There are many reasons why people learn to kayak. You can either enjoy gliding across the water looking at the scenery, you can enjoy thrashing your way through the hard, rough waves or you can take your kayak out on the water for a spot of fishing. This article is aimed at the latter.
If you have just started fishing with your kayak, then you might feel frustrated by the lack of fish on the end of your rod. Well, there is one way you can locate amazing fish, that is by using your very own electronic fish finder.
This device uses an electronic display and thermal optical imagery to help you to see the fish that are underneath your boat.
This is an amazing method of seeing beneath the water and will certainly give you an advantage over those elusive fish that often scarper before you can get anywhere near them.
You can develop a lot of great strategies for catching fish if you are one step ahead of them. But you’ll need a fish finder that really has great battery life to last you for the duration of your fishing trip.
There are also fish finders that have various different options that will help display your fish in a variety of different ways.
So what is the best fish finder for your kayak setup? What features should most fish finders have to help you locate those rare beasts of the water?
What materials should a fish finder be made from to give you the very best performance and resistance to water damage? How much will you have to pay for a really decent fish finder?
Well, if you are getting frustrated with your fishing trips and want to amp up the level of your fishing, then we would suggest that you keep reading this article.
We have compiled a list of some of the best kayak fish finders that you can currently get on the market. We also have a buyer’s guide that will help you to determine what the best features are for your style of fishing.
OUR TOP PICK
Our first fish finder is a very compact unit, which makes it great to have on the deck of your cramped kayak. It is also very powerful, with plenty of battery life and a 3.5-inch color display that will help show your fish up in vivid technicolor.
This comes with an intuitive keypad that you can use to navigate between screens - introducing the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4.
This comes with a transducer that will quickly and efficiently identify the location of your fish. This will help you to skirt around any school of fish and hit them with your fishing rod before they have a chance to get away.
This has a GPS system that you can use to locate your favorite fishing spot over and over again.
- You can track schools of fish with the amazing transducer. This will help you to notice patterns of behavior with your fish and get the jump on them.
- This also has a GPS that you can use to save the same location time and time again - this is a great one if you are a creature of habit.
- This fish finder has a great battery life that will last you for the duration of your fishing expedition.
- This is a very compact unit, which will really help you if you have loaded your kayak with gear and are desperate to save space on your tiny deck.
- The screen size of this fish finder is very small, which might result in you finding it hard to see your fish, especially if the weather is cloudy.
Next up, we have a fish finder that has been specially designed for kayaks, with plenty of features that will help you to identify the fish under the water.
This comes with an auto-tuning feature that will not require any adjustments when setting up your transducer - introducing the Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 Fish Finder.
This will give you an ultimate viewfinder look, with a high-definition display that will give you everything that you need to see exactly how many fish are under the water and exactly where they are moving to.
This is very important as fish tend to move very fast and you always want to be one step ahead of them in the curve.
- You can use this fish finder to track the movement of your kayak so that you aren’t coming back around on yourself.
- This has a very clear visual display that you can use to track each individual fish if there are enough of them.
- This viewfinder will not take up too much room on your kayak, which is often an issue if you have little space on the kayak and plenty of gear.
- This has an auto-tuning system that will help you see right through the water, which is great if you want to have that extra depth perception.
- You cannot activate the sonar feature on this device, so you might have trouble tracking smaller fish.
This next fish finder is one of the most compact on this list, it is around the size of your average iPhone.
Most fish finders have this size, but you can be sure that this one really performs well when you use it on the water.
It is also very highly resistant to water - introducing the HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder.
- This comes in a very compact design, with 6-inches of length and 3-inches of width. You can store this one very easily on your smaller kayak.
- This will run on a few AAA batteries, which means you won’t have to worry about sourcing petrol or gas.
- This fish finder transmits on two different frequencies, with 83 kHz being ideal for deeper water and 200kHz being much better for transmitting high-quality pictures in more shallow water.
- You can also adapt this for sonar readings, which will really look amazing and show up the individual fish in the water.
- Some users have reported experiencing some lag, especially when they are switching between the different sensitivity settings.
This next fish finder is a very popular one to anyone who knows a thing or two about the fishing industry.
This company is always finding methods of improving the transducer on their fish finding device to give ever more precise readings.
This particular model really finds the balance between performance and price point - introducing the Humminbird 411070-1CHO Helix 7.
- This comes with a small screen and a GPS that you can use to track the movement of your boat as well as pinpoint your favorite fishing spot.
- The screen on this fish finder will be very visible, no matter what the weather. You can be sure of getting a nice bright readout, even when it is raining cats and dogs.
- This is also a great fish finder for night time fishing. It has a very bright screen that you can use to track a body of fish in the darkest of conditions.
- The price - this is one of the cheapest and best-performing items on this list. When it comes to battery life and a solid readout, you can’t go wrong with this one.
- This is another one with a very small screen, if you have eyesight issues and it’s raining, this might be a no-go for you.
We end on one of the best units for the price that you can find on the market. This one has everything that you need for a great fish finder.
It comes with a decent resolution and a backlit LCD that will be easy to read no matter the weather or lighting conditions.
This runs on 4 AAA batteries and will last around 4 to 5 hours - introducing the Venterior portable Fish Finder.
- This will cost you little to nothing and, considering the range of features that this has, you can be sure of having everything that you need to catch yourself some fish.
- This uses 200 kHz frequencies to detect fish even in the deepest of waters. This is great if you fancy yourself more of a deep-sea fisherman.
- You can use this detector in plenty of water scenarios, whether it is saltwater or freshwater, this will give you a clear readout every single time.
- This one will certainly last you as long as your fishing trip. It has plenty of battery life, making this one of the most reliable devices.
- This has limited features, which might be okay for beginner fishers, but might be more frustrating to professionals who are used to state-of-the-art devices.
Best Kayak Fish Finders Buying Guide
The type of fish finder that you buy will all depend on the style of fishing that you intend to do. If you are a deep-water fisher, then ideally you’ll want a finder that has downward-imaging software.
Transducers emit sonar waves downward, which then bounce back up to the boat, giving you a clear picture of what lies beneath.
Here are a few things that you’ll be looking for with your next fish finding device:
How Long Does The Battery Last?
This will all depend on what power supply your fish finder will take. Most of these portable units will only take AAA batteries, so your fish finder’s power will always be limited to just a few hours.
Is It Waterproof?
It should go without saying that you’ll need your fish finder to be utterly waterproof, as you will be surrounded by water the entire time.
Is It Down-Imaging Or Side-Imaging?
Down imaging will be when your fish finder will scan vertically down the side of your boat. This is to find the fish that are deeper in the water. More often than not, these will be larger fish.
The downside of having this vertical imaging is that you’ll only be able to see the fish directly underneath your boat and you will have to position your kayak accordingly.
If you choose to go with a side-imaging device, then you can expect to see a lot of the surrounding of your boat, as it will cover more space around the sides of your boat, rather than the down-imaging scanners.
However, these side-imaging scanners will generally cost a lot more than the down-imagers.
Best Kayak Fish Finder - FAQ's
Does It Matter How Much Space You Have On Your Kayak?
The weight of the boat will certainly affect your fishing experience. However, you can get fish finders that float on the surface of the water, transmitting the location of the fish to your smartphone. This is a great feature that will save you a lot of space if you have loaded up your kayak with gear.
How Do You Mount Your Fish Finder?
Different fish finders are designed to be mounted to the side of your boat in different ways. There are some that are designed to be clipped into the mount that is built into your kayak, whereas others are designed to stick right to the bottom of your kayak.
Our Final Say
We hope that our list of some of the best beginner fisher finders for kayaks has helped you to narrow down which one will be the best for your fishing style, as well as the science behind fish finders.