When fishing in the tight quarters of a kayak or small boat, an angler can use all of the advantages he can find. One of the best ways to make sure there are an adequate number of fish available in an given area of water before deciding to set up shop is through the use of a fish finder.
Fish finders for kayaks are typically hand-held and portable devices that use sonar technology to identify what lies under the water’s surface.
Some people believe a kayak fish finder is an essential piece of equipment due to the need to employ efficient methods of fishing after enduring the physical effort it takes to get out onto the water in the kayak.
As sportsmen, fishermen want to make sure the competition (fish) is readily available to make the time more enjoyable.
10 Best Kayak Fish Finders
If you are in the market for a fish finder for kayak angler, then you will want to find the best kayak angler fish finder you can based on performance versus price. In the end, the best portable fish finder is the one that delivers the best results with the least amount of effort and a user-friendly interface.
Here is a list of the 10 best fish finders currently available on the market.
1. Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder (Depth Finder) for Smartphone or Tablet
By sending images right to your cell phone through a Bluetooth device, you can save on space because the need for a additional display device has been circumvented.
With a battery life of up to four hours, the dual beam system helps locate fish in deep waters, around solid objects, and through ice when ice fishing from the surface.
With access to a free app, this item is a little pricey at around $200 but very effective and efficient.
2. Fish Hunter Portable Fish Finder, 3.0, Orange
Priced at around $150, this fish finder offers a slightly less expensive option for cell phone users. Using Bluetooth technology and a sonar app, you can send the sonar image right to your cell phone.
The fish finder provides the ability to store data related to findings for use in future excursions or outings. With a range of 125 ft. in distance and 130 ft. in depth, it provides more that enough coverage from within a kayak.
It comes with a car/boat charger, USB cable, charging station and carrying bag.
3. Garmin Echo 101 US and Canada with Transducer
Note: This is an updated version of the Echo 100.
The item comes with a dual-beam transducer, tilt/swivel quick-release mount with additional mounts for transom and trolling motor, 8-level Grayscale display with resolution of 160 x 256, and 20 ft. power cable.
4. Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder FishFinder with LCD Screen
With the ability to track multiple depths, this item comes with 100-level sensitivity setting, 512 colors TFT V240*H160 display, white LED front light, reading depth capabilities ranging from 2 ft. to 240 ft., and a water temperature indicator.
This item is easy to use by simply tossing into the water from any location, including docks, kayaks and shorelines. Priced between $150 and $250.
5. Lowrance 000-11448-001 Elite-3X Fish Finder with 83/200 Transducer
At 3.5 pounds with a 3.5 inch color LCD, this fish finder is very easy to use in the tight quarters of a kayak or small boats. It comes with 83/200KHz sonar and a transom mount transducer.
This item is priced at the lower end of the typical market range, coming in at around $100.
6. Garmin Echo 301c Worldwide with Transducer
The Echo fish finder with transducer comes with the same general features you want for kayak fishing, including a dual-beam transducer, tilt/swivel quick-release mount with additional mounts for transom and trolling motor, color display with display with resolution of 240 x 320(QVGA) and a 20 ft. power cord.
This product is priced in the $150-$200 range.
7. Humminbird 4086701 PiranhaMAX 176i Dual Beam Fishfinder and Trackplotter with Internal GPS
Those features include a tilt and swivel mount, dual beam sonar that reads to a depth of 600 ft., water temperature indicator, 4 inch 16 level Grayscale display that reads at 240 X 160 pixels, and a built-in internal GPS system.
8. Lowrance Elite-4 HDI Chartplotter/Fishfinder Combo
This model is ideally suited for the experienced kayak angler who is looking for a feature-rich sonar solution without regard for price as this one comes in at the higher end of the scale at around $250-$300. The fish finder comes with a w/83/200/455/800 transom mount transducer, installed base map, Cartography Brand Navionics, Card Format Micro SD and Cartography Type Gold/HotMaps Premium.
9. Signstek FF-011 Wireless Fish Finder FishFinder
Features include four levels Grayscale V128xH96 display with white LED back-light, round sonar sensor good to depths of 100 ft. with 1/10 precision, 10-level sensitivity setting, auto zoom bottom tracking, water temperature indicator and multi-level depth range.
10. iBobber Castable Bluetooth Smart Fishfinder
The sonar component works to a depth of 135 ft. with the ability to track two different sizes of fish.
Other features you can find with this fish finder include waterbed contour mapping up to 100′ away, GPS tagging of hot-spots (location, date, etc.), lunar calendar, and weather gauge for temp, wind, and rain. Additionally, it includes a water temperature LED beacon, fish & strike alarm, rechargeable with 8 hour battery life and built-in mapping.
Reasonably priced at just under $100.
How to Select the Best Kayak Fish Finder
When you are looking for the best kayak fish finder, then there are a few considerations to make while on your search. You will want to find a fish finder for your kayak that will allow for reasonable mounting space and has high transducer compatibility.
Since you will be using the fish finder while kayak fishing, it is also important that it is lightweight and weather resistant as well since you will be more exposed to the water on a kayak or a small boat.
How Does a Fish Finder Work?
A fish finder is typically made up of just two parts. These two parts are the computer and the display that you place in the boat or angler kayak. The fish finder will be able to display where the fish may be and the depths they may be found at. The transducer has an underwater sensor that sends all this information to the display of the fish finder.
The transducer also uses sonar waves, or sound waves, to help estimate the depth and even the size of the potential fish under the water. However, fish finders will not just strictly pick up fish, they will be able to pick up anything, any object, under the water such as rocks or logs.
Reading a Fish Finder
While it may seem like a somewhat complicated device, reading a fish finder screen while kayak fishing is actually pretty easy to accomplish. You are given an estimate of the depth, and the shape of the bottom surface underneath the water and this information is displayed on the screen of the fish finder.
More expensive and complex fish finders, however, may be able to give you more than just a rough estimate and some may even be able to pick up activity faster and even tell the difference between different types of fish.