Introduction to the Best Kayak Fish Finders
Fish Finders are in a way like a god send to the competitive and efficient fisherman of today. They are like the equivalent of lending sight to a blind person in that the fish finder gives you data that you could have not known beforehand. Some things include:
Knowing the depth of the area you are fishing in: If you are looking to catch a particular fish and know the species habits and preferred depths this can be crucial information as to where to place your kayak.
GPS Navigation: This is a particularly handy feature as it helps you track your movements as well as some fishfinders allow you to have a combo screen of where your kayak or watercraft is sitting vs what the depths are.
Pixels and Screen Size: Generally more expensive models have a bigger screen size which in turn has more pixels to show you greater detail of what lies below in terms of the fish, the structure and the floor of the body of water.
Power: Power is referred to as what the sonar capabilities are of the particular fish finder. The greater the power of the device the more capability it has in the reading accuracy of depth, fish and the structure as well as its ability to reach through both freshwater and saltwater environments.
Fish Finder Frequency: What kind of frequency fish finder you get depends on your fishing environment. Higher frequencies usually work better in shallower waters while lower frequencies work better in deeper water. If you choose a dual frequency model (something in the range of 50 to 200 kHz) then you get the best of both worlds.
Pro Tip: When looking for the right fish finder for you it is best to invest a bit more money than you would be comfortable with. If you get basic models of fish finders you will eventually out grow them and will be wanting more detailed information as you go fishing more and more. However if you are insistent on your spending budget I got you! Below I’ll have a Best Fish Finders on a Budget Category that you can skim through (Look at the table of contents).
Best Kayak Fish Finders
Fish Finder Name Display Size Depth Reading GPS? Price Rating Humminbird HELIX 5 GPS G2 Fish finder 5" 1500 feet with Included Transducer YES $$$ 9.5/10 Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro Navionics+ Dual Channel Sonar/GPS 4.3" 600 feet CHIRP DownVision YES $$$ 9/10 Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+Black Phone Screen Dependant 260 feet YES $$$ 9/10 Garmin STRIKER 5cv with transducer 5" 2,300 Feet Fresh Water
1,100 Salt Water YES $$$ 9/10 Lowrance ELITE-5 Ti Med/High/ Totalscan Fishfinder 5" 1000 Feet YES $$$$$ 8.5/10
Best Budget Kayak Fish Finders
Fish Finder Name Display Size Depth Reading GPS? Price Rating Garmin STRIKER 4cv with transducer 3.5" 1,750 ft freshwater
830 ft saltwater YES $$$ 9.5/10 Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit 3.5" 1,600 ft freshwater
750 ft saltwater YES $$ 9/10 Wireless Portable Fish Finder 2.8" 328 feet NO $$ 9/10 FishHunter PRO Dependant of Phone 150 feet NO $$ 8/10 Signstek Portable Fish Finder 2.4" 240 feet NO $ 8/10 HawkEye Fishtrax Fish Finder with HD Color around 2" 240 feet NO $$$ 7.5/10 Lowrance Hook-3X 3.5" around 50 feet NO $ 7/10
Fish Finders do not have to be restricted to just kayaks as they can be mounted in a variety of different watercrafts such as boats, Pontoon boats, Canoes and even Paddle Boards if you are feeling particularly thrifty! Having said that many new models of kayaks are coming out with designs that are fish finder friendly. These include transducer mounting areas and accessories that can be attached to the kayak to hold your Fish Finder and GPS.
Choosing the Best Fish Finder that suits what you want is ultimately up to you. I’m just here to steer you in the right direction 🙂
Best Kayak Fish Finders
The Best of the Best in terms of Fish Finders for kayaks these are the very best kayak fish finders. While many of these units may be a bit more than you would like to pay their wide varity of features and settings. When Choosing the best kayak fish finder for you it is best to have a budget and add at least $100 to it. The extra $100 you spend will go insure that you will not outgrow your fish finder and end up spending even more money to upgrade then what you had originally planned. All of the below brands are from reputable fish finder manufacturers who set the bar and innovate.
- 5” Display Size
- 800H x 480V, 5″ 256 color display with backlight
- Chirp Frequencies (83 kHz: 75-95 kHz, 200 kHz: 175-225 kHz, 455kHz: 420-520 kHz)
- Side Imaging Sonar for 180 degrees side to side perspective for 480 foot coverage
- Down Imaging SOnar for a fish eye’s view of what is happening below
- Dual Beam Plus Sonar
- Internal GPS built into the head-Upgradable software for continuous software updates by Hummingbird-
- Uni Map Cartography that is a built in map that covers coastline, lakes as well as rivers
- Autochart Live to create Digital and detailed maps on the water
- Smart Strike Feature that shows you where the fish are biting at any given moment-Precision GPS
- Micro SD cardholder for advanced cartography, saving screenshots, sonar readings and way points
For those of you that are analytical by nature and want the most detailed readings with lots of available options the Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp is most likely for you!
It features not only a depth reading but also goes several steps further to allow you to Side Imaging and Down Imaging and Dual Beam Plus Sonar! If you are new to Fish Finders you may be already by lost just by looking at the features so let me explain.
Side Imaging Sonar is a type of sonar that shows images from the bottom of the floor to the top. This allows you to see detailed images such as wreckages, plants and the terrain. In relation to fish you can locate small clusters of bait fish by seeing white dots or larger fish by seeing white lines in the dark (the water)
Down Imaging is a more detailed view of traditional sonarr from fish finders that uses images to show you what’s below the boat.
Dual Beam Plus Sonar allows you to select the detail that you want to see in your sonar view. A narrower beam gives you a higher accuracy reading while a wider beam gives you a larger search area.
Probably the thing that stood out most to you in all of this was the Smart Strike! The smart Strike retrieves data from specified search parameters. The parameters are species, time of day, season and the weather and it will show you where the that species of fish is located!
For those of you that want a simple get to the point fish finder that takes a few minutes to learn this may not be the one for you. However if you want as much detailed data as possible with a lot of sonar features and have the patience to learn what everything does this is a great world class fish finder that will improve your fishing accuracy ten fold!
Bodies of Water:
The Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp can find be used in any kind of water conditions such as lakes, oceans and rivers. The out of box transducer can read depths of up to 1,500 feet. If you desire more depth you can get an upgraded separate one that reads up to 2,500 feet.
– Different Sonar channels
– Built in GPS on the head
– Upgradable Software
– Smart Strike
– Lots of customizability options
– Auto Chart Live for creating detailed maps
– Too much choice
– Price is definetly not the most budget friendly
– Takes a while to learn and review everything
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating 9.5/10
- CHIRP DownVision
- Dual -Channel CHIRP to see structure and target fish
- Connect and share allows you to stream sonar data right to their smartphone
- Navionics boating app and Sonar Chart Live
- Built in GPS that gives you the choice between Navionics C-Map by Jeppesen or Raymairine Lighthouse compatible charts
- 4.3 Inch Display with LED backlit display
- 183 m (600 feet) CHIRP DownVision CHIRP Sonar at 275m (900 ft) Dual Channel CHIRP
- Includes CHIRP transducer with temperature sensor
- Includes Micro SD Memory car Reader
This is considered the more cost efficient model that is built with a similar level of quality as the more expensive fish finders. It’s 4.3 inch display is almost the perfect size for kayaks. On top of that it also features a compact ball and socket mounting system that adjusts to your best sight level.
Sonar and GPS: The Dragonfly Pro 4 features some of the best sonar available on the market with CHIRP. I’m sure that name is familiar to you as many of the other more expensive fish finders I have reviewed features this technology. It features Dual Channel sonar that gives you Dual Channel Chirp and Down Vision Sonar.
How the Dual Channel Chirp works is that it sends wide conical- shaped beam pulsed over different frequencies that allows you to receive detailed images on your Dragonfly 4 Pro.
The DownVision Sonar emits a wide 60 degree by 1.4 degree shell shaped signal that allows you to see a display of photograph like images of what lies below your kayak or boat. This allows you to see the structure of the floor, the vegetation and allows you to differentiate between what are game fish and what are baitfish!
The Dragonfly 4 Pro also allows you to choose between what mapping system to use. You have a choice between using the Navionics C- Map or the Raymarine Lighhouse compatable charts. The difference between these two map systems is that the Raymarine Lighthouse Gives you topographical charts that coverage from North America , South America and Australia and general area. If you are not in that region you can purchase a range of different charts that best represent your area.
Navionics C- Maps gives a more detailed cartography that provides depth contours, depth shading and spot soundings as wel as full tidal information with a graph and prediction.
A feature the Dragonfly 4 Pro has that some of the more expensive fish finder brands do not have is the ability to stream dragonfly sonar data to your smartphone or tablet. This allows you to rewind and capture certain sonar images and share it with your friends who want to ride off of you coat tails!
Bodies of Water
Can do Both Fresh and Salt water. Has a variety of different mapping systems to accommodate both. Depth Range is 600 – 900 feet depending on what Sonar you use.
- Dual Channel and DownVision CHIRP gives you all around good Sonar detection readings
- You can choose from two high quality GPS map navigational settings
- One Year Warranty
- The Ability to stream Sonar data to your smart phone to be able to share to your friends or social media is impressive
- Compact Ball and Socket mounting system
- Backlite LED is helpful in darker situations
- Easy Navigation limited amount of buttons to press
- Comes with Transducer
- Some customers state that this unit takes longer to get readings
- A few customers had trouble getting a hold of Raymarine
- Some complaints about a short transducer
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 9/10
- Wi-Fi Range of 330 ft
- Depth Range 2 feet to 260 ft
- Water temperature sensor
- 290 kHz / 90 kHz Frequency
- Weighs 100 grams and is 2.5 inches in diameter
- Different modes for casting location from shore boat ect.
- No Display Unit Required, just use your phone!
- Wifi connection so that internet connection is not required
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro + is great for the kayak fisherman who wants minimal gear and a fish finder that does its job. This little device is 2,5” in diameter and is all you really need to get started, well that and your handy cell phone!
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro + acts as a bobber that you can either first tie to your kayak to get continuous readings or simply cast out to get sonar readings from further out! It can even be used in icefishing!
You can sync this device to your phone by wifi that has a range of up to 330 feet which is the furthest of any castable sonar on the market.
The Battery is rechargeable and has a continuous lifespan of 4 hours and a full charging time of up to 2.
To use the device you simply charge it to full capacity (you will see a green light when you remove the top) turn on the wifi to your smartphone and you pair it with Deeper. It can only be paired when it is in the water or it is being charged.
Next you download the Deeper App from the App store , cast the Deeper Transmitter bobber into the water and launch the app.
To read the app you click “Start”. The right hand side bar is the depth scale and surface temperature.
The Left will show you a detailed view including the type of ocean floor (soft or hard determined by the shade of orange), vegetation represented by green and the yellow dots are fish! You can view history from the last 15 minutes. When a Fish is detected your phone or tablet will make a sonar beeping noise which lets you know when you have hit a fish or a school of fish.
It also shows you a calendar that shows fish activity levels in lunar phases per each location allowing you to choose the best time to fish. The higher the fish activity levels the higher percentage of a successful catch! You can also take pictures and add captions to catches as well as look at the full detailed weather report!
If you are a fishing minimalist who wants detailed readings without too much start up and setting up time this is a great little device that can just stream right to your smartphone or tablet! Good bye Bulky GPS and Fish Finder Readings!
The Deeper Smart Sonar comes in three different packages! Fish Finder 3.0(Shore Anglers) Pro (Kayak/ Boat anglers for deeper water) and Pro + (for both shore and boat anglers that show a variety of different mapping functions).
Bodies of Water:
Works in both fresh and salt water and can be used by simply attaching it with a mount to your kayak or casting it out. It works in a variety of different cold and warm water conditions and can be used successfully for ice fishing.
– Has won many awards including CES Best of Innovation Award, Best New Acccessory at the European fishing tackle trade Exhibituib and Best Electronic Device for modern angling at China Fish
-Great for Fishing minimalists who want minimal gear
– Has different settings and differentiates vegetation and from the floor
– Mapping Calendar Modes that tell you when the best time to fish is.
– Very Little Assembly required
– You just need your phone for the readings!
– Device has what you need but leaves a lot to be desired for more analytical fisherman
– You can get more detailed fish finders for the same price as the Pro +
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 9/10
- Includes Garmin Transducer
- built in Flasher
- Shows Speed data
- 5 inch color fish finder
- High sensitivity GPS
- Garmin Chirp ClearVu Scanning Sonar
- Waypoint Map
- Optional Portable Kit available
At first glance you notice it has a 5 (or 3.5 , 7!) inch screen depending on what model you get. It has the basic buttons that you would really need from a fish finder including a +, – , a back arrow navigational arrows , a checkmark as well as a menu , pin point mark and the on/off button.
What makes this Fish Finder so special is the fact that you can mark and return to fishing hot spots, ramps or docks on your GPS. You can take this a step further and share these spots with other fisherman who have Striker and echoMAP combos.
The CHIRP in this GPS doesn’t just send out one frequency but it send out a set of continuous ones that range from low to high. The signals come back and the Fish Finder interprets each one individually as they return.
The Images from the Sonar are quite clear on this device as you can see clear structure of what is underneath your kayak or boat. You can clearly tell the difference between weeds and a fish.
The Striker 5cv also has one of the best GPS signals out there with high sensitivity GPS navigation it can see your position quickly and give you a good relative distance between your location and your way points. You can also check your paddling speed on the screen so that you know how fast to go for each particular fish species.
This unit is not just good for kayaks but can be used equally as well with activities such as ice fishing, stationary fishing or jigging! It is also very portable as this unit includes a sealed rechargeable battery with charger, built in transducer cable management and storage as well as a suction cup transducer mount and float that you can easily hook onto your kayak.
Bodies of Water:
Can do Salt water but is best at home with Fresh Water Lakes and Rivers.
-Affordable for what you get compared to competition
– Comes with Transducer and related accessories
– Very portable
– Features Chirp and has good Sonar readings
– The ability of being able to mark hot spots is a huge bonus
– Can share hot spots with friends that have the same set up
– High Sensitivery GPS gives you good relative positioning to hot spots
– Depth Finder is sometimes finicky and sometimes only works when kayak is completely stopped
– Some customers state some inconsistencies with this unit.
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating 9/10
- Easy to use touch Screen
- CHIRP Sonar, StructureScan and Downscan Imaging
- Built in Wireless Connectivity
- Internal GPS antenna
- Micro SD Card Slot
- Quick Release bracket
- Display 16:9
- Resolution 800 X 480
- 1 Year Warrenty
- Power Output Max 500 W RMS
- 5 Inch touch Screen with backlighting
Lowrance is one of the big name Fish Finders in the industry since 1957 and this model is no different. The Lowrance Elite 5 Ti comes with a quick release mounting bracket, adapter cable and a power cable as well as the user manual. The unit features a 5 inch touch screen that is used as a dual fish finder and chartplotter.
GPS + Map Package: the unit comes with an enhanced elite basemap which covers a lot of lakes. It is also compatable with Lake Insight, Nautic Insight, CMAP, Navionics as well as the Insight Genesis Social Map.
Chirp Sonar: Has the feature options of 83 kHz, 200kHz as well as high chirp and low chirp settings. The thing that is great about the CHIRP Sonar is that there is better separation of fish in the water column and between the fish and the bottom so that you do not miss any of the bigger fish such as pike that like to lurk in the weeds. You can also log the Sonar onto an Insight Genesis Social Map.
Downscan Imaging and Structurescan HD: Allows you to see a clearer picture of fish and the bottom. You can change the sonar frequency from 455 kHz to 800 kHz depending on the quality of picture you want The Lowrance Elite 5 Ti does also have side image mapping. It’s maximum depth reading is 1000 feet.
Hobie Kayak? Many different kinds of Hobie Kayaks have Pre Mounted Tranducer slots so that you can install it onto your Hobie Kayak! They also have a variety of different H-Rail systems.
Overall it is a great system to have but there are some mixed customer reviews with it. A lot of the Customers say they love it while a few others have problems. Overall I see this as a bit of a downgrade from the Helix 5 Chirp in terms of built in features.
Bodies of Water:
Oceans and Lakes but is more suited to lakes as it has a mapping system of the lakes in the United States.
-Good amount of Functionality
– Looks as a whole less complicated to use then the Helix 5 Chirp
-Touch Screen is very handy
– Quick Release Bracket makes it easy to install and uninstall onto a kayak
– Features Back lit screen
– Not as many features in terms of downscan. Sidescan imaging as Helix 5
– Users do say its complicated to figure out
-Lowrance does not have the best information for green fish finder fisherman just getting started
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 8.5/10
Best Budget Kayak Fish Finders
So the above listed best kayak fish finders are the higher rated and higher quality ones that are associated with a higher price tag. What if you are on a budget or simply do not want to spend a lot of money on a fish finder? I got you covered! I will be reviewing the best budget kayak fish finders that are features at a good price and give you just what a fisherman would be looking for in a fish finder!
- 3.5 Inch Display with 480 c 320 pixel resolution
- Comes with Transducer, Transom and trolling motor mounts. Swivel mount, power cable
- Maximum Depth is 1,750 ft in Fresh Water and 830 ft in salt water
- CHIRP 77/ 200 kHz and CHIRP Clear vu (455/800 kHz)
- Features GPS and Way Point Navigation
- Shows boat/ kayak speed on screen
- Built in Flasher for fishing vertically
- GPS allows you to mark spots where fish are biting
- Water Temperature Sensor
- Fish Symbol ID
The more basic but budget friendly Striker compared to it’s 5cv cousin this device still has a good amount of features at a more friendly price. Similar to a lot of the best kayak fish finders The Garmin Striker uses CHIRP sonar. CHIRP allows this device to read data at a higher level of clarity and precision. Many other Sonars send 1 frequency of sonar while CHIRP sends continuous frequencies to provide more information on fish and what is at the bottom.
The 4cV also allows you to mark spots where the fish are biting that allows you to go back. It’s high sensitivity GPS allows you to get accurate Map readings as to where you are as well as helpful readings such as GPS Speed, Depth, Arrival time and more!
This fish finder also allows you to stationary fish anywhere including jigging or even ice fishing in any type of underwater terrain. It will also show your weighted bait as well as fish that swim into the sonar beam.
The Striker 4 cV comes with a variety of helpful accessories that allows you to get started as soon as possible including coming with an actual transducer, trolling motor mount, swivel mount for if you’re on a kayak as well as power cables and operation instructions.
Bodies of Water:
Can be used in both Fresh and Saltwater environments. Maximum depth in Fresh Water is 1,750, Max depth in Salt is 830 feet
– Features the same CHIRP Sonar as other more expensive Fish Finders
– Has an overall good user rating on a varity of different platforms
– Good price for what you get
– Accurate GPS with lots of features that you would expect from a GPS company
– Easy Waypoint Navigation
– GPS Provides good clarity thanks to CHIRP sonar
– Comes with a good amount of stuff including the Transducer and different mounts
– Great all around GPS for both newbie and experienced fishermen
– Not as much detail included as 5 cv
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 9.5/10
- CHIRP Sonar (77/ 200 kHz)
- Includes CHIRP Sonar Transducer, transmit power (200 W RMS)/ (16,00 W peak to peak)
- 3.5 inch color display with built in high sensitivity GPS
- Mark hot spots, docks and ramps on GPS
- Simple Keypad Operation
- Upgradable to High Performance CHIRP (with GT8 or GT15 transducer
Didn’t we already rate this one? Well not quite as the Garmin we rated was the 4cv. Although this more budget friendly model does have a few of the same features on it. Some of those features include the high sensitivity GPS, the color view as well as the ability to mark hot spots.
This model does not include some of the more fancy options like the CHIRP Clear Vu, Speed data and about 100 feet less in the depth rating but what you do get is a much better price! The fact that this Garmin includes CHIRP Sonar is pretty great. While they do not give you the best CHIRP Sonar package it is easily upgradable to the GT8 or GT15 transducer so that you don’t have to throw this perfectly good Fish Finder Away. The Chirp SOnar allows you to identify fish targets easily with Fish Symbol ID, allows you you to adjust the depth line to measure underwater objects as well as read the water temperature. A- scope gives you a read time display of fish passing through the transducer sonar beams as well so you can instantly recognise good spots to fish.
Another great thing about this Fish Finder is that it gives you the high sensitivity GPS and the ability to mark preferred fishing spots at just about the same price as the Signstek and Lowrance Fish Finders that do not feature GPS. The Garmin Striker 4 also allows you to go into split screen mode to see both GPS and Sonar below the water.
The Garmin Striker 4 has some of the highest ratings for a fish finder of it’s price range because of the fact that it packs a lot of the features found in fish finders twice it’s price. Garmin as a brand also seem to be very popular with customers constantly having one of if not the best ratings across the board for a fish finder brand.
Bodies of Water
Great for both Fresh and Salt Water with maximum depths read of 1,600 feet in fresh water and 750 feet in salt water.
– One of if not the best fish finder in terms of what you get for value
– Budget friendly
– Great for kayaks and boats alike
– Good maximum depth for both fresh and salt water
– Fish Symbol ID allows rookie fish finders to find fish more easily
– Adjustable Depth Line
– Easily upgradable to more advanced CHIRP Sonar makes
– Split Screen is great for seeing where you are in relation to how the fish are biting.
– Cables are said by some to be fragile
– Transducer cable is a bit shorter in length than some customers would like
– Instructions provided with the unit are not the greatest
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 9/10
- 2,8 Inch Display with 512 available colors, Sunlight readable display
- Depth Ranges up to 328 feet
- Rugged and Waterproof
- Temperature and pressure sensitivity
- 2.4 gHz Operating Frequency
- Can fish from kayaks, boats , docks or even floatie
- Multi Language menu
- Operational temperatures from -20 to 70 Degrees
- Includes 1 Fish Finder, 1 Wireless Sonar Sensor , 2 USB cords (1 for ball one for sonar sensor), 1 neck lanyard and a manual
The FishinSir Wireless Portable Fish Finder is a newer addition to the Fish Finder Family so I wanted to see how it stacked up against the more established guys like Garmin, Lowrance and Signstek. From a first look this fish finder looks a little bit cheaper than other models but so far it has gotten good feedback!
This model is kind of like the Deeper 3.0 Pro and Signstek models infused into one. What is great about the FishinSir Wireless Portable Fish Finder is that it’s sonar is wireless and can easily be cast or dragged behind a canoe or kayak for accurate readings. Both the unit and the sonar use lithium batteries which are included so you don’t have to run to the department store before every fishing trip to get batteries!
Even better is that the unit takes up little to no space at all which is deal for kayaks. Infact you don’t even have to place it anywhere! It can just hang from the neck lanyard it comes with which is ideal as it won’t get in the way of fishing rods or paddles!
The features of the FishingSir are pretty basic with a standard depth reading of about 328 feet. It accurately reads depth as well as allows you to zoom in on location, adjust the color and shows you different fish sizes of the fish in the area. Like many other fish finders it has an alarm when fish are in the area as well as a depth alarm. Unlike some cheaper fish finder finders it can withstand temperatures of -20 to 70 degrees celsius!
Overall if you are looking for a fish finder that is easy to understand and is very newbie friendly this is a good one to purchase! While it does not have any features that would truly wow you it has kept consistent in terms of no faulty readings with the wireless sonar which is pretty impressive in itself.
Bodies of Water:
Will show the best readings in fresh water
– Budget friendly
– Easy to use for a beginner
– Great for kayaks and canoes because it does not take up any room
– Also great for casting from the shore
– One of the better fish finders in terms of ruggedness, you don’t have to worry about dropping it
– Connection to the Sonar is one of it’s strong points
– This is a good device in terms of consistent readings
– Available in 15 languages
– For a fisherman that wants more advanced features it’s best to look elsewhere
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 8.5/10
- Tracks temperatures , water depth bottom contour and fish locations
- Comes with two modes, Raw View and Fish View
- Bathymetric mapping
- Capable for Icefishing
- Tri Frequency Transducer that rotates between 381. 475 and 675 lHz
- Runs on Wifi with a range of 150 feet
- Depth Range up to 150 ft
- Night Time Illumination for attracting Fish
- Trolling speed allowance up to 2.5 mph
- Compatible with iOS Apple & Android Smartphones or Tablets
The FishHunder Pro is a tri frequency wireless portable fish finder that streams data to your Apple or Android Smart Phone using Wifi. It can be used for a variety of different uses including trolling behind your kayak or boat, ice fishing or on shore casting.
The FishHunter Pro has four different screen viewing options including Raw View, Fish View, Bathymetric Mapping and Ice Fishing Flasher View.
Raw View shows the actual data from the tri frequency transducer in real time where it shows you the bottom contour of the water bed, live depth reading, as well as fish detection which is represented by arches in the water.
Fish View is a redrawn out customised view based on the interpretive data of the raw view to show more visually friendly data including the bottom contour and weeds that are on it as well as 3 different sizes of fish represented by a fish symbol.
Bathymetric mapping allows you to create a custom map of your favorite fishing spots ased on where you were before. It tracks the bottom contours as well as the depth on the path that you choose.
Ice Fishing using the FishHunter bobber it floats on the surface of the water and can tell you the depth, temperature as well as read what fish are coming towards your jig in real time. It operates at high frequencies of 475 kHz and 675 kHz using split screen view and the movement of you jig.
Bodies of Water:
Preferable for Fresh Water locations due to depth restrictions but can be used in shallower salt water conditions.
– It is rare to see tri frequency transducers able to operate on your smartphone or tablet
– Four Fish Finder views as specified above
– Fish view Tells you size of the fish
– Menu is fairly customizable and easy to understand
– Can withhold weather conditions as cold as -30 C
-It is a heavier unit so casting with it can be a bit of a burden
-Four hour charge time
-Hard to read in choppier waters
-Connectivity seems to be a common issue with this fish finder
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 8/10
- Sonar Frequency 200/ 83 kHz
- 2.4” LCD sunlight display that shows 512 colors and has a White LED front light
- 100 level sensitivity settings and multi level depth range
- Includes Transducer, screw and manual
- Works in fresh water and salt water
- Sonar reads depth, indicates water temperature
- Big/ Small Fish Identification
- Has a fish and depth alarm
- Depth Range Max 240 ft Min 2 Ft
- Multi Language menu
- Takes 4 AAA Batteries
The SIgnstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder is a budget friendly fishfinder that is a smaller brand but is rated highly along with some of the giants like Lowrance and other budget friendly fish finders. This particular company does not have it’s own website (correct me if I’m wrong) but it does rely on online retailing giants to sell its product. They also have frequent sales on their products.
Lets get to the actual fish finder though. For a budget friendly fish finder it does feature a good amount of small features that one would appreciate.
Some of these features include an impressive array of 512 color spectrum featured on the screen as well as versatility. You can attach the transducer to your kayak or boat or you can cast it out from the shore to get an accurate reading of depth and the kind of fish that are available in the sonar area.
The sonar frequency is dual beam and send sonar at 200 kHz and 83 kHz. It also sends alarms when fish pass by and what custom depth reading you want the alarm to sound for within the 3- 99 ft range. The sonar can also tell the difference between bigger fish and smaller bait fish as well as show the water temperature.
Bodies of Water:
Can do Fresh and Salt Water although I would think this unit gives more accurate readings in freshwater settings. Maximum Depth Reading for this unit is rated at 240 feet.
– This unit is budget friendly
– Signstek seems to have good customer service through their online platforms
– 2.4 inch 512 color display
– Multi Language Display
– Dual Frequency (200 and 83 kHz) gives accurate enough readings
– Easy enough to use and compact enough for kayakers
– Company does not have an informational website so you have to contact them for questions
– Not recommended for cold water below 0 degrees
– It seems hit or miss with the product, some of them work great some of them die or malfunction after a few uses.
– Batteries typically last for a full day and then you need to replace them
– Not the most efficient fish finder if you plan on fishing a lot (Batteries, possible malfunctions)
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 8/10
- Virtuview HD Color Display
- Dual Frequency Fish Trax Intelligent sonar
- Water Depth Detection
- Portable and Mountable for a boat
- Ice- Mode Digital Flasher Portrayal
- Variable Zone Water Temperature
- 2 Year Warranty
- 100 Level Sensitivity adjustment for multi level depth ranges
- Auto Zoom Bottom Tracking for Prey targeting
The Hand Held Hawkeye FT 1C is a great little unit that the minimalist fisherman would appreciate. This handheld device can be both mounted or sit loose. Unlike other fish finders this one actually runs on 4 double A Batteries instead of a rechargeable battery. This has its pros and cons as it means more battery life (with up to 30 hours) but really it means you spend more money on batteries.
This fish finder operates on three different modes including fish finder, data mode and ice-mode digital flasher.
The Fish Finder mode shows you data if the habitation of fish, lineament and the depth of the water on a high definition color layout.
Data Mode shows the depth, thermal and battery wattage assessment.
Ice- Mode Digital Flasher gives you real time Fish Trax readings via sonar.
The Sonar operates on three different frequency modes. 83 kHz, 200 kHz and Dual View (200 kHz and 83 kHz).
200 kHz is great for showing smaller details with the best resolution and definition of structure and targets
83 kHz has good depth penetration capability but does not show as much definition as the 200 kHz
Dual-View is used to utilize the best of both frequencies to give you the best possible reading especially in regards to detail and depth.
Overall if you are looking for a simple fishfinder that does not take a lot of instruction but still gives you an accurate enough reading this is a good one to use. If you are looking for something a bit more detailed with more features I would look else where.
Bodies of Water
Mostly fresh water like lakes and rivers
– Easy enough to set up
– Very Portable and can be used on a boat, kayak/ canoe, ice fishing or casting for a dock
– Buttons and screen display are simple enough to understand
– Great Device for the Minimalist Fisherman
– Comes with completely waterproof housing
– An Overall Rugged device
– Great if you are into fishing paddle boarding
– A bit simplistic, not a lot of features for its price tag
– Does not last very long when ice fishing when using non lithium batteries for it
– Depth Finder can be a bit off at times
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 7.5/10
- 3 Inch Backlit screen
- Advanced Signal Processing
- Runs on Dual frequency 83 or 200 kHz
- 83 kHz allows 60 degrees of conical coverage and the 200 kHz provides 20
- Can show Fish ID Icons instead of arches to help you properly identify fish
- Has 4 X Zoom
- Built in water temperatures and can track the bottom up to 75 mph
The Lowrance hook is at the lower end of our budget fish finders in terms of price range. It is great for kayakers who want a simple device to give them readings on fish and the depth reading. It’s LED BackLit color display allows you to find fish easily while out on the water. It’s smaller size works particularly well with kayaks, particularly Hobie Kayaks that already have a Lowrance Transducer mount.
It is a very simple unit that just about anyone could figure out within a few minutes with clearly labeled buttons and settings that allows the device to be more user friendly.
It features two readings of 83 kHz and 200 kHz that allows you to see what is going on below your kayak. It also has a fish display so that you can see fish on the screen more accurately and a power button that also acts as a brightness feature to allow you to see more clearly.
If you want a very simple straightforward unit that is ready to use and inexpensive in terms of fish finders this one is for you.
Bodies of Water:
Most Accurate readings will be in freshwater lakes/ rivers
– Very Straight forward to use. Probably one of if not the easiest to use on this list
– Priced very well
– Has a colored backlit display
– Buttons are straightforward and easy to use
– The Device is ideal for kayaks and kayakers who want something straight forward to use.
– Mixed reviews about this unit, works well for some not so much for others
– Readings are not the most accurate. Infact I was reading someone mounted this on their kayak in a pool and the unit read there was a fish and a log in it!
– Some users state the unit cannot read when going over 10-20 mph
– No GPS feature
Best Kayak Fish Finders Rating: 7/10
In this review The ratings are based on a few different criteria.
- What Customers think of the Fish Finder
- Functionality in terms of how well the unit operates in it’s different settings and functions.
- Ease of use when in a Kayak
Fish Finders are a great way to step up your game in terms of fishing and while there are a lot of options out there it is best to choose one based on YOUR personal preferences. What may be good for Bob may not be so ideal for Billy so keep a budget in your head and what features that you want to be included.
Having said the above statement if you are looking for something that will last and you will not outgrow it is better to put down more money. If you have any comments or disagree with one of my ratings or a part in my ratings feel free to comment or email me! I love discussing angling with people who have fishing different backgrounds! Hopefully I made your job researching some fish finders a little bit easier!
Best Value Brand: Garmin
In terms of a features to value scale the best brand to go with is Garmin. Garmin has a wide array of different fish finders that offer many models. Many have the exact same features as Fish Finders that would be over $100 + more expensive . Plus Garmin is a very reputable GPS company who have been doing this sort of thing for quite a while. Many of their models rank consistently with 4 or more stars which means you know they are doing something right.
Most Feature Rich Fish Finder: Hummingbird Helix 5
If you want a feature rich Fish Finder that also can also be on the go with you and your kayak the Hummingbird Helix 5 is a great choice. It features Side View, Down View and Dual Beam Plus SOnar that gives you a very detail rich mapping of what is below your kayak or boat.
Best Value Fish Finder: Garmin Striker 4 :
While it may not be the cheapest fish finder on this list it is the one that will give you by far the most value for your buck. The Striker 4 features CHIRP Sonar, High Sensitivity GPS as well as the ability to mark points of interest like docks, way points and fishing spots of interest. It can also be used in split screen mode where you see navigation and the fish/ depth finder on top of eachother. Another great thing about the Garmin Striker 4 is that it can be upgraded with better CHIRP Sonar including the GT8 and GT15 Transducers.
Best Budget Fish Finder: Lowrance Hook 3X
The Lowrance Hook 3x features everything you need in a fish finder including dual frequency 83 or 200 kHz. It has 60 degrees of conical coverage when using the 83 kHz sonar and 20 sgrees when using the more detailed 200 kHz. It also has simple Fish ID displays to find fish easier and see the bottom structure of the body of water. The unit comes with a Quick Release Bracket, High Speed SKimmer Transducer and the unit.