracking Features

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One of the most frustrating things that could happen is discovering a new fishing area only to forget the spot’s location next time you come back. Marking waypoints and tracking history make finding a favourite spot so much easier. 

You can use this feature as a way of exploring possible areas that you haven’t been to before, and find them again next time you go out fishing.

Other Features to Look For

There are so many models these days that offer additional feature for your convenience. The best way to go about the specific feature is to identify what you need when you are out in the water. Surely, there will be a device or two that offers solutions to your requirements.

Via myoutdoorslife.com

Generally, however, most handheld GPS devices these days come with features like water depth and temperature detectors and boat speed monitors among others. There are also those with a slot where you can insert an external SD card.

Another handy feature that you may look into is connectivity. There are devices sold in the market now that offer great Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Some ease of use features may prove to be handy when you are out on a busy boat as well. Mounting brackets, if needed, for example, are worthy to look into.

Check how easy it is to dismantle and install the device from the mount, if holding with your hand is not an option.

Via myoutdoorslife.com

You should also have a look at the device’s satellite connectivity. Proper navigation requires at least 12 satellite connections.

Although most GPS devices today now have at least this number of connections, it is an advantage if the device has more especially since this means it provides more accuracy. Some advanced devices, for example, have 24 satellite connections in their GPS system.

Handheld GPS for Fishing Models Worth to Consider

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon

#1 - Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide with High Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver

Via Amazon.com

This GPS has a big screen for a handheld GPS. This comes with a 2.6 inch screen that adjusts under different light conditions. I like how this device is easy to scroll through and navigate. 

Its quad helix antenna is also pretty handy not just in terms of adding a cool look to it, but it also helps with reception giving you accurate geo-positioning.

In terms of maps, I find it pretty useful that its photo navigation feature makes downloading geo-tagged images so much easier whenever it is needed. It has a GLONASS receiver that is highly sensitive it is great for water conditions and even in woods and canyons.

What We Like:

  • 2.6 inch-screen display
  • Quad helix antenna for better reception
  • Photo navigation feature for easy download of geo-tagged images

What We Didn’t Like:

  • 16-hour battery life
  • Application design for downloading maps looks outdated


#2 - Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Via Amazon.com

This is one of the most budget-friendly handheld GPS devices that I found. Despite being cheap, however, it is pretty durable. An interesting feature that is unique to this device is its monochrome display that adjusts automatically in different light conditions.

This may seem like a backward thing, but I personally find this feature refreshing and super easy to use. This 2.2 inch-screen navigator has a built-in worldwide base map, and is supported by GLONASS and HotFix, which make it accurate and reliable.

Equally important, the device is waterproof and absolutely safe from splashes, which is pretty handy if you’re fishing on a kayak.

What We Like:

  • Monochrome display that adjusts automatically to different lighting conditions
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to carry and use with worldwide base map

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Powered by 2AA batteries
  • Does not come with a clip or lanyard
  • Monochrome screen is less sharp compared to color display


#3 - Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS

Via Amazon.com

This 3-inch device is small, but it comes with great features and specifications that are quite useful. One standout for me is its extremely accurate tracking feature that comes with 100,000 preloaded maps.

This, plus its fast processor is really handy in different challenging conditions. I also like how vivid the display is even when exposed under the bright sun or even under the shade. The zoom in and zoom out features also work smoothly.

It has a 4GB SD card, which is quite useful in storing information.

What We Like:

  • 3-Inch screen with vivid imagery capable of zoom in and zoom out
  • 8 megapixel camera comes with autofocus feature
  • 2D and 3D mapping

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Setting preferences can be tricky and confusing
  • 2AA battery operated


#4 - Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter

Via Amazon.com

Do not be turned off by the name of this product – the hook might have been originally intended for catching octopuses and similar sea creatures, but it works great for catfish nonetheless.

What We Like:

  • Easy to use for everyone

What We Didn’t Like:

  • A bit pricey for what it offers


#5 - Magellan eXplorist 310 Fishing Hot Spots Bundle

Via Amazon.com

This marine-friendly handheld device features a 2.6 inch LCD, bright color display. It comes with a highly sensitive GPS receiver and a built-in base map.

I like how this recreational navigation device is small, but packed with special features like the capacity to share your routes, tracks, and waypoints wirelessly with devices that are compatible to yours.

It is also pretty cool how it is not just waterproof, but it floats on water as well. If you are like me, who has the propensity to drop things, this feature is super useful. Other than this, I also like the barometric altimeter and electronic compass to help monitor weather, altitude, and heading.

What We Like:

  • Waterproof and floats on water
  • Capacity to wirelessly share information with compatible devices
  • Coastal charts with useful navigational information

What We Didn’t Like:

  • 2AA battery-powered
  • Imagery may take a while to upload

The Verdict: Best Handheld GPS for Fishing Goes To…

In my opinion, these five models are among the best in the market today. It all boils down to what you want in a handheld GPS device for fishing.

Having said that and considering the pointers in choosing a GPS device as mentioned above, I think Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide is the best in the list.

Via walkhikeclimb.co.uk

I highly recommend it for its sunlight-readable display and expanded memory of up to 8GB. It also comes with other handy features that I normally do not require, but are pretty useful now that I consider it such as its capacity to wirelessly receive alerts, texts, and emails.

Its quad helix antenna makes connectivity faster and more accurate. Plus, I think it looks really cool with it. More importantly, its software allows you to view and organize maps so you can organize your trips ahead.

Again, it all boils down to what your fishing plans are. To be honest, most of these devices offer more than you need so that the manufacturers can justify the price. Therefore, if you are looking to save some money, be specific with your requirements and consider the features as described in this review.

If you find this post helpful, we would greatly appreciate if you share this post and also share your thoughts, experiences, and personal reviews on the comment section below.

John Morris
 

Hi, I’m John Morris. I’m an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, blessed with an awesome wife and 2 kids. Fishing is not my passion, it is my lifestyle. I fished before I knew how to walk! I’m obsessed with all things related to fishing, even the fishy smell. I’m always willing to extend a hand to novice anglers looking for fishing tips and tricks thus I created this blog. This blog is a collection of my experiences, knowledge, and also research from other blogs.

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