The Best Portable Fish Finder | Reviews & Buyers Guide

best portable fish finder cover photo

Are you looking for the best portable fish finder? If so, you’re in the right spot.

In this article, we will list our picks for the top five options available today. The three different types of portable fish finders that are considered “portable”, the best uses for each, where to buy your next unit, and much more.

Without further ado, our pick for the best portable fish finder is the Humminbird Helix 7 G3N-All Season.

Best Overall
Humminbird ICE Helix 7 G3N All Season

Humminbird “All Season” fish finders check all of the boxes for both the ice and open water. This unit is loaded with all of the technology of a modern fish finder while tailored towards fishing on the ice which is why we think this is the best ice fishing fish finder.



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By nature, Ice Flashers are portable and the Helix 7 All Season is no exception, while also an excellent option for the open water. All the mounting hardware, batteries, and transom mount transducer are included.

So not only does this unit offer portability, but it is also flexible and will save you money by not having to purchase a separate flasher for ice fishing.

Our Best Portable Fish Finders

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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05/26/2022 02:13 pm GMT
Best Value
Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit
$199.99

This portable unit is an ice fishermen’s dream, but it works really well out on the lake or wherever you may be fishing for bass too. Moderately priced, with a lot of features this device comes in three basic configurations.

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05/26/2022 12:50 am GMT
Best Overall
Humminbird ICE Helix 7 G3N All Season

Humminbird “All Season” fish finders check all of the boxes for both the ice and open water. This unit is loaded with all of the technology of a modern fish finder while tailored towards fishing on the ice which is why we think this is the best ice fishing fish finder.



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Types of Portable Fish Finders

Portable Fish Finder

  • “A portable fish finder” is exactly what the names describe
  • They typically include a carrying case, a mounting base or bracket, a portable transducer, and a small rechargeable battery
  • Usually between 3″ and 7″
  • Versatile in nature, they can be used for open water, ice fishing, or on small vessels

Castable Fish Finder

  • The most versatile
  • Can be used from the shore, on a boat, or on ice
  • Connect wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet
  • Great for shore fishing

Mountable Fish Finder

  • The name says it all
  • Temporarily mounts transducer to your boats’ transom

Best Portable Fish Finder—Reviews


Humminbird Helix 7 G3N-All Season-Best Overall

The ICE HELIX 7 CHIRP GPS G3N All Season has more fish-finding power than one season can handle. Designed to be your go-to tool for every type of fishing, regardless of whether it’s on the ice or for shallow water fishing in the river!

You can now create 1-foot contour maps of your fishing spots to help you find that perfect spot even faster. LakeMaster features allow for creating exciting new ways in which ice fishermen are able to craft maps of the ice to identify humps and drop-offs.

Just because this MFD is a jack of all trades doesn’t mean that they sacrificed quality.

The resolution on this 7″ screen and CHIRP sonar is what you would expect from Humminbird and with a MicroSD card slot, you have the option to upgrade to the Humminbird Lake Master charts.

Garmin Striker 4 Portable- Best Value

The Striker series is very popular for a reason as it falls in line with all Garmin devices as it is easy to use, dependable, and backed by great customer support from Garmin.

The Striker 4 utilizes CHIRP sonar but does not provide imaging. It also has internal GPS but no mapping capability.

This unit can be a serviceable option for ice fishing as it includes a flasher mode and a floating transducer.

The keypad buttons are big enough to operate while using gloves when ice fishing.

Venterior VT -Budget Pick

This unit is very affordable and easy to set up and start fishing. It does a good job of showing accurate depths with easy-to-read fish markings.

One downside we found with this unit is that it is not waterproof or even water-resistant, so opt for the option that includes a waterproof carrier.

HOOK² Ice Fishing and All-Season Pack

Offers built-in GPS but no mapping capability. It has an “Ice Mode” and includes a suction cup transducer for small boats. This unit is easy to set up and a great option for kayak fishing.

This Lowrance fish finder is more than just an average device. It has a wider sonar cone, which allows it to cover greater distances with ease and detect lurking objects below the surface of water easier– giving you twice as much coverage!

With the Hook2, you can enjoy a preloaded enhanced base map from C-MAP and have options to upgrade your mapping even further by purchasing additional maps through Navionics.

We did notice that this unit became obsolete when we hit depths of 50′ or more, so if you plan on fishing in deeper water, move on to your next option.

5.Humminbird Piranha Max 4 PT

This is a budget option for Humminbird fans who don’t want to spring for Helix 5 but still want the Humminbird name onboard your boat.

No GPS or Maps, but the clear imaging allows you to see enough detail to identify structure, weeds, and bottom but does not have GPS mapping capabilities. With 2D CHIRP Sonar and a Fish Alarm feature, you have what you need to get the job done and an assistant for catching more fish.

With Dual Beam Sonar, you can see what’s under the water like never before! Choose from two different beam options: narrow for detailed scanning or wide coverage to identify items in detail while still being able to find fish and other aspects of your environment.

Castable Fish Finders

Castable fish finders are becoming more and more popular for shore fishing as manufacturers have released much improved options in recent years.

If your main outlet for fishing is on a boat or kayak, I would stay away from castable fish finders and choose one of the more traditional fish finders that we covered above.

Castable units connect wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet, which makes them even more convenient and easy to interpret.

There are just three units we feel should make the cut on our list of castable fish finders.

The Deeper Pro+ is our top choice followed by Garmin’s Striker Cast and Lowrance’s FishHunter 3D

Best Castable Fish Finder?

DeeperPro+- Best Castable

The Deeper Pro+ Smart Sonar is one of the most versatile and impressive options available on the market.

This unit is the ONLY castable sonar device with built-in GPS.

It’s about the size of a tennis ball and pairs with your smartphone or tablet.

Capable of showing depths of 300′.

It has dual beam sonar technology, giving you the option of scanning the water with either a wide or narrow beam.

The device doesn’t just indicate how deep a spot is, but it also gives you the accurate position of fish.

The built-in GPS system gives you a lot to play with.

You can create bathymetric maps from the shore, map out certain spots of the lake, and look at them later when you’re home.

Garmin Striker Cast GPS Fish Finder

You can’t mention the word Best…GPS and not mention Garmin

They utilized dual beam sonar and their expertise making apps to come up with one of the best fish finders that you can cast or tow behind your kayak.

As with any Garmin unit, this one is no exception in being convenient, easy to use, and dependable.

All you need is a USB to charge this up for your next fishing trip.

Lowrance Fish Hunter 3D

Features 5 directional sonar cones creating different zones and displaying them on your smartphone- essentially telling you where to cast, and comes with bathymetric custom mapping

Great app that lets you log your catches, save waypoints and even live stream from your favorite fishing spot.

Always great customer support from Lowrance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best portable fish finder for kayak fishing?

best portable fish finder for kayak fishing

The best portable fish finder for kayaks is the Humminbird Helix 7 G3N-All Season

The features on this device are perfect for kayak fishing, as you are able to utilize the MicroSD card slot and upgrade your maps

This fish finder comes with a suction cup mount for the transducer, making it easy to take on and off the bottom of your kayak

What is the best portable fish finder for shore fishing?

best portable fish finder for shore fishing

We mentioned that a castable fish finder is your best bet for shore fishing

So yes, you guessed it- The Deeper Pro+ is our choice for shore fishing

What is the Best Portable Fish Finder for Ice Fishing?

best portable fish finder for ice fishing

The best portable fish finder for ice fishing is the Garmin Striker 4 Portable Kit

As we mentioned earlier, this fish finder features an ice fishing flasher mode

The battery life for this portable kit is another reason this is an ideal fish finder for the ice

The integrated GPS makes it easy to find your favorite ice hole

Do portable fish finders work?

Yes, most of the time.

The reason we only say most of the time is because we have had many experiences with castable fish finders not getting the job done because of connectivity issues.

These portable units most often rely on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone or tablet

When the connection is poor the performance of the fish finder can be poor

Why should you get a portable fish finder?

Pros:
  • Versatility- They are usually mounted with a suction cup so in the summer you can have it on your boat one day and the next day using it while shore fishing. During winter time, use it for ice fishing trips.
  • No Holes in Your Boat-There is no need to drill any more holes in your boat
  • Affordability- You can easily find a reliable unit for under $300 compared to a traditional fish finder that can become rather expensive
Cons:
  • Connection issues-When using castable fish finders, anglers often find themselves in remote places where the Wi-Fi is not strong
  • Average Performance- These units are tough to fine tune and enhance the results because of the constant movement and different fishing spots you will find yourself in

What transducer do you need for a portable fish finder?

chirp vs traditional sonar

Each fish finder is different, but most of the options on our list will include a suction mount transducer that you easily remove.

Castable fish finders are the transducer, while the display is your phone or tablet. Castable fish finders can be tied down either using a braided fishing line or a rope when towing behind a kayak or small boat.

Do I Need GPS on a Portable Fish Finder?

underwater topography

If you are shore fishing, then no a GPS is not necessary

If you plan on using your unit from a small boat or kayak, then yes a GPS will be mightily useful for marking the coordinates of fishing spots you’ve had luck with and also making custom maps

Wrapping Up

man fishing

We hope you’ve found this article helpful and that it has helped to clear up some confusion surrounding portable fish finders.

Be sure to check out our other articles on the best finders. Links are below.

If you’re in need of more information or just want to chat, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at team@afellowfisherman.com.

Happy Fishing!

Captain Tyler Brady

Captain Tyler Brady

Hi, I'm Captain Tyler Brady, founder of A Fellow Fisherman. Thank you for reading this post and visiting my site. I strive to provide the best information when it comes to fishing, whether it is myself or A Fellow Fisherman that is part of my team. Now stop reading and GO fishing!

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