Tired of casting your rod out of your fishing kayak, praying to get even the slightest hint of a bite? We remember those days. Luckily, there’s a handy little tool you may know about, aptly named the “fish finder”.
It would be easy to think that all fish finders work the same; however, with a recent rise in fish finding technology, there are many different options for finding fish to suit your fishing habits.
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- 1 Top 5 Best Kayak Fish Finders (Summary)
- 2 Choosing the Best Fish Finder for Kayaks
- 3 11 Best Kayak Fish Finder Reviews 2019
- 3.1 1. Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder
- 3.2 2. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder
- 3.3 3. The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+
- 3.4 4. Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder
- 3.5 5. Lowrance Hook-4
- 3.6 6. Lucky
- 3.7 7. Venterior
- 3.8 8. Deeper
- 3.9 9. Anysun
- 3.10 10. Garmin Striker
- 3.11 11. Humminbird Helix 5
- 4 Which Unit Should I Choose?
- 5 Conclusion
Top 5 Best Kayak Fish Finders (Summary)
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For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.
To help narrow down these options, we’ve compiled a list of the 2019 best kayak fish finders. We’ll help find the one for you, so you can focus on landing your big catch!
Choosing the Best Fish Finder for Kayaks
- You want a technically advanced sonar reading (83/200 kHz is pretty standard and will give you clear reading)
- You want a model that comes with a transducer (it’s much easier to set up a fish finder that already comes with the transducer attached)
- You want a model that fits to your kayak – some kayaks are bow/curved shape, which some fish finders will not fit onto
- You want a user friendly display (some of these features include: counteracting sun glare, waterproof housing, split screens, different accessories, smartphone integration)
- You want a model that has additional features (good bottom tracking, water temperature, battery life display)
Additionally, most kayaks will not come pre-loaded with a fish finder, in which case, you will want a portable fish finder for your activities.
Portable fish finders have a few benefits over their non-portable counterparts:
- Portable fish finders offer more variability – if you don’t like the stock fish finder on your boat, you can easily swap it out for a portable one!
- Portable fish finders are – wait for it – portable! Take it to the river, off the dock, ice fishing…the possibilities are endless!
- Some portable fish finders will sync up to your smartphone, making it more convenient and keeping your tackle box light!
Portable fish finders are ultimately beneficial in helping you locate fish wherever you are – but for kayak fishing, the results are tremendous.
11 Best Kayak Fish Finder Reviews 2019
While the Garmin brand name is enough to earn a second glance, their Striker 4 Fish Finder lives up to all the brand hype and more.
It features an extremely user-friendly interface, with a full-colored 3.5″display screen, CHIRP sonar, and sharp 77/200 kHz transducer. It also comes with a built-in GPS, which allows you to set waypoints, navigate routes, and mark different structures such as dropoffs, rock piles, or any underwater obstructions.
The Striker 4 fish finder comes with a dual display ability to set two screens side-by-side. This allows you to easily view your waypoint map and reader in the same display, or to view both the 77 and 200 kHz signals together for a fuller underwater reading.
At an extremely low price point, the Striker 4 steps up to the plate and delivers most of the features we loved in the higher priced options. This is one of the most popular models for beginners and seasoned anglers alike, and we can easily see why.
The HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder has recently become a popular option for fish finder, and is one of our personal favorites. About the size of a smartphone, this fish finder easily fits in the palm of your hand, and comes with floatable, troll-able, and boat mountable transducer, making it ultra portable.
The Hawkeye Fishtrax 1C is comparable to the Garmin Striker 4 in size, function, and metrics. It features an 83/200 kHz transducer, 100-level sensitivity adjustment, and auto-zoom bottom tracking for you to fine-tune your reading to either shallow or deep waters.
The key to this fish finder is in its simplicity: it has 3 user-friendly modes that give you a quick and concise reading for when you need it. Specifically, the Ice Mode’s digital flasher makes this product perfect for multi-season use, including ice fishing.
If you’re still not convinced, HawkEye stands by a 2-year warranty to assure that you love their product as much as they do.
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ is the perfect option for those who want a superlight, portable, and wireless (yes, wireless) option. The Deeper Smart fish finder seamlessly weaves fishing into a smartphone/tablet interface, without being tied to it. And for those without an iPhone/Android, don’t count yourself out – they work on all platforms.
The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ is truly a portable fish finder. While the battery life is not ideal – 5.5 hours on continuous use – its other features make this a strong contender for best fish finder. It floats easily in fresh and salt water, and gives a strong layout of the bottom.
At its core, the Deeper Smart fish finder was made to help find the best fishing spots. The most unique feature about this is your ability to tie the fish finder with fishing line, cast out, and receive a scan of the whole area between you and the end of your line. This will allow you to see in what direction to cast, how far out, and how deep the fish are in a certain vicinity. This feature alone absolutely makes the product worth it for us.
For those looking for smaller add-ons, the Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+ app comes with a fishing log, diary, and maps.
Overall, this is a great option for those looking for a newer take on fish finding. It uses technology to its advantage to enhance the fishing experience, and functionally operates just as well as any of the traditional fish finders on our list.
Vexilar had a great idea when they developed the idea for their product: turn your smartphone into the fish finder. The SP200 T-Box follows through on this idea, creating its own Wi-Fi hotspot to turn your smartphone or tablet into a fully operational fish finding sonar.
This fish finder comes with pre-drilled holes, offering many accessories or options for mounting on any kayak. The Wi-Fi hotspot ensures that the Vexilar will work anywhere in the world, and the app is very simple to use.
The main draw in this fish finder is surprisingly not the internal features, but rather in the portability of it. It comes with a neoprene arm-band for your phone to spare you the headache of mounting and securing your fish finder every use. With the sonar reaching a depth of 240 feet, water temperature and depth indicator, and audible alarms for fish, the specs aren’t bad either.
The Vexilar ultimately is made for quick and easy use, and finds its home with customers who are looking for a very portable smartphone-synced option.
The Lowrance Hook-4 has all the features we love in a fish finder. With a 4-inch display, simple interface, and split screen functions, finding fish with this model is very easy. It features a CHIRP sonar plus downscan, giving it a full picture and stunning resolution on its color display. It has both a 83/200 kHz and 455/800 kHz transducer for ultra sharp image processing, and can reach 1000 feet deep on 83/200 kHz.
The Hook-4 also boasts an Advanced Signal Processing (ASP) function, which reduces the need for manual adjustments while trying to find fish. This ultimately allows you to focus on the finding, instead of the fine-tuning.
The transducer is extremely easy to mount, and with a display of 4-inches, the Lowrance Hook-4 is large enough to split into 3 screens at a time, without being too bulky to mount in a small fishing kayak.
With the built-in GPS and pre-installed maps, this unit is ultimately perfect for those looking to step up their fishing game with a super reliable and very technical fish finder.
Lucky Kayak Fish Finder is a handheld device that helps fishing lovers of all skill levels to locate fish accurately. You can use it for a wide range of fishing environments such as ice fishing, sea fishing and kayak fishing.
This device displays the water depth in meters or feet and the location of fish, weeds and rock. It can give alerts when it detects schools of fish passing through its range of functions.
Its depth detection ranges between 1m and 100m with a sensor range of 45°. You can fix this device to the side of a kayak at below 5 mph. It can also be hung on the neck for easy use.
This device has five modes of sensitivity function, which make it useful for all kinds of fishing. It operates with 4 AAA batteries that can last up to four or five hours.
- Can detect the depth and location of fish
- Wide sensor range
- Can be used in different fishing environments
- Might provide inaccurate depth readings
Venterior is a portable device that proves very useful for people who love fishing. It is suitable for boat fishing, ice fishing or shore fishing.
This device can function properly in temperatures as low as -20°C. It detects and displays the location of fish, weeds and stones. It also reads the depth of the water and displays this data on the LCD screen.
A 25ft cord is attached to the sonar transducer with a detachable transducer float. This allows you to fish from different locations without having to get on the water.
This device has five sensitivity modes for controlling how much clarity to display. It also has a backlight mode that makes it very useful at night.
- Can function in low temperature
- Sensitivity can be easily controlled
- Provides accurate readings
- Might be subject to battery damage
Deeper Fish Finder for Kayaks uses the Wi-Fi network to display readings on the Deeper app. It requires no expert knowledge to use as it switches on when it comes in contact with water and connects to the app easily.
With a connection range of 165ft and a 40° sonar beam, you can easily cast out without having to worry about losing the connection. The app displays fish sizes using three fish icons and their location in the water. It also displays the vegetation and depth of fish activities. All the readings have time stamps and can be saved on the app history.
This product uses a battery that requires just 2.5 hours of charging to obtain a full charge. The battery can stand up to six hours of continuous usage.
This device is lightweight and small enough to fit in a pocket or tackle box. It has a night light sensor and night fishing mode, which makes it useful in low lighting. It is compatible with android and iOS devices.
- Long battery life
- Dep connection range
- Lightweight and portable
- Might not connect easily to the app
Anysun uses a video camera to detect fish movement and depth location. A rechargeable battery can work for up to 12 hours of continuous usage.
Its 7-inch color monitor features a protective visor for bright environments. The HD camera provides a high-quality and very clear picture that will let you know the exact location of schools of fish.
The camera has 12 highlight night-vision lights that can provide sufficient light during low light conditions. The night vision light can be controlled by the user with a switch.
This device is made of metal, which is durable and anti-corrosive. It is fully waterproof and can be immersed in water for a long period of time without getting damaged.
- Battery is long-lasting
- Can work in low light conditions
- Image quality might be low in murky water
Garmin Striker Kayak Fish Finder is made to make tracking easy for both amateur and expert anglers. It provides necessary data that will help you navigate any body of water easily.
This product comes with a unique Clearvu technology that allows you to see high-quality visuals of fish locations and underwater terrains.
It features a 5-inch display screen with a resolution that’s enough to make out water features easily and quickly. With this product, you can note your favorite fishing spot and easily navigate to it at another time.
It operates at a high frequency and enables you to measure the depth of fish, temperature and bottom contour of the water. It can be easily mounted on any kayak.
- Screen with a high resolution
- Can mark specific spots for future purposes
- Easy to use
- Does not feature maps
Humminbird Helix 5 Fish Finder is packed with a lot of features that will make fishing an easy and enjoyable experience. It does all the work while you sit back, relax and fish.
It is equipped with an internal precision GPS chart plotting and an in-built Unimap cartography. It has a micro SD slot, allowing you to download maps of your choice and also save points.
On its 5-inch display screen with a backlight, water temperature, fish depth, vegetation and other things underwater are displayed with high clarity and in full color.
It features a down imaging and dual beam plus sonar, combined with a 4000 watts power output. It is easy to install, as it has a gimbal mounting system.
- Features a GPS and down imaging
- Displays high-resolution images in color mode
- Easy to install
Display screen might not be waterproof, making it prone to water damage
Which Unit Should I Choose?
Out of all the fish finders on the market, which one is right for you?
We’ve narrowed it down to a few, but here are our absolute favorites, depending on what you’re looking for.
Best Overall Kayak Fish Finder: Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro
Out of all the fish finders we tested, the Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro stood above the rest. It had a nearly unmatched technical ability, and lots of features that made us come back to it over the others.
Best Buy on a Budget: Garmin Striker 4
We couldn’t believe the price of the Garmin Striker 4 when we saw what it could do. In ease of use, great features, and compatibility to other Garmin products (not to mention a pretty low price point), we think the Garmin Striker 4 would fit any angler’s needs.
Best Buy for the Features: Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+
Our favorite toy to play with was the Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+, as we really got to scan the area around us before we cast out. This fish finder was integrated flawlessly with our smartphones, and we loved getting to play with the in-app add-ons as well.
Ultimately, we enjoyed using all these fish finders on our kayak, and feel that with a bit of skill, any one of these could help you nail the perfect catch.
Let us know what you use in the comments below!