Best Fish Finders for Kayaks of 2018 & Buying Guide

Fishing in kayaks is a great way to catch a lot of fish quickly. Many argue that it’s easier to catch more fish from a kayak than a regular boat because it is quieter. With that in mind, we are reviewing some of the top fish finders for kayaks.

There are many important things to think about before you buy a fish finder for a kayak, like the size, transducer compatibility, if it has a GPS, being able to tell the specific species of a fish, and the depth of the water below. With that in mind, let’s discuss further what makes a fish finder a good one or bad one.

Buyer’s Guide:

How big should my fish finder be?

This is one of the most important questions. If your fish finder is too big for your kayak, then it could be hard to actually fish in your kayak (which is the whole point of buying a fish finder).

A fish finder that has a display that is too small is also kind of pointless, because then you won’t be able to see it! Make sure it is light and no bigger of a six-inch display is a safe bet.

Garmin Striker 4 Built-In GPS Fish Finder

Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder

How will the fish finder fit on the kayak?

Venterior Portable Fish Finder

Venterior Portable Fish Finder

This is another top priority to figure out before you buy your new fish finder. Different fish finders fit easily on different kayaks. Before kayaks had the mainstream spotlight like they have for the past ten or so years placing a fish finder on a kayak was relatively hard.

Most required you to drill holes in the kayak or use messy glue. Luckily, now they can be easily fitted on kayaks. But you must look up your kayak and see which fish finders work and fit well with your model. This could help you limit a lot of your options for you.

Should you use a fish finder with GPS or no GPS?

This is a cool feature, but many fishers are not super big into technology, even if they are buying a fish finder. A GPS is just one more feature they have to figure out.

Plus, chances are, if you are a fisher then you know how to get around and track where you were. This feature is not necessarily good, but definitely not bad.

How deep is the water below?

Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder

Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder

Knowing the depth can be useful for a few reasons with a fish finder. When casting it is nice to know whether or not you are in a shallow area or somewhere extremely deep.

If you want to take a break from fishing it is also nice to know if you can dive in. Water may seem deep, but there could be stumbling into some sort of reef structure or any other object.

Should you go for a fish finder that not only tells you there are fish, but the particular species of the fish?


This is a question that also much be addressed before you purchase a fish finder. Sometimes you may only want to catch bass and if the fish around you are halibut, then maybe you shouldn’t cast in that particular spot. 

If you are interested in this feature then you should look up how accurate the model you want is. Different fish finders are better or worse for the accuracy of knowing which species are below you.

Humminbird 409670-1 PiranhaMax

Humminbird 409670-1 PiranhaMax

What about the screen?

As well as the size, the display specs are another important factor for fish finders, the colors, pixels, and brightness are all something to keep in mind. You may be somebody who just needs a fish finder and if you can at least tell what information the screen is trying to tell you then you are happy with that. Other people may want the best screen available because they want to be able to easily tell what is going on, plus it’s easier to read and just looks better. To find the best screen look at the pixels per square inch. The higher number of pixels, the better the screen.

Best Fish Finders for Kayaks Reviews

1. Venterior Portable Fish Finder Review

This little guy finds fish. It can be used in lake, river, sea, or any other fishing environment. This really is an affordable fish finder that works in a unique way.

You can have the finder float near your kayak, which helps the accuracy and you don’t have to worry about mounting it to your kayak. With this fish finder you can locate short and tall weeds, sand, rocks, and of course, fish.

Pros

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    Has 25-foot cable so it doesn’t float off when you let it float next to your kayak.
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    Many features available like selecting the sensitivity, battery saving mode, backlight mode, fish alarm, unity of measure, and water depth by feet
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    Includes many things in the package like the display, a separate solar sensor with cable, removable transducer float with rubber stopper, transducer side-scan adapter, stainless bolt and wing nut, and neck strap
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    It has a max depth range at 328 feet and a minimum depth range of 2.30 feet
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    It tells you what kinds of things are on the bottom of the surface: rocks, grass, sand, etc.
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    The price is great

Cons

  • This fish finder does not tell you where the fish are, so if you want a more detailed reading it might be best to go with something else
  • Extremely cold weather impacts this fish finder. Waves and mud also impact the accuracy

2. Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder Review

Garmin Striker 4 Built-In GPS Fish Finder

This Garmin fish finder has a 3.5-inch color with built-in GPS that is stunningly accurate. Easily mark the spots that have a ton of fish and come back to them easily. Also mark docks to make sure you do not get lost. The keypad on this fish finder is surprisingly easy to use. 

One of the best things about this fish finder is the clarity of their transducer, which works in a different way than most fish finders that I’ll talk about in the pros section.

Pros

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    5-inch color screen
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    Huge and easy to use keypad
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    Easily check your speed so you can make sure you going the correct speed for your lure
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    The sonar technology on this GPS helps create a more accurate view from the continuous frequencies it sends out. Some fish finders only use one and wait for it to bounce back, which is usually less accurate
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    Maximum depth in freshwater is at 1600 feet
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    The color screen is entirely better than a black and white screen
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    Has a night view that makes it much easier to see at night

Cons

  • A little more expensive than the previous fish finder, but this is still a good deal
  • The mount is meant to strap onto an electric motor so it isn’t totally permanent

This is a good fish finder especially if you are wanting a GPS to help you out. Garmin specializes in GPS so they know what they are doing. The price is steeper than the first fish finder, but if you take good care of your equipment this one should last you a very long time.

3. Lowrance Hook-3x Sonar Review

This fish finder packs a punch. It has a 320×240 resolution so sunlight viewing and wide viewing is a breeze.

Easily identify fish, the bottom contour of the water, structure detail, and bottom hardness with the Lowrance Hook.

Pros

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    5 inch color display
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    Dual frequency of 83 or 200 kHz to help get a better and more accurate picture below the boat
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    The advanced signal processing reduces the need to continually adjust the fish finder to see the fish more clearly
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    Know the water temperature and depth easily
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    Mount to your kayak easily and simply

Cons

  • No GPS

4. Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder Review

The Signstek FF-003 has a 512 color screen with a white LED front light to help you see when it is especially dark. It can identify between big and small fish, and also their depth.

Water temperature is also indicated with this product, which is a nice combination of features. You can adjust the level sensitivity settings and when you turn this thing on, you are good to go!

Pros

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    Works in all bodies of water, even ponds!
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    Adjustable fish and depth alarm
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    Auto zoom bottom tracking and quick manual zoom
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    Color screen
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    Designed for professional and amateur fishermen

Cons

  • The screen is fairly small
  • The instructions are a little vague
  • No GPS

This is a great fish finder if you are looking for something that gives you a lot of information about where the fish are located and how big the fish are. The screen is a little small, so if you want a huge screen then this might not be the one for you. If you can setup similar products like this by yourself then you should be fine, but if you rely on the instructions a lot they are vague in some places so it could be hard to understand. If you need GPS then look elsewhere.

5. Humminbird 409670-1 PiranhaMax Review

This fish finder has a resolution of 320 by 240 with an easy to use interface. You can easily configure all the features of this fish finder so you can have fish alarms, depth alarms, and zoom.

Pros

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    5 inch display
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    Fish alarm
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    Depth alarm
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    Easy to use
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    Mounting is easy

Cons

  • No GPS

This is a nice and simple fish finder. It’s very easy to use so if you aren’t very good with technology, then this might be the fish finder for you. Keep in mind this does not have GPS, but most all the other bells and whistles are there, which makes this a great fish finder.

To Conclude:

You are now well equipped to know how to buy a fish finder for your kayak. When purchasing one really think about your needs and why you are purchasing one. Are you buying it so you can see where the fish are and where you are? Are you buying it only for the fish? Are you good with technology or are you average? These five products will really help you pick the best fish finder for you.