Best Fish Finders for Kayaks

Are you looking for the best fish finder for your kayak?

In this article, we will be reviewing 5 of the best fish finders for kayaks on the market. We have also included a buyer’s guide to help you decide which features are most important to you and how to choose a fish finder that’s right for your needs.

So if you’re in the market for your next fish finder, read on!

After putting units from the top manufacturers to the test over the years we found that the Huminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G3N is the best fish finder for kayaks.

Every kayak angler has different parameters so I have included reviews for all of our top choices.

Let’s get started!

Budget Pick
Garmin Vivid Striker 4
$110.00

For the price, you can’t beat the Striker 4 by Garmin. Versatility and expandability are the hallmarks of this little unit and why it is a contender for the best fish finder for bass.

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Best Castable
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
$179.99

This is a unique product in the fish finding realm. Using technology similar to drones, this castable fish finder creates its own WiFi hotspot, allowing you to interface with the device using your cell phone or tablet.

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Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G3N

When it comes to imaging it is hard to imagine a fish finder better than a Humminbird. Our top pick features a 7″ screen, down and side imaging with excellent resolution.

Does it come with a Tranducer?

The XNT 9 HW MSI 150 T transducer comes packed with dual spectrum CHIRP sonar, MEGA DI, and MEGA SI which makes this package powerful and versatile for either shallow water or structure fishing.

What maps does it come with?

This fish finder comes preloaded with coastal and inland water maps. It also has a MicroSD card slot for the ability to upgrade to Humminbird Lake Master charts.

Can you mount this unit?

Yes, this unit is very easy to mount anywhere on your kayak with a flat spot.

Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73sv

With a 7″ touchscreen, built-in Wi-fi, and a high definition transducer it was hard not to put this one at the top of our list. Ultimately we felt the Helix 7 has better imaging so that is why it landed at number one. But with this unit having a touchscreen and built-in Wi-fi, it is a more than capable runner up that warrants consideration.

Does this unit come with a transducer?

Yes, the transducer is a GT56UHD-TM which offers both SideVu and ClearVu and High Wide CHIRP sonar

Does this fish finder come with a basemap?

This unit comes preloaded with over 18,000 inland bodies of water. For a fish finder with pre-loaded COASTAL maps, check out the Garmin ECHOMAP 74sv.

Is this unit compatible with LiveScope?

Yes, it certainly is. Livescope paired with this fish finder would make one powerful combo that would be hard to compete with.

Garmin Striker Vivid 4 sv

The Striker is a classic kayak fish finder known for being compact yet more than capable of finding the fish. We love this fish finder because it is easy to use, compact, uses CHIRP, GPS, and is affordable. This one really fits the mold when you think of a fish finder for kayaks.

Does this fish finder come with a transducer?

Yes, it comes with GT20 transducer that offers CHIRP and ClearVu

Does it come with built-in GPS?

Yes, it comes with Quickdraw contours mapping that lets you mark waypoints and create maps on the go

Does this unit have side imaging?

Yes, the side imaging is serviceable at best as the images are not crystal clear, especially when compared to our top 2 choices.

Lowrance Hook Reveal 7 Tripleshot

This fish finder is packed with features and offers everything that a kayak angler could ask for. Although the imaging may not be as clear as our top two choices, this unit from Lowrance has FishReveal which combines the strength of Lowrance CHIRP sonar and the high-resolution images of DownScan to makes fish arches light up on your display. This unit is more affordable compared to the top choices while still offering a ton of great features.

Does this fish finder come with a transducer?

Yes, the tripleshot transducer hence the name has all three features a kayak angler needs- High Wide CHIRP, DownScan, and SideScan.

Are maps included?

Yes, this fish finder comes preloaded with C-Map inland charts

Can this unit be upgraded with Navionics mapping chip?

Yes, this fish finder is compatible with Navionics charts

Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar

This fish finder is perfect for anglers who do not want to mount a fish finder to their kayak but still want fish finding capability. This portable unit is very flexible as it comes with an adapter that allows you to also connect the tranducer to your kayak. The Deeper Pro+ features CHIRP, three beam angles, and the ability to scan up to 330′.

This transducer pairs to your smartphone or tablet via the built in Wi-fi to display the images. Consider this if you are weary of bringing your device along with you on your kayak. This unit is about the size of a golf ball so it is convenient enough to toss in your pocket and go.

Does this fish finder come with GPS?

Yes, the Deeper Pro+ has built-in GPS that allows you to create bathymetric maps as well as view past scans, waypoints, pictures, and notes all from within the Fish Deeper App.

Does it come with a battery?

Yes, there is a rechargeable battery and it comes with a USB B cable. It only takes about two hours to charge and will last all day.

Do you need cell service for it to work?

No, the built in Wi-fi on the Deeper Pro+ is all you need and will link to your device using bluetooth.

How to choose the right fish finder for your kayak

best fish finders for kayaks

There is a lot to think about when it comes to choosing the right fish finder for your kayak and there are many different features that you should consider before making any purchase decisions. Here’s a quick buyers guide of things to look out for.

Do you need GPS with a fish finder for a kayak?

GPS can be very useful for kayak fishing. We recommend that you do have GPS so that you have the ability to mark waypoints and save the coordinates to your favorite fishing spot.

Do you want a kayak fish finder without a mount?

If you’re looking for a fish finder that doesn’t need to be mounted then the Deeper Pro+ is the best option. This is the best castable fish finder available and also includes an adapter to let you attach the transducer to your kayak.

Do you want a compact fish finder?

We think this is a big consideration especiallly if your kayak is on the smaller end. The last thing you want is your fish finder to be a burden because it is too big and does not allow you to paddle like you normally would.

If you’re looking for a compact fish finder the Garmin Striker Vivid 4sv is the way to go. The Striker has all of the features that you need without being too bulky or difficult to install.

Transducer Compatibility

You want to make sure the transducer you go with matches your fishing parameters. If you often find yourself fishing in shallow water then side imaging will be crucial and we recommend the Helix 7 with MEGA SI.

If you want to fish over top of structure in deeper waters than you want to focus on down imaging sonar and opt for the Garmin EchoMap UHD 73sv and add on the Panoptix LiveScope system.

FAQ

Can you mount a fish finder on a kayak?

Well yes, as most of the units on our list are mounted displays. As we mentioned earlier you want to plan on where you are going to mount your fish finder and measure the space that you have available without limiting your space for paddling.

How to install a fish finder onto your kayak 

To install a fish finder on a kayak you will need to figure out-

  • Where to mount the display
  • Where to mount the transducer
  • Where to store the power source

We recommend that you buy a Ram Mounting System as these mounts will allow almost infinite angles to view your display and they are easy to install and remove.

You want to find a spot on your kayak where the display will be close enough to make out the details on the screen and so you won’t have to lean forward too much. This will most likely be on the side of the foot well or on the center console.

Once you have mounted your display with either an after market product like a Ram Mount or with the mount that came with the unit, it is then time to mount the transducer.

Your set up will dictate the best way to mount the transducer. The three common ways to mount them are in the scupper hole, arm mounted along the sides, or in hull mounted.

Now it’s time to power your set up.

Most fish finders will run on a 12V kayak marine battery. Make sure to store the battery inside of a waterproof container.

Can you get a fish finder wet?

Yes, to a certain extent. All of the fish finders we have mentioned on this list have a degree of water resistance. You obviously don’t want to submerge any of these displays.

Is a fish finder worth it on a kayak?

We think so. The best way to tell if a fish finder is worth it on your kayak, is by thinking about what you plan on using the kayak for. If fishing along shorelines with shallow waters then a simple depth finder may be enough. But if you are planning on deep sea fishing or long distance paddling in the ocean then you will want to opt for either the Humminbird Helix 7 or Garmin Echomap UHD 73sv.

The benefits of a fish finder on your kayak 

  • Find schools of your target fish
  • Locate baitfish
  • Learn the water depth
  • Mark Waypoints
  • Find ledges and structure

Best Fish Finders for Kayaks Conclusion

The best fish finder for a kayak is ultimately the one that suits your needs and budget. We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your choices by providing some options to consider, as well as answering many of your questions about what features are necessary in order to make an informed decision. If you’re still unsure which model will work best for you, use our contact form to ask a question or leave a comment!