How many times have you gone fishing and wondered what was going on under the water? Did you get lucky enough to catch a big one, or are there some fish that are hard to come by that you’d like to see? The best fish finders for kayak will give you the answers to these questions and more, allowing you to know exactly what’s happening in your local waterways and even monitor your own backyard pond!
There’s no reason why you can’t use current maritime electronics when kayaking. A decent fish finder may significantly increase the kayak fishing experience while yet maintaining the advantages of small craft fishing.
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Table of Contents
Best Kayak Fish Finder
Check out this review and buying guide to learn everything you need to know about fish finders so that you can make an informed decision on which model will be right for your needs.
Here are our top picks for the best fish finders for kayak:
1. Humminbird Helix Fish Finder
The Helix 7 G3 utilizes powerful signals to provide the most comprehensive picture of fishes and terrain to the side of a kayak. MEGA Side Imaging fish finder for kayaks utilizes the most capable sonar signal available to provide high-definition pictures of structure and fish that are detailed enough even for users to differentiate among individual fish and even different species.
It includes a quality 7-inch 800×480-pixel screen that enhances the detail of the MEGA Up and down imaging. Although the Helix fish finder lacks buttons for preserving favorite views, it’s simple to conceal those that aren’t in use, leaving just a handful to cycle through.
MEGA Down Imaging, on the other hand, uses the same technique to create a three-dimensional picture of the structure and fish hidden therein. Dual Spectrum CHIRP from Hummingbird transmits two radar signals at a different frequency for a more comprehensive sonar response.
The signal cone may be tuned to a broad view for more coverage or to a restricted view for better detail. The typical SwitchFire sonar picture uses bright, high-contrast colors to help distinguish baited schools from schools of fish.
Along with high-resolution sonar, the Helix 7 is equipped with a navigation map with a bathymetric chart and a depth finder for kayaks. The included GPS unit is ideal for plotting a path and tracking speed and location and may be updated with more powerful mapping software.
- 7-Inch screen with 800H x 480V resolution color TFT display
- Switch Fire sonar with two display modes
- See a clearer view beneath your boat. It’s THE perfect match of CHIRP sonar and Down Imaging detail
- Hummingbird CHIRP digital sonar is engineered to help you see individual fish, clearly identify bait and structure, and REACH greater depths and range
- Includes transducer and mounting hardware, power cable and gimbal mounting bracket.Power Draw: 800 mA
2. Garmin ECHOMAP Transducer
The Garmin Echomap Plus has a 7-inch WVGA colored touch screen display that operates similarly to a standard tablet using familiar tap, drag, and squeeze gestures. This is one of the primary benefits of the newer echo map chirp 73sv.
Alternatively, the keypad positioned on the right side of the main housing may be used. The screen is 6.1″ x 5.5″ x 2.0″ and has an 800×400-pixel matrix. The adjustable LED lighting ensures that readings are visible even in bright sunshine or at night.
The gadget is resistant to IP-X7 standards, which means it can endure accidental splashes, severe rain, and up to 30 seconds of submergence in 3.3ft of water. The “X” in the rating indicates that the device has still not been tested for solid item ingress, such as dust and sand.
Additionally, you have a variety of split-screen options with up to three applications shown simultaneously. The interface is very straightforward and user-friendly for beginners, while also enabling advanced users to modify their start screen to meet their specific requirements.
In terms of SideVÃ¼ and ClearVÃ¼, the installed transducer covers 455 and 800 kHz with CHIRP modulating intervals of 425-485 kHz and 790-850 kHz, respectively. Notably, the device can also operate at 260 kHz, making it compatible with a variety of transducers with very narrow fore or aft beams. By using them, the total reach of both the side beams will be increased by hundreds of meters.
- Bright, sunlight-readable 7” touchscreen with keyed assist
- Included transducer provides Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar and Ultra High-Definition ClearVü scanning sonar and SideVü scanning sonar with 20% greater range
- Vivid scanning sonar color palettes make it easy to distinguish targets and structure
- Preloaded LakeVü g3 inland maps with integrated Navionics data cover more than 18,000 lakes with up to 1’ contours
- Supports Panoptix all-seeing sonar, including Panoptix LiveScope sonar
3. Garmin Striker 4
The Striker 4 is a compact fish finder that was intended for simple deployment. This Garmin depth detector is great for anglers who are constantly changing tiny fishing boats. It’s an excellent fish detector for kayaks, as well as a transportable depth finder for transferring between boats.
And those who like hard water fishing may appreciate the Garmin Striker 4’s ice fishing option. It’s available as a stand-alone device (as tested), which is ideal for unique installations, or as an all-in-one solution that includes the charger, battery, and carrying case.
The Garmin Striker 4 is a great budget-priced entry-level depth finder that does not scrimp on functionality. Despite the Striker 4’s modest price, Garmin packs a lot of class-leading technology into it.
CHIRP technology, in contrast to conventional sonar equipment that broadcasts on a single or dual frequency, produces numerous pulses. These cover a broad frequency range from high to low.
The 77/200 kHz transducer utilizes CHIRP technology to provide a significantly more detailed image of the things underneath. This multibeam frequency ranging technique generates more sonar returns, resulting in clear, crisp fish arcs on the display and improved target separation.
- Clear Vu scanning Sonar shows you more of what is in the water around your boat; This high frequency sonar gives near photographic images with detailed representations of objects, structure and fish
- The power of simple offers a keyed interface with dedicated buttons; The device is easy to use and easy to install; Available in 3.5, 5 and 7 inch display sizes; Water rating IPX7
- Waypoint map: Use the way point map to easily view, mark and navigate to locations such as brush piles, stumps and docks; Maximum depth 1,600 feet freshwater, 750 feet saltwater; Current draw at 12 volt: 0.23 Ampere
- Chirp Sonar sends a continuous sweep of frequencies which provides a wider range of information; Chirp Sonar is able to create crisper fish arches with better target separation
- Built in flasher: View your sonar data in the classic flasher format; Ideal for ice fishing or vertical jigging. Display size: 1.9 x 2.9 inches (4.9 x 7.3 centimeter); 3.5 inches diagonal (8.7 centimeter)
4. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder
The Hawkeye Fishtrax 1C, like the Lucky, is a small, portable fish detector with a 2.75-inch LCD screen. With a basic push-button operation and an LED backlight, it provides glare-free reading and enhanced readability.
Fishermen may use this fish finder to get precise readings to depths of 240 feet because of its integrated sonar technology. Also included is a built-in sonar sensor that can be directly attached to your kayak, towed behind you, or just floating nearby while you’re angling from a more fixed location.
To assist you to avoid permanent dangers on the bottom of a lake, river, or coastal waterway, it delivers HD landscape photography in combination with Fish Arc and Fish ID markers.
It uses a special algorithm to reduce the number of erroneous readings from the sonar. Setting sound alerts to be notified whenever the fish detector detects movement under your kayak is yet another neat Fish Trax function.
Instead of staring at the fish finder screen all day, you may concentrate on analyzing other environmental clues.
- FishTrax intelligent sonar delivers precise fish finder readings up to 240 feet
- VirtuView HD color display with LED Backlight produces a glare-free view for excellent readability
- Sonar sensor is trollable, boat mountable, and floatable to achieve unmatched, go anywhere, portability
- Offers FishArc and FishID fish finder indicators with fish depth targeting along with HD bottom landscape imaging; Algorithmic software programming minimizes false readings and sounds an audible fish alarm signaling the presence of fish
- HawkEye products are manufactured both in the USA and overseas using technology designed and developed with American ingenuity
5. Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 Fish Finder
Lowrance’s Hook Reveal 7 was developed specifically for kayak fishing, after years of experimentation in extreme kayak conditions. The seven-inch submersible screen is easily seen from the kayak seating point and even from a distance. Large buttons may be pressed with the blade of a paddle or the tip of a rod.
The display remains viewable in direct sunlight due to a unique coating on the screen. Not only is the Hook Reveal 7 durable, but it also packs a lot. In terms of technology, this model is equipped with a dual-core CPU that enables faster redraws and reaction times. Additionally, this fish finder has color sonar for increased visible contrast and near-photographic views.
The Lowrance fish finders for kayak auto-tuning sonar automatically adjust settings in response to changes in the water’s and bottom’s conditions. Splits’ hot transducer is designed to fit within a scupper while still providing CHIRP and DownScan data. Fish Reveal mixes the target separation capabilities of CHIRP with the detail of Down Scan pictures. Lowrance offers a simple installation kit that delivers a secure mounting solution in five minutes and remains out of the way.
Using the Hook Reveal 7’s simple GPS plotter, anglers can quickly locate fish and remain in the zone where they are biting. You can confidently mark waypoints, check speed and distance, and navigate home since the kayak GPS fish finder navigator will keep you on track.
Additionally, the Hook Reveal 7 simplifies navigating with autonomous route planning that maps the fastest and safest path feasible. Thus, not only will this fish finder assist you in locating your catch, but it will also assist you in avoiding fixed dangers while on the water.
- FISHREVEAL: Fish are easier to find and easier to identify. FishReveal combines the target separation of Lowrance CHIRP sonar and the high-resolution images of structure from DownScan Imaging to makes fish light up on your display.
- HIGH-DETAIL INLAND MAPS: Get high-detail maps of almost 4,000 US inland lakes. Create custom contour maps with even greater detail over any map or GPS plotter with Genesis Live, so you can get onto the fish faster.
- TRIPLESHOT TRANSDUCER: Perfect for anglers who want all their sonar from a single transducer, TripleShot features wide-angle high CHIRP sonar and the high-resolution images of fish-holding structure from SideScan and DownScan Imaging.
- AUTOTUNING SONAR: Spend more time fishing and less time reworking your sonar settings with HOOK Reveal autotuning sonar, which ensures you get the best sonar image every time by automatically adjusting settings as fishing conditions change.
- 7-INCH DISPLAY: Enjoy crisp and clear views of your display no matter the conditions – even in direct sunlight – with excellent clarity and daylight visibility of HOOK Reveal’s SolarMAX display.
6. Element 7 HV with HV-100 Transducer
The Element fish finders include a high-contrast 1500 nit LCD display that really is clearly legible from any angle and in direct sunshine. The 7HV and 8HV provide 70Â° side viewing angles, while the 12HV offers 89Â° side viewing angles. The displays are non-touch.
The keypad layout is unpretentious yet well-organized, with easily-understood icons. Home and Menu are located above 4 directional keys, while Back and OK, as well as + and -, are located below the screen. The bottom row has three buttons for quickly accessing your preferred views. Finally, they gave the Waypoint button a higher priority by painting it orange and placing it prominently at the top.
Element is powered by a powerful quad-core CPU that’s capable of handling the Hyper Vision images and demanding graphics required by 3D Real Vision.
The Element has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NMEA2000, and optionally Sea Talking networking through an A06045 adapter connection. The HV100 transducers are a beast, providing the device with All-in-One sonar capabilities.
It is equipped with Real Vision (3D), Hyper Vision, Down Vision, Side Vision, and CHIRP sonar crystals. It features a large circular 15-pin connection that is lovely and secure when connected to a unit. The total dimensions are 8 inches long by 2-1/4 inches broad by 1-5/8 inches long.
- High-visibility sunlight viewable 7″ display
- 1. 2 megahertz HyperVision CHIRP technology delivers super-high resolution sonar imagery
- Built-in RealVision 3D sonar gives you the power to accurately identify the location of ledges, channel beds and other contour changes
- Fast quad-core processor allows instantaneous chart re-draw and continuous 3D rendering
- Dedicated keypad controls for simple operation, plus an oversized waypoint key for marking favorite spots
7. Deeper PRO Smart Sonar WiFi Fish Finder
The Deeper Pro plus fish detector is a flexible, castable fish finder designed for professional and recreational fishermen, with a focus on kayak fishing making it the best portable fish finder for kayak.
It’s self-contained and emits its very own Wi-Fi signal. This enables you to connect it to your phone from any location. It works on both iOS and Android smartphones.
Dual-beam sonar frequency enables the scanning of large regions in order to locate fish. It syncs from a distance of up to 330 feet and checks down to 260 feet.
The data you discover is automatically transferred to the cloud, allowing you to keep a full record of all your fishing spots.
All scans, as well as maps, are stored immediately to the app, allowing for easy examination once you return to land. There are four variants available, with the upgrade option using CHIRP radar that automatically detects the frequency to your water depth.
- HIGH SPECS: Casts out up to 330ft and scans down to 260ft. Precise 2.5cm target separation. Compatible with iOS and Android devices.
- REAL-TIME DATA: Two beam frequencies with 15 scans per second. View depth, see bottom structure and consistency, vegetation and fish.
- GPS MAPPING: Create bathymetric maps from the boat, canoe, kayak. Access all your scans, maps, points of interests, photos and notes on the Fish Deeper app and web platform.
- 4 SEASON FISHING: Versatile fish finder suitable for any season and fishing type. Great for on shore fishing, ice fishing, boat and kayak fishing.
- EASY TO INSTALL: Great addition to your boat or kayak accessories. Installs in seconds. No drilling, cables, or wires required.
How to Choose the Best Fish Finders for Kayak
If you want to improve your chances of catching when kayak fishing, you’ll need the greatest fishing technology, which includes investing in the best kayak fish finders.
The first consideration should be where and how you like to fish, or where you want to fish with your kayak. This will direct you to the finest kayak fish finder for your fishing technique.
In this buying guide, we look at some of the key factors to consider in the best fish finders for kayak depending on your fishing location and techniques.
Fishing Around Structures
If you love fishing offshore structures such as waste lines, ridges, and deeper reefs, a reasonably priced DI or SI GPS combination fish finder may be ideal for you.
The GPS assists you in maintaining a safe distance from the structures you wish to fish, with the DI radar capabilities assisting you in identifying boulders, brush piles, and other items to which you may like to throw.
If you like fishing bigger waters or perhaps even the ocean, it might be prudent to invest in a high-quality fish finder and GPS combination for your kayak. Additionally, the last item you want while fishing in large bodies of water for clown knife fish is to get lost and stranded far from shore.
Fishing in the Shallow Waters
Numerous kayak anglers like to just cruise the coastline of smaller areas of water, throwing to low foliage, laydowns, and docks.
If you want to spend most of your fishing time in ponds, coves, and small rivers, a tiny fishfinder combination may suit you, since you may not need the additional expense of a GPS to assist you in navigating, as well as the image views of the seabed with downward scan and down scan overlay.
When it comes to mounting space, there are two options to consider namely:
Portable Fish Finders for Kayak
They are a more practical solution for the majority of kayaks. They take relatively minimal space on board and are simple to attach (and remove) as required.
Some are even portable and link through Bluetooth to your smartphone for optimum mobility and convenience.
Fixed Fish Finder
Because this form of fish finder is permanently placed, it’s often more suited to bigger boats than kayaks. Although the initial setup is quite hard ”“ and permanent ”“ you may give them a try if you’re not planning on moving kayaks anytime soon.
The bigger the fish finder device, the more storage space it requires aboard ”“ but the less transportable it is. And what use is it if you’re unable to carry it on all of your fishing trips? Next, consider the amount of room available on the kayak for just a fish finder.
There should be enough room for a RAM or Scottie fish detector mount, a modest 12V battery, wires, and all of your rods and equipment. Additionally, you’ll want a fish finder with a screen large enough to see detail but small enough to be out of the way when paddling and casting.
For a little fishing kayak, a 3.5 to 4-inch display should suffice, particularly if installed in a convenient location for seeing and using the fish finder. However, fitting a 5-inch monitor in bigger fishing kayaks with stabilizers should be no problem.
Purchase the largest screen feasible within your budget; this is the general guideline we follow when selecting any form of monitor. However, avoid compromising quality in the process; larger isn’t always better when it comes to the display size. The display resolution is a critical factor to consider.
A fish finder with a tiny screen but a better display resolution may still be easier to see than one with a big screen but a less-than-stellar display quality.
Additionally, your kayak space will be restricted, so you must strike a balance between having easy-to-read and an incredibly simple screen in terms of size. Nothing screams catastrophe so quickly than having the display obstruct your paddling.
Just remember to ensure that you can see and read the display even in bright sunlight. A fish finder with a glare-resistant and ideally colorful display is your best chance in this situation.
One last point to consider when selecting a depth detector for your kayak is the brand. In recent years, kayak manufacturers have collaborated with fish finder companies to develop scupper holes that exactly match the transducers, facilitating their installation.
If you own an Ocean, Old Town, or Necky kayak, you may want to choose Hummingbird over the other brands, since they are all held by Johnson Outdoors and their scuppers are designed particularly for Humminbird transducers.
On the other hand, Wilderness and Hobie Systems kayaks have equipped their boats with Lowrance-compatible mounting capabilities.
While it doesn’t have to be difficult to locate the best fish finders for kayak, keep in mind that it’s a major investment. You, therefore, need to be sure the fish finder you choose works best for you. All of the goods listed above are great in terms of performance and dependability.
However, for the greatest results, we suggest the Humminbird Helix 7 fish finder which uses strong signals to deliver the most detailed image of fish and the surrounding landscape.
These high-definition images of structure and fish are clear enough for kayakers to distinguish between individual fish and even distinct species, thanks to the MEGA Side Imaging fish finder.