If you are going out on the water for some fishing, you need to know where you are going and where the fish are. Fish finder GPS combos combine modern satellite location technology and sonar technology to help you identify fish and plan your trips. A good fish finder GPS combo can help you find where the fish are biting and give you directions to get back there later.
Based on our rankings, the best overall fish finder GPS combo is the Garmin Striker 4. The Garmin Striker 4 won our top spot thanks to its straightforward design, precise sonar transducer, and durable, waterproof design. The Garmin also features a waypoint map so you can mark your locations for return trips.
Fish finders are complex pieces of tech. So today, we are going to talk about the top 5 fish finders for your next trip. We will cover our picks for the best fish finder GPS combos and talk about important features to consider when shopping.
Top Fish Finder GPS Combos Compared
|Product||Display Size||Sonar Type||Weight|
|Garmin Striker 4 GPS Fishfinder||3.5”||Chirp/Traditional||0.5 pounds|
|Lucky Kayak Portable Fish Depth Finder||1.5”||Traditional||1.25 pounds|
|Hummingbird Helix Chirp 7 MSI GPS||7”||SideImaging/DownImaging||5.3 pounds|
|Garmin Striker Vivid||4”-7”||Chirp/DownImaging||4.4 pounds|
|Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder||N/A||Traditional||0.17 pounds|
1.Garmin Striker 4 GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Transducer – Best Overall
First up on our list is the Garmin Striker 4. This classic GPS fishfinder won our choice for the top fishfinder of 2021 thanks to its simple, low-profile design and high performance. The Sonar uses a ClearVu system that provides a larger frame of resolution than other scanners in the same class. The high frequency gives a clear view of the surface along with any fish and structures present.
The Garmin has a simple interface with clearly defined buttons on the front plate. You use the arrows to pan the map and use the other keys to mark points of interest and locations where fish are present.
The buttons are coated with a soft, durable rubber material and provide good tactile feedback when you make a press. The sensor can reach depths up to 1,600 feet in freshwater and operates at a low 0.23 amperes for clear resolution and minimal scattering.
The Garmin uses a chirp sonar system that sends continuous waves of varying frequencies to create a crisp image with sharp resolutions. The built-in flasher mode lets you view data in a clear, easy-to-read format, which is a great option for ice fishing.
Overall, the Garmin is one of the best fins finders that you can find for the price point. The entire unit is IPX7 rated waterproof and comes with a mount option for larger boats. The device is small enough that you can use it handheld as well.
2.Lucky Kayak Portable Fish Depth Finder – Budget Pick
Next up on our list is the Lucky Kayak Portable Fish depth Finder. The Lucky uses a traditional continuous sonar transducer to pick out the location of fish and other structures. The water depth detection range for this handheld model is between 3 feet and 330 feet. Simply attach the sonar transducer to the hull of your ship and you will get readings on the handheld device.
The display itself is very simple and features a 1.5’ LCD screen with simple depth and fish indicators.
The front plate has three buttons, one for power and two for changing the device’s settings and depth calibrations. The display is small enough to hold and operate with one hand, but the kit comes with a shoulder strap as well.
The portable fish finder can operate for 4-5 hours continuously on a single battery. It has 5 different sensitivity levels that you can switch through using the buttons on the front panel. The more sensitive, the more power the device draws.
Overall, the Lucky is one of the best portable and affordable fishing finders you can get. The display is very easy to read with its simple elements and graphics. It works well in both saltwater and freshwater, so it’s suitable for all types of fishing.
3.Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp MSI GPS – Best Display
In third on our list is the Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp MSI GPS. The first thing to notice about the Humminbird is the large 7’ screen. The screen has an 800 x 480v resolution, which provides a clear, sharp color image on the LCD screen.
The Helix 7 is capable of both down imaging and side imaging modes so you get two vantage points to plan your catches. You can superimpose readings from both sensor types on the screen at the same time to get the max amount of information.
The maximum range of the Helix is 125 feet, which is lower than many other fish finders. The relatively low max depth is made up for by the incredible resolution and image clarity. The screen mounts on the hull of your boat and includes a durable plastic mount with swivel knobs on the sides.
Lastly, the Humminbird comes pre-equipped with a Navionics SD card that contains maps for over 21,000 lakes and water bodies in the US. You can download new maps on the SD card to update your device.
Overall, the Humminbird is a high-tech piece of equipment that any serious angler would benefit from. It has a hefty price tag, but the image clarity and depth of vision are worth it.
4.Garmin Striker Vivid 7CV – Great Integrations
In fourth place on our list is the Garmin Striker Vivid 7CV. The Vivid comes in four models, each with a different-sized screen. The 4” and 5” models have an upright, vertically-oriented screen and a more portable, handheld design. The 7” and 9” models have a wider horizontal screen and come with a mount to attach to your boat’s hull.
The Vivid features a GT20 transducer with traditional and chirp sonar options. The high-sensitivity transducer creates sharp images to depths of up to 200 feet.
Using the buttons on the side of the screen, you can navigate through maps, mark locations, and create routes to your destination. The GPS module comes pre-equipped with Quickdraw Contours, an auto charting software.
The Vivid also stands out thanks to its useful integrations. It has built-in WiFi capabilities and a companion app called ActiveCaptain that you can use to modify map details, set waypoints, and receive push notifications. The app also has a community section where you can connect with other users to troubleshoot issues and talk about fishing strategies.
5.Deeper START Smart Fish Finder – Smart Connectivity Options
Toss the lure into the water and connect the companion app to the device to receive readings about depth and fish movements. The lightweight design makes it easy to cast long distances and you don’t have to deal with batteries or wires.
The main draw of the Deeper START is its convenience. You don’t have to deal with bulky mounts or a separate handheld device.
The scanner can reach up to 165 feet deep and has a 40-degree field of vision. The app also saves and backs up each scan so you can review times and locations. The battery lasts six hours off a single charge and can charge in just 2.5 hours.
Fish Finder GPS Buying Guide
Here are some important features to keep in mind when looking for a fish finder GPS.
The first and most important thing to consider is the sonar system. The sonar will help you find good spots to fish, so it’s the first thing you should look at. There are four major types of sonar systems. Some fish finders may have more than one while others might have all four.
Standard sonar systems are the most common and work by sending sound waves down into the water. The waves bounce off something and return to the sensor.
Th4e sensor uses these signals to let you know what is going on under the water. The main drawback of this system is that you cannot differentiate between fish and other objects under the water.
Chirp sonars are similar to standard sonar systems, except they operate in faster bursts of waves. The periodic chirps instead of constant sonar create a sharper picture, so you can better understand the layout. Chirp sonars are not necessarily more accurate but you can use them to better understand movement.
Down imaging sonars are another common option and work by sending sonar waves out into a large cone. These kinds of sonars are great for probing deep water so they are useful for ocean fishing and ice fishing. The cone-like design gives you a good image of the area or the water so you know what a good casting range would be.
The last major kind of sonar system is a side imaging system. Side imaging sonars are considered the best kind and work horizontal waves rather than vertical ones. The horizontal orientation of the waves allows you to see the entire area around you instead of just below you. Side imaging sonar systems are also the most expensive.
The cone angle refers to the orientation of the signaling cone. The wider the cone, the more your finder can map. However, note that a wider signal also means that your sonar might be less accurate. Cone angle is matched by cone depth-a measure of how deep the sonar signal penetrates. The average fish finder sonar has a cone depth between 75 and 150 feet. Any lower and you won’t get a good resolution picture.
The deeper water you plan to fish, the more maximum cone depth you will need. But the deeper your sensor can go, the more expensive it will be. Dual-beam signals allow you to change the depth and width of the signal independently of one another, so you can zero in on a particular spot in the water.
When you are out on open water, it can be hard to keep your orientation and sense of direction. You want to make sure you have a powerful GPS system that can work out on the open water. Simplicity and accuracy are the most important things to look for, but there are some special GPS features that will be useful to have.
The first is a way to plot a route on your GPS map. This makes it very easy to set waypoints to follow or mark down a location where you found a lot of fish. Most modern fish finders have some features that allow you to pinpoint and save locations. Also, you can often download specific map data for your GPS that will show the lake and relevant hotspots. Your GPS may come preloaded with such maps.
You will also need a bright display you can clearly read at all times of the day. Most modern finders utilize an LCD screen for its low-power requirements and good color discrimination. Some finders may also have a backlight on the screen to make night viewing easier.
Other display features to look for include color and glare adjustment. The traditional display is at least 800 x 600px, or about 7” diagonally, though larger display screens exist. Touch screen finders exist, but they are less effective the smaller the screen is.
The power of your finder is measured in RMS, standing for root mean squared. The higher the power, the more penetration your finder will get.
Most fish hang out at around 500 RMS so you will want a sonar with at least those capabilities. Keep in mind that power and frequency share an inverse relationship. The higher the frequency, the less power and depth you will have. Conversely, lower frequencies give you more depth and penetrating power.
Modern finders have a lot of quality-of-life features and integrations, such as smartphone compatibility, weather alerts, chart plotting, and more. Many modern finders have Bluetooth compatibility, so you can connect your phone and read the scanner info from your screen.
The last important feature to look for are mounts or portable options. If you do not want to worry about taking out your finder all the time, then you can get a mount and attach it directly to the hull of your boat.
Alternatively, you can get a portable model if you frequently change boats. The main difference between mounted and portable models is the size and shape.
Portable models are smaller, lighter, and usually designed to fit in the palm of your hand. Mounted devices, in contrast, are larger and more like the info screen on a modern car. Mounted scanners are a better option if you have a larger boat and you frequently use the same vessel.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I read a fish finder?
When using a traditional sonar fish finder, you should primarily see two kinds of images: large smooth areas of color and groupings of small, arch-like markings. The smooth patterns are the surface of the floor while the arches would be the fish.
What frequency should I use for which depths?
Generally speaking, you want the highest frequency with the lowest pow3er that still produces a clear image. For waters shallower than 600 feet., which will be most of the time for surf fishers and shore casters, frequencies above 150 work the best kHz.
If you go deeper up to 1,500 feet, switch to 80-150 kHz. For depths lower than 1,500 feet, stick to frequencies lower than 140 kHz.
How can I tell the difference between fish?
If there are fish, your sonar system should bounce off theri air bladders. Over time, anglers can learn to identify the species on their finder by the shape and size of these bubbles and the overall shape of the fish.
How do I know if my fish finder transducer is working properly?
If your transducer cannot produce a clear image or is having difficulty, then first check to see if it is clear from dirt or debris. If you have trouble turning the unit on, check the battery for power.
Fish finders are an important tool any fish should have in their arsenal. A good fish finder and GPS combo will make it easier to navigate to your destination and identify good fishing spots. Like always, make sure that you consider several models and keep important features in mind.
My name is Ruben. I love fishing like most guys I know. Fishing is so much more than just an outdoor activity- its an escape, its therapy and so much more. I put together a team of other professional anglers in order to create the most inclusive fishing resource.