Fish finders come in many shapes and sizes with many different mounting options, so they are definitely not a one-size-fits-all marine electronic. This means you need to get a different type of fishfinder for your kayak or small boat than you would have on a larger fishing boat. The problem is, there are so many options for portable, small-boat fish finders to choose from that are perfect for kayaks! Luckily for you, we’ve done the research to find out exactly which fish finders are best for kayaks just to put together this product guide for you.. and here are the results of our tests and reviews.
Our top picks: (scroll down to see the full list & reviews)
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What to look for in a kayak fish finder
For starters, any fishfinder you have on a kayak will need to have a smaller screen than many others. On a large boat, you can have a very large screen – but in this situation, you’ll want the fishfinder to be compact and portable since you’ll be on the smallest of boats. Lightweight and compact are two very desirable features in this situation.
In addition, you want to make sure the device you choose is very portable. If you’re fishing on a kayaking trip, it’s likely you already have plenty of other stuff to lug around. The last thing you want is to buy a sonar device that’s too big to carry easily, because then you might just choose to leave it behind on future trips. But that would be no fun… because then how would you find fish?! When looking for a unit to buy, simply make sure that it’s easy to carry around with all of your other gear.
Kayak’s don’t have a built in power source, so your fish finder will either need to be a portable, battery-powered version, or you’ll need to mount a waterproof power box for the unit to run, unless you want to add a marine battery to your kayak… but that wouldn’t be very practical or easy to carry around. This is why it’s important to get a small, battery-operated unit.
Some small fish finders have a clasp that can mount to the side of your kayak or small boat, while others will need to be mounted more permanently. Make sure you know what kind you’d prefer and how your favorite fish finder can be mounted before you buy it. You also don’t want the mounting method to be flimsy and unreliable, which could mean you’d lose your gear. Make sure to invest in the type of mount that will work best for your boating situation.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s review some of the best small boat fishfinders:
The Top 4 Fish Finders for Kayakers and Other Small Boats
1. Raymarine Dragonfly Pro 4 Fish finder/GPS combo – 4” Color Display
The Dragonfly Pro is a top of the line fish finder for kayaks and other small watercraft. With a display of only 4” it is ideally suited for smaller watercraft, yet still very usable on larger vessels. No fish finder is easier to use than the Dragonfly Pro 4 as it only has three buttons present on the device, but this in no way hinders the devices fish finding capabilities. As an upgrade on the previous Dragonfly model, this newer model comes with an all weather display which means that viewing and reading the display will not be a problem regardless of sun intensity, cloud cover, or rain. Being top of the line technology, this latest Dragonfly model offers both 3D and traditional sonar with a depth range of up to 1000 feet! With a price tag that wont break the bank, the Dragonfly Pro 4 is one of the best fish finders for kayaks.
2. Hummingbird Helix 5 With a 5” color LCD screen and an outstanding 800 x 480 pixel resolution
The Helix 5 is another top of the line fish finder for all kayak fisherman. Slightly more pricey than the Dragonfly Pro, the Helix 5 offers 1500 feet of depth reading capability. The Helix 5 is a very capable little unit with 200/83 kHz dual beam sonar with both side and down imaging. It also comes with GPS capabilities and is compatible LakeMaster or Navionics SD cards.
3. Lowrance Elite-3X
With a price range siting around $100 USD, you wont be able to find a more capable kayak fish finder for a more affordable price. The Elite-3X is packed with features usually found only within more expensive units such as a full color display. This unit comes with Fish I.D which can aid anglers in differentiating between fish and structure. A basic button set up and easily adjustable viewing angle makes it ideal in the close quarters environment of a kayak, where ease of use can make the difference between spotting a fish or missing an opportunity.
4. Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder
Just because a device doesn’t fit the conventional standards of a fish finder doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth mentioning. With a recent surge in portable fish finders that use your smartphone or android device as the screen interface, many doors within the fishing world have been opened. Although these products are still relatively new, they can work wonders on the water as the have lots of unique aspects to offer. The Deeper Portable Fish Finder can be dragged from a kayak, or even cast, if so desired. It uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone and feed you the information that a fish finder usually would. Due to its phone-based system it can offer things such access to fishing logs, fish databases, weather reports and much more. As a relatively cheap unit, the innovative technology of the Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder may be just what you’re looking for!
As you can see, there are plenty of sonar and GPS fishfinder options you can get for your next fishing trip. Depending on your desires and needs, one of these units will work great for any kayaking or boating trip. We hope this article helped you decide which one is best for you. Enjoy!