If you are out in the sea on your fishing kayak and would like to go fishing, a Kayak fish finder is a great tool to sneak up on unsuspecting fishes unlike when you are on traditional fishing boat that would scare away fishes. A Kayak is the best tool that is tailored for fish finding activities. These come in different shapes and sizes.
What to Look for in a Kayak Fish Finder?
- High Transducer compatibility
- High resolution display
- 12v Marine Battery Power Source
- Reasonable Mounting Space
- Water resistant
- Easy installation guide
- Easy to update
- Few button functions
Best 5 Kayak Fish Finders
1. Raymarine Dragonfly
Raymarine Dragonfly is one of the most popular Kayaks and well-known tool used by professional fishermen. This model comes in 5’7 size and color display that are highly visible even during the brightest day.
This Kayak finder is created with IPX6 and IPX7 waterproof standards which means it is one of the safest tool for you. It comes with a single power, transducer connector that is easy to install and remove. It also has tilting, swivel features and a two sonar system- Dual Channel CHIRP. The first sonar is a high resolution fish targeting channel and the other one is the ultrahigh-resolution DownVision Channel. These sonars show the perfect vision and look of the floor of the sea or body of water. For easy control, this Kayak fish finder comes with a joystick cursor, rotary dial and a three button control. It also has a GPS and a MicroSD card reader which you could save spots or location for reference.
2. HUMMINBIRD 386CI Combo
Humminbird 386CI Combo is another top quality, efficient fish finder. It comes with high resolution screen with 320 x 240 pixels that offers clearer picture. It also includes GPS and sonar
combo that has an internal GPS antenna. Its GPS antenna is omnidirectional and has a dual beam sonar with SwitchFire technology.
This device is easy to use and to set-up. It is easy to mount it on your kayak and lightweight as well. It could show up to 4 nautical mile map and offers precise location and will show you where you will be going.
This fish finder could show you the depths of water up to 1500 feet below. It uses 500 watts of power. Though this model is quite on the expensive side, it is very effective and efficient.
3. HUMMINBIRD 561 DI
Another Humminbird model that makes the list of best kayak fish finders. This model is in black and white but comes with powerful features. It has a 5” display and a 2,400-watt power supply. Through this device, you will be able to see up to 600 ft. depth. As for its price, it is in mid-range and is not that expensive compared to other models.
This device includes a UniMap feature which will show you where you are located and the direction where you will be going. It also comes with optional features such as the Navionics and LakeMaster cartography. Moreover, it also allows its users to save their favorite fishing spots which means they could come back to the same spot without any difficulty.
4. LOWRANCE ELITE -4X HDI
Though Lowrance is not well-known and is not widely talked about, we believe you should look into this amazing fish finder. This model comes with bright display that has a measure of 3.5” and full color LED backlight. This fish finder device is small and compact but it also comes with powerful features. It comes with a 300-watts power, dual- frequency transducer and allows its users to view up to 120- degrees area and a distance up to 800 ft. below.
5. Garmin Echo 301DV
When choosing a fish-finder device, your initial reaction is to check if the device comes with amazing numerous features. Fish finders have been continuously evolving and improving over the years. The new models became small and compact but comes with more and beefy features and functions. One of these new models that you could surely rely on is the Garmin echo 301dv.
The Garmin Echo 301dv is known to be an all in one transducer that could produce HD-IDD 77/200 kHz images and Garmin DownVu that are shown exactly at the same time through its split display. This device allows you to view up to a maximum depth of 1,750 feet below.
Choosing the Best Kayak Fish Finder
When you are on your Kayak to start fishing there are certain things you need to do and one of them is to attach a fish finder on your small boat and ensure that it will not be ruined by water. Aside from that, there are other features that a fish finder has but you will also need to think about the following:
1. Is it portable?
One of the most essential factors when choosing a kayak fish finder is its portability. Imagine putting a fish finder that would eat a large space on your kayak, not only it would be a hassle but it would also put an additional weight on your kayak which will make it more difficult to row farther and faster.
2. What depth can it see to?
When you go out to the sea or lake, you would need to take in mind that you will need to be very quiet and not spook the wildlife, but how will you fish and not spook the fishes away? You will need to see the deep through a fish finder device. Hence, this factor is another important necessity to consider.
3. Is it waterproof
Since fishing involves water, we wouldn’t want to purchase a device that will just get ruined because it got wet. As you will be on a body of water, getting wet is inevitable. It is best to find something that is waterproof and would work even if it gets wet.
Tips for Easy installation of a Kayak Fish Finder
A fish finder helps in finding bait and to target schools of fish. If you wish to invest in a fish finder, we suggest to get a tool with chartplotter function on Lowrance Elite HD unit that would let you duplicate drifts and record structures you would want to visit.
- 1/8 inch, 5/32 inch and 1 inch bits
- Power drill
- Wire Stripper
- 3/8-inch socket wrench
- Soldering iron
- Heat gun on hair dryer
Materials needed to install a kayak fish finder:
- Lowrance fish finder/ chartplotter
- Hobie Fish Finder Install Kit III
- Yak Attack Gear Trac
- Spare Hobie through-hull fitting
- RAM full-size fish finder mount
- Electrical tape
- Dielectric grease
Steps to install fish finder on Kayak
I. Install Yak Attack Gear Trac
1. Drill hole by using 1/8-inch bit
2. Position the Gear Trac over the hole that you drilled.
3. Tighten the screw
4. Drill a second hole on the opposite corner.
5. Tighten the screw again.
6. Drill two more holes using the 5/23 inch-bit
7. Screw the bolts
8. Reach the front hatch and slide the washers onto the bolts.
9. Tighten the nuts with the use of socket wrench.
II. Install the Transducer
1. Remove seat and flip the kayak upside down.
2. Remove Lowrance-ready transducer plate.
3. Thread the transducer wire through the scupper and attach it to the bracket.
4. Screw the plate into the hull.
III. Run the Transducer Cable into the Hull
1. Flip back your kayak to the right side up
2. Open the hatch and remove the foam floatation blocks.
3. Reach through the hatch to remove through hull fitting.
4. Twist off the fitting nut.
5. Pop the fitting out of the hole.
6. Place the rubber O-ring over the hole and thread the transducer cable through the hole and O-ring.
7. Pull the cable out.
8. Select a gasket that the cable will fit and pop it onto your transducer cable then screwdriver the gasket into the hull fitting.
9. Slide through-hull fitting nut over and up cable and reach through hatch and twist the nut until it is tight.
10. Replace the foam floatation blocks.
IV. Install Two Through-Hull Fittings in Front of Gear Trac
1. Drill two 1 inch holes.
2. Clean the plastic from the holes with the use of a razor blade.
3. Slide a through-hull fitting nut in the transducer cable.
4. Slide the rubber O-ring on the transducer cable and thread the cable through the hole.
5. Pop the through-hull fitting gasket onto the cable and push it tight with a screwdriver.
6. Push the fitting down into the hole and reach up through the hatch to tighten the nut then pull the remaining transducer cable.
7. Cut the remaining cable toward the front hatch.
8. Secure with zip ties.
9. Repeat number one for the power cable.
V. Prepare Power Cables and Battery Wires
1. Connect exposed red/black or ground wires power cables.
2. Wrap the ends NMEA cable with electrical tape
3. Remove the battery wiring.
4. Tie the wires around the mast post.
5. Leave 15 to 20 inches between the post and connector.
6. Cut the extra wire
7. Measure the red lead on the batter wire and the in-line fuse leads
8. Cut it lead out of the wire and replace it with in-line fuse.
VI. Solder and Shrink-Wrap the Wires
1. Slide ¼ inch shrink tubing over the Lowrance’s power cable
2. Remove or snip off the ground wire
3. Strip the plastic from the red and black power cable leads and from the leads on the ends of the in-line fuse.
4. Join fuse wire to positive lead on the power cable
5. Slide the shrink over the positive lead on battery wire and join the positive wire on the battery wire and the negative lead on power cable.
6. Solder all the connections
7. Slide all 1/8 inch shrink tubing over the soldered connections
8. Shrink the tubing through the use of a heat gun
9. Slide the ¼ inch shrink tubing on both 1/8 inch connections on power cable end
10. Shrink it down.
VII. Attach the battery holder to Mast Post
VIII. Apply the dielectric grease to fuse and clean your wires by bundling the loose wires and cables through the use of zip ties.
IX. Connect the battery
X. Attach the RAM fish finder mount to the fish finder
XI. Connect the unit to the battery and start using the fish finder.
1. What is an ideal screen size for a Kayak fish finder?
Fish finder devices come in various screen sizes. Although generally they come in similar size, the screen is a different issue. There are numerous options and sizes and choosing one could be difficult.
It is tempting to get the biggest screen size as you could get more information than smaller screens however, we recommend a smaller screen for kayaks. The ideal screen size is around 4 inches or less. This might seem too small for you but you will definitely appreciate the extra space in your kayak.
2. How will my fish finder get power when used on a kayak?
In today’s technology, gadgets usually need a reliable power source for it to work. However, this is different for fish finders as there are different ways to make it work. First, you could go through the DIY route where you could create your own power source like a marine battery and a waterproof box. Another way is to get a portable fish finder which battery is included.
3. Where is the best place to mount the fish finder?
We all know that Kayaks are small and have limited space and storage. This means, you could only bring so much and would need to limit the things you will be bringing. Another problem you could encounter when going out to the sea or lake is where will you mount your fish finder.
We highly recommend that you mount the transducer of the fish finder inside the hull of your kayak. That way it will be easy to shoot out through the plastic which will allow you to get an accurate reading.
4. Should I get a GPS with my Kayak Fish Finder?
If you will be using a kayak, normally you would bring this type of boat to a smaller body of water and though it is great to have a GPS tracker, you could work without it especially if you are familiar with where you will be going. Moreover, a GPS tracker could cost more than what is necessary. However, if cost is not an issue, then it will be a great additional feature.
Summary and Conclusion:
With the FAQs and the models and brands that we have reviewed and featured in this article, we hope we are able to provide you satisfying answers in setting-up your kayak fish finder. We also
hope that through this article, you will be able to make a sound decision in purchasing the best Kayak Fish Finder that will suit best your wants and fishing needs. You can also check out our article on saltwater fishing reels to help you reel in your catch.