The joys of kayak fishing are indisputable, being so close to the water you really feel like you are at one with nature. There are many modern gadgets that you can add to your kayak to enhance your fishing experience, top amongst these is a fishfinder.
These clever devices can help you to locate the best fishing spots so that you can make sure you come home from your day out on the water feeling satisfied rather than frustrated. If this sounds good to you then read on to find out our top picks for the best kayak fishfinders, as well as a low down on what you need to know before purchasing.
Best Depth Finder for Boat
HawkEye Fishtrax 1X Portable Dot Matrix Fish Finder Review
HawkEye Fishtrax 1X at a glance:
- Works well in deep and shallow water
- Depth readings up to 240 feet
- Floatable or mountable transducer
- Auto-zoom bottom tracking
For ultimate portability, this depth finder from HawkEye ticks all of the boxes. This fishfinder is perfect for a kayak or any small boat as it is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand (like a smartphone) and can also mount onto your boat. However, its small size does not detract from its effectiveness – HawkEye have packed this fishfinder with some great features.
Fitted with VirtuView Dot Matrix LCD this fishfinder gives you the option of dual-frequency so you can either view the ran sonar data, or select FishTarget programming so that you can actually view the specific depth of the fish. It can give depth readings up to 240 feet and audible fish and depth alarms can also be set up so that you are alerted to what is going on beneath you.
This smart device has 10-level sensitivity adjustment and an 83/200 kHz transducer. You can easily adjust the depth level of your readings so this is a suitable device whether you are using your kayak in either shallow or deep water. With this device, you can also take advantage of the auto-zoom bottom tracking feature to make your prey even easier to target. The transducer of this device has the ability to float, but you can also mount it to your boat.
The mount for this fishfinder needs to be bought separately – in addition to this, you will also find a breadth of additional accessories for this product such as carry cases and waterproof storage boxes so that you can easily tailor this fishfinder to your needs. It also comes with a decent 2-year warranty, so you can rest easy that you can try out this product and not be stuck with it if it doesn’t suit you.
Q&A: How is this fishfinder powered?
This HawkEye fishfinder is powered by 4 AAA batteries.
Best fishfinder For Boat
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit Fish Finder Review
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit at a glance
- CHIRP sonar scanning (77/200 kHz)
- Waypoint mapping
- Suitable for freshwater and saltwater
- 5-inch color fishfinder
- Inbuilt GPS
- Upgradeable transducer
- Portable carrying case
If you are looking for a setup perfect for taking out on smaller boats, then this kit with a portable carrying case is a great option. However, whatever your boat size, this a fishfinder with all the features you need. With CHIRP sonar technology ensuring you receive crisp and detailed imaging, inbuilt GPS and wayward mapping for superb navigation and accuracy, and a kit which is suitable for salt and freshwater, you won’t be let down by this setup.
The CHIRP transducer ensures you receive the clearest imaging and detail through sending continuous sweeps of frequencies from low to high, with subsequent individual interpretation. So you will soon be finding the best fishing spots without any of the normal struggles if you invest in this advanced technology fishfinder.
A useful feature of this unit is the inbuilt GPS, which, as well as linking with wayward mapping, enables you to monitor your speed on your fishfinder screen. This is great for keeping trolling speeds at the perfect level for the fish you wish to bring home. Waypoint mapping ensures you can plot your position against waypoints you have marked and easily navigate those troublesome above surface waterway obstacles.
The excellent portable casing means you can take this kit anywhere you want and it will be protected. The kit also includes a sealed and rechargeable battery with a fast charger as well as a suction cup transducer mount and detachable float. So if you are after high-technology fish finding, which is highly portable and comes with all the gear to get you coming home with bags of fish, this is the unit for you.
Q&A: Is this suitable for ice fishing?
A: The handset I suitable for ice and open water fishing, you just need to make sure the angle is appropriately set before use through the ice so that you are not looking straight down the water column. There is also a useful manual and auto zoom feature to help with ice fishing.
Best Marine Depth Finder
Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder Review
Venterior VT-FF001 at a glance
- Suitable for both Salt and freshwater
- Depth range: 3-328 feet
- 25-feet of cable attached to the transducer
- Detachable traducer float
- 2-year warranty
If you are unsure about what a fishfinder can do for you but are interested to see what they have to offer, this great value product from Venterior comes with a host of features without requiring you to spend big bucks on it. With a useful display, decent depth range and suitability in both freshwater and saltwater, 25-feet of cable and a detachable float, this package comes with everything you need to test the waters with your first fishfinder.
The depth range reaches to a maximum of 328-feet, meaning you will be able to detect water depth, estimate where fish are in the water and avoid rocks or long weeds that could snag up your motor. This is usefully displayed so that you can figure out the best spot to navigate around or to go through your line out and fish in.
This unit comes with a handy 25-feet of cable connected to the transducer, giving you plenty of flexibility to use around even larger boats. The included float also means you can use it to assist with fishing from the shore and have a decent amount of reach, whilst the 2-year warranty gives you decent protection and security to know this device is built sturdily enough to withstand weather and water stresses despite its low cost.
This device also comes with sensitivity selection settings, battery saving functionality, a fish alert feature, and the option to switch measurement units, meaning you have a good variety of settings to play around with and learn how to navigate a fishfinder. So if your looking for a cheap fishfinder that works great, has incredible depth capabilities, and has everything you need to get started, this is worth your investment.
Q&A: What is a transducer?
A: A transducer is a device that converts variations of a physical quantity, for example, brightness or pressure, into electrical signals.
What is a fishfinder?
A fishfinder is able to locate where fish are under the water using something called sonar. Sonar works by emitting sound pulses under the water and then an echo is detected, this is measured which indicates how far or near the fish are.
Once detected on your fishfinder, you can move your kayak to where the fish are – all of this takes place on a compact device which can easily be mounted onto your kayak or carried about your person.
Why is the depth important on a fishfinder?
fishfinders come with different abilities in terms of how they detect fish – some working better in deeper water and some in shallow water. If you are going to be kayak fishing in deep water it is a good idea to get a fishfinder with down-imaging sonar, this is the most effective technique for locating fish in deep water.
If you are going to be sailing through water that is shallow, such as streams and rivers, your best option would be a side-imagining fishfinder. With side-imaging, you can see a wide 180-degree side to side perspective of what’s going on beneath the surface of the water. Side-imagining fishfinders are the most advanced models out there.
What is the best fishfinder for a small boat?
The size of your kayak will determine the size of the fishfinder you purchase. If your kayak is on the larger side, and you have a trolling motor, you might want to opt for a fishfinder that you install permanently to your boat and is powered by the 12V batteries within your trolling motor.
For many kayak owning fishing enthusiasts, a portable fishfinder will probably be the best option. As the name suggests, these are small devices that are easy to transport from place to place – convenient if you intend to use your fishfinder on a variety of smaller vessels. The portable models come with a transducer – this is the part of the fishfinder that listens for the echoes in the water – this either attaches to your boat or comes with a float so that you can throw it into the water. The reading then comes through on your fish finding unit.
What are the key features of a fishfinder for a small boat?
We have already mentioned the transducer, this is an essential part of the fishfinder as this is what detects the fish. When it comes to the transducer the key thing to consider is the cone angle – to put it simply the larger the angle on the cone, the more you will be able to see beneath the water. However, this is only the case in shallow water – if you are fishing in deep water you will need a narrow cone as this is able to travel deeper into the water.
The quality of the display on your fishfinder is equally important, as this is where you will be receiving the information that you need to make your next move. Think about the size of the screen on the model and whether this suits your needs, also check out the number of pixels the screen has as this will determine how much detail you will be able to see – the more pixels the more detail. Look out for fishfinders that come with a backlight so you can still read the screen in overcast conditions and darkness.
If you are planning to fish in deep water, the power rating of the fishfinder is an essential consideration and you need to be looking at fishfinders with at least a 1000 watt rating. In shallow waters, this is less important and a wattage of around 600 should be sufficient.
If you like to go on long journeys with your kayak it might be a good idea to get a fishfinder that also has GPS built in, as you will then be able to navigate and find fish using one device. See our article Best Marine GPS for more information.
A fishfinder for your kayak can bring a whole new dimension to your fishing expeditions. It can remove the disappointment of coming home empty-handed as it will help you to identify where to locate yourself to secure the ultimate catch. These incredibly smart devices can be bought at a very reasonable price, and they won’t take up any much-needed space on your small boat as most can fit into the palm of your hand.
Make sure you consider your depth requirements before purchasing so that you get the right product for your fishing needs. Also, think about the fishfinder’s power rating and the quality of the display screen. With these considerations in mind you’re sure to find the best kayak fishfinder to perfectly suit your favourite hobby.