The 6 Best Fish Finders for Kayaks in 2022 – Buyers Guide

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Kayak fishing is awesome as once you’re on your fishing kayak, you are free to explore the open waters that you just can’t get to while you’re shore fishing.

best kayak fish finder

Not only that, but you get to do it in peace and quiet without an engine, the hassles of owning a boat, and kayak anglers get some serious exercise while they’re out there – what’s not to love?

But, as with any kind of fishing, you can always use a little bit of help to find the fish, especially when you’re fishing in deeper areas of large lakes and inshore creeks of the sea.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Kayak Fish Finder For ImagingHumminbird Helix 5 SI
  • 5-inch screen
  • Excellent Sonar
  • Accurate Reading of 1500 ft
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Fish Finder For The MoneyGarmin Striker 4 Plus 
  • CHIRP Sonar
  • 1600 ft
  • Beginner Friendly
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Fish Finder For PortabilityDeeper Smart Sonar PRO+
  • DualBeam Sonar
  • GPS & Self-mapping
  • 330ft Connection Range
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Fish Finder On A BudgetHumminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 PT
  • 4.3 inch Display
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • 600 ft Freshwater / Saltwater
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Kayak Fish Finder For Deeper WaterGarmin Striker Plus 7Cv
  • 7 inch Display
  • IPX 7 Waterproof
  • DualBeam, CHIRP, and ClearVu
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Touch Screen Fish FinderLowrance Elite 7 Ti
  • 5 inch Display
  • IPX 7 Waterproof
  • CHIRP, Down scan, Side-scan
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The most successful kayak angler will have a fish finder on their fishing kayak and if you don’t have one, then you’re missing out. Kayak fish finders allow you to find depth changes, follow GPS coordinates, and some of them even have charts that help you find fish holding areas.

With a kayak fish finder, you’re going to find more fish, period. Join me as we take a look at the top fish finders for kayaks on the market so you can find the best kayak fish finder for you.

Our Best Kayak Fish Finders

Humminbird Helix 5 SI

Humminbird Helix 5 SI

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Specs

  • Size Display: 5-inch screen
  • Display: Color
  • Touch Screen: No
  • Waterproofing: IPX 7
  • Power: 500 W
  • Frequency: 200/83/455 kHz
  • Sonar: Side Imaging/Down Imaging/DualBeam PLUS
  • GPS: Yes
  • GPS Memory: 1 x SD card slot
  • Transducer: Included
  • Depth: 1500 ft
  • CHIRP: Yes
  • WiFi: No
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Charts: Yes

Pros

  • Intuitive to use and simple to install
  • Good size display unit that is easy to read
  • Awesome sonar functions
  • Dual-beam, Down imaging & Side imaging included
  • Provides near-photographic images
  • Comes with charts and built-in GPS for navigation
  • Accurate readings to 1500 feet

Cons

  • No CHIRP sonar
  • A little expensive

The Humminbird Helix 5 SI is one of the most sophisticated fish finders for kayaks out there as it comes with everything you might need from excellent sonar to GPS and charts too.

This full-featured fish finder has a 5-inch screen that is easy to read in all light conditions and is just the right size to be portable enough for kayak fishing too. You can even use split-screen mode to see multiple views such as sonar data on one side and your charts and GPS on the other.

The sonar features on this great fish finder include DualBeam, Down Imaging Sonar, and Side Imaging sonar. DualBeam allows you to scan with either a narrow or wide-angle sonar cone while searching for fish and structure. You can read the sonar accurately to a depth of 1500 ft so finding deep water fish isn’t an issue either.

Once you find a fishy spot you can then use this Down Imaging fish finder to see everything in detail from fish depth to even where fish are holding around say a sunken tree.

Then comes side imaging which works by scanning on both sides of fishing kayaks, up to 150 feet. This allows you to cover a huge area in just one pass and makes fish finding about as easy as it gets.

To top it off, this portable kayak fish finder also comes with an accurate base map plus GPS so you can find good fishing spots with ease, navigate safely, and mark any good areas with waypoints.

While this is one of the best fish finders for kayaks out there, it’s not a cheap fish finder and it doesn’t come with CHIRP sonar.

Garmin Striker 4 Plus

Garmin Striker 4 Plus

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Specs

  • Display Size: 4.3 inch
  • Display: Color
  • Waterproofing: IPX7
  • Power: 200 W
  • Frequency: 50/77/83/200 kHz
  • Sonar: Dual-beam sonar, CHIRP
  • GPS: Yes
  • GPS Memory: Internal
  • Transducer: Included
  • Depth: 1600 ft fresh, 750 ft saltwater
  • CHIRP: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Charts: No

Pros

  • Light, durable, portable, and easy to use
  • Accurate readings to 1600 ft
  • Comes with DualBeam and CHIRP Sonar
  • Comes with a flasher for vertical jigging
  • Easy to read display with split-screen
  • Includes a GPS and it self-maps fishing areas
  • Simple and intuitive to use
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • You can not add charts

The Garmin Striker 4 Plus is one of our most recommended portable fish finders for kayak fishing thanks to its range of excellent features that all come in a very portable, affordable package.

With these fish finders, you get GPS, Quickdraw contours mapping software, DualBeam, and CHIRP sonar – pretty much everything you need to find fish successfully while out on your Wilderness systems kayaks or another kayak brand.

The DualBeam and CHIRP auto-tuning sonar will show you images of exactly what’s beneath you up to a water depth of 1600 ft, making it ideal for deep water. You’ll be able to see detailed images of depth changes, find underwater structure, and fish arches will show areas that are worth sending your fishing line down to.

You can also use a classic flasher format on this fish finder which is ideal for close-quarters fishing vertically with jigs and bottom fishing with bait. Plus it’s ideal for ice fishing too. Whatever your fishing style is, this fish finder has got you covered.

This unit also comes with some awesome fish finder technology in the form of GPS and self-mapping software. You can use the GPS to navigate and mark fishing spots while the depth finder creates personalized fishing maps of anywhere you fish.

Being made by one of the best fish finder manufacturers, Garmin, this unit is simple to use for beginner anglers and is easy to install. You can mount the multiple / dual-frequency transducer through the scupper holes of your kayak and suction mount the display by your seat.

Deeper Smart Sonar Pro+

deeper pro plus

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Specs

  • Display Size: Smartphone
  • Display: Smartphone
  • Waterproofing: Yes
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Power: N/A
  • Frequency: 90/290 kHz
  • Sonar: DualBeam
  • GPS: Yes
  • GPS Memory: Smartphone
  • Depth: 260 ft
  • CHIRP: No
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Charts: Selp Mapping

Pros

  • Connects to your phone/iPad from up to 330 ft
  • Very portable and super simple to install
  • Creates detailed sonar images up to 260 ft
  • Self-mapping software creates charts for you
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Solid 6 hours of fishing time with the rechargeable battery
  • No battery source required on the kayak
  • Includes a GPS

Cons

  • Limited time fishing due to battery life
  • Quite heavy
  • Not great for deeper water
  • Not as accurate as other fish finders

The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ is a little different from most fish finders as it’s a castable fish finder, but what does this mean?

With the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+, you get a transducer in the form of a ball that connects to your smartphone or tablet over its own hotspot. It has a connection range of 330 feet and you can then cast the transducer out into the water and slowly reel it in or you can tow it behind your kayak while trolling and searching for good fishing spots.

This makes it one of the most portable fish finders around as you can carry the fish finder in your pocket along with your phone/tablet.

This deeper portable sonar fish finder comes with DualBeam sonar which will show you accurate images of what’s beneath you down to 260 ft, making it ideal for fishing in shallow to mid-deep water. The images will be displayed on your phone/tablet in the App.

It’s a very simple and easy fish finder to use and it also comes with some extras such as GPS and self-mapping. You can split the screen to show you your maps and GPS on one side and sonar on the other, plus you can mark waypoints and use it for navigation too.

While I love the design of this portable fish finder, it does have some limitations – mainly the water depth it can read to and battery life. The transducer has a battery life of 6 hours but your phone/tablet also has to stay charged too, and this will limit your fishing time a lot.

Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 PT

Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 PT

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Specs

  • Display Size: 4.3 inch
  • Display: Color
  • Waterproofing: IPX7
  • Power: 300 W
  • Frequency: 200/455kHz
  • Sonar: Dual-beam sonar
  • GPS: No
  • GPS Memory: NA
  • Depth: 600 feet in freshwater & saltwater
  • CHIRP: No
  • WiFi: No
  • Charts: No

Pros

  • Provides accurate images down to 600 ft
  • Dual-beam allows for narrow or wider sonar coverage
  • Easy to install and remove from your kayak
  • Comes with a portable kit for instant installation
  • Helpful sonar settings – Fish ID+, fish alarms, depth alarms, and zoom
  • Super affordable

Cons

  • Basic sonar features
  • GPS is not included

The Humminbird PIRANHAMAX 4 PT portable fish finder is quite a basic depth finder but it’s extremely easy to use and a very convenient fish finder for kayak fishing.

The reason it’s so handy is that it comes with everything you need in a portable kit to take it out on your kayak. The portable kit includes a mount for display, carrying case, transducer with a portable mounting kit, 7 Amp Hour battery, and wall charger, and all the cabling.

When this fish finder arrives, all you need to do is charge the battery, connect all the cables, and put it on your kayak, then you’ll be ready to fish.

Once this kayak fish finder is operating it’ll use its DualBeam sonar to show accurate images of what’s under your kayak up to 600 ft. You’ll be able to find structure, depth changes, and fish with ease. You can also use the Fish ID+, fish alarms, depth alarms, and zoom features to really hone in and catch more fish than ever.

Another great thing about this fish finder is how affordable it is and it’s certainly one of the best fish finders for kayak fishing if you’re shopping on a budget.

The fish finder doesn’t come with GPS or Charts though, so it’s more suited to kayak fishing in smaller bodies of water such as shallow streams or smaller lakes and rivers. It would also suit an angler who knows their fishing grounds very well and just wants a fish finder to show them what’s happening under the surface.

Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv

Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv

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Specs

  • Size Display: 7 inch
  • Display: Color
  • Touch Screen: No
  • Waterproofing: IPX 7
  • Power: 500 W (RMS)
  • Frequency: 50/77/200 kHz, CHIRP (mid and high), ClearVü 260/455/800 kHz
  • Sonar: Chirp, Traditional sonar, ClearVü
  • GPS: Yes
  • GPS Memory: NA
  • Transducer: Included
  • Depth: 2300 ft fresh, 1100 ft saltwater
  • CHIRP: Yes, and ClearVü
  • Water Temp: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Water temperature: Yes
  • Charts: Self Mapping

Pros

  • Large display unit with split-screen
  • Easy to read in all light conditions
  • Super accurate CHIRP and Down Imaging
  • Provides picture-like images of fish and structure
  • Simple and easy to use the features
  • Comes with GPS and Quickdraw self-mapping software
  • Connects to your smartphone for notifications
  • Works with the Active Captain App
  • The transducer can mount to a trolling motor

Cons

  • You can not add charts to the unit

The Garmin Striker Plus 7Cv fish finder comes with everything most anglers need to go kayak fishing successfully and it goes deeper than any others in the article, making it perfect for fishing in deeper waters.

The display on this fish finder for kayak fishing is huge for a kayak at 7 inches. This means it’ll be much easier to see the details in the sonar images, especially when using split-screen. You can also split the screen into 3 views so you can see down imaging, CHIRP, and your GPS all at once.

The sonar features on this fish finder are excellent. You get traditional DualBeam, CHIRP, and ClearVu which is Garmin’s super down imaging. You can use CHIRP and DualBeam when searching for fish and then switch to ClearVu to see amazing detail in photo-like quality.

Once you can use the accurate GPS to mark fishing spots and navigate around the water safely and Quick Draw software will create 1ft contour maps of the areas your fish in.

You can also use the WiFi connectivity on this fish finder to see smartphone notifications on your screen and connect to the Active Captain app where all QuickDraw data is shared to help you build charts faster.

To top it all off, this fish finder is incredibly easy and simple to use plus mounting it to a kayak is a piece of cake. Here are some of the kayaks under 1000 you can look at to mount this Garmin Striker.

Lowrance Elite 7 Ti

Lowrance Elite 7 Ti

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Specs

  • Size Display: 5 inch
  • Display: Color
  • Touch Display: Yes
  • Waterproofing: IPX7
  • Power: 500 W
  • Frequency: 83/200, 455/800kHz
  • Sonar: CHIRP, Down scan, Side-scan
  • GPS: Yes
  • GPS Memory: SD
  • Transducer: Included
  • Depth: 1000 ft
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Water Temperature: Yes
  • Charts: Yes

Pros

  • Large easy to read display
  • Touchscreen for ease of use
  • Excellent sonar features with CHIRP, side, and down scan
  • Broadband sounder provides amazing target separation
  • Records sonar history so you can review it
  • Built-in GPS and charts
  • Includes Insight USA Worldwide Basemap for free
  • Works with other charts like Navionics
  • Control Motorguide Xi5 Trolling Motor and Power-Pole shallow anchors via Bluetooth

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Can be glitchy

The Lowrance Elite 7 Ti is the most sophisticated of all the fish finders featured in the article as it comes with all the bells and whistles but it’s also the most expensive. This is also a value choice if you want to opt to a cheaper fish finder than the Lowrance Elite 9 Ti.

The reason this fish finder is so costly is that it comes with a touch screen, which adds a lot of costs but also makes using it out on the water a lot quicker and easier. The display is also a generous size of 7 inches which makes seeing the sonar, chart, and GPS data, especially when using a split-screen a lot easier.

From a sonar perspective, this fish finder for kayak angling has it all including CHIRP, Down Imaging, and Side Imaging. This literally leaves no place for fish to hide as you can scan everywhere and the broadband sounder provides incredibly detailed images with a lot of target separation.

The fish finder also comes with GPS and charts making finding fish and navigating about as easy as possible. It comes with Insight charts preloaded for free and you can also add other brands like Navionics via the SD card slot.

On top of all this, its wireless networking capabilities are fantastic. Using Bluetooth you can wirelessly control a Motorguide Xi5 Trolling Motor and Power-Pole shallow anchor, meaning you have full control over your kayak from the display.

If you’re a serious kayak fisherman with a big budget for a fish finder, this is one that will make your life about as easy as it gets and you’ll find a ton of fish with it too. Pairing it with a sit on top fishing kayak would be absolutely awesome!

Things To Consider When Buying a Kayak Fish Finder

Things To Consider When Buying a Kayak Fish Finder

Portability & Screen Size

When shopping for a fish finder for a kayak you need to balance screen size and portability. Putting a fish finder on a kayak isn’t the same as putting it on a boat as chances are you’ll want to take the unit home every day.

Make sure you get a fish finder that has a screen that is large enough for you to see but is also small enough for you to be able to mount and dismount before and after every fishing trip. The same goes with the transducer and its mounting too.

How are the fish finders powered?

Generally speaking, fish finders need to be connected to a marine battery in order to be powered. Now, this is easy on a boat but on a kayak, it’s a little harder. Marine batteries are heavy and paddling one around is hard work but chances are you’ll need one if you want a large hi-tech fish finder on your boat.

You do also have the option to choose from a range of fish finders that use light rechargeable batteries, making paddling and portability a lot easier.

What features do I need?

When I say features I mean sonar, GPS, and charts.

Now, every fish finder featured has sonar but some units have it all – CHRIP, down imaging, and side imaging, while others just have dualbeam. The more sonar features the better in my eyes but it depends on where you’re fishing, how you fish, and your budget. If you can afford it, get a unit with all the sonar features available.

I’d also get a unit with GPS, and if your budget can manage it, charts too. It’ll make life a lot easier in terms of navigation and finding fishy areas.

FAQs

Is a fish finder worth it on a kayak?

Yes, in my eyes a fish finder is always worth it as you go from fishing blind to being able to focus your fishing time on places you know there are fish.

Is side imaging worth it on a kayak?

A fish finder with side imaging is worth it on a kayak if you can maintain a straight course as it relies on this to provide undistorted images. Keeping a straight course on a kayak is easy if you have a trolling motor but a little more tricky if you’re paddling.

How do you power a fish finder on a kayak?

You will need some kind of battery to power a fish finder on a kayak and what kind depends on the unit. You can place a large marine battery in the back well, which you’ll also need if you have a trolling motor. Or some units come with a small rechargeable battery that you can keep next to the display.

Which is the best fish finder?Which is the best fish finder?

If you’re on a budget I’d highly recommend the Garmin Striker 4 Plus as it’s portable, has good sonar, GPS, it self-maps, and it’s super affordable. You can’t go wrong with this one!

If you’re looking for a more sophisticated fish finder then the Humminbird Helix 5 SI is the one for you. It has it all from GPS to charts and side imaging while still being quite affordable and portable.

Thanks for reading my article, I hope you found it useful and the world of kayak fish finders is a little more clear for you. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with the two units I have recommended above and once they’re installed, your catch rates will go through the roof.

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