I have fond memories of camping at Camp Windermere with my father at the Lake of the Ozarks. We didn’t have the best fish finder for kayak fishing, however. All we could do was cast our lines and pray we’d catch something. While it can be said that not using the best fish finder for kayak fishing has an air of mystery, it’s the pits when you go for hours on end without getting a bite because there are no fish in the area.
Do note, however, that having sonar technology in the best fish finder for kayak fishing doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll catch anything. Instead, it only helps you find the fish. Once you do, there’s still an art to flicking your line to lure fish to your hook.
How the Best Fish Finder for Kayak Fishing Works
The best fish finder for kayak fishing works by using sonar technology to locate fish. In addition, the best fish finder for kayak fishing works with a device known as a transducer.
Generally speaking, a transducer is a mechanism that converts one type of signal or energy into another.
For better accuracy, the best fish finder for kayak fishing needs a transducer mounted on your vessel; typically, they should be mounted on the hull.
Top Qualities to Look for In the Best Fish Finder for Kayak Fishing
Though there are many qualities to consider in the best fish finder for kayak fishing, there are several core features that cannot be ignored. First off, you’ll want to consider the screen size. If you have diminished vision or don’t want to wear glasses while fishing, you’ll likely want to opt for a larger screen size.
In addition, you need to consider whether or not having a mountable unit is imperative. A rare few of the best fish finder for kayak fishing alternatives are actually handheld units.
Finally, it’s worth considering how deep you need to see underwater. If you plan on using a fish finder in shallow water, you likely don’t want an overpowered fish finder capable of seeing hundreds of feet down.
What You Need to Know About Using a Fish Finder
Unless you’re an expert fisher with experience using the best fish finder for kayak fishing, you’ve probably got some questions.
1. How far away can the best fish finder for kayak fishing see?
The range of fish finders varies from model to model, though many can see as far down as several hundred feet.
2. Will the fish finder spook the fish?
There is some debate about whether or not fish can sense sonar technology. Studies on this subject are rare, though it is believed that sonar frequencies are too high for fish to hear.
3. Is the best fish finder for kayak fishing waterproof?
The best fish finder for kayak fishing is water and splash-resistant. However, they are not rated for high pressure underwater at great depths. In addition, you shouldn’t leave them in prolonged exposure to moisture, such as leaving them in a kayak outside and subjecting them to a rainstorm.
4. Can the best fish finder for kayak fishing sense objects other than fish?
Yes, the best fish finder for kayak fishing can sense other objects, such as rocks and topographical landscapes underwater.
5. Does the best fish finder for kayak fishing know the depth of the fish?
Some, but not all, of the best fish finders for kayak fishing measure and display depth data.
How We Reviewed
We scoured the web for information and found reviews from independent sources on several of the best fish finders. In addition, we conducted our research by comparing the features of the leading products.
Naturally, we also took into account each finder’s overall Amazon rating, as well as positive and negative customer reviews.
Introducing the Best Fish Finder for Kayak Fishing
The best fish finder for kayak fishing come in a variety of makes, models, and price points, so there's sure to be one to match your individual needs. We have them listed here in no particular order.
1. Humminbird 410150-1 PiranhaMAX
The first in line for the best fish finder for kayak fishing is the Humminbird 410150-1 PiranhaMAX. This model is smaller and more compact than other alternatives, which look more like tablets. This is an advantage if your kayak has a lot of other large and cumbersome gear and tools in it.
Plus, we did like that this model has a color display. Some of the more inexpensive models only have cheap displays that look a bit like calculator screens.
Its display is 4.3 inches, and it graphs topographical data with a color scheme. It also shows numeric distance and depth in the top-left corner of the screen. Plus, it displays the depth of fish with small numerics above fish icons, so you know how deep to cast your line.
Its dual-beam sonar is rather powerful, too. It can sense objects up to a depth of 320 feet.
We also liked its simple interface, which is easy to learn to use because it only has four buttons.
Altogether, this model earned 4.2 stars out of 5.0 stars from Amazon customer reviews. Positive customer reviews liked that you can control which fish you get alerts from, though a negative customer review commented this model didn’t accurately measure depth.
- Small and compact
- Color screen
- Low price
- Screen isn’t as flashy as the more costly units
- Lacks GPS
2. Garmin Striker 4
- CLEAR VÜ SCANNING SONAR...
- THE POWER OF SIMPLE Offers a...
- WAYPOINT MAP Use the way...
- CHIRP SONAR CHIRP sends a...
- BUILT IN FLASHER View your...
The Garmin Striker 4 is another alternative for the best fish finder for kayak fishing. Of course, most people recognize Garmin products because of the brand’s ubiquitous name in the GPS and tracking industry.
Like the previous model, this example of the best fish finder for kayak fishing has a relatively small screen. You can purchase this model with varying screen sizes: 3.5 inches, 5 inches, and 7 inches from corner to corner of the display.
We also liked that this model has a waypoint feature to map out locations and paths around obstructions like stumps, docks, and brush piles.
However, note that this model is significantly more powerful than the previous fish finder. In freshwater, this model can use its sonar to sense objects up to a depth of 1,600 feet. Saltwater, being more challenging to cut through, only allows the Striker 4 to see objects up to 750 feet deep.
Also, note that this model has a special type of sonar. Its CHIRP sonar technology sends a continuous stream of frequencies for more accurate real-time data.
And it fared well on Amazon too, where it earned 4.4 stars out of 5.0 stars. A negative customer review complained that this model needs to be mounted to a kayak with brackets. On the other hand, positive reviews praised this model for having a simple and intuitive interface.
- Moderate pricing
- Powerful sonar technology reads up to 1,600 feet in freshwater
- Simple and intuitive interface
- Needs brackets if you want to mount it on a kayak
3. Garmin Striker 4cv
- Easy-to-use 3.5-inch colour...
- Find fish; mark and return to...
- Includes Garmin transducer...
- Physical dimensions: 91.6 x...
- Weight: 230 g, Water rating:...
Next up, the Garmin Striker 4cv is another suitable alternative for the best fish finder for kayak fishing. Note that this model is essentially a beefed-up next-generation model of the previous fish finder.
We found it impressive that this model has advanced mapping technology. You can use the Garmin Quickdraw Contours mapping software to create and store maps up to 2 million acres and create waypoints and routes. It can even map your kayak’s or boat’s speed.
And its 4.3-inch display is so vivid that you can read it in bright sunlight. In addition, be aware that this model has Garmin CHIRP sonar and ClearVü scanning sonar for accuracy.
Aggregate customer reviews on Amazon rated this model 4.5 stars out of 5.0 stars. Unfortunately, a negative review claimed that their model didn’t work in shallow water.
Conversely, a positive customer review said they love how bright the display is, and that they can easily see it in sunny conditions in Florida.
- ClearVü sonar
- Garmin CHIRP sonar technology
- Sunlight-readable display
- Significantly more expensive than the previous models
4. Humminbird HELIX 7
- 7-Inch screen with 800H x 480V...
- MEGA Down Imaging: Get...
- Powered by our proprietary,...
- With two display modes, you...
- Includes transducer and...
The next best fish finder for kayak fishing is another Humminbird model. The Humminbird HELIX 7 has a landscape display that looks more like a GPS unit than a fish finder.
However, be aware that this is the most expensive model of the best fish finder for kayak fishing models we've listed so far. Nevertheless, with a heftier price tag comes better features and a massive 7-inch screen with high resolution.
It also offers unprecedented underwater clarity up to 125 feet below your boat. We also liked that it has a proprietary Low Q CHIRP transducer and dual-spectrum CHIRP technology for maximum coverage.
Interestingly enough, this model not only displays a map and fish location data, but it also measures water temperature and turbulence.
You’ll be pleased to know the manufacturer includes mounting hardware and brackets too, so you won’t have to purchase after-market hardware.
It earned a decent 4.2 stars out of 5.0 stars on Amazon too, though a negative review complained that the manufacturer didn’t include an SD card.
On a more positive note, happy customer reviews said the high-detail imaging was an excellent advantage for novice fishermen.
- Large displays
- High-resolution color display
- Includes mounting brackets
- Very expensive
5. Lucky Wireless Fish Finder
The Lucky Wireless Fish Finder is another example of the best fish finder for kayak fishing. This model is among the most inexpensive on our list of the best fish finder for kayak fishing. Though with the drop in price also comes a decrease in features.
Unlike the previous models, this fish finder’s display is rather basic. The screen is only 2.2-inches from corner to corner and lacks color, though it is high contrast.
Nevertheless, we did like that in addition to finding fish and water depth, and it also finds the water temperature and bottom contours.
Despite its low price, we were pleased to see that its sonar range is up to 147 feet and that it has a wireless signal range up to 120 meters.
The wireless sonar also has a 90-degree beam angle. Take note, however, that the manufacturer warns against using the fish finder in the swimming pool, bathtub, a bucket, a fish tank, or a sink. Of course, why would you?
This model currently has a rating of 5.0 stars out of 5.0 stars on Amazon, though it lacks a high volume of reviews. Still, a positive review said this model made the customer very happy and that they loved the water temperature and depth readings.
- Fairly inexpensive
- Wireless range up to 120 meters
- Wide 90-degree beam angle
- Low-resolution display
- Small screen
6. Venterior Handheld Fish Finder
- Detect and display water...
- Apply to lake, river, sea and...
- Round transducer with 25 ft...
- Various features settings: 5...
- Package Included: 1. Fish...
The Venterior Handheld Fish Finder is a little different than the previous examples of the best fish finder for kayak fishing. Many of the previous best fish finders for kayak fishing are expensive. This model, however, is undoubtedly the lowest-priced budget option.
As such, it’s a rather simple device. The screen is very small and doesn’t offer color or high-detail. Instead, it looks similar to an archaic first-generation Gameboy’s screen.
At any rate, it is still capable of helping a fisherman locate fish underwater as deep as 100 meters.
However, note that this is a handheld model that doesn’t mount to your kayak. Also, note that it comes with a removable transducer float and a 25-foot cable.
We did like that it’s backed by a two-year warranty though, and that it earned 4.2 stars out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Positive reviews asserted that it’s a great portable fish finder that works reliably and is easy to use.
Conversely, a negative review claimed that it’s a poor fish-finder, but a good depth-finder.
- Extremely inexpensive
- Easy to use
- Sonar rated up to 100-meters deep
- Poor display
7. Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 54cv
- CLEARVÜ SCANNING SONAR -...
- CHIRP SONAR - CHIRP sends a...
- BUILT-IN MAPS AND CHARTS -...
- CLEAR SCANNING SONAR - The cv...
- BEST-IN-CLASS INTERNAL 5 Hz...
The Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 54cv is another suitable alternative for the best fish finder for kayak fishing. This model has a fairly large screen with a 5.0-inch diagonal screen and advanced sonar technology.
It can draw a near-photographic image of what lies beneath the water surrounding your kayak or boat.
The sonar sends a continuous sweep of sonar frequencies with CHIRP technology for sophisticated target separation. Plus, it has a built-in 500-watt traditional sonar as well as built-in maps and charts.
The maps and charts are available with BlueChart G2 maps too. And, naturally, as a Garmin product, it can plot GPS coordinates on a map to track waypoints. The GPS is best-in-class and updates positions and headings up to five times per second for high accuracy.
On average, this model earned 4.2 stars out of 5.0 stars from average Amazon customer reviews. Unfortunately, a critical customer review claimed that this model is difficult to use and that the functions are confusing.
Positive customer reviews, however, said that this is an advanced unit that easily would have cost several times what it does now only a few years ago.
- Maps and charts
- Best-in-class GPS
- Fairly large screen
8. Eyoyo Portable Fish Finder
The next best fish finder for kayak fishing is an Eyoyo model. The Eyoyo Portable Fish Finder is an entirely different animal than all of the previous best fish finder for kayak fishing products mentioned so far.
Instead of being a traditional fish finder, this model is actually a camera that the manufacturer designed to be fully submerged underwater.
The camera then delivers a real-time image of what lies beneath the water so you can see with your own two eyes where the fish are. This model sports a 7-inch TFT (Thin Film Transistor) high-definition screen.
And even though it has infrared LEDs to see in the dark, obstructions like silt and cloudy water can limit its visibility.
The manufacturer claims it works up to eight hours at a time too, which is longer than most people would spend during one fishing outing.
Overall, this model earned 4.2 stars out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. Positive customer reviews claimed this is a complete underwater camera system with a very clear picture. Some even said it was a great asset when ice fishing. Top critical reviews, however, claimed its value was not only diminished in muddy conditions, but also in fast-moving water.
- Infrared LEDs
- Works up to eight hours at a time
- Moderately priced
- Disadvantageous in silty and murky water
9. Lowrance HOOK2 9
- Lowrance HOOK2 9 - 9-inch Fish...
- EASIEST TO USE: The Lowrance...
- WIDER SONAR COVERAGE: The...
- EASY SETUP: A single...
- MORE SONAR VIEWS: The Lowrance...
The Lowrance HOOK2 9 is the last of our best fish finder for kayak fishing alternatives. Right off the bat, one thing we loved about this product is its massive display. This model has a large 9-inch screen, bigger than all of the previous best fish finder for kayak fishing products.
Unfortunately, this model is also the most expensive of the best fish finder for kayak fishing options we've listed.
Nevertheless, it does have auto-tuning sonar and a wide-angle CHIRP cone with double the coverage of an average model.
The setup is fairly easy, too, since it only uses a single transducer mounted to your vessel. Plus, the transducer has a SplitShot feature that uses DownScan technology to give you a straight-down view beneath your kayak.
Its preloaded mapping data also comes with over 4,000 lakes with 1-foot contours.
On Amazon, customers gave this model an aggregate rating of 4.1 stars out of 5.0 stars.
Positive reviewers loved how big the screen is and said it is easy to install and use. But a leading critical review said they had trouble getting the transducer to read over 15 miles per hour.
- Infrared LEDs
- Works up to eight hours at a time
- Moderately priced
- Disadvantageous in silty and murky water
Hunting Down a Great Deal on the Best Fish Finder for Kayak Fishing
Modern hunting and fishing technology has revolutionized the game-hunting experience, so fishermen can more efficiently use their time. Instead of casting a line and only hoping to get a nibble on your hook, you can vacate an area void of fish with the best fish finder for kayak fishing, instead of futilely wasting the day.
If you have any experience with the aforementioned models or want to share a personal story, please comment below.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com