What’s The Best Kayak Fish Finder
Are you looking for the best kayak fish finder, but don't know what to buy? Have no fear because we've got you covered! We've reviewed what we think are 5 of the best fish finders for kayaks on the market today.
If you're like me, you need every possible advantage when it comes to catching fish! This is where having a fish finder can really come in handy. It won't catch the fish for you, but it can greatly increase your odds of finding them!
Tip: One thing to consider is that most fish finders won't work in water that's less than 3 feet deep.
Here are a few things to consider before buying a fish finder for your kayak:
Do you need a fish finder with a GPS
They are going to be a more expensive, but a fish finder with a GPS can really come in handy, especially if you do your kayak fishing in areas where paddling out is easy, but finding your way back is another story.
I myself fish in areas surrounded by hundreds of saltwater mangrove islands, making it very easy to get lost.
If you venture offshore, a fish finder is almost a must in my mind! That's because it's very easy to get caught up in the current, especially when fighting a large fish such as a king fish.
A large fish can pull you miles in a kayak and if you don't have a GPS, it might be a little tricky to navigate your way back to your original position.
A fish finder with a GPS can also help you find your way back to your secret honey hole. Most GPS's will let you save different coordinates, so you'll always know how to get back to where the fish are.
What Type of Sonar is Best For Kayak Fisherman
Dual beam sonar is the standard when it comes to today's fish finders. It provides you with a 2D image and gives you the best views of actual fish. This type of sonar will also be the least expensive when it comes to fish finders.
If you depend on finding underwater structure for catching fish, you might want to consider a fish finder with down imaging sonar.
Tip: Different brands refer to their own sonar by different names. For instance Down View, Down Scan, and Down Imaging are all the same.
Unlike dual beam sonar, down imaging provides a clearer view of what's on the bottom. You'll be able to distinguish between trees, stumps, rock beds, bridge pilings and whatever else that may be submerged underwater.
You won't be able to make out the fish as easily with down imaging, but you will have a much better view of where they're hanging out.
However, down imaging and dual beam sonar have limitations for shallow water anglers. That's because the beam of a traditional transducer shoots out directly below the kayak like an upside down ice cream cone.
Most 200 kHz transducers have a cone angle of less than 20 degrees, which means that if you're fishing 10 feet of water, you're only going to see a diameter of about 3 feet of the bottom.
This can be a big problem for a lot of kayak fisherman, as we often find ourselves fishing in less than 10 feet of water.
Another option is side imaging sonar. While dual beam and down imaging sonar will give you an idea of what's directly beneath you, side imaging sonar can give you a 120 foot view of either side of your kayak.
Although it may be harder to make out what is actually a fish, but with some practice, you'll find that side imaging will be much more practical for kayak fishing than down scan sonars.
Finally, there's the brand new 360 degree sonar by Humminbird. In my opinion, this could be the best type of sonar for kayak fisherman, as it will give you a 360 degree view of what's around your kayak, even in shallow water.
However, because this is a relatively new and quite expensive sonar, there's not enough information as to how well it will actually work for kayak fishing. Once I have more information, I will update this article.
Best Kayak Fish Finder Reviews
The Fishin' Buddy is one of the best fish finders for kayak fisherman on the market today!
It comes with the standard dual beam sonar that emits a 16, 28, and 74 degree beam. It also comes with Down Imaging Sonar, which will help to easier identify bottom structure.
The 3.5 inch back-lit color display makes identifying fish almost second nature. It also allows you to see the screen quite well on sunny days, cloudy days, and at night.
However, the thing that I like most about this fish finder is it's mobility. With just the twist of a clamp, you can have it mounted to your kayak. There's no wiring, no rigging and no transducer to mount!
Best of all, you can take it with you anywhere you go fishing! Take it on another boat, clamp it to a dock, or even place it on another kayak.
If there is one downside to this fish finder, it's that it doesn't include a GPS. Other than that, it's a great fish finder for a kayak.
Lowrance Elite 3X Fish Finder
For those who are not looking to spend a whole lot of money, Lowrance's Elite 3X fish finder may just do the trick. It only has dual beam sonar and no GPS, but for just under $100, you really can't go wrong.
It has a 3.5 inch color back-lit LCD screen, which makes it very easy to read in both daylight and night time conditions.
It also comes with a 83/200 kHz transducer. Weighing in at only 3 pounds, it's one of the smaller fish finders on the market, which is probably why it's so popular with kayak fisherman. It's small compact size makes it easy to mount on most kayaks.
It's rated to read in up to 800 feet of water, which is more than enough for us kayakers. It also reads well in murky, cloudy water. This is great news for those who fish in rivers, ponds, and even some shallow water saltwater flats.
It's also moisture proof and water proof for up to 3 feet.
This particular unit is one of Amazon's Best Sellers and has over 175 customer reviews as well as a little over 150 answered questions.
Garmin Striker 4 DV with GPS
Garmin's user friendly Striker 4 is a great all around fish finder for under $200. It's a dual beam fish finder that also comes with Garmin's signature CHIRP Down Vu Sonar, as well as GPS.
The GPS tracking not only allows you to find your way to and from your favorite fishing grounds, but will also let you mark that secret “honey hole.” This thing will let you mark up to 5000 different way points.
The Striker 4 has a 3.5 inch color screen, with a 480 x 320 pixel display, making it easy to read in all levels of light. It also comes with a CHIRP transducer that's sends down continuous sweeps of different frequencies, which will allow you to get the most accurate view of what's on the bottom.
The Striker 4 works great in both freshwater and saltwater! It measures the water temperature, depth, and time. Its also has a depth range of 1600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater.
The Garmin 4 comes with everything that you need to mount on the outside of your kayak. If you want to mount the transducer in the hull of your kayak, you'll need to purchase Garmin's in-hull-transducer mount.
Lowrances Elite 4x CHIRP fish finder boasts all of the reliable features that you've come to expect with the Elite 4x HDI series, but with the addition of it's CHIRP sonar, it will have you spotting fish much easier.
That's because the CHIRP sonar has a greater level of sensitivity, including better target resolution and superior noise rejection. This will allow you to see where the bait fish are and where your target game fish are hanging out.
Oh, and did I mention that although it includes so many advanced features, it still sells for less than $299?
Like most of the other fish finders on this list, the Elite 4 comes with a small screen, measuring in at 4 inches. It may be small in stature, but with it's LED, it's big in quality!
The Elite 4x Fish finder also includes Broadband sonar, CHIRP sonar, and Down Imaging sonar, giving you an all around picture of what's under the water.
It's water resistant, easy to install, and comes with a Hybrid Dual Imaging transducer that combines CHIRP and Down Scan overlay. It also shows the water temperature and depth, but does not include your speed, which shouldn't be a concern for kayak fisherman.
The one thing to keep in mind with the Lowrance Elite 4x with CHIRP, is that both the tranducer and cable are a bit bigger than the older models.
If you're looking for a compact fish finder that packs a punch, but won't break your wallet, then consider the Humminbird Helix 5 SI fish finder.
At just under $500, it's comes with all the technology that units costing over $1000 have!
It has a 5 inch back-lit color display and can read depths up to 1500 feet. It also comes with a side and down imaging sonar.
The Helix 5 comes standard with Dual Beam, Side Imaging, and Down Imaging sonar. This complete package is sure to help you find where the fish are!
Other goodies include, a GPS chart plotting unit with a built in map. It also includes a micro SD card slot that can allow you to store up to 2500 way-points and 45 different routes. Trust me, you will never get lost or forget how to get back to your favorite fishing spots.
The one thing that I didn't like about this particular fish finder is that you cannot zoom in when you are looking at the 2D full screen. The zoom feature seems to only work when you are using the split screen option.
Also, some people have said that the GPS can be a little slow in getting your position.
Overall, this is a great all around fish finder!