Let’s get one thing out of the way: kayak fishing is booming, and it’s not showing a tendency to slow down any time soon. Fishing from the comfort of a yak is not only more affordable than fishing from a standard boat, but it’s also a great way to get a little active in an adventure packed environment
|FishHunter Military Grade Portable Fish Finder||100 ft||$$|
|NorCross HawkEye F33P Fish Finder||99.9 ft||$|
|Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder||240 ft||$$|
|Garmin Echo 300c Dual-Beam Fish Finder||1500 ft||$$$|
|Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder||130 ft||$$$|
|Lowrance Elite-5 HDI Combo||2500 ft||$$$$|
Why Do I Need A Kayak Depth Finder?
For the sake of not confusing anyone here, we’re going to stick to the term ‘Fish Finder’. Fish finders have a lot of great uses and they’re versatile, here’s why you want one:
- You’ll have info on the depth and structures of the bottom = no more guess work.
- Flat areas and structures become effortless to spot
- You’ll know the water depths and also be able to spot dish and bait nearby
What You Want To Remember
There are a couple of things you want to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a fish finder, things like:
- Power – essentially you need max wattage for max reading displays
- Screen Resolution – the more pixels your screen has the more detail you’ll be able to see. Opt for no less than 240(v) x 160(h) pixels.
- Transducers – this is what sends and receives sonar waves and signals into the water. In-hull or thru-hull transducer users: you’ll want to opt for plastic housing for metal hulls and fiberglass. Aluminum and steel hulls should ideally have stainless steel housings while bronze housing is best for fiberglass hulls.
- Frequency – here you’ll be able to pick between dual, single and multiple frequencies.
- Mounting space – this is kind of a deal breaker. Your kayak needs to have enough space to accommodate a 12V battery, cables rods and a screen to display the details on. Smaller kayaks are limited to 3.5 to 4 inch screens while the bigger kayaks can accommodate screens of up to 5 inches.
Great, we’ve covered the basics. Now it’s time to get to the real reason why you’re still reading.
Top Kayak Depth Finder Reviews
There are A LOT of fish finders out there, and the choice can seem a little daunting, which is why I’ve made things simple for you. I tried out 6 of the top kayak fish finders out there so that you can see what delivers and what disappoints.
The 6 Best Kayak Fish Finders On The Market
This portable unit is beyond awesome. Compatible with Android and iOS smart devices, the Fish Hunter makes tracking and keeping tabs of fish and water conditions effortless. It also happens to be a Bluetooth enabled device that’s made with sonar transducer technology at military-grade quality. Accuracy and reliable is the Fish Hunter’s middle name. The fact that this bad boy required no installation means its super portable. You can’t go wrong with the Fish Hunter.
- Comes with 3 separate depth settings
- It’s compact, shock resistant and waterproof
- It comes with a log-book, GPS fishing spot mapping and tracking, planning tools, social sharing and a fish database
- Getting the device connected to your smart device is somewhat of a learning curve
This small marine tool might be compact, but don’t let the size trick you into thinking it’s capable of just small things. It has loads of exclusive simple to use operate features that just makes life out on the water that much more comfortable. The HawkEye comes with a wide 25 degree beam angle sonar sensor for precise depth readings, fish readings and bottom structure readings up to 99.9 feet! It’ll do the job in extreme weather conditions and its reliable features and easy to use functions seal the deal to make it one of the best fish finders out there.
- User friendly
- Is mountable, trollable, floatable, portable and compact
- Comes with a WeedID, depth scale, integrated fish identifier, 4 sensitivity settings, a 2-stage audible fish alarm and 35 feet of cable
- The long cord is very annoying to deal with
- As far as durability goes, this fish finder doesn’t come in at the top ranks
Coming in as a marvel in the kayak fishing word, the Signstek FF-003 has one of the best fish-and-depth locators displayed on a clear LCD screen out there. I appreciated the fact that it was virtually fool-proof with its effortless operating system. It has 100-level sensitivity settings and various depth range settings to bring you the most accurate reading. Accurate within 1/10th of a foot, the 2 to 240 feet depth range is more than impressive.
- Can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 degrees to 70 degrees
- It has a 2.8 inch TFT LCD screen with 512 colors and a LED front light
- Has a bottom contour and temperature indicator
- This is not a mountable device
- The transducer hangs at an angle
While it seemed like the Signstek was the real deal, Garmin takes things up a notch. Boasting a 3.5 inch color display screen with dual-beam capabilities, I almost couldn’t believe it was still very affordable. What’s also great is the fact that it can be installed even by novices thanks to the tilt and swivel mount and the transom mount transducer. As far as depth performance goes, the Garmin Echo 300c steals the show with a max depth range of 1500 feet.
- Smooth Scaling technology enables you to navigate sonar history even with changing depth ranges
- Comes with a 3.5 inch 256 color display with Garmin HD-ID target tracking technology
- It has a 120 degree viewing angle
- The screen is almost impossible to read on sunny days
- The durability could have definitely been improved a bit
Deeper Smart is another Android and iOS compatible fish finder that connects to your device via Bluetooth. I liked that it’s a smart little portable gadget that navigates using a dual beam at a depth range of up to 130 feet. The Deeper Smart automatically relays info like water temperature, pond bed and underwater obstacles to your smart device. Providing accurate and wide coverage, this versatile and lightweight fish finder is crammed full of features like fish activity, calendar, maps, the weather, integrated camera functions and sound alarm to name but a few.
- It has a battery life of up to 4 hours and can scan depths up to 130 feet
- It works effortlessly with your smart device
- It works wirelessly via Bluetooth connection
- I wish the battery was a little more durable
- You’ll need to be tech savvy and have experience with these kinds of devices to get it up and running
This chart plotter with base-map relies on Navionics Gold Cartography to bring you accurate readings. For precise bottom structure details, it comes with Down Scan imaging in a high resolution cross dual imaging broadband sounder. Brilliant display (480 x 480 pixels) gets displayed in a clear 5 inch color TFT LCD screen, and the view is also adjustable in contrast, brightness and resolution.
- Comes with side-by-side and over-laid viewing options
- For lowlight conditions, the keypad on the device has a backlight
- Comes with a 16 channel GPS antenna, waterproof micro SD memory card slot and easy to use menus
- The extensive array of features is a little too much for me and takes a lot of getting used to
And that’s it guys. I really hope that you’re now armed with the knowledge you need to make the right choice and invest in the best depth finders for kayaking.
Make sure to check back in with me again soon when I’ll be doing a nice little roundup of kayak rod holder reviews.