With kayaking being such a popular water sport, is it any wonder that people are choosing to combine fishing, another very popular sport with it? There are fishing kayaks that are specifically designed for the fisherman who wants to enjoy the thrill of a catch even more. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that there are also a lot of fish finders gaining popularity for being small enough to work on board a fishing kayak. If you are an avid fisherman who wants to combine a love of two water-based activities, you should check out our list of the 5 best kayak fish finders below.
What Makes a Quality Fish Finder for Kayaks?
There are a lot of fish finders on the market. However, not all of them would work on a kayak. Normal boating fish finders often have a very large screen and show a lot of details. The main problem is they are too large. Do you really want a 10in LCD fish finder on your fishing kayak? Not many people can honestly say that they would. On a kayak, it does not take much to be too big and bulky. That is why most kayaking fish finders are around 4-5 inches or work off your smartphone.
Another feature that matters is the charging system. Many fish finders use the boat’s battery to stay powered up. You may have a marine battery on board your kayak if you have a trolling motor, but since a lot of kayaks do not, many fish finders are battery powered with rechargeable batteries. If you have the trolling motor and battery combination then you can choose from more options. If you do not have these items, you will need a rechargeable that lasts as long as you plan to be out on the water.
You may also be picky about the screen on your fish finder. Normal fish finders can be hidden under a canopy. Kayaks are not usually equipped with their own shade. Your fish finder should have a brighter screen to enable you to see it when the sun is shining brightly.
When it comes to fish finders the sonar and frequency, wireless capabilities and size will all come into play. A fish finder that can show you an approximate size of the fish is perfect. You probably would like to catch the largest fish in the lake, but it could be difficult reeling in a large fish into a kayak. It should also be versatile and easy to use, no matter where you are. That is why our top 5 are perfect for any kayaking fisherman.
Best Kayak Fish Finders List
FishHunter PRO Fish Finder
The FishHunter Pro claims to be one of the fastest wireless and portable fish finders available. It has a Wi-Fi casting range of more than 150ft. This feature makes it 4 times faster than a Bluetooth connection. It can see fish that are up to 150ft beneath the surface of the water. In ice, it can still tell you about fish that are 100ft below the surface, the same as its jig tracking. It can be trolled at up to 2.5mph and cast from either a boat or the shore. All of the information you want to know is provided on a super-high resolution screen. The rechargeable battery has an average lifespan of 10 hours. We really like the fish alert so you can put your phone away and just wait for the alaram. We also like that you can place drop pins on a map to save your favorite spots out on the lake or pond for the next time you visit. Some have complained about connectivity issues but most love this portable fish finder. See more customer reviews for FishHunter Pro here.
Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder
This fish finder works in all types of water and sends the images directly to your smartphone or tablet. You can use it from the shore, bridges, docks, float tubes, and everything. It is small and portable. This fish finder can detect fish that are up to 130ft deep. It has a battery life of approximately 4 hours. Once you have the free application installed on your iOS or Android device, you can have access to fishing maps, a diary, the weather, and a fishing calendar. You can also share images directly from the program. This is a very popular choice among fisherman. See more customer reviews for the Deeper Smart Portable here.
Signstek Portable Fish Finder
This is a slightly cheaper but good portable fish finder that is definitely worth considering. The Signstek fish finder includes a sonar sensor and necessary depth information, which is shown on an LCD display that is 512 colors TFT. TheLED front light makes it more readable, even when the sun is shining brightly. It offers 100-level sensitivity and multiple depth ranges that allow you to see what is at least 2ft below you and up to 240ft. It promises a precision of 1/10th. There is also a water temperature indicator and you can use it from your kayak, bridges, the bank, and more. Some complain that it is not great for ice fishing and it uses AA batteries so that could get expensive if you use this portable fish finder often. See more customer reviews for the Signstek Portable here.
Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder
If you want a rugged, highly impressive fish finder, you should strongly consider buying the Garmin Striker 4. It features a high-sensitivity GPS. This allows you to mark your favorite fishing spot so that you can find it later. It has a Waypoint map to use for marking your favorite locations. The Striker 4 does everything you need it to do by using a chirp sonar that sends out a continuous sweep of frequencies that range from low to high. This gives you much more target separation and fish arches than other devices. There is also a built-in flasher that helps with vertical jigging and ice fishing. One small drawback is it uses a 12V battery and not a rechargeable battery. See more customer reviews for the Garmin Striker 4 here.
Lowrance Elite 4 HDI Fish Finder
The Elite 4 features HDI that uses both a Broadband Sounder and DownScan Imaging to give you a very bright, 4 inch LED backlit color display. It has a built-in GPS antenna and HD mapping. The two combined give you a great view of what is under your kayak. It also gives you the ability to create your own maps for all of your favorite fishing spots. This fish finder lets you use multiple windows and you can choose from preset layouts. One drawback is that it is one of the more expensive fish finders but it still one of the best kayak fish finders on the market. See more customer reviews for the Lowrance Elite 4 here.