Are you looking for the best fish finder for kayaks?
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 kayak fish finder, read on!
After putting units from the top manufacturers to test over the years, we found that the Humminbird Helix 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G3N is the best kayak fish finder.
Every kayak angler has different parameters, so I have included reviews for all of our top choices.
Let’s get started!
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.
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.
Best Fish Finders for Kayaks-Reviewed
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 Transducer?
The XNT 9 HW MSI 150 T transducer comes packed with dual beam 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 fishing 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 base map?
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 these portable fish finders because it is easy to use, compact, use CHIRP sonar and GPS, and are affordable. This one really fits the mold when you think of what it means to be the best kayak fish finder.
This Garmin Striker is not only a top choice for kayak fishing but for ice fishing as well.
Does this fish finder come with a transducer?
Yes, it comes with a GT20 transducer that offers CHIRP sonar and ClearVu dual beam sonar.
Does it come with a 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 for kayaks is packed with features and offers everything that kayak anglers could ask for. Although the imaging may not be as clear as our top two choices, this unit from Lowrance has FishReveal. FishReveal combines the strength of Lowrance CHIRP sonar and the high-resolution images of DownScan to make 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 an angler needs-High Wide CHIRP sonar, DownScan, and Side Scan.
Are maps included?
Yes, these portable fish finders come preloaded with C-Map inland charts
Can this unit be upgraded with a Navionics mapping chip?
Yes, this fish finder for kayaks 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. These portable fish finders are very flexible as it comes with an adapter that allows you to also connect the transducer to your kayak. The Deeper Pro+ features CHIRP sonar, three beam angles, and the ability to scan up to 330′.
This transducer pairs with your smartphone or tablet via the built-in Wi-Fi to display the images. Consider this if you are wary 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.
At first glance, you may think this is a cheap fish finder but think again. The Deeper Pro+ is a full-featured fish finder touted for its reliability and performance from anglers taking it on kayak fishing trips around the world. Whether you are shore fishing, kayak fishing, ice fishing, or onboard a center console, this fish finder is going to impress you.
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 Best Fish Finder For Kayaks
There is a lot to think about when it comes to choosing the best kayak fish finders, and there are many features that you should consider before making any purchase decisions. Here’s a quick buyer’s 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 kayak fishing spot.
Do you want a kayak fish finder without a mount?
If you’re looking for a fish finder for kayaks that don’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, especially 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.
You want to make sure the transducer you go with matches your fishing parameters. If you often find yourself kayaking in shallow water, then side imaging will be crucial, and we recommend the Helix 7 with MEGA SI.
If you want to fish over the top of the 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.
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
For a video tutorial on how to install a fish finder on your kayak, check out this video below or continue reading.
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 fish finder 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 so you won’t have to lean forward too much. This will most likely be on the side of the footwall 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 setup 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 hull-mounted.
Now it’s time to power your setup.
Most kayak fish finders will run on a 12V kayak marine battery. Make sure to store the battery inside a waterproof container.
Are these fish finders waterproof?
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 kayak fish finder is worth it is by thinking about what you plan on using the kayak for. If kayak 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 Kayak Fish Finder-Conclusion
The best kayak fish finder 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.
For more guidance on choosing your next fish finder, check out some pages below:
- Best Fish Finder Under $300
- The 5 Best Fish Finders Under $500
- 7 Best Fish Finder GPS Combo’s Under $1000
- Best Fish Finder GPS Combo-How to Choose Your Next Fish Finder
For guides on finding the best fishing kayaks, check out fishing kayak reviews below: