It can be really frustrating to cast our most enticing baits, wait for that big fish to take a bit and get hooked, and for hours we’re still waiting. We go to other parts of the water and do the same bait casting process all over again, and still we have nothing. Eventually, we run out of all the enthusiasm that we started out with.
For a long-time professional anglers depended on luck and experience, among many things, for consistently making catches. But this puts beginner anglers at a disadvantage since they have no experience and are left with nothing but luck. This oftentimes serves as a motivation drain for many beginner anglers.
However, the modern use of fish finders has made the whole process of angling as easy as anything else. Fish finders can tell where the fish are around you so that you can cast your bait at the right moment and always reel in your line with a fish hooked at the end of it. With fish finders, luck is taken off of the table and is replaced with assuredness.
Today, you would find a lot of fish finder brands on the market. And as it is with a commodity that has a lot of brand options, there are always those that are better than others. This article is dedicated to the best fish finders for kayaks; the fish finders that are better than others.
What To Consider When Buying A Fish Finder
Of the many things that you ought to consider when buying a fish finder, the most important ones are the following.
Fish finders come in different sizes and shapes. For large watercraft, they are often big. But for a kayak, there are many portable ones that would fit conveniently on your kayak.
Most kayak fish finders are mounted on your kayak. If you are going to get a fish finder that is mountable, you have to consider where you would want to mount it on your kayak to cause as little disruption to other activities as possible.
You could even first take your kayak out on the sea and try different paddling techniques and do other normal things that you would do. This way, you can easily find out just where to mount your fish finder so that it doesn’t come in your way of other activities.
There are also some fish finders that don’t need to be mounted. You can just hold them in your hands and you would be good to go. Also, there are those that you could connect with your phone through Bluetooth to have images displayed on your phone.
The depth to which fish finders can sense fish and other underwater obstructions vary. Some just have a sensing depth of about 40 feet while others have more than 200 feet.
When talking about depth, it brings to light the question of where you want to do most of your fishing. If you would be fishing in shallow rivers or lakes then you really don’t need a fish finder that has a sensing depth that is way more than the depth of where you’re fishing. And conversely, fish finders that don’t have much sensing depth aren’t as useful as those that have higher sensing depth in deeper water bodies.
It’s all about getting the right fish finder for the right water depth.
The fish finder uses sonar technology to detect what is underwater. The frequency of the fish finder determines how deep under the water your fish finder can sense and how much detail it gives. Typically, there are three main frequency categories for fish finder sonars.
Low-frequency sonars would help you sense the fishes in the water just as well as a high-frequency sonar would if you are in shallow waters. But the deeper the water, the better the high-frequency sonars are since they would offer you more and better details than low frequency do. The third category of sonar frequency, dual-frequency, is just a combination of the other two frequencies.
- Transducer Mount
The transducer is the heart of your fish finder. It is through the transducer that signals are sent and received underwater. After the transducer receives the signals, it sends it to your screen where you can then be able to see what is underwater.
The transducer is always mounted in three main ways. Transom mounting allows you to attach an arm between your transducer and your kayak before the transducer goes underneath the water. However, you risk damaging this transducer if it runs into an obstacle underwater.
Hull mounting allows you to mount your transducer inside the hull of your kayak without losing much signal. Although, a transom-mounted transducer gives you slightly better details than the hull-mounted transducer but the transducer is safer in your hull than when it is underwater.
The third way of mounting your transducer is scupper mounting. Some kayaks come fitted with these while some others don’t. You would need to buy and fix it on your kayak if it doesn’t have any. This is like a holder for your transducer.
Some fish finders are better suited to freshwater than saltwater while it is the other way around for other transducers. Always get one that is best suited for your preferred waterbody.
However, there are some other fish finders that perform really well in both saltwater and freshwater. With them, you are free to enjoy the best of both freshwater and saltwater without having to choose between them.
- Additional Features
Fish finders still have many other features that help to make your fishing experience more productive. Some fish finders can tell you the temperature of the water you are fishing in. With this alone, you know where you are likely to find more fish.
Some fish finders are so powerful that they can show you everything that goes on underwater in the finest details. You would be able to see water plants and all other details.
Also, some fish finders double as GPS. This way, you don’t only know where the fish underwater, you also get to know where you are above water.
Best Fish Finders For Kayaks
The Garmin Striker 4 is a really reliable fish finder that features a CHIRP sonar, one of the best sonar technology today. It has a well-balanced combination of portability and effectiveness, making it a favorite among a lot of people.
This fish finder has a screen size of 3.5inches and offers a sharp and detailed display with its 480 by 320 screen resolution. A bright display that can’t be stopped by bright sunlight.
The transducer of this fish finder is transom-mounted and a 12V rechargeable battery comes with it.
- Impressive screen resolution
- Has GPS
- Features CHIRP sonar technology
- GPS controls could be better
- Not really accurate in shallow water
This fish finder is endowed with a lot of great features that would make one quickly pick it as a favorite.
The CHIRP sonar technology that is installed on this system would allow you to detect anything underwater up to a depth of 1,500 feet. A 5 inches display screen gives you a really clear and well-detailed resolution of 800 by 480, a feature that not many fish finders can boast of.
The transducer of the Humminbird HELIXa 5 is transom-mounted and has a rechargeable 10-20VDC battery. This is sure to last you for up to 16 hours of continuous usage.
- CHIRP sonar technology
- Impressive display resolution
- Users complained that the menu isn’t easy to understand
The unique design of this fish finder makes it stand apart from many other fish finders on the market. The transducer of this fish finder can be attached to your line so that you can cast it along with your line. Although you can also attach it to a line underneath your kayak if you want.
Furthermore, it can be synced with your Android and iOS phones so that it can use the massive screen resolution of your smartphone as leverage to give you a sharp, distinct and clear image. However, the weight of the fish finder makes it such that you would need a stronger rod to cast it.
- Makes use of smartphone screen to give you excellent details
- Internal battery can last for about 5 hours of continuous use
- Not great for deep waters
- Strong rods are needed to cast it.
Of course, any fish finder that made it into this list is already among the best fish finders you would find on the market. I can guarantee you that. However, Humminbird HELIXa 5 is my pick, and for the right reasons.
This fish finder has a lot of things going for it. It has a rechargeable battery that can last for 16 hours. That alone is enough for me to fall in love with it. It also makes use of its CHIRP sonar technology to see as far as 1500 feet while transmitting whatever it sees to an equally impressive screen with a really high resolution.
This fish finder is the one to beat. It is a versatile one that works well in different conditions.