Best Kayak Fish Finders for a Better Fishing Experience

Using the best kayak fish finders greatly helped in making my fishing experience much better and more efficient. As an avid and dedicated angler, I make it a point to constantly improve on improving my skills in fishing and there are so many things that old-fashioned fishing hindered me from doing. 

I would sometimes go out early in the day, ready to catch a lot of fish, yet I would spend majority of the time just trying to find a hot spot. This became hard to the point that I would not be able to catch any fish at all.

But because of the advancement of technology and fish finders, all these problems became much easier to handle.

?Best Kayak Fish Finders for a Better Fishing Experience

Garmin, one of the top manufacturers of all sorts of gadgets from sports to fishing, has this fish finder that is considered one of the most preferred models in the industry.

This compact, yet powerful, gadget features a CHIRP dual frequency transducer with 77 and 200 kHz that?s guaranteed for a good use in both freshwater and saltwater. It can read up to a depth of 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater.

In using it, the display screen size, which is 3.5 inches, showed me a clear and crisp reading of data?and, although it can serve both as a GPS tracker and a fish finder, the screen was not big enough to for me to see both of these features.

With this fish finder, I was able to detect brush piles, stumps, and other objects with its waypoint map; and through the CHIP sonar functionality from its transducer, it gave me a continuous sweep of frequencies which shared a wide array of information.

Though it can be accurate for both deep and shallow water, it was greatly ideal for ice fishing or vertical jigging because of its built-in flasher. Take note that it is not waterproof, however, because it still had the possibility of being affected by a lot of elements and almost broke this one.

This fish finder would not exactly be ideal for beginners, but it will be a breeze to set up and install once you understand the instructions from the manual.

It can work for the long run, not only because of the performance it gives, but because of the ability did save a lot of battery power when I was using it. 

 Specs:

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    Display size (diagonal): 3.5 inches
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    Transducer: CHIRP Dual Frequency (77/200 kHz)
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    Maximum depth: 1,600 feet

PROS

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    It is accurate in both deep and shallow water.
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    There is a large amount of detail from its transducer.
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    The GPS comes in handy for marking hot spots and different objects such as the dock.
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    It is easy to set up as long as you understand the manual.
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    It is extremely lightweight.
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    It will run off from 10V to 20V since the actual draw is .2Amp.

CONS

  • The screen is not big enough to fit both the GPS and sonar at the same time.
  • Understanding the instructions on the GPS can be confusing.
  • It will sometimes lose the speed, but a restart brings it back.

Via Amazon.com

This VT-FF001 by Venterior is one of the lesser known yet on par with the top models in the market. This fish finder has just as good a quality in build and construction as with other models, but it also gives the performance in the most basic sense as it did for me.

The beauty I found out about this gadget is that it showed different features which I was actually able to use.

Its transducer is a simple one with a single frequency that has a beam angle of 45 degrees, and it also comes with a removable transducer float and through this, I was able to keep the transducer afloat beside my kayak while it gathered data.

Using this transducer let me use it up to 328 feet in depth?though I did notice that it did not work accurately while I was moving.

It was good for mostly shallow freshwater environments such as lakes and rivers; when I saw the readings, however, it did not really tell me whether what I was looking at was a large fish or a small one.

Calibrating and setting up was easy for this fish finder unlike, of course, other models with more complicated displays. But more similar to other fish finders, it is not waterproof so I needed to be careful especially when moving in the water.

This fish finder features a setting for varying sensitivity, but what made me like it is its battery saving mode and backlight mode which saved up a large amount of energy especially when I was using it for a whole day?s fishing?it was able to last up to 7 hours when I used it from late morning up to dawn.

It also has a fish alarm feature which beeped every time it detected fish underneath me, though it did not really detect the bait or tackle I used. More than all these, I recommend this fish finder to beginners who are looking to try using this kind of gadget for fishing.

Specs:

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    Display size (diagonal): 4 inches
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    Transducer: Single Frequency Sonar Sensor
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    Maximum depth: 328 feet

PROS

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    You can use the float for the transducer.
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    It is easy to set up, calibrate, and read.
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    Its batteries will last up to 7 hours.
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    It would be a great use for shallower waters.

CONS

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    The unit itself is not waterproof.
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    It would not be able to detect or read the bait or tackle you use.
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    It would not tell whether you detect a large or a small fish.
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    It does not read accurately while you are moving.

Via Amazon.com

One of the more technologically advanced fish finders, Humminbird?s Helix 5 has much of the specifications that you might find ideal in using.

When I first got it, I looked sleek and compact in design and it had a 5 inch display which was large enough to let me read the data well?because of the size of its display screen, it was so easy to switch from the GPS feature to the fish finder and to even see both data on the screen along with the digital readings.

What worked on the inside is what actually enticed me since its transducer also has a CHIRP dual frequency which is either 83 kHz or 200 kHz.

The beams these frequencies gave are 20 degrees and 60 degrees, which allowed for a wider range of information which I saw on the bright and clear color screen.

The GPS feature is another interesting thing on this fish finder since, because of this, I was able to plot the chart assisted by the built-in Anima cartography?this also gave me the option to mark locations and save waypoints on the gadget, though I did have to purchase a micro SD card separately which cost me a bit more than I would have liked.

Other than this, it gave me fairly accurate readings and this is only if I am not moving too much?one thing I did not like about this is that it cannot get the depth accurately above 6 knots.

This was only a problem if I was on a bigger body of water than a lake It also has an alarm that sounded off every time it detects fish underneath you, but it was not loud enough compared to other brands.

But compared to others, this actually gave me the least problems; though I would not recommend this to be used if you are a first timer since its installation can be tricky for a beginner.

Specs:
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    Display size (diagonal): 5 inches
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    Transducer: CHIRP Dual Frequency (83/200 kHz)
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    Maximum depth: 1,500 feet

PROS

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    It has a bright and clear color screen.
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    It would be easy to switch from GPS to the fish finder or see both data on the screen along with digital readings.
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    The GPS will allow you to mark locations and save waypoints.

CONS

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    Installation can be tricky for a beginner.
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    You would need a micro SD card in order to mark locations or save waypoints.
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    It would not be able to get accurate depth above 6 knots.
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    The alarm that detects the fish is not easily heard.

Via Amazon.com

Elite-3X by Lowrance is one of their latest versions of fish finders available in the market, and it has improved much of their features?some of which are present in this model.

In purchasing this gadget, I saw that it had a 3.5-inch screen which displayed data at a 320 x 240 resolution, high enough to give me a clear and crisp reading.

The screen is actually bright, but take note that you might not be able to see as clearly if you are wearing Polaroid glasses since this is what I experienced.

Other than this, I found it to be a simple, modern, yet compact fish finder to be used which can also work for you if you are a beginner.

The dual frequency on this is 83 kHz and 200 kHz which was mostly be ideal for use in freshwater and shallow saltwater; using this allowed me to reach up to 60 feet in depth. This was especially ideal when I used it with my kayak.

I was able to track depths at 40 mph because of this but not so much accurately past that?though what I did not like about this is that it lost signal below 20 feet when moving. I was able to remedy this, however, when restarting the unit.

I had to keep still for it to gather the data from the transducer, the beam on this gadget can either be 60 degrees or 20 degrees depending on the frequency you use.

The good thing about this is that I was able to use this battery up to whole day and did not turn it off after using it which lasted for up to 15 to 20 hours?this is so even when the screen was bright.

So, I think this would be the ideal fish finder to use if you are a beginner and learning how to use it before moving on to more advanced ones.

Specs:
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    Display size (diagonal): 3.5 inches
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    Transducer: Dual Frequency (83/200 kHz)
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    Maximum depth: 60 feet

PROS

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    The frequencies are ideal for freshwater and shallow saltwater.
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    This is the ideal use for small vessels.
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    It will track depths at 40 mph.
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    The battery will run for up to 15 to 20 hours even with the bright screen display.

CONS

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    It would not work as accurately in tracking depth past 40 mph.
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    It will lose signal beyond 20 feet in depth.

Via Amazon.com

This Striker 4cv by Garmin is much like the original Striker 4 it presented above, and this goes all the way up there beside the topnotch models of fish finders available in the market.

When I looked at its specs, I found that its transducer has CHIRP 77 kHz and 200 kHz which is great in reaching depths up to 1,750 feet in freshwater and 830 feet in saltwater.

Although this gave me a great reading when it comes to different environments, I was able to use it at its optimal performance using my kayak?this makes it good for use in other smaller vessels as well.

Despite its compact size for these kinds of vessels, it can possibly still be too big for other types of kayaks?it might be too big to make a little hole to place the transducer like what I did.

Its screen is 3.5 inches in size and showed me the data at a 480 x 320 pixels which had enough resolution to be used even in the brightest time of day.

It can be bright, but its screen size is still too small and data can be difficult to read; this became a dilemma which forced me to have it near me at all times.

This does not diminish the performance it has since it also features a GPS which greatly helped me especially when I was fishing in unfamiliar territory or waters?the route tracking function here helped me mark hot spots, slipways, and the dock I needed to go to after fishing.

The transducer allowed me to mount it on the hull of the small john boat I was using, but it might be difficult to use for larger boats since the wire would not be long enough.

It does have all the tricks of a Striker 4, but the great thing about this gadget is the CHIRP ClearV? dual frequency feature from the transducer which provides 455 kHz and 800 kHz?this actually allowed me to see objects I had never seen before and I passed over different objects were no longer red blobs and bumps on my screen, like the tree in our lake?it became a silhouette of an actual recognizable object.

This even let me see the bait that I used bobbing near the bottom at 80 feet. This is a game changer feature that allowed me to have a more accurate fishing experience.

Specs?:

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    Display size: 3.5 inches
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    Transducer: CHIRP 77/200 kHz and CHIRP ClearV? 455/800 kHz
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    Maximum depth: 1,750 feet

PROS

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    The ClearV? feature lets objects underneath you become more recognizable and accurate.
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    It can be mounted on a hull or trolling motor.
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    Its compact size is perfect for small vessels.
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    The GPS feature helps in treading unfamiliar waters and will help mark different locations.
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    You will be able to see your bait, jig, or tackle near the bottom at 80 feet

CONS

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    The size can be too big for other types of kayaks.
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    The screen is too small to be able to read data from a small distance.
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    The wire is not long enough for larger boats.

How to Choose the Ideal Fish Finder

Power

Best Kayak Fish Finders for a Better Fishing Experience

Before purchasing a fish finder, it is important to consider the power it has and this is measured in wattage?the greater the wattage, the faster the fish finder can perform for you.

Higher powered fish finders are ideal for use in a deeper body of water while lesser powered fish finders are perfect for shallower water.

Frequencies

Different models of fish finders come in either single, dual, or multiple frequency transducers. Most of these are either 50, 83, 192, or 200 kHz frequencies?which are all directly related to the cone angle, which we will discuss later.

The lower the frequency, the better it works in deeper water. You will also need to remember that the higher the frequency, the more data show up on your screen since there will be many sonar waves sent out and received by the transducer.

With a 400+ kHz and multiple frequencies, this will show incredible detail on your screen display.

Colored or Black and White Screens

This will depend entirely upon your discretion and would not necessarily affect how you read the data; however, more and more modern fish finders come in colored screens since this will allow for objects to be more noticeable as compared to black and white screens.

Cone Angle

A cone angle refers to how wide the area in which the transducer detects. The wider the degree of the cone, the larger the area that is being covered. Fish finders have cone angles available in ranges from 9 degrees to 60 degrees.

But one feature a transducer may have is the number of beams or cones it can emit, so more advanced transducers can offer multiple beams?this will help you cover more area and it would be a great option when using the fish finder in a lake.

The Verdict

Fish finders are created for the ease of use in fishing?because of this, you would not need to guess where the hot spots are when you want to fish.

Older versions of this are most usually available for larger fishing vessels; but this convenience in use has been spilled over to fishing enthusiasts operating in small vessels such as kayaks, canoes, or small john boats.

This is what greatly helped me in making sure I always had a catch every time I went out to fish for a few hours.

Among the top picks in the market, my recommendation is Humminbird?s Helix 5 Fish Finder, not only because of the amazing performance it provides in terms of accuracy in reading, but also because this is the simplest to use and understand when you are looking for advanced features available for it. 

With the maximum amount of advantages and the minimum amount of disadvantages, you would find this being great for its price. Whatever you choose in terms of looking for the perfect fish finder, always think about how it will make your fishing experience much better.

So, go ahead and cast a line!

Did you like this post? Did you have any other questions in mind? Did you find this article helpful in narrowing down the best kayak fish finder in the market? 

If you have anything to add or share, please feel free to sound them off in the comment section below. Until then, enjoy your upcoming ice fishing adventure with your new gloves!

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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