Luckily, there’s a tool called fish finder, and it can help you on your next adventure. You’ve probably heard of such a device if you’ve been into fishing for a while. Still, you should consider it even if it’s your first time hearing about it.
There are several different types of fish finders, but we’ve researched and found those that work the best for kayak fishing.
Top 7 Best Fish Finders For Kayak
Garmin Striker 4 With Transducer
This high-frequency sonar shows what’s in the water around your boat so you can quickly figure out if you’ve cast the bait at the right spot. It gives near-photogenic images with details of fish, structure and other objects.
The unit is quite simple to install and use since it has a keyed interface. It comes in a few sizes so you can choose between 3.5-, 5-, and 7-inch display sizes. Also, it has an IPX7 water rating.
The waypoint map is the easiest way to view, mark and navigate different locations such as stumps, docks, and brush piles. Its maximum depth is at 1600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater, while the current draw is at 12V:0.23A.
The Chirp sonar sends frequencies and information which allows target separation.
- Great for ice fishing & more
- Intuitive interface
- Easy to install
- Comes with little instructions
Venterior Handheld Fish Finder
If you’re shopping for your first fish finder, you should consider this one by Venterior. It detects and displays water depth, short and tall weeds, approximate fish location, as well as sand and rocks beneath.
It features a backlit mode which is great if you’re a fan of fishing at night. Plus, you can use it in sea, rivers, lakes and whatever other fishing environments you like. It’s also suitable for off-shore, ice and boat fishing.
This one comes with a round transducer and 25ft of cable. It detects water depth range from 3ft to 328ft. Also, it has five user selectable sensitivity settings and a battery-save mode.
One of the best things about the unit is its versatility. You can play with its settings until you find the best way to use it regarding how it shows information.
- Feet or meters
- Removable transducer float
- Backlight mode
- Doesn’t detect bait-size fish
Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer
If you’re looking for a device suitable for rugged fishing environments, you should take a look at this Garmin Striker fish finder. It comes with a dual-beam transducer and Garmin Chirp traditional sonar for clear images and excellent target separation.
It features a wide range of useful options that make your kayak fishing experience much better and more effective. With the Garmin quickdraw mapping software built in, the device lets you create and store maps for up to 2 million acres.
It also has built-in GPS for marking waypoints, viewing speed and creating routes. Overall, the display is bright and readable even in direct sunlight. It measures 4.3’’ and has an intuitive user interface.
Another thing worth mentioning is the fact it supports 50/77/83/200 kHz frequencies.
- Rugged design
- 200W (RMS) transmit power
- Intuitive design
- No preloaded maps
Lowrance HOOK2 4X Fish Finder
Lowrance is well-known for having some of the fish finders that are the easiest to use. The Hook2 4x has auto-tuning sonar and menus that look a lot like what you already have on your phone. This means you probably won’t struggle with settings even if you’re a beginner.
It has a wide-angle Chirp sonar cone allowing double the coverage you’d get with most similar units. On top of that, this one is simple to set up. It can be mounted on the transom, the trolling motor, or inside the hull. Overall, it’s great for kayaks and small fishing boats.
Its GPS plotter provides primary navigation which allows you to add waypoints, navigate and follow trails. Plus, the Bullet Skimmer transducer included with the device gives you a more traditional 2D Chirp sonar view.
- Easy to install
- Suitable for beginners
- Great for smaller boats
- For entry-level only
Lucky Portable Fish Finder
This portable unit comes with an updated 2.4-inch TFT color LCD screen. It detects and displays depth, underwater contour, temperature, and fish size and depth. It has two user modes allowing you to choose between simulation and transducer.
It provides 26ft wired operation and 328ft depth detection. Also, the fish finder has a 45° beam angle and 200 kHz detection. This one is portable and rechargeable, and it comes with a USB cable for charging. You get about five hours of use on a single charge.
The unit is versatile, and you can set up its screen brightness, sensitivity, depth range, depth alarm, zoom, fish alarm, icons, and language. It also has a cap that lights in the dark allowing you to spot it with ease.
It’s a great choice if you’re into kayak fishing as well as shore, sea, and river fishing.
- Five hours of battery life
- Not the best for cold weather
Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp GPS Fish Finder
Fishers always have high expectations from Humminbird and for a reason. The company is among the most popular in the industry. The Helix 5 is a great choice if you’re into kayak fishing and looking for your first fish finder.
It has a 5-inch color WVGA display along with Chirp dual beam PLUS sonar. The two provide precise information and clear images allowing you to spot all that’s underneath your boat.
Its power output RMS is at 500 Watts while its power draw is 615 mA. On top of that, the unit features internal GPS chart plotting as well as Anima cartography for easier reading and use.
It has a Micro SD card slot for saving maps and waypoints for future use.
- Compatible with upgrade
- Side and down imaging
- Clear images
- No screen cover included
Garmin Striker Plus 4Cv
Garmin Striker Plus 4Cv comes with a transducer for Garmin Chirp traditional sonar. It has a QuickDraw Contours mapping software built in for you to create and store maps for up to 2 million acres.
The unit is suitable for beginners as it’s easy to install and use even if you have no previous experience. It has an intuitive user interface that looks much like what you have on your phone or tablet.
It has built-in GPS for creating routes, marking waypoints and viewing speed. Also, its bright, 4.3’’ display is easy to read even when you’re in direct sunlight. For this reason, it’s suitable for open waters and long hours of fishing.
Much like other Garmin units, this one has the distinctive rugged design for rougher use in every fishing environment.
- Suitable for beginners
- Built-in GPS
- Garmin QuickDraw Contours
- Confusing instructions
How To Choose a Fish Finder For Kayaking
If it’s your first time choosing a fish finder for kayak, you should consider a few things. Here’s what you want in a fish finder:
- Look for a technically advanced sonar reading or at least the standard 83/200 kHz. Anything less than that won’t produce such great images.
- Also, consider a unit that comes with a transducer. If it comes with a transducer attached, it will be much easier to set up.
- Make sure it fits your kayak with its size and shape. Fish finders tend to differ in size, so check its dimensions before purchasing.
- Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or not, look for a user-friendly display. This means things like waterproof housing, counteractive sun glare, split screens, smartphone integration, and different accessories.
- Other additional features you might want to consider are bottom tracking, battery life indicator, and water temperature.
If you opt for a portable fish finder, you’ll get a few more benefits along with it. These are usually a bit more versatile allowing you to take them off when not in use. In most cases, you can sync it to your smartphone as well.
Regardless of whether you opt for the one that’s portable or not, make sure it fits your needs and preferences. Look for the right size, features, and specifications that can provide what you’re looking for in a fish finder for kayak fishing.
Kayak Fish Finder Features To Consider
Fish finders are popular units that make fishing much easier than ever. Still, they come in a wide range of styles, sizes, and shapes, and not all of them will fit your kayak. For kayak fishing, you should look for a device that’s more compact than the types meant for larger boats.
Most models require mounting although you can get the one that can be held in hands. Those use floating sensors that send signals to the screen you’re holding.
Portable fish finders are quite easy to find since the technology has advanced quite a lot. Those that are portable can also be paired to an app on your phone via Bluetooth. In this case, the signals and all the information are sent to your phone instead to a separate screen.
As we said, these devices range in features and specifications. They come with different abilities which make them suitable for different kinds of water and fishing conditions. This means you should consider the type of water you’ll use it in before you opt for a certain model.
For example, if you’re fishing at only 40ft of depth, there’s no point in having a device that detects the target at 220 feet under the water. Such depth would work better for sea kayaking, so make sure to consider these details when choosing one.
Also, look only for fish finders that can tell you the depth of water you’re in. Some models can also display depths of the water landscape near you.
With such devices, you have to think about the frequencies it can operate between. It’s also crucial you consider the power of the sonar it comes with. Those with the higher frequencies allow you to fish in the more shallow water.
Higher frequencies are more accurate which means they’ll allow you to catch more fish if you’re in a shallow area of water.
Many models can operate on dual frequencies which gives you a balance of both high and low. This means a wider range, more fish, and more versatile environments.
Make sure to consider the wattage of the transducer as well. It’s a critical part of your fish finder that pretty much does all the work of finding fish, so you want it to be powerful enough. It uses sonar technology to receive signals before sending them to the screen.
You may or may not need a versatile fish finder depending on how versatile is your fishing. If you’re always in saltwater or freshwater, you won’t need a unit that works in both.
Still, many models are quite versatile. They work in both saltwater and freshwater which gives you more flexibility and options on how to use them. Most of those can also tell more than just where the fish is.
Consider How Much Space
As we said, fish finders range in size among other things. Now, you know that kayaks aren’t the biggest boats out there, so it’s crucial you choose the one that will fit and won’t be in your way when you cast. It requires some mounting space, so think about how much of it your kayak has to offer.
You’ll need some space for a fish finder mount, a small battery, rods, tackle and cables among other pieces of your equipment. However, you don’t want a unit that’s too small either since that one will probably be difficult to read. Look for the one that’s compact yet easy to read.
Units with a 5’’ screens are usually the best choice since those are unlikely to get in your way when paddling. However, if you have a smaller kayak, you can even consider something with a 4’’ or 3.5’’ screen.
At this point, you’ve probably made up your mind on one of these fish finders. These are among the best choices currently on the market, so it’s highly unlikely you can go wrong with either one of them.
Still, if you’re indecisive and cannot pick between them, we recommend you consider the Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer. It’s a reliable product that works in both saltwater and freshwater. It also comes in several display sizes to choose from.
Its features and specifications make this one stand out as one of the best on our list. However, make sure to consider your preferences and needs before deciding on a unit. It’s crucial that it suits your style of fishing, the size of your kayak and all other equally important factors.
Take your time and carefully think about what would make a good fish finder for you. We’ve reviewed some of the best, so it’s now up to you to choose one of them.