Fishing on a kayak is getting extremely popular nowadays, and fishing kayaks are selling like hot cakes in shops. The reason for the increased popularity is because kayaks are becoming more and more budget friendly and fishers love the idea of being able to drop the kayak and start fishing virtually anywhere on the water.
However, to maximize your fishing experience on the kayak, it is important that you equip yourself with the necessary tools to know where to look for a fish. Fishfinders for kayaks are designed to be used on a kayak and utilize the latest technology to turn your fishing day into a memorable experience.
Now that you have your kayak ready, it is time to look further into what we need to find fish. The best solution is to invest in a fish finder especially developed for a kayak. However, there are some points to consider before you start looking for an efficient machine. It is not recommended to mount just any finder on your kayak because fish finders come in all shapes and sizes and you need to invest in a unit that fits your fishing style (kayak fishing).
If you are looking for a reliable unit, you should keep on reading because below you will find a detailed guide and recommendation on how you can transform your fishing adventure and become a productive angler on a kayak. Having said that, I have compiled a list of only the best fish finders for kayaks that are available on the market today.
- Directional 3D
- Brand: FishHunter
- Display Size: N/A
- Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
- Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Made In: Canada
- 409620-1 HELIX 5 DI
- Brand: Humminbird
- Display Size: N/A
- Batteries: 1 12V batteries required.
- Weight: 3.6 pounds
- Made In: Alabama, US
- Brand: HawkEye
- Display Size: (LWH) 6 inches, 3 inches, 2 inches
- Batteries: N/A
- Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Made In: Orlando, FL, US
- Brand: Garmin
- Display Size: (LWH): 7.4 inches, 2.1 inches, 4.5 inches
- Batteries: N/A
- Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Made In: Schaffhausen, Switzerland
- Sonar PRO+
- Brand: Deeper Smart
- Display Size: N/A
- Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer batteries required. (included)
- Weight: 3.5 ounces
- Made In: Lithuania
- Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro Navionics+ Dual Channel Sonar/GPS
- FishHunter Directional 3D Wireless, Portable Fish Finder
- HawkEye FT1PXC Fishtrax Fish Finder
- Garmin Striker 5DV
- Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+
- Humminbird 409620-1 HELIX 5 DI Fish Finder
- Buying Guide: Fish Finders for Kayaks
Our first item on the list is the Dragonfly 4 Pro from the Raymarine stable. This unit features a sophisticated dual-channel CHIRP sonar that will basically transform the way you see the structure, objects, and fish below your boat. The DragonFly 4 was designed to take your fishing to the next level by presenting you with the latest wide spectrum CHIRP technology. This fish finder will display photo-like sonar images of everything underwater.It incorporates the DownVisionchannel to identify the fish and deliver images in stunning detail on the display. This unit includes a 50 channel GPS combo system that ensures that you can safely sail back to land no matter where you are in the US. Moreover, you can now use the unit through the built-in Wi-Fi to receive live sonar directly to your cellphone.
The Dragonfly 4 Pro features a stunning 4.32 weather-resistant, anti-fog, HD LED backlit display. You’ll enjoy wide cone angles in sharp colors from the display to maximize the area that you can cover below your boat. Moreover, it comes with a dual sonar technology where you can enjoy the standard sonar to identify fish and the Dual Vision technology to enjoy graphic like images of everything that you need to know about the life underneath the water surface. You will also receive all US lakes, rivers and coastal maps to ensure a safe trip home.
FishHunter Directional 3D Wireless, Portable Fish Finder
The second fish finder on the list is the Directional 3D Wireless from the FishHunter Company. Here we have a complete portable fish finder pack with massive dual frequency on a scale that you won’t find in any other portable item.
This unit is extremely powerful and features five powerful tri-frequency transducers that work together to bring you HD resolution of everything below the boat. Moreover, the transducer will provide more area than any other portable Wi-Fi unit on the market today. This is basically the only 3D Wi-Fi sonar that you can get your hands on today that includes five stunning viewing solutions that include contour mapping, ice fishing flasher view, 3D fishing, directional casting and 3D structure mapping.
With the Directional 3D fish finder, you are now able to view everything underwater up to a whopping 160feet down using the latest 3D bottom Contouring innovation. On top of that, you’ll also be able to incorporate the Directional Casting technology to identify where you should cast to catch the big one. If your fishing style includes ice fishing, small boat fishing or kayak fishing, then this unit should fit your style perfectly.
HawkEye FT1PXC Fishtrax Fish Finder
The fourth item on the list is the FT1PXC Fishtrax Fish Finder from Hawk eye. Here we have an extremely portable fish finder that you can operate from the palm of your hand. Although it is small in size, it includes all the basic features to locate fish and turn your fishing adventure into a joyful experience.
This unit comes with an HD full-color display where you can easily locate fish by taking advantage of the auto-zoom and the bottom tracking technology. To help you identify more fish, this unit has 3 operating modes and two operating frequencies. The two 200kHz and 83kHz operating frequencies are designed to optimize reading results no matter if you are fishing in deep or shallow water location.
Moreover, there is a depth and fish alarm to keep you alerted when you are fishing. That way, you will have more flexibility, and you will enjoy fishing because you won’t have to be tied down to the screen at all times.
If you want a simple solution that you can easily remove from your canoe or kayak once you get back to shore, then I recommend you take a further look at FishTrax. Current owners are extremely happy with this brand, and they are overall very impressed with the quality of such compact fish finder. The HD color display works flawlessly, even in direct sunlight and you can expect accurate reading from the sonar.
Garmin Striker 5DV
Identifying fish with the Striker 5DV will be an easy task. This is a 5″ color display unit that is basically packed with awesome features. All the latest Garmin technology is included such as the efficient 300W CHIRP DownVusonar from Garmin. Moreover, the transducer is a 77/200kHz unit that can transmit 500watts RMS/2400 PTP. The Striker is a user-friendly tool that you can use to mark your favorite waypoint or any activity that you wish to check on later on. You can even share your waypoints with other EcoMap’s models.You will have all the information you need, beautifully displayed on the 5″ color display.
Owners of the Striker are thrilled with the built-in Flasher that enables them to fish vertically. If you are fishing stationary, the flasher will always display accurate structure of the bottom, and you will see your target swimming through the sonar. The best part of the Flasher is the capability of showing you on screen how high you lift the jig and if there is any response from the fish once you have dropped.
Overall, the Striker is an ice addition to your equipment if you want a bright and crystal clear 800×480 pixel resolution fish finder that you can easily mount to your small boat or kayak.
Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+
Next up is a brilliant product from the Deeper company. This unit supports Wi-Fi and is an echo sounder that you basically throw into the water and let it work its magic. With the wireless connection, it will deliver accurate sonar readings directly to your cellphone or your tablet. You will be able to read from the palm of your hand information like temperature, depth, active spots, targets and you can see detailed structure of the bottom.
The Smart Sonar Pro is a brilliant and castable echo sounder that enables you to read all the information you need from your cellphone. Moreover, it has built-in GPS that will accurately pinpoint your location.
Simplicity is the best word to describe the Smart Sonar Pro because you can use it anywhere, in salt or fresh water. It will float and fire sonar waves to the bottom and transmits them directly to your phone/tablet. The Smart Sonar features a rechargeable battery pack that was designed to last 5.5 hours with continuous usage.
It is very easy to download the app and start to use it, and the application will work on most Android and iOS devices. The best part is that you can use the Smart Sonar offline and therefore you won’t have to waste your mobile data or rely on Wi-Fi signal because it uses Bluetooth to link to your device.
Humminbird 409620-1 HELIX 5 DI Fish Finder
Next up is the Humminbird HELIX 5 DI/GPS Combo that comes with a 5 inch, 256-color backlit display that delivers 800×480 pixel resolution. This unit comes with everything you need, to know exactly where to cast. It features the Down Imaging and Dual beam sonar that delivers 4000watts output. On top of all these great features, it includes a GPS chart plotting that comes with UniMap. If you already own different maps or you have your waypoints saved, there is a micro SD card slot to transfer or save your information easily.
Overall, if you are searching for a compact fish finder for your kayak that comes with a big screen, then this is your ideal unit. This fish finder is receiving thumbs of from kayak fishers, and one of its unique features is the ability to view the sonar pictures in landscape mode. The Helix 5 delivers all the necessary information in great detail on the 5″ display, and you will be quite impressive with the quality of the Down-Imaging results. Here is your perfect chance to boost your fishing adventure using the HELIX 5 DI GPS from Humminbird.
Buying Guide: Fish Finders for Kayaks
There are some many great benefits of investing in a fish finder. Not only does it transform the way you fish, but also it will enhance your fishing journey and eliminate any frustration. If you invest in a kayak fish finder, you will be able to analyze both the depth and the structure of the bottom and easily identify flat areas below your boat. Moreover, it will be extremely easy to track down fish that is well hidden behind a rock or plants, and you can have all the important information that you need for your fishing, presented on a dual screen.
To begin with, you need to take into account your fishing needs and decide where you want to fish. If you do that, you will be well on your way investing in the best kayak fish finder that perfectly meets your demands.
Although fish finders are getting extremely popular and beneficial for anglers, you won’t be able to improve your fishing style unless you invest in a model that fits your needs. There is no One-Style-Fits-All because what might fit your neighbor might not be your ideal unit.
Keeping that in mind, you might be the one that prefers to fish on deep reefs, humps or weed-lines. If that is the case, then you should consider investing in a Down Scan Imaging fish finder with a GPS. The reason is that the GPS will guide you to your desired fishing location and the DI will identify rocks and other elements you need to be aware of.
Also, if you plan on fishing in large lakes or out in the open ocean, your best option is a GPS Combo because if there is a sudden weather change and visibility turns to zero, you need a unit that can safely guide you to shore. Keep on reading, and you will find detailed guidelines that will assist you towards the goal of obtaining the ideal fish finder that matches your fishing style.
On the other hand, if you are going to be fishing in shallows water like small rivers, ponds or small lakes, you don’t need DI or GPS unit, and a simple sonar model is the way to go. The reason is that you if you are fishing in shallow water bodies, you don’t need to rely on GPS to guide you or DI to see the structure of the bottom.
Now that you have thought about your fishing needs and style, it is time to look at other important factors that you need to keep in mind before you fork out your money for a fish finder.
Display and screen resolution is among the most important factors to consider when you are deciding on a kayak fish finder. As you know, kayaks are very narrow, so there is very little room to mount a large and heavy 6-7 inch display that will probably get in your way more often than it will serve you.
You will be adding around 6-10 pounds to the weight of the boat if you mount a big display model on your boat. Moreover, by mounting a heavy item on the side of the kayak can be a dangerous act since you are basically shifting the weight and balance point of the kayak that any sudden or wrong move will flip the kayak over.
The size of the display is not the only important factor here because you need to take into account the screen resolution as well. A compact fish finder will serve you no good if you cannot read from the display. You will see that pixels are used to measure the screen resolution.
Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your unit, you should get a fish finder with a screen with the highest number of pixels possible to get all the important information you need in the best detail. Your absolute minimum resolution should be 240×160, but the amount of pixels that you can get can be as high as 640 x 640 or even higher.
Another important factor of a kayak fish finder is the transducer and what they will do is to send sonar signals to the water and analyze what is below your boat. Most, if not all fish finders that are sold today include transom mount transducer that you can easily install.
In addition to that, you need to consider the cone angle because a wider cone angle degree means more area covered below the boat. The cone angles can vary from 10-60 degree depending on the transducer. There are also options for those who fish in various depths of water,and for that angler, a 20 degree should be sufficient. The rule of thumb here is basically that you can cover more area with wider cone angle degree. However, keep in mind that a wide cone angle in very deep water might deliver less reliability.
Where to Mount the Unit on a Kayak?
Another important factor to think about before you invest in a fish finder for your kayak as the mounting space. You should have an idea of the space you need and the space you have available on your kayak to mount the fish finder. It is very beneficial to make enough space for the fish finder, cables, and a compact 12V battery pack. As we did talk about above, a huge 7-10″ screen might not fit your fishing style on a small kayak, but if you have a large kayak, that could be an ideal solution for you. On the other hand, those who own small kayaks should consider units around the 4″ mark.
Without power, the fish finder will be of no use for your and therefore it is essential for you to set-up a power source in your kayak. It doesn’t have to be a complicated setup, all that you need is a compact waterproof battery box where you can connect all the necessary wires from the fish finder to the battery.
However, if you are not willing to deal with cables and wires, your other option is to invest in a portable fish finder that includes a built-in battery pack and requires no wiring at all. Keep in mind that a unit with high power will operate significantly faster than a less powered unit.
After you have read over my best kayak fish finder reviews, you’ll have encountered numerous types of brands. There are so many fish finders for kayaks available on the market that include different bells and whistles that it might seem like a difficult task to pick one. However, the units in this guide are only top rated kayak fish finders that are built with quality and durability in mind.
As you know, there are so many benefits of going fishing with a fish finder. They are designed to improve your skills and your overall fishing experience. Now you can utilize the latest technology and start fishing efficiently, exactly where the fish is hiding instead of wasting hours with your fishing pole hoping to catch the one.
Having said that, I hope you were able to melt the information from this guide easily, and you should now have enough information to decide what model suits you and sort out the ones that don’t fit your fishing style. There is only one reason I wrote this information guide, and the reason was simply to help you to find the best unit that will improve your fishing adventure.