Fishing and kayaking are two of the most enjoyable outdoor activities you can engage in to break the monotony of your daily life. You can combine both activities naturally because both activities are outdoor water activities. Besides, catching fish while kayaking is as easy as boating while fishing. Yet, if you want to increase the odds of catching more fish while kayaking, it will be best to use a portable fish finder. With a reliable fish finder, you remove the guessing-game aspect in fishing while performing precision fishing while kayaking.
Kayaks are usually cramped, so it will help to pick only the essential equipment to bring. Of course, you must learn how to maneuver your kayak to get to the locations of your target fish. Besides, it will help if you learn to control your kayak while fishing, allowing you to sweep the fish up in your net while balancing the kayak.
The Best Fish Finders for Kayak
The portable fish finder will help you engage in mapping and down imaging of the water surface. With such a tool, you’re almost omniscient in finding the school of fish you would like to target. Although using a fish finder for some anglers is tantamount to cheating, it will still be best to maximize the use of this technology if you’re a beginner. Below are the best fish finders you can use in your kayak:
One of your best fish finder options is the Garmin ECHOMAP. It features a 9″ touchscreen equipped with an excellent feature (keyed-assist). It offers excellent readability and gets sufficiently bright to allow you to read data under direct sunlight. Such readability is crucial, especially when you’re fishing at midday.
The Garmin ECHOMAP has a GT54 transducer for more precise images of the waters. With its keyed-assist screen, you can navigate using keys if you don’t want to use the touchscreen.
It also comes preloaded with (LakeVü GS) inland map software equipped with Navionics data. Besides, it features SideVü Scanning Sonars, allowing you to view the water depth better.
With such topographic lake depth images, you can deliberately move toward the area where fish usually congregate. You can also personalize your fishing maps using this fish finder apparatus.
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4
Another excellent fish finder from Garmin is the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4. However, this one is designed for vertical ice fishing or jigging. This fish finder comes with a flasher that enables you to see all your sonar data in the typical flasher format.
The Garmin 010-01550-00 features a 3.5″ screen and has the CHIRP transducer. With such a transducer, it can display images of fish up to 1,600-foot deep in freshwater lakes and bodies of water and 750-foot deep in saltwater.
It also features a waypoint map that lets you mark, view, and navigate through an array of shoreline and water locations.
The Striker 4 is waterproof, with IPX& waterproof rating. It is equipped with high-frequency sonar that offers almost photographic images of the underwater. With such a fish finder, you can make quick work of your fishing activities because you have access to detailed views of fish and other underwater structures.
Another popular fish finder among anglers is the HawkEye Fishtrax. Its sonar beam angle is 25 degrees, offering accurate fish, bottom structure, and depth readings up to 99.9 feet. It can also work up to 0-degree Fahrenheit, allowing you to use this tool year-round.
The HawkEye Fishtrax features an intelligent sonar sensor that you can mount or float. This sonar sensor is equipped with a 35-foot-long cable with a cable tie-strap, allowing you to mount it with ease on your kayak even in extreme weather or environment.
This fish finder offers straightforward usability. You only need to turn it on and flip the sonar sensor from where you are located. It is also portable enough, fitting well onto your palm.
The HawkEye Fishtrax offers the best and latest in fishing finder technology. It is also very lightweight at 1.5 lbs., making it convenient to carry around. It also has a Side Scan Adapter for easy attachment to a broomstick for scanning under docks, ice, weeds, and other vegetation.
Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder
You can check out the Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder if you want a compact fish finder. This fish finder has a 4″ display screen with a menu similar to those of the phone. Thus, it is easy to operate and function. It is easy to adjust, allowing you to focus more on your fishing.
The Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder comes with a bullet skimmer transducer. This transducer displays two-dimensional traditional sonar views, also referred to sometimes as fish arches. You need to learn how to comfortably decipher its sonar data if you want to maximize its use. It also features a built-in mapping system for easy navigation and imaging of various lakes.
The Lowrance HOOK2 also comes with a broader coverage than other fish finder models. With its broader-angle sonar cone, it can double its coverage amount. Besides, you can mount its single transducer anywhere in your kayak. It is also easy to set up, making its convenient.
Lucky 1108-CT Fish Finder
Another great fish finder option is the Lucky 1108-CT Fish Finder. This one offers a small display screen measuring around 2.4.” If you’re kayaking or using a small boat, this fish finder size is perfect. It exhibits very cool sonar information, with various icons for fish, bottom structures, and vegetation. It also indicates the fish depth and the position of your boat.
The Lucky 1108-CT makes use of a single-frequency sonar at 200kHz. This sonar gives off a 45-degree beam angle as you immerse it in water, and this beam reaches down to a maximum of 328 feet. You will also find its transducer performing well even in shallow waters. Thus, you can get accurate readings in shallow waters of up to 3 feet in depth.
The Lucky 1108-CT comes with 10 sensitivity settings. You can adjust its settings and set it to get the most precise returns based on the prevailing fishing environment. This fish finder is easy to use, lightweight, and affordable.
Factors You Should Consider When Selecting a Fish Finder
Knowing the most recommended fish finders by the experts allows you to narrow down your choices to the best options. Yet, if you really want to get your selection right the first time, it will help if you are cognizant of the following essential factors to consider when selecting a fish finder:
Display Screen Size
The screen display size is crucial in choosing a fish finder, and if you want to select right the first time, it will be best to consider this factor. With a larger display screen, you can view the images better without hurting your eyesight. Besides, it should also have an adjustable backlight to let you adjust the display’s brightness based on the prevailing conditions and the sun’s angle. Thus, if you would fish during dawn or dusk, you can quickly conveniently set up the display’s brightness.
On the other hand, if you fish during the daytime, you will need something brighter. So, you will need a backlit screen that enables you to see the screen data even if the sun is directly shining on your fish finder display.
One downside of having a fish finder with a larger screen is that if you got cramped space in your kayak, your fish finder might take enough space in your kayak. A fish finder with a smaller screen would be more suited for your use in such a case.
Another essential factor to consider is the screen navigation provided by a fish finder. Most screen navigations nowadays come with a touchscreen feature. And you might prefer a fish finder that offers a touchscreen feature. Yet not all kayakers would like to use touchscreen navigation.
One alternative to touchscreen navigation is push-button navigation, which is more commonly used in GPS and cell phones. A few kayakers love this navigation method, allowing them to navigate while their fingers are wet.
If your fingers are slimy and dirty, you would surely not want to do touchscreen navigation because you might dirty the screen. It will be a hassle if the screen you use to find fish gets defiled by your fingers. So, if you think the touchscreen navigation system isn’t best for you, it will be best to go for the alternative push-button navigation system.
Another salient factor to consider is the range of frequencies of your fish finder. Any fish finder will use a specific frequency range to find fish and map the water floors. So, it is crucial to determine beforehand the frequencies utilized by a fish finder before shelling out your hard-earned money for one.
Most fish finders use ultrasound frequencies ranging from 15 kHz to 200 kHz, though most recreational fish finders carry a frequency range from 50 to 200 kHz. However, fish finders designed for professional or commercial usage may use frequencies like 15, 22, 28, 38, etc. Besides, you will find special fish finders that use 400 kHz, though such fish finder is very rare.
It will be good to note that the searchable range and depth usually depend on the fish finder’s frequency. If you want a detailed search, you should go for a fish finder that has a high frequency. Yet, such a frequency is not usable for deep water search. Low-frequency ultrasound, however, is best for general searches on a broader area.
When kayaking, you will need to mount the fish finder anywhere in your kayak to let you focus on balancing and navigating the waters. So, when selecting a fish finder, it will be best to choose something easily mountable to your kayak. It should also have that mounting compatibility with your kayak to allow you to use it while kayaking freely.
Some fish finders come with a design that lets you mount them permanently onto your kayak’s bow, stern, or gunwales. Other fish finders feature a design that allows you to troll them behind or float them near your kayak. You can also find handheld units that you can mount in the cockpit or hang around the neck when not monitoring or mapping.
The thing is, when choosing a fish finder, it will be best to select something that offers various options for trolling, mounting, or floating it. You can determine the suitable one for your use if you are regularly fishing. Besides, the different mounting ways would come with their pros and cons.
Another critical factor to consider is the fish finder’s power output. Fish finder power gets usually measured in watts. So, the readings get quickly displayed when using a fish finder with higher wattage. On the other hand, if you got a fish finder with less wattage, you could expect a slower in the transmission of data and sonar waves. With less overall power, your fish finder will get weaker sonar waves and provide less precise readings.
Remember that you can gain clearer and more detailed readings with higher wattage. You can use a less powerful fish finder when navigating shallower waters. But once you go into the deep, it will be best to use a more powerful fish finder.
For every 100 watts, at 200 kHz, your fish finder can provide readings up to 400-foot deep. Most mid-range fish finders offer dual frequencies. With this fish finder, you can view, on a split-screen, the readings of both frequencies.
Another crucial factor to consider is the power source of your fish finder. The obvious thing is that you will not have access to a power outlet when kayaking. So, you need to get your fish finder’s power from other sources.
Most fish finders are battery-powered. These batteries are standard marine batteries, but you need to ensure that the battery you will use comes with a cover or waterproof box.
You can also buy a fish finder with built-in waterproof battery packs. Always remember that the batteries should be long-lasting to enable you to use your fish finder for a more extended period.
Many beginners in fishing learn fishing while kayaking by trial and error. This is pretty understandable because you need to learn two skills if you want to fish while kayaking. Besides, many fishers and anglers still rely on their intuition when locating their target fish. But if you want to do it right the first time, it will be best to utilize innovative technologies like the fish finder.
If you’re a beginner in fishing, you don’t need to learn fishing the hard way. You can always maximize modern technology and employ hi-tech fish finders while fishing. In this way, you will no longer rely on guesswork or hunchs in finding your target fish.