Fishing & Hunting Tips

Top 10 Best Fish Finder for kayaks in 2020 [Review & Guide]

A fish finder takes the guessing game out of fishing nowadays. Sonar technology has upgraded with the latest features that allow efficient reading even from a moving vessel. Kayak fishing also gaining popularity in the last 2 decades. So many manufacturers have been producing kayaks these. That’s why choosing the best kayak has become a confusing task.

Best Pick: Best Fish Finder for kayaks

$174.99
$179.99
in stock
2 new from $174.99
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$99.99
$119.99
in stock
33 new from $97.49
1 used from $99.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$132.00
in stock
42 new from $132.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 8, 2019 7:15 pm

The same goes for fish finder as well. The best fish finder for kayaks should have these following qualities-

  • Good readability under direct sunlight
  • Enough pixel matrix for better target separation
  • Portable
  • Easy to mount
  • At Least dual-beam 2D Sonar
  • Down-Imaging is a must
  • Side-Imaging (Optional, but better for detecting fish in a large area to save time)
  • IPX7 waterproofing or higher
  • GPS feature at least

Before you jump into the list, make sure that you have all the necessary accessories.

1. Garmin Striker 4cv

Garmin Striker 4cv with transducer, 010-01806-00

 

Features:

  • 5 inch diagonal HVGA 480×320 resolution screen
  • Max depth: Freshwater (1,750 ft) and saltwater (830 ft)
  • Power output: 300 watts (RMS)
  • Internal High-precision GPS
  • 5,000 waypoints
  • 2D CHIRP Sonar & ClearVü
  • Coverage & frequency: 200 kHz @ 15° and 77 kHz @ 45° (2D), 455 kHz @ 53° and 800 kHz @ 29°

Overview: The Garmin striker 4cv features enhanced sonar technology with CHIRP. It has a lot of similarities with the Striker 4. But with the Striker 4cv, you’ll get an affordable fish finder featuring CHIRP and ClearVü function. The fish finder has a small but crisp display. Enough to distinguish each detail. You’ll also find it easy to operate. Let’s find out below why you should invest in this particular Garmin fish finder.

Sonar & transducer: Without CHIRP, sonar technology becomes rather toothless. Fortunately, the striker 4cv has both 2D CHIRP Sonar and CHIRP ClearVü. Although the performance is nearly the same as the older downvü but with the exception of a wider angle.

The traditional 2D CHIRP operates at the frequency of 50/77/200 kHz. And for ClearVü, it can operate at 260/455/800 frequencies. Now, these ratings are for the fish finder itself. However, the transducer that comes with it does 77/200 kHz for 2D sonar and 455/800 kHz for ClearVü.

Considering the portable size, the Striker 4cv can do some serious depth scanning. Especially in freshwater, the unit does 1750 ft and in saltwater 830 ft. I wish if the depth figure were higher in saltwater as well. That would be a killer feature to work with.

I like how the transducer modulates the ClearVü frequencies between Mid CHIRP and High CHIRP using the 2D Sonar mode. We can modulate the ClearVü CHIRP sonar pulse interval between 435-475 kHz and 800-840 kHz. Such modulation increases the quality of images and reduces clutter.

Other noteworthy features are-

  • A-Scope
  • AutoGain
  • UltraScroll
  • Fish Symbols
  • Bottom Lock
  • Fish alarms etc.

Navigation: Despite having a highly-sensitive GPS, the Garmin Striker 4 cv doesn’t feature any built-in chart. Lack of microSD card and card slot prevents the user from upgrading to any chart. Bear in mind that all the fish finder in the Garmin series have these limitations.

You can save up to 5000 waypoints and use them to mark your hotspot on a blank sheet platform for later use. You can also use different palettes for each marked waypoint to identify them individually. Details like latitude and longitude of your marked waypoints or your own location are also available. In addition, you will be able to calculate your boat speed as well.

The main unit: Don’t be surprised by the 3.5-inch diagonal display while the name suggests otherwise. Despite its smaller size, you won’t face any issues when observing 2D and Clearvu information at once. The HVGA display with LED-backlit offers optimal visibility even under direct sunlight.

The pixel matrix is 480×320, enough to pick up every small detail. To protect against occasional water splashes, the unit features an IPX7 waterproofing. But I recommend keeping away from saltwater. An even if it does come in contact, wipe it clean immediately.

Mount: Right out of the box, there is a swivel/ tilt mount for the unit and transom mount for the transducer.

Our thoughts: We need affordability with maximum features. Exactly what the Garmin striker 4cv stands for. You won’t get any other fish finder with ClearVü technology in this price range. Even though it lacks a microSD card reader and slot, also no chart in navigation, it is the best fish finder for kayaks.

Pros
  • Affordable price tag
  • High-precision GPS
  • Good 2S sonar performance with ClearVü
Cons
  • No unit cover
  • No microSD card reader or slot
  • No chart

2. Garmin Striker 4 with transducer

Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5" GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional Transducer

 

Features:

  • 5 inch 480×320 diagonal HVGA display
  • Dual-frequency CHIRP Sonar
  • Power: 200 watts (RMS)
  • High-precision internal GPS
  • 77/200 kHz @ 45°×15° (2D)
  • Max depth: 1600 ft (freshwater)
  • 750 ft (saltwater)

Overview: Even though the Garmin striker 4 fish finder debuted a couple of years ago, it still offers reliable and up to date performance. It is the most portable and affordable fish finder in its class to feature CHIRP technology. To make the deal even sweeter, Garmin has included a transducer with this fish finder. Let’s see If this one matches your preferences or not.

Sonar & transducer: First of all, the transducer is dual-beam. Their rated frequencies are 45°at 77 kHz and 15° at 200 kHz. Both of the frequency shoots conical beam. The transducer itself has a frequency of 77/200 kHz and a traditional 4-pin connector.

Now, if you want to scan even deeper, than use a transducer with 50/77/200 kHz capable frequencies. Because the unit is certainly capable of those frequencies. But don’t expect to use CHIRP for 50 kHz. The unit is only capable of medium and high CHIRP.

The given 1600 ft (freshwater) and 750 (saltwater) depth scan is only possible at 50 kHz. So what’s right out of the box depth scan is? Sadly, it’s only 800 kHz on average. Still, deep enough for most of the lakes and rivers.

Other noteworthy features are-

  • Fish Symbol ID
  • A-Scope
  • AutoGain
  • Flasher
  • Split-zoom
  • Multiple alarms

Navigation: Here comes the bitter taste of not having any Chartplotter. But there’s a blank sheet platform to mark your favorite fishing spots for later use. Also, the High-precision internal GPS module lets you mark accurately. You can store up to 5000 waypoints for any possible revisit.

The main unit: Don’t get disheartened by the small 3.5-inch diagonal display. The picture quality is actually good and sharp. And why not, a 480×320 pixel matrix is enough to pick up any small details. You’ll see vibrant HVGA color combination and LED-backlit display panel for maximum viability under direct sunlight.

Besides, you can easily view two screens at a time. The build quality of the Garmin striker 4 is quite durable. And the IPX7 waterproofing adds another layer of protection and confidence for the buyer. You can use it in the rain and allow some occasional splashes without damaging the internal circuits. But I wouldn’t recommend getting wet from saltwater. Even if your unit does than thoroughly wipe it clean and dry it with a hairdryer or leave it no more than 10 minutes under direct sunlight.

Mount: You will have a tilt/swivel mount right out of the box.

Our thoughts: If you’re looking for a simple 2D sonar view with CHIRP, the Garmin striker 4 is perfect for you. It has a very little price tag and offers dual-beam frequency sonar with enough depth scanning capacity. Despite missing the microSD card reader or slot you can share waypoints between the similar model and echoMAP unit via data cable.

Pros
  • Important sonar features
  • Dual-frequency CHIRP 2D Sonar
  • Cheap price tag
Cons
  • No unit cover
  • No NMEA connectivity

3. Garmin Striker 7SV with Transducer

Garmin Striker 7SV with Transducer, 7" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional, ClearVu and SideVu Scanning Sonar Transducer and Built in Quickdraw Contours Mapping Software

 

Features:

  • 7-inch diagonal 800×480 pixel matrix
  • High-wide traditional CHIRP sonar
  • 150/240 kHz @ 24°/16° (2D High-Wide CHIRP Sonar)
  • Clearvu: 455 kHz (425-485) @ 2.0°/50° & 800 kHz (790-850) @ 1.0°/30°
  • Sidevu: same as Clearvu
  • Power: 500 watts (RMS)
  • High-precision internal GPS with 5000 waypoints

Overview: Garmin released their Garmin Striker 7 Sv not too long ago. You can also call it the Garmin Striker plus 7 SV because of the addition of the transducer. Apart from that, there are a few upgrades featured in this new version of the 7 Sv family. Let’s find out what they are.

Sonar & Transducer: Unlike the Striker 4, the 7 SV included transducer has an integrated temperature sensor and a 12-pic connector. The built quality is durable plastic so don’t worry about its longevity.

I would title this fish finder as the budget fish finder for the money. I mean just over five hundred dollars, you are getting three types off Sonar. The traditional 2D, Clearvu and Sidevu. Furthermore, you will enjoy CHIRP technology in all these three sonars. CHIRP modulates the frequency to render better readings on the screen.

As a result, you will see unparalleled target separation between fish and other things like structures and vegetations. The feedback is so crisp and accurate with less clutter. The base 2D sonar frequencies for this unit are 50/77/200 kHz. And for both of the side and ClearVu, the frequencies are 260/455/800 kHz.

However, the frequency beams are different for both 2D and SideVu, ClearVu. For 2d, the beam is conical at 24°-16°. And for side and CleaVu, the beam is fan-shaped at 1°-2° fore to aft. But the beam is wide enough from the side at 50° for 455 kHz and 30° for 800-850 kHz.

The depth scanning capacity varies and depends on the type of transducer you’ll introduce. If you go with the given transducer, you’ll only limit yourself at 800 ft of depth scanning. However, if you use a transducer compatible with 50 kHz frequency, the scanning could reach as deep as 2000 ft. Enough for even the great lake. For ClearVü, the specified depth is 250 ft and nearly 500 ft for SudeVü.

You can also troll with this unit. The transducer can do a good depth reading even at the speed of 30 MPH. But I suggest you maintain speed at 10 MPH for better sonar feedback and target separation.

Other noteworthy features are-

  • Fish symbol
  • Flasher option for ice or vertical pier fishing
  • Split-zoom page
  • Bottom Lock
  • A-Scope
  • Multipurpose alarms

I wish there were a sonar rewind feature to completely kill off rival fish finders of this price segment.

Navigation: Both the Striker 7SV, older and latest have similar navigational features. As you already know the unit comes with High-precision internal GPS which works excellent to mark your favorite fishing spot waypoints. You can save up to 500 waypoints in the built-in memory.

The unit can also coordinate your location and calculate your boat speed. Sadly, it doesn’t feature any chart no does it have any microSD card slot. So say goodbye to any charts upgrade.

Other noteworthy features are-

  • Quickdraw contours
  • Track recording
  • Route creating ( 1,500 hours of drawing for over 2 million acres )
  • Depth range shading
  • Built-in WiFi module to connect with the ActiveCaptain™ app
  • Quickdraw Contours Community to share waypoints and software update

The main unit: The fort time you’ll see out of the box is that crisp diagonal 7-inch WVGA color display. The unit can do triple-screen at the same time. But the details can be picked up easily. Thanks to the 800×480 pixel matrix display for a sharper image.

The LED-backlit LCD display panel offers adequate brightness to stay visible even under direct sunlight. Expect IPX7 waterproofing from Garmin. Wouldn’t wanna spoil your hard-earned investment from occasional water splashes. Although I suggest keeping the device away from saltwater contact.

You can use a 4-pin transducer but the included one has 12-pin with a 20 ft long cable.

Mount: Nearly all the fish finder from Garmin comes with a classic tilt and swivel bracket mount.

Our thoughts: In my opinion, the Garmin Striker 7 SV with transducer offers excellent value for a triple CHIRP sonar system. But compromises in the navigation sector where it lacks chart services and microSD card slot. The NMEA connector is also absent. If you can live with some navigational limitations, this fish finder will be the bang for the buck.

Pros
  • A triple CHIRP Sonar system
  • Good depth scanning
  • Useful sonar features
Cons
  • The main unit doesn’t get a mounting bracket
  • No unit cover
  • No unit cover, microSD or NMEA

4. Hawkeye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display

 

Features:

  • Dual-beam smart sonar
  • Comes with a Transducer
  • Multi-layer depth scanning
  • Portable yet powerful sonar performance
  • VirtuView™ HD color display

Overview: First of all, the Hawkeye Fishtrax fish finder is not suitable for beginners. I’m not saying you won’t be able to operate if you are new. It’s more like a suggestion not to pick this fish finder for your very first.

The Hawkeye Fishtrax is suitable for skilled anglers. The unit is portable yet rocking a powerful Sonar. You can use this unit as a traditional fishfinder to obtain data. Or go with the ice flasher feature for winter angling. Let’s break down each major function and see if it matches your interest.

Sonar & Transducer: The unit has a dual-beam intelligent sonar feature. The term intelligent is used for this sonar because it can autotune the 1C Fishtrax to adapt to your preferred fishing style. The sonar shoots two beams at 200 kHz and 83 kHz frequencies.

There are three modes for frequency:

  • 83 kHz
  • 200 kHz
  • Dual-view ( 83 and 200 kHz simultaneously )

Understanding the FishTrax™ technology: The unit utilizes sonar frequency to locate fish, depth range reading and define the bottom contour, shapes of the underwater terrain and structures. FishTrax consists of specialized microprocessors which send waves and then get received by the units transducer. A few microseconds katestube transducer enables sound receiving and acts as a microphone.

The feedback from the sonar unit gets analyzed by the algorithm of the FishTrax ™. The system uses location, size, and composition to determine what is what. These data then gets displayed to the amazing VirtuView display. You can tune the amount of data you want to see manually by the adjustable sensitivity. Remember, this tuning will affect the return data if not done correctly. As an example, you could miss defected fish simply because the fish icon looks like something else due to amateur tuning. If you want to see less then stay at the lower setting. So you won’t get overwhelmed by fish icons like in the higher settings.

The screen will show-

  • Battery indicator
  • Bottom Contour
  • Lower limit
  • Depth scale
  • Water depth
  • Water temperature
  • Frequencies
  • Fish arches and surface clutters

Our thoughts: This fish finder is for the pros. It shows important data without complication. The unit lacks a lot of latest features found in a traditional fishfinder. My suggestion is, if you’re a first-time fish finder user, don’t go for this. But if you’ve been doing this for a while and ran into it, give it a try. The convenience of portability always outweighs premium features. If you want to know more about this fish finder and how it works, check out the tutorial below.

Pros
  • Portable and versatile
  • Easy to use once you get the hang of it
  • Nearly 30 hours of battery life
Cons
  • The experience is different, not everyone’s cup of tea

5. Lucky handheld portable fish finder

LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder Portable Fishing Kayak Fishfinder Fish Depth Finder Fishing Gear with Sonar Transducer and LCD Display

 

Features:

  • 2-inch anti IV LCD display
  • 81-inch diameter transducer sensor
  • Depth range: 3ft~328 ft under the sensor
  • Power: 4 AAA batteries ( not included )
  • Sensor coverage 200 kHz at 45° beam angle

Overview: Let me clear things out in the beginning. This is a good fish finder for beginners and one of the best portable fish finders out there. An excellent choice for kayak fishing, ice fishing, and other fishing styles. I like the portability and it’s battery-powered feature. Not only a single supply of the battery will last for a couple of days, even better, but you can also change them at your will. Now let’s see if you feel lucky to grab one today. If not then there’s always someone you can gift this fish finder. Trust me, they’ll love it.

How it operates: Lucky handheld portable fish finder will show you the water depth and fish position. It will sound an alarm upon detection or any passing school of fish. Even the bottom contour with weed beds, structures and vegetations get picked up by this portable fish finder.

On the kayak, you can do a little bit of trolling. Just maintain the speed at 5 MPH. The sonar sensor operates at a 45° angle at 200 kHz frequencies. The under sonar depth readings can exceed from 3 ft up to 328 ft. The transducer comes with a float and a cable up to 25 ft long which is also removable.

Despite its portability Lucky handheld fish finder features 5 modes sensitivity options for anglers convenience. Unlike the Hawkeye Fishtrax 1c, this fish finder lasts around 4-6 hours. You can extend this time by switching into the battery saving modes. The reason behind low battery life is a crisp and sharp LCD display. You will see details like bottom contours, weedbeds, vegetations, fish and other things clearly in the TFT display. Even during mid-noon, the Anti UV features will prevent screen glare and ensures optimal viability.

Ice fishing is so easy with Lucky. Simple put the fish finder on a nice clean ice layer and see if there’s any fish in that spot. If yes then drill a hole and drop down the fishing sonar sensor into the freezing water. Don’t worry, the unit can tolerate temperature from -14°F to 122°F. You won’t get satisfied readings if there is air in between the sensor and the ice layers between the water surface.

For kayak fishing, you gotta drill though the vessel to place the sonar sensor in such a way, that it can stay submerged at least 1 inch of water. You can use a mounting tab to attach the SideScan adapter to the boat hull.

Our thoughts: Let me give you my honest opinion. The Lucky handheld portable fish finder is one of the best portable fish finders for beginners who want to kayak fish. The only downside is the battery it consumes. But there aren’t many fish finders that can be used while hanging from your neck.

Pros
  • Jaw-Dropping price tag
  • Adequate sonar coverage and depth range
  • 12 months manufacturer’s warranty
Cons
  • Not a suitable option for professional use

6. Humminbird Fishin’ Buddy Max Nuddy Fishfinder

Humminbird 410060-1 Fishin' Buddy MAX DI Fishfinder

 

Features:

  • 5 inch diagonal 240×320 TFT LED-backlit
  • Dual-beam 2D and down imaging
  • Frequency & coverage: 200 kHz /28° & 455 kHz/16° (Dual-beam)
  • 455 kHz/74° (Down Imaging)
  • Power output: 300 watts (RMS)
  • Max depth: 600 ft (Dual-beam) & 320 ft (Down Imaging)

Overview: If you’re not familiar with standalone fish finder than take five minutes to read this product review. It’s the Humminbird fishin’ buddy Max DI which features dual-beam sonar and Down Imaging. It’s solely focused on fish finding features so don’t expect any navigational functions. The main device sits firmly on top of a telescopic shaft. Let’s see if this fish finder find it’s marked on your interest.

Sonar & transducer: The unit comes with a DI Transducer. It has a temperature sensor. Right out of the box you’ll get a transom mount that stays attached with the telescopic shaft. As you’ve already seen in the feature section above, this unit can do dual-beam and Down Imaging scanning.

The rated frequencies for dual-beam sonar are 200/455 kHz at a 28°/16° comic angle. Yes, folks, the beams are cone-shaped. And for Down Imaging, the unit scans only 455 kHz at 74°. Unlike 2D Sonar, this frequency is thin fore-aft yet stays wide at the side.

Other noteworthy features are-

  • Selective Fish ID+
  • Telling (1-6 MPH)
  • Fish alarm
  • Battery alarm
  • Structure ID
  • Depth Alarm

The unit: First things first, the little 3.5 inch TFT LED-backlit display has reasonable sharpness. The resolution is 240×320 pixel matrix that shows enough detail for better target separation. You can adjust the 5-level brightness for night and daytime.

For protection, there’s an unrated waterproofing but I would suggest staying away from salt water. You won’t get any navigational features. But the portability of this fish finder is the selling point. To power this thing, you gotta put 8 AA-type batteries which won’t be included in the box.

Our thoughts: The Humminbird fishin’ buddy Max DI is only a fish finder unit. It lacks navigational features but makes up for its reasonable pricing and powerful sonar performance. Is kayak fishing GPS navigational features important to you? If not then this is the fish finder you should consider grabbing.

Pros
  • Dual-beam sonar
  • Nice depth scanning ability
  • A transducer in the box
  • Value for money
Cons
  • No navigational features
  • No Hi upgrade
  • Nove cover included

7. Deeper pro+ Smart Sonar

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar - GPS Portable Wireless Wi-Fi Fish Finder for Shore and Ice Fishing

 

Features:

  • Dual-beam sonar
  • Lakebook access (Free)
  • 330 ft cast range
  • 260 ft depth scanning
  • Automatic WiFi connection
  • -4F temperature operable
  • 850mAH Li-Poly battery (rechargeable)

Overview: If you want a castable and portable fish finder, you must grab one of these Deeper pros. You can use this fish finder as on the go. Like when you’re traveling away from your home state. You can cast it from the shore or troll from a boat. Since it can survive minus temperatures, there will be some incidental ice fishing possibilities as well.

Construction material: Quality of a castable fish finder would be top-notch. To resist shock and impact, the main unit is made from ABS plastic. This pocket-sized 3.5 lbs and 2.5″ diameter fish finder is the best portable fish finder.

Sonar features: Just because deeper pro looks like a ball, it packs a sophisticated Sonar technology. The target separation is superior in this device at 0.4 ft apart. This simultaneous dual-beam frequency detects smaller fish even in deep vegetation.

The rated frequencies are 290/90 kHz at a 15° narrow and 55° wider conic beam. The 260 ft depth is not that much. But excellent for shallows. You can do some saltwater fish finding if you stick close to the shore.

Connectivity: You can connect this fish finder via WiFi with your smart device. It can stay connected at a range of 330 ft. But the range will vary depending on the type of smart device you’ll be using.

Navigation: Surprisingly, this little great ball of fire features pretty accurate GPS. You can pin your favorite spots for later visits. You’ll get bathymetric maps to access a lakebook where you can save and analyze different types of maps from your device.

Our thoughts: You can use the Deeper pro castable fish finder to troll from your kayak. The Hassle of using spare batteries to power your fish finder won’t be an issue if you choose this one. The future of fish find will focus on portability and easier user experience. The deeper pro+ Smart Sonar fish finder is on the right path.

Pros
  • Versatile and all-season usable
  • Free lakebook accessibility
  • Great target separation
Cons
  • No night fishing cover

8. Vexilar SP200 T-BOX Smartphone Fish Finder

Vexilar SP200 T-Box Smartphone Fish Finder, Black

 

Features:

  • Built-in dual-beam sonar
  • 240 ft depth reading
  • Wireless Transducer connection
  • Excellent for boat & kayak fishing

Overview: Similar to the deeper pro+ the Vexilar SP200 T-BOX Smartphone Fish Finder operates by connecting to your smart devices. It’s not as powerful as the Deeper pro but gets the job done in a convenient way. If you’re looking for budget kayak fish finder, then look no further. Whether you’re an iPhone or Android user, Vexilar SP200 is compatible with both platforms. But remember, like a deeper pro, it doesn’t operate by AA batteries.

Sonar & Transducer: The rated sonar frequency of the transducer is 200 kHz. Since it’s a dual-beam device, the frequency can be modulated from high to low as per your desire. I would recommend buying this fish finder if most of the time you’re angling at the shallows. Otherwise, in lakes or saltwater, things may not work out very well. You’ll find it very cool to see fish approaching your lure in real-time.

When you’re looking for a portable fish finder, think Vexilar SP200 fish finder. You can even buy one while on vacation since it’s so affordable. Unlike the deeper pro, Vexilar requires an external power source. That’s where it comprises a little on convenience and portability.

The display: Once you connect with the device wifi and log in with the default password, your smart device will act as a fish finder display unit. Now it’s time to poke around the settings. In advanced settings, you’ll see options like-

  • Bottom Lock
  • Keel offset temperature offset
  • Display option
  • Surface clarity
  • Noise filter
  • Language
  • Device serial number

Our thoughts: As I said before, fish finder like Vexilar SP200 is the future of modern fish finding. In terms of portability, the device is unmatched. An excellent choice if you want to cast some jigs on your vacation. Just connect and drop, simple as that. It does have a smaller transducer but compatible with so many base fish finder models. Just keep a 12-volt battery at your disposal if you go on a long fishing trip.

Pros
  • Turns your smart devices into an actual fish finder screen
  • Excellent fish finder for kayak and boat
  • Real-time lure movement display
Cons
  • Buggy IOS connection
  • Data glitches on some tablets ( not likely but the issue is there )
  • App stops responding from time to time

Please note, All of the above cons are software related issues. I’m sure by the time you’re reading my article the issues have already been fixed.

9. Lowrance Hook2 9-inch fish finder

HOOK2 9 - 9-inch Fish Finder with TripleShot Transducer and US Inland Lake Maps Installed

 

Features:

  • 9 inch diagonal 800×480 resolution
  • Wide-angle High-CHIRP 2D
  • DownScan & SideScan
  • 2D sonar Max depth: 500 ft
  • DownScan & SideScan Max depth: 300 ft
  • Frequency & coverage:
    200/455/800 kHz
    SideScan: 300 ft both sides at 455 kHz
    SideScan: 100 ft at 800 kHz both sides

Overview: If you want a fish finder with the latest Sonar technology and navigation with Chartplotter, the Lowrance Hook2 9 fish finder is the best choice. You’ll have an accurate GPS and reliable sonar scanner for a fraction of a price. Why am I emphasizing this model? Let’s find out below.

Sonar & Transducer: The fish finder has a TripleShot transducer. It’s nearly the same as the total scan transducer with the exception of limited sonar frequency at High-Wide CHIRP only. What makes the Lowrance Hook2 9 fishfinder to stand out is the ability to do two frequencies for DownScan and SideScan at 455 kHz and 800 kHz.

Don’t get any ideas folks. You won’t be able to use the Totals can transducer with this fish finder. The 2D traditional wide-angle CHIRP shoots a conical beam at 40° and capable to scan as deep as 500 ft.

But the DownScan and SideScan operate with a thinner beam not conical. The beam can expand up to 300 ft at both sides while scanning 300 ft into the deep.

Other noteworthy features are-

  • DownScan overlay
  • Circular Flasher
  • A-Scope
  • Color line
  • Fish alarm
  • Bottom Lock
  • Surface clarity
  • Fish ID

Navigation: Although the device features an internal GPS it’s not 10 Hz. It’s rated at 5 Hz but does a pretty good job with accuracy. On the plus, you’ll get to use it with satellites like MSAS, WAAS, and EGNOS. You can also calculate your boat speed and save up to 3000 waypoints.

Others-

  • 100 routes storage
  • 100 trails with up to 10,000 pts per trail
  • US Inland base charts
  • 3000 lakes with1 ft contour
  • C-Map
  • Structure Map features
  • Navionics+
  • C-map Max-N charts

The main unit: First things first, look at the 9-inch crisp SolarMax display. You won’t see any loss of details with an 800×480 pixel matrix. The LED-backlit display is sharp and offers optimal visibility even under direct sunlight.

For protection, you’ll get IPX7 waterproofing as standard. That means your hard-earned investment can survive occasional splashes and rain. But keep it out of saltwater.  For maximum data extraction, the device can open 4 windows at the same time.

Our thoughts: A fish finder supposes to cover all the latest sonar performance and navigational tasks. And if it comes with an affordable price tag, who can resist such an offer. This 3-1 TripleShot transducer is enough for competitive angling. In my opinion, a good fish finder for inland fishing, kayak fishing, and boat fishing.

Pros
  • TripleShot 3-in 1 transducer
  • Compatible with different platforms of charts
  • Sonar recordings
Cons
  • Not networkable

10. Lowrance HDS7-7 Inch Live fish finder

HDS-7 LIVE - 7-inch Fish Finder with Active Imaging 3 In 1 Transducer with FishReveal Fish Targeting and Smartphone integration.  Preloaded C-MAP US Enhanced mapping.

 

Features:

  • 7 inch diagonal 1024×600 resolution display
  • Active Imaging 3-in 1 Sonar
  • Active Imaging 3-in 1 transducer
  • Frequency & coverage ( both sonar & transducer )
    83/200/455/800 kHz
    SideScan 455 kHz at 300 ft (both sides)
    SideScan 800 kHz at 150 ft (both sides)
  • CHIRP sonar Max depth: 1,000 ft
    DownScan & SideScan: 300 ft

Overview: Welcome to the premium section of the Lowrance fish finder lineup. The Lowrance HDS7 Live fish finder that comes with an Active-imaging 3-in 1 transducer. You’ll also enjoy the latest sonar features like AI 3-in 1 sonar, Liveright real-time sonar (built-in), 3D StructureScan, High-precision internal GPS and Custom chart base.

Sonar & Transducer: For the latest built-in sonar technologies, you have to choose the Lowrance HDS7. The word Live has its purpose. Because you’ll be able to use Active-imaging, Liveright and StructureScan 3D in real-time. Now it all comes down with the transducer. Because with the included one you can operate 2D CHIRP sonar, DownScan, and SideScan. But if you want to use the 3D StructureScan and LiveSight, a different and compatible transducer will be required.

Other features are-

  • Surface clarity
  • Live Network Sonar
  • Circular Flasher
  • A-Scope
  • Bottom Lock
  • Fish alarm
  • Fish ID
  • Depth Alarm
  • Sonar recordings
  • Temperature Graph etc

Navigation: You’re paying the premium, so you’ll get higher features in return. The HDS7 Live has a 16-channel 10 Hz internal GPS. Yes, it supports those three satellites as well- EGNOS, WAAS, and MSAS. You’ll get maps of 4000 lakes that cover the US, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Other features-

  • Enhanced US C-map Basemap
  • C-map Max-N & Max-N+
  • Navionics Platinum+
  • Insight pro
  • Lake Insight HD
  • 100 trails with up to 10000 pts per trail
  • 3000 waypoints storage capacity
  • 100 routes
  • Genesis Live support
  • StructureMap
  • SmartSteer

The unit: Right out of the box, you’ll see that sharp and crisp 7-inch display. The 1024×600 pixel matrix will show every little detail even if you use 4 features in 4 windows at the same time. The LED-backlit is adjustable so you won’t face any visibility issues under direct sunlight or in the dark Knight.

Connectivity: The Lowrance HDS7 Live has Ethernet and NMEA 2000 connectivity. You’ll also get a durable unit cover as well. Apart from having an 8.0 GB internal storage capacity, the unit supports microSD cards. It also has a card reader for those who need extra storage. Besides Genesis Live feature demands a microSD card to function.

Our thoughts: If you have the budget for the Lowrance HDS7 Live fish finder, I would suggest you invest. Because I’ve seen a lot of budget fish finder goes obsoletes especially in the latest sonar and navigation features. But not with this device. You could say this fish finder is a once in a decade investment. It will operate even after a decade, but I doubt it won’t be able to keep up with the latest features, services, and transducers.

How to choose a fish finder

If the list isn’t enough for you then you should know what to look for in a fish finder. In this section, I’ll let you know how to choose a fish finder properly.

Transducer: A transducer is vital hardware for any fish finder. The sonar sends out a wave and the transducer receives it back. Then it processes the wave feedback and displays into the main unit’s screen or on your smartphone. I suggest you choose a dual-beam enabled transducer at least.

Display: Even if you choose a castable fish finder like a deeper pro, you’ll need to view the return results on a screen. Since we’re here to choose a kayak fish finder, I would put visibility over the pixel matrix. Because there will always be some sunshine while you angle. And it won’t sit well if you have to wrestle with the waves and have a dim display with poor readability.

GPS: Knowing where you at is an absolute must when you’re kayak fishing. Even if you pick a fish finder with no other navigational features, then it will do. But don’t pick without one unless you have other arrangements for it. Also, if budget is an issue than your smartphone can be used for navigation only. No waypoints, routes or trail markings for you.

DownScan & SideScan: Most of the kayakers won’t go for a DownScan and SideScan enabled device. Because of the extra cost. But if you’re the main purpose is filling up the storage bucket, I suggest you choose DownScan at least. The 455 kHz frequency will come in handy both in-depth scanning as well. If your water body has a lot of channel Creek, underwater structure and vegetations, then SideScan becomes more of a priority. Because it can detect fish at a blind spot.

Power: More power means more Sonar frequency. So the power output of a fish finder is crucial. If you frequently Kayak fish in deep lakes and rivers then you should pick at least 500 watts (RMS) fish finder. But if you dwell mostly in shallows and marshlands then a 300 watts (RMS) power output would be enough.

FAQ

1. What type of fish finder mount is good for a kayak?

Nearly all of the fish finder in the market comes with a transom mount bracket. But I’m not a very big fan of drilling holes into my vessel. So you could get the YakAttack CellBlok to mount instead. It’s basically a track-mounted battery box that features a fish finder mounted on top as well as the transducer deployment arm.

2. Is waterproofing feature is a must for a kayak fish finder?

Certainly, when you’re kayaking splashes and rain would easily drip down on your exposed fish finder. So you should pick a fish finder with at least IPX7 waterproofing. Don’t worry if you already picked a fish finder without one. Grab one for these fish finder covers for protection. But you won’t be able to use the fish finder while the cover is on. Because they are not transparent.

3. How to read Down-Imaging and Side-Imaging on a fish finder?

If you find this question intriguing than I’m guessing you’re browsing for your very first fish finder. I’m glad you tapped on this question because without knowing what to look for on the fish finder screen, you won’t be able to detect fish and other details properly.

Down-Imaging: In the naked eye, you’ll perceive the traditional 2D sonar and Down-Imaging as the same. But it’s not. The 2D sonar is a wider triangular-shaped beam that covers bigger areas. But Down-Imaging is more like a thin sharp razor beam that focuses on details rather than spaces.

Down-Imaging is good for vertical fishing. Now you’d probably see I wrote 455 kHz and 800 kHz for Down-Imaging. These are the two types of frequency traditionally used in Down-Imaging. If the Down-Imaging sonar is CHIRP than the two frequencies would modulate between 425-455 kHz and 800-835 kHz.

If you want more details, use the 800 kHz mode on your Down-Imaging. But if you want to cover more ground, switch into the 455 kHz. It will compromise details though.

In traditional 2D sonar, it’s hard to distinguish between fish and underwater plants. But with Down-Imaging, the target separation is sharp and accurate. Now let’s find out what SideScan offers.

SideScan: Side-Imaging helps you determine which side the fish at in contrast to your kayaks’ position. The sonar waves are shot from both sides of your boat or kayak. You’ll know exactly how is the underwater world beneath, from left to right.

Although some kayak anglers might not opt for a Down-Imaging and Side-Imaging feature for a pricing point of view, I would suggest you pick a fish finder with both these sonar features. Because Side-Imaging will enhance your fishing senses and save time.

Finally, The market is flooded with fish finders. But only a handful of manufacturers are producing promising products. Like any other electronic device, fish finder needs to be operated according to its guidelines. Even if you’re an ex fish finder user, always read the instruction manual of your new fish finder model. If there’s no manual guide paper in the box, then check the manufacturer websites. Trust me, you’ll enjoy using the full potential of your fish finder.

I hope you’ve found the best fish finder for kayak by now. Remember, don’t fall for the cheapest fish finder there. Read the specs thoroughly. And please, make sure your fish finder has DownScan, or in other words, Down-Imaging. You’ll need better details as well as target separation.

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

Add comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.