We tested 5 products and found Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 to be the best Fish Finder For Kayak.
Being avid anglers ourselves; we know the frustration you can face paddling out on the water, only to now get the bites you expect.
We pitched the best fish finders against each other and saw which one offered the best fishing experience.
There are many fish finders on the market, and you need to make sure you pick the right one. There is a difference in performance, and we found them when compiling our reviews to find the best kayak fish finder for the general angling population.
The Garmin Striker 4 was a joy to use with large buttons and its clear display. There was more than enough information on-screen, and that was before you got to see where the fish are. Water depth and water temperature make setting your line much easier when you know where the bottom of the lake is. (Learn How Many Calories Burned Kayaking)
The Striker 4 means you no longer need to guess or go through trial and error. Thanks to this little quality fish finder, you can spend longer fishing and getting bites.
If you want to know what led us to this choice, this fish finder is best for the budget-conscious. Meanwhile, while highly affordable, it is best to store waypoints, best for accuracy, and best for durability.
You will also find the Garmin is the best fish finder for your kayak, thanks to its portability and lightness of weight.
- Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 – The Garmin Striker 4 is small, powerful, packed with features, and easy to carry and mount to your kayak
- ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder – You will find the ReelSonar a cheap option for anyone trying to decide if fish finders are something they wish to add to their fishing kayaks.
- LUCKY Portable Fish Finder Handheld – The Lucky Portable fish finder lets you use the device in several ways and remains one of the most affordable fish finders.
- Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder – The Hook 2 offers lots of variations, yet the cost is aimed squarely at the keen angler who may fish around the year.
- Garmin Striker 4cv with Transducer – The Garmin 4CV builds on the back of the Striker 4. Same outstanding features yet with many more added.
5 Best Fish Finders For Kayaks
1. Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 – Best Overall
Garmin is a significant name for GPS systems, and it’s not surprising they ventured into building a fish finder for kayaks. You get the same built-in GPS, and you can use this to check your speed and locate places you have been.
The Garmin Striker 4 offers lots of scanning technology to determine what’s under the water and what fishing conditions are like.
Build quality is excellent, and the device is highly durable, thanks to its rugged design. The keypad is easy to use and can be done so with or without gloves. You will find the Garmin 4 suitable for regular fishing or even ice fishing, so long as you protect your battery from the cold.
With a guide price of just over $100, you get one of the best fish finders for kayaks. It delivers more than enough features and fish reading capability. It easily beats many fish finders costing a lot more. (Read our Kayak Fishing Tips)
- The device uses scanning Sonar to show what is around your boat. The high-frequency sonar offers near-photographic images of objects, structures, and fish.
- You have dedicated buttons to control and navigate around the 1.9 x 2.9 inches x 3.5 inches diagonal display. You can have it in a split-screen vertical or horizontal.
- If you drop your fish-finder, all is not lost as it comes with an IPX7 water-resistant rating.
- Using the GPS and waypoint map, you can view, mark, and navigate locations like docks, stumps, or brush piles. The device also offers a maximum depth reading of 1,600 feet for freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater.
- The draw on your battery at 12 volts is 0.23 Ampere. You can safely fish all day without the device dying on you.
- The Garmin Chirp Sonar sends sweeps of frequencies to deliver as much detailed information as possible.
The Garmin Striker 4 is for any angler who wants the best chance of locating fish in new areas or to mark the best places to fish in regular waters.
It offers many features and covers all the requirements of nearly any angler. If you need help to navigate while finding the best places to fish, the Striker will enhance your kayak fishing experience.
2. ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder – Best Portable for Kayak
The ReelSonar Smart Fish Finder isn’t like other fish finders in our reviews. It is a small device you drop in the water and connect to your phone for the display. It is castable and made from high-density plastic.
The battery is rechargeable, and if your battery dies, there’s no chance to change, and the device will need recharging. Because it runs on Bluetooth Smart Synch, you can use it up to a distance of 100 feet from your kayak.
It is portable and requires no fixing to your kayak. Since you can use it as a bobber, there is a built-in LED and strike alarm.
- The iBobber offers a 10-hour battery life, though it could shorten in cold weather.
- You can cast up to around 100-feet and connect to the device using Android and iOS phones.
- It offers raw sonar or fish tagging views along with waterbed and structure contour mapping. Accurate sonar readings can be made to 135 feet.
- The bobber offers GPS spot tagging along with an interactive map that can include the date, time, location, water temp, and lots more.
- Weather recording such as temp, rain, wind, and a barometer.
- Fully portable and can be stored in a tackle box.
With a guide price of just under $80, the device is suitable for casual anglers who may use social media sharing features.
It is a portable device, so if you hire a fishing kayak, you can still use fish finding. It does, however, need your smartphone to make sense of all the data it captures.
3. LUCKY Portable Fish Finder Handheld – Best Fish Finder Under $100
The Lucky portable fish finder is intended for handheld use, and as a result, it is well made with a few simple buttons for navigation.
The durability, operating temperature range, and portability make it suitable for many fishing scenarios such as night fishing. The screen is easy to read, yet there isn’t a split-screen mode.
With a rough guide price of just over $80. you get a capable device if you are after a limited feature set. It is purely meant as a depth finder for kayaks, as there is no waypoint device GPS capability.
- The portable fish finder comes with a 2.4inch TFT color LCD screen that displays underwater contour, water depth, water temperature, fish size, and fish depth.
- The device uses two modes which are transducer and simulation mode.
- The portable Lucky fish finder offers a 26-feet wired connection to your kayak and your handheld device.
- It has a 328-feet depth reading capacity and also a 45° beam angle at 200Khz for detection.
- The fish finder portable is rechargeable, and it offers around 5-hours of use from a full charge. You can change device brightness, which makes it suitable for night or bright sunlight.
The Lucky portable model is for anyone who wants a portable solution. It is affordable enough and can cater to many scenarios if you need something to spot fish with down imaging and have no GPS need.
4. Lowrance HOOK2 Fish Finder – Best Value for Money
The Lowrance Hook 2 is great value for money among the best kayak fish finders, yet you could lack if you don’t check the specs. The model here comes with a skimmer transducer, yet this only offers a single signal processing frequency.
Besides this, you don’t have any GPS, and it lacks the Micro SD slot larger models have. With a guide price of just under $100, you get a reliable and rugged device that is easy to use with one-key access.
- For ease of use, you have auto-tuning sonar, so you can fish rather than mess with settings.
- The device offers wide-angle sonar cones to offer double the coverage of conventional fish finders for kayaks.
- You can mount your transducer on the transom, in your hull, trolling motor, or inside scupper holes.
- The large 5-inch display offers lots of detail as soon as you hit the on button.
The Lowrance Hook2 is for any person who wants a no-mess fishing experience. You can jump in your kayak and hit the button and instantly see where fish are.
If you do not need added features such as GPS, a CHIRP transducer, Down Imaging, and Side Imaging, the Lowrance Hook 2 can be the best HD color display fish finder model for you.
5. Garmin Striker 4cv with Transducer – Best Fish Finder GPS Combo
The Garmin 4CV takes the best of the Garmin 4 and builds on this. You have the same simple controls, rugged durability, and waterproofing. The larger screen by a little make split-screen images clearer without the device growing in size.
It is inside, and with the transducer, there is a difference as with the guide price of just under $170 does.
- The device includes a transducer for Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar technology plus CHIRP ClearVü scanning sonar. You can see deeper and clearer.
- You can make full use of the included Garmin Quickdraw Contours mapping software, where you can create and store maps with 1’ contours covering 2 million acres.
- You’ll discover the renowned Garmin GPS to create waypoints, routes, and check your speed.
- The device still has the dedicated key control and display that can be read in any condition.
The Striker 4CV is a natural progression on the Striker 4. It is suitable for the same angler, yet more suited to anglers who often venture outside familiar waters.
Now, you can fish anywhere and make waypoints to find your way back to base in any part of the country.
Fish Finder For Kayak Buying guide
When you want a fish finder for kayak, there is more to it than if it offers imaging sonar or HD display.
Most fish finders are unfortunately designed for powerboats. Designs for specific use in a kayak are, unfortunately, rare. Because of this, the best systems for a yak are smaller, portable designs.
The vast majority demand 12V power sources, and you will need to think about where you can place them.
Does the Fish Finder Fit?
The first step when buying a fish finder is where to mount it. Take your yak out on the water and paddle. Check if the fish finder would get in the way. Try various strokes and also stop your kayak and place your paddle across the gunnels. Make sure you wouldn’t hit your mount.
Can You Cast?
Start fishing and pay attention to how you’d cast in all conditions. Open water could be clear, yet under low-hanging vegetation, and you could find your fish finder has to be mounted low. Center console fitting makes the most sense unless you can get a positional mounting arm.
Battery and Cables
Once you know where to fit your fishing kayak fish finder, know where to run cables for the battery and transducer. Keeping them dry and also any fitting plates needs consideration, as do securing cables in place.
It may be a choice here, as some fish finders are portable yet may come with the risk of falling in the water. Permanent designs may offer a more secure offering yet will be exposed to the elements and can be damaged or even stolen during transportation.
Fish finders use sonar to locate fish. Cheaper models use dual frequencies, while the more current and better offerings use CHIRP or Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse.
- Low frequencies penetrate water and enable the fish finder a better chance to see deeper, although it may lack the fine detail needed to locate schooling fish.
- High frequencies deliver more detail to pinpoint fish but are not very good at passing through water. For example, they can’t tell you much of the water bottom, especially if it is deep.
Dual frequencies enable your fish finder to carry out both readings simultaneously.
The angle of the transducer beam isn’t as vital as you may have been led to believe. Wider angles see fish suspended in a water column, yet narrower angles find fish near the bottom.
CHIRP technology uses longer pings across multiple frequencies. CHIRP systems deliver better accuracy than dual-frequency systems and pass data to the fish finder, thus improving performance.
Mounting a transducer correctly makes the difference to your fishing experience. You can find many ways to fit them.
- Hull mounting: Used since the early days of kayak fishing. Cut a sponge to accept the transducer, then rest at the bottom of the hull in your kayak. It loses some signal, but not much.
- Transom mounting: Here, you use a mount to attach an arm to your kayak. The transducer will be submerged in the water as it’s supposed to be. It can be damaged, however, should you hit rocks or stumps.
- Scupper mounting: Kayaks come with scuppers to accept common transducers. Should your kayak do so, then check fish finders that will fit. Often you do find these come as added extras and more cost.
A fish finder should be able to read to a decent max depth.
It may feel as if larger is better, yet not always. Larger screens can be easier to read, yet they easily get in the way as you fish.
Small screens with good display resolution are easier to read than larger displays with not-so-good resolution.
GPS and maps or waypoints are great tools for anglers. Finding your way to good fishing spots or back home in strange waters can be a worthy addition.
A great way to use your fish finder is for map structure and cover, thus returning to where fish school and feed.
You want a fish finder that is good on batteries. Many don’t use regular batteries, but you will need a good rechargeable 12V before heading out on the water.
What’s the bottom line?
In testing, we put all the fish finders to work and quickly came up with the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 as the leader of the bunch.
It doesn’t come with a MicroSD card slot, yet none on the list offered this. For the rest of the features and at the price point, it more than made up for this lack.
The device was portable enough to use in other areas. You have many ways to fix it to your kayak, and the display offered copious amounts of information.
The Garmin Striker 4 was easily the best fish finder for kayak overall and offered the best value for money.
Further Reading: Fishing Equipment List