The Best Kayak Fish Finder – Review 2020

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you spent the larger part of your morning fishing with absolutely no luck? Let us be honest, we all have been there. We all have gone through the utter annoyance of cast after cast with no bites. Even the most efficient rod, personal flotation device (PFD), and kayak cannot assist you in these frustrating situations. Therefore, to make sure that your fishing excursion is an absolute success, you need to have an operational kayak fish finder because even with the required proficiency there is no way to get lucky with fishing.

Kayaking has become one of the most ideal nature-oriented activities in the contemporary world. Whether it involves spending your day at an exquisite lake or a rogue river, kayaking gives you the ultimate exhilarating experience of nature. Like every other outdoor activity, kayaking also involves some rudimentary equipment such as a kayak, paddle, and fishfinder. Once you have your fishing kayak, it is time to start looking for a kayak fish finder that precisely suits your unique fishing style and environment. 

An efficient kayak fish finder does away with inaccurate casting in the water. There are a wide variety of fish finders available in the market to meet the needs of kayak anglers. To help you find the best model, we have reviewed some of the best kayak fish finders to make your kayaking experience a breeze. 

Things to consider before buying the Kayak Fish Finder 

1) Power

A Kayak Fish Finder’s power is measured in Watts. The more the wattage, the swifter the finder will exhibit the required readings. A high-level power can potentially also go to deeper lengths. 

2) Frequency

High-frequency models deliver more details than low-frequency models. A fish finder with a high frequency works best in shallow water while the one with low frequency is more efficient in deep water.

3) Screen Resolution

Screen resolution refers to the number of pixels displayed on the screen. A higher screen resolution is always the best and makes it easier for the angler to detect fish from other sea creatures. If you are looking for deep-water fish then you need a down-imaging sonar to get a better view with great clarity. On the contrary, if you are after bass or bluegills in the shallow waters, then a side imaging device is advisably the better option. 

4) Screen Size

Bigger screen size is always a plus, however, if your fish finder gives a better quality picture with its small size, then it would be adequate for you.

5) Portable vs Fixed Fish Finders

A portable kayak fish finder is always suitable and comes handy if you have rented the vessel. It consumes less space but it is a little heavy on the pocket. Buy one with a float-style transducer that delivers a read-out signal directly to your cell phone. On the other hand, a fixed fish finder is more appropriate for you if you own the kayak/boat. 

6) GPS enabled

In case you are exploring the waters that you are not familiar with then you need to buy a kayak fish finder with an in-built functional GPS. 

Top Ten Picks For The Best Kayak Fish Finder in 2020

Lowrance Mark 4 Combo Base

HOOK2 5 - 5-inch Fish Finder

Check Lowrance Mark 4 on Amazon

Pros Cons
Auto-tuning sonar setting Not a user-friendly screen
Wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone No sensitivity adjustment 
SplitShot transducer  
C-MAP US Inland Lake Map  
The transducer can be easily mounted  
SolarMax display  

If you are looking for an all-purpose kayak fish finder at an affordable price, then Lowrance Mark 4 Combo Base is a suitable pick for you. Whether you are an amateur or a proficient angler, this fish finder is one of the best picks for a small fishing boat. 

It is convenient to use and helps you to navigate around the water while you fish. 

Specification:

  • Brand Name: Lowrance
  • Series: Fish Finder GPS Combos
  • Item model number: 000-14281-001
  • Item Weight: 4.75 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 6 inches
  • Item Dimensions: L x W x H 18 x 10 x 6 inches
  • Size: 5-Inch
  • Color: Splitshot

Key Features:

  • SolarMax display with easy to use menus with excellent clarity and daylight visibility
  • Automated sonar settings
  • Optimized keypad with one-touch access to key features
  • All units come with split-shot transducers
  • Transducer options to fit any fishing situations
  • In-built GPS
  • Micro SD Slot

Pros:

  • It features an auto-tuning sonar setting that is easier to operate so you can spend more time fishing and less time dialing in your sonar.
  • It offers a wide-angle CHIRP sonar cone giving you double the coverage of traditional fish finders.
  • It comes complete with a SplitShot transducer to give you DownScan sonar (straight down) and CHIRP sonar (fish arch) views.
  • Features a preloaded C-MAP US Inland Lake Maps with 1-foot contours for over 3, 000 lakes plus standard coverage of an additional 9, 000 lake.
  • A single transducer can be mounted on the transom, inside the hull, on the trolling motor, or through a scupper hole.

Cons:

  •  Grey screen is not user friendly.
  • No sensitivity adjustment to reduce the screen clutter.

Garmin Striker 4 DV

Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4

Check Garmin Striker 4 on Amazon

Pros Cons
Clear Vü scanning sonar system Small display size
CHIRP sonar Not water or splash-proof
Simple to use and install  
Built-in flashers  
High sensitivity GPS  

Garmin is proud to announce the new STRIKER kayak fish finder with the new ClearVü technology. These fish finders are designed to allow you to mark your ideal fishing spot and easily navigate back to it tomorrow, saving both your time and money.

This small yet powerful device is ready to be easily mounted on your kayak!

Specification:

  • Brand Name: Garmin
  • Item model number: 010-01550-00
  • Item Weight: 8 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 inches
  • Size: 3.5 inch
  • Color: Black
  • Display Type: HVGA color
  • Display resolution: 480 x 320 pixels
  • Maximum Depth: 1,600 ft freshwater and 750 ft saltwater
  • Transmit Power: 200 W (RMS)
  • Frequencies Supported: 50/77/200 kHz CHIRP (mid and high)

Key Features:

  • Clear Vü scanning sonar system
  • Convenient keypad operation with functional and dedicated buttons
  • Built-in Flasher views your sonar data in the classic flasher format
  • Features with a transom and trolling motor mounting hardware
  • Built-in high sensitivity GPS

Pros:

  • Clear Vü scanning sonar system shows you more of what is in the water around your boat and gives images with detailed representations of objects, structure, and fish.
  • CHIRP sonar creates crisper fish arches with better target separation.
  • It is simple to use and easy to install. 
  • Built-in flashers are best for ice fishing and vertical jigging. 
  • Uses the waypoint map which includes a high sensitivity GPS that easily views, marks, and navigates to locations such as brush piles, stumps, and docks.

Cons:

  •  The display size of the screen is relatively smaller than the rest.
  •  It is not water or splash-proof.

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C
 
 
Pros Cons
FishTrax intelligent sonar Small screen
VirtuView HD color display Not waterproof
Trollable sonar sensor  
Algorithmic software programming  
Audible fish alarm  

The unique HawkEye Fishtrax 1C is one of the most efficient fish finders in the family. This excellent device is for proficient anglers who demand a high-definition fishing excursion.

It incorporates a full-color, high-definition VirtuView TFTN display and has three operating modes: Fish Finder, Data, and Ice-More Digital Flasher.

Specification:

  • Brand Name: Hawkeye
  • Item model number: FT1PXC
  • Item Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 2 inches
  • Display Type: VirtuView HD Color Display
  • Maximum Depth: 240 feet or 75m
  • Transducer Frequency: Dual –  200/83 kHz
  • Transducer Angle Beam: Dual – 14/26 Degrees

Key Features:

  • VirtuView HD color display with LED Backlight 
  • Audible fish alarm
  • Fish depth identifier
  • Dual-beam intelligent sonar
  • Bottom Composition Indicators
  • Auto Switching Dual-Frequency 200/83 kHz FishTrax Intelligent Sonar (14/26° Beam Angle)

Pros:

  • FishTrax intelligent sonar delivers accurate fish finder readings up to 240 feet (75m).
  • VirtuView HD color display with LED Backlight produces a glare-free view for excellent readability.
  • Sonar sensor is trollable, boat mountable, and floatable to achieve unmatched, go anywhere, portability.
  • Algorithmic software programming minimizes false readings and detects an audible fish alarm that signals the area ideal for a potential catch.

Cons:

  • The screen size is small.
  • Not waterproof.

Lucky Portable Fishing Sonar

LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder

 
Pros Cons
Excellent fish depth identifier No LED screen
25-foot transducer cable Poor battery time
5 distinct sensitivity options  
Audible fish alarm  
Blue LED Backlighting  

Lucky portable fishing sonar is the ultimate pick for all types of fishing lovers. This all-purpose portable fish finder is suitable for ice fishing, kayak fishing, shore fishing, and sea fishing. 

Admittedly, this is one of the best fishing kayak accessories for all your friends and family members!

Specification:

  • Brand Name: Lucky
  • Item model number: 5582692495
  • Item Weight:1 pounds
  • Product Dimensions:9 x 3.9 x 3.9 inches
  • Display Type: Blue LED Backlighting
  • Maximum Depth: 3ft~328.08ft (0.6m~100m) under sensor
  • Transducer Frequency: 45 degrees beam angle in 200Khz.
  • Sensor Operating Temperature: -14°F to 122°F(-10°C-50°C)
  • Cable Length: 25ft (7.62m)

Key Features:

  • Audible fish alarm
  • 5 modes sensitivity options enable you to use the kayak fish finder in different fishing environments
  • Adjustable brightness level
  • Blue LED Backlighting
  • Fish depth identifier

Pros: 

  • This portable detects and displays water depth, approximate fish location, short and tall weeds, sand, and rocks on the bottom.
  • A 25-foot transducer cable gives you the display mounted where it is most convenient. 
  • Constructed with a backlight function with five distinct sensitivity options.
  • Delivers images to depths of 328 feet which includes both fish and fish school alarms so you do not miss out on any opportunity. 

Cons:

  • Does not have an LED screen.
  • Poor battery time.

Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro

Raymarine E70294-US Dragonfly-4

Check Raymarine Dragonfly 4 on Amazon

Pros Cons
Wide-spectrum CHIRP sonar Expensive option
Optical bonding LCD technology  
Simple installation  
Wi-Fi  
Includes US lakes, rivers, and coastal maps  

Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro is a great option for anglers who redefine their fishing techniques. This unit features several capabilities and operations that entry-level devices rarely possess.

Specification:

  • Brand Name: Raymarine
  • Item model number: E70294-US
  • Item Weight:45 pounds
  • Product Dimensions:8 x 13.8 x 13.8 inches
  • Operating Voltage Range: 8 V DC to 15.6 V DC
  • Power Consumption At Full Brightness: 3 W RMS
  • Connections: Power / Transducer combined input
  • Waterproofing Standard: IPX6 and IPX7
  • Display Size: 3 inch
  • Display Resolution: 480 x 272 WQVGA
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Key Features:

  • 4.3″ all-weather, high-definition LED-backlit display
  • Includes transom mount CHIRP transducer with temperature sensor
  • Dual-channel sonar – wide-spectrum CHIRP DownVision sonar
  • Stream live sonar data to your smartphone with Raymarine’s Wi-Fish mobile app
  • Optical bonding LCD technology
  • Built-in 72-channel GPS circuit
  • Micro SD-card slot

Pros:

  • The wide-spectrum CHIRP sonar signals when transmitted into the water that targets more fish and gives an image structure with unmatched clarity.
  • Optically bonded for sharp color, wide viewing angles, and no internal fogging.
  • With the Wi-Fi, you can rewind, save, and share the day’s catch with your friends on your social media.
  • The compact ball-and-socket mounting system makes installation simple.
  • Includes US lakes, rivers, and coastal maps.

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive than other options.

Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy MAX Fishfinder

Humminbird 410050-1 Fishin' Buddy MAX Fishfinder
 
Pros Cons
Multi-directional mount No temperature sensor
Down Imaging One year warranty
Five levels of brightness Small screen
Interactive interface  
Innovative CHIRP technology  

Humminbird takes its place at number 7 because of the delivery of its kayak-friendly package. It can be your perfect pint-sized partner on your boat, dock, and float tube. How is that for your next kayaking experience? 

Specification:

  • Brand Name: Humminbird
  • Item model number: 410050-1
  • Item Weight:2 pounds
  • Product Dimensions:22 x 2.72 x 5.76 inches
  • Display Size: Diagonal 3.5″
  • Display Pixel Matrix: 240H x 320V
  • Sonar-Standard: Dual Beam
  • Sonar-Coverage: 28° & 16° @ -10dB
  • Sonar-Frequencies Supported: 200/455kHz
  • Depth-Sonar: 600ft

Key Features:

  • Comes with a portable clamp
  • Depth alarm signal
  • Water temperature reader
  • CHIRP technology
  • One-Touch control and AA battery power
  • Interactive interface

Pros:

  • With the multi-directional mount, you can clamp Fishin’ Buddy almost anywhere, with no rigging or wiring, or even a transducer to mount.
  • Fishin’ Buddy DI models offer Down Imaging so you can shed entirely new light on structure and fish.
  • With a total of 320 ft down imaging, you won’t miss a fish around. You’ll also get great sonar-coverage with 28°, 16°, & 74° @ -10dB. 
  • Five levels of brightness for the display.

Cons:

  • Does not come with a temperature sensor.
  • The screen is relatively smaller than the other options.
  • Only one year warranty.

Humminbird Helix 5Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5

 
Pros Cons
Built-in CHIRP SONAR Does not have a touchscreen
Down Imaging technology  Mapping software
Landscape screen  No pre-installed maps
Easy installation  
Built-in high-sensitivity GPS  

Anglers now expect more from their kayak fish finder than just a black and white image of a fish. Humminbird not only gives more details and features but also delivers more screen space to its users making it our number 8th choice. 

Specification:

  • Brand Name: Humminbird
  • Manufacturer Model Number: 410220-1
  • Display Size: 5’’
  • Display Resolution: 800×480
  • Capacity: Up to 2,500 waypoints, 45 routes, 50 tracks, and 20,000 track points

Key Features:

  • Brilliant 5″ screen with 1,500-nit brightness
  • Cleaner returns and exceptional target separation
  • DualBeam Plus SONAR
  • Built-in speedometer and surface temperature
  • Built-in high-sensitivity GPS receiver
  • SwitchFire SONAR down to 1,500′
  • CHIRP sonar with Low, Medium, and High-frequency ranges
  • AutoChart Live

Pros:

  • Built-in CHIRP SONAR gives you the unique selection of Low, Medium, and High-frequency ranges, delivering clean returns and exceptional target separation.
  • The Down Imaging technology gives you the perfect sonar complement, bringing underwater details to light for a more complete understanding of depths down to 100′. 
  • The landscape screen allows for readable side imaging.
  • Easy installation.
  • This device features a built-in high-sensitivity GPS that saves your time and makes installation easy.

Cons:

  • Do not have a touchscreen.
  • Mapping software can only be installed via an SD card. 
  • Little to no pre-installed maps. 

Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C DI

Humminbird 409690-1 PiranhaMax 197C DI

Check Humminbird Piranha MAX 197C DI on Amazon

Pros Cons
Down Imaging Technology No in-built GPS
Friendly user interface No split-screen capability
Functional depth alarm  
Brilliant 256 Color Screen  
Clear fish icons   

This kayak fish finder is an extremely simple-to-use fish detector. Although it is relatively smaller than the others available in the market, its unique capabilities such as portability make it the most sought-after kayak depth finders in the market.

Specification:

  • Brand Name: Humminbird
  • Item model number: 409690-1
  • Item Weight:4 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 16 x 12.3 inches
  • Display Size: Diagonal 3.5″
  • Battery: (1) 12V batteries required
  • Display Resolution: 240H X 320V
  • Depth- Sonar: 600ft
  • Sonar-Standard: Down Imaging, Dual Beam
  • Sonar-Coverage: 28°, 16°, & 74° @ -10dB
  • Sonar-Frequencies: 200/455/455 kHz
  • Depth-Down Imaging: 320 ft

Key Features:

  • Dual-beam capability
  • Operational depth alarm
  • Functional temperature gauge
  • 256 Color Screen
  • Zoom option

Pros:

  • The Down Imaging Technology assists you to even see what is below your boat with unmatchable clarity.
  • Minimalist and friendly user interface.
  • Packs a technological chomp that no fishfinder in its class can match.
  • Makes use of fish icons to enable easy comprehension of the results by a beginner. 

Cons:

  • No in-built GPS.
  • It has no split-screen capability.

iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder 

ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder

Check iBobber Smart Fish Finder on Amazon

Pros Cons
Compatible with Google Watch and iWatch Small screen
Bluetooth Smart sync up Fragile external structure
Rechargeable battery Connectivity is limited
Trip and spot logging  
Free app on iOS and Android  

In case you are thinking about how to differentiate between various sizes of fish, this unique unit has color-coded the fish by size making it simpler to distinguish. Not only that, but you can also get an elaborative view of the corals underwater. How is that for quality?

Specification:

  • Brand Name: ReelSonar
  • Item model number: CGG-MY-IBOBBER
  • Item Weight:16 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 1 inches
  • Battery: 1 Lithium Polymer battery with up to 10+ hours of battery life
  • Depth- Sonar: 135ft

Key Features:

  • Constructed with LED beacon 
  • Raw sonar and fish tagging views
  • GPS spot tagging with an interactive map
  • Fish and strike alarms
  • Optional social media share features
  • The smallest portable wireless fish finder for iOS and Android
  • GPS locator

Pros:

  • Trip and spot logging, weather, and lunar calendar app functions available w/o iBobber hardware.
  • Compatible with Google Watch and iWatch. Free app on iOS and Android.
  • Bluetooth Smart sync up to a distance of 100′ for best battery life on the market.
  • Rechargeable battery and charge status indicator light.

Cons:

  • Screen size is peculiarly small.
  • Fragile external structure.
  • Connectivity is limited.

Kayak Fish Finder- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) Can you mount the transducer inside of the kayak?

People usually mount the transducer on the hull of the kayak i.e. the outside. The transducer only functions when it touches the water.

2) How do you connect the transducer to your kayak?

You can fix the transducer to your kayak in various ways to facilitate your catch:

  • Some of the transducers can be attached to the trolling motor.
  • While some of them must be mounted directly to the bottom of the transom.
  • Various recent kayaks feature scupper holes, which permit you to pass the transducer through the hull for an easy and seamless mounting. However, old kayaks seldomly have these features so you need to buy a depth finder that can efficiently work with your kayak.

3) What is a Chirp Sonar?

CHIRP is an acronym for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse and contrary to other standard sonar sends a continuous sweep of frequencies from low to high, this infers the returning frequencies separately to deliver a much vast range of information and images with immaculate clarity. 

4) Which CHIRP frequencies are suitable for a kayak fish finder?

Chirp uses 3 frequencies:

  • High CHIRP (150-240 kHz) which is best for depths less than 600′ for inland and freshwater to identify game fish near the bottom structure. It provides more refined details for small objects.
  • Medium CHIRP (80-160kHz). It is also best for depths less than 600′ and displays a wider coverage area, showing larger fish arches but provides less detail than high CHIRP for smaller objects.
  • Low CHIRP (below 80 kHz) is used for deep waters with amazing depth performance of up to 10,000′ and marks targets at all depths in the water column.

5) What is a Chartplotter fishfinder?

A chart plotter kayak fish finder is a device with an inbuilt chart plotting and fish locating operations. The Chartplotter integrates the GPS data with the capability to display electronic charts/maps.

Conclusion

Most anglers or kayakers have little to no information about the specification and features that are indispensable for an ultimately best kayak fish finder. Don’t worry, we have got you covered!

We have reviewed the best kayak fish finders of 2020 with their detailed specification and key features to make this buying experience easier for you.  However, you have to make sure that you opt for a fish finder that uniquely complements to your fishing style and environment.

The good news is, for the current kayak anglers, most fish finders available in the market function much more efficiently than those from years ago. All the recent kayak fish finders are not only efficient in working but also deliver the best results for an ultimate kayaking experience. 

You are not going home without fish now! We wish you the best, happy kayak fish finder purchasing! We hope you find what you are looking for.

Michael Holding
 

Michael is an outdoor adventurer and a kayaking enthusiast who loves to share his experiences with others. He is the Chief Editor at XgearHub.

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