10 Best Portable Fish Finders For Kayaks

If you’re just getting your feet wet and setting out on your first fishing expedition, then you’re also probably searching for a fish finder. Finding the ideal fish finder can be a frustrating and confusing task.

We should also say that no fish finder is perfect since they come out with new models all of the time and each finder has its own strengths for certain places. 

We wanted to create this guide to clear up some of the uncertainty surrounding fish finders. We can point you in the direction of the best fish finders for a low price, best for ice fishing, best for beginners, and so on. 

We choose the Garmin Striker 4 as our top choice because anglers of all levels can use this fish finder with ease and it’s packed full of helpful features to make your fishing experience more enjoyable. 

10 Best Fish Finders

1.Garmin Striker 4 – Best Overall 

Our decision on the Garmin Striker 4 being the best overall is based on a number of factors including user reviews, ease of use, and features. It’s a highly rated product with raving reviews based on ease of use, GPS features, and more. 

CHIRP Technology

Chirp technology sonar provides the device with high-quality images. It gives you a clear picture of what targets are below you. You can also see what’s on the bottom to avoid getting your line snagged in seaweed.

Not only that, but the CHIRP technology is capable of separating targets. We hate when we see a cluster on the fish finder that recognizes it as a large single target as opposed to a bunch of single fish. This is a common issue with conventional sonar models. 

GPS Function

The Striker fish finder includes a high-sensitivity GPS tracker that allows you to see your location based on the waypoints you have marked. You can use this map to navigate brush piles, stumps, and more.

We like it because you can use it to find your way back to the boat ramp if you’re unsure of where it is. You can also see your boat’s speed on the screen. This is great for matching the speed of your boat to the lure you’re using for a specific fish. 

Depth Scanning 

This fish finder comes with a 77/200 kHz transducer that uses two cone-shaped beams.

There’s a 45-degree beam for 77 kHz and a 15-degree beam for 200 kHz. If you plan to use this device in deep water, you will need to use the unit with a 50/200 kHz transducer. You can also use it in freshwater to scan up to 1,600 feet and 750 feet in saltwater. 

Various Functions

There are various functions that come with this 2D sonar device. The fish symbol ID is one of our favorites. It processes the returns of images in different ways and adds fish icons to them. It will also show the depth of each target. 

There’s also flasher mode. This is a depth scale in circular form. The inner rings of the flasher show depth and the flashing segments on the outside rings show the various sonar returns measured in strength. This is perfect for ice fishing or stationary fishing. 

Other functions include A-scope, auto gain, and ultra scroll. Auto gain allows you to filter out unwanted noise without adjustment, the A-scope gives you more of a vertical layout about the most recent sonar returns, and utrascroll allows you to scan while moving at a fast pace. 

What We Like

  • Upgradable CHIRP technology
  • GPS enabled
  • Clear images
  • Lightweight
  • Convenient keypad operation
  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like

  • It requires a 12v battery to operate
  • Does not offer NMEA connectivity

2.ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder – Best Wireless Fish Finder

Take a step into the future with the iBobber Pulse Wireless Fish Finder. If you’re looking for a new way to track your fish without bulky devices or batteries, then this would be an ideal option for you.

It’s a Bluetooth bobber-looking device that floats in the water and connects via bluetooth to your phone. Pretty cool, right?

Bluetooth Technology

The iBobber Pulse features Bluetooth technology that works up to 100’ away. It’s capable of syncing to both iOS 10.0 and later as well as Android 4.3 or later that can accommodate Bluetooth Smart 4.0. You don’t have to worry about lugging around a battery since this can be charged for 10+ hours of continuous use. 

Sonar & GPS Technology

This small and portable device has the ability to operate in raw sonar or fish tagging viw. It can tag fish at certain depths and color code them by size. You will also receive accurate sonar readings up to 135 feet. 

The GPS spot tagging has an interactive map and you can log your trip with date, time, location, water temperature, conditions, lure, what type of fishing you’re doing, and the species of fish you’ve caught. 

Fishing Locations

Many of the fish finders we see on today’s market limit you to fishing out in the middle of the lake or ocean. However, we are happy to say that this fish finder can go with you anywhere.

You can use it for shore fishing as well as dock and pier fishing. Even from the shore, you can cast and connect the iBobber and it will work 100’ away. You can also use it in both salt and freshwater. 

 What We Like

  • You can fish wherever you want
  • It’s Bluetooth connected
  • Rechargeable battery
  • GPS technology
  • 1-year warranty
  • Works along with multiple platforms

What We Don’t Like

  • The sonar range isn’t as wide as with traditional fish finders
  • Can be finicky with connectivity

3.Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder – Best WiFi Fish Finder

WiFi, you ask? Yes, we said WiFi. This portable fish finder has its own smart technology built into it.

It generates its own WiFi, no mobile data or internet needed. How awesome is that? Not only that, but it has an automatic night fishing mode and every single scan is saved with teh exact time and location. 

Acceptable Sonar Technology

These portable fish finders that are compact generally don’t generate a great sonar distance.

However, you can cast this bobber out to 165 feet and it will scan down to 165 feet with a 40-degree sonar beam for impeccable accuracy and coverage when compared to similar models. 

Easy To Use

We appreciate a product that’s simple to use, even for the most novice fisherman. This fish finder is no exception. All you need to do is download the Fish Deeper app and it will work with both iOS and Android devices.

As anglers who are just discovering these smart fish finders, we think the instructions are simple enough. Additionally, the app will display the fish location, size, water depth, vegetation, and contour of the bottom of the water. 

Portable

We already mentioned that this device is portable, but we want to go more indepth with it.

You can cast this device and it’s lightweight enough to not cause discomfort. There are no wires or external batteries, only operating on a rechargeable 6-hour battery. It’s great for all types of fishing. 

What We Like

  • It’s lightweight and portable
  • Simple instructions
  • Creates its own WiFi
  • Bluetooth technology
  • Works across multiple platforms

What We Don’t Like

  • Inconsistent depth readings
  • Spotty connection

4.Lucky Portable Fish Finder – Best For Kayak Fishing

If you’re fishing from a kayak, you may find it difficult to use a fish finder, especially if it needs to be mounted to your boat.

Kayaks aren’t very spacious either, so keeping a large fish finder on board is out of the question too. Fortunately, the Lucky Portable Fish Finder is specifically meant for kayaks. 

Outstanding Performance

There are plenty of features we enjoyed when using this fish finder. First, the underwater contour display was phenomenal.

It has three color display modes that allow you to see what’s beneath you clearly. Second, it has a fish alarm that will alert you when one or more fish are swimming by. Third, you can adjust the sensitivity to control which details are shown on the display. 

Wind Sonar Sensor Transducer

This fish finder comes with a wired sonar transducer that works from a distance of around 26 feet. It can detect fish at a depth of around 2.3 feet to 328 feet and you can attach it to your rod or you can use it by hand.  

Portable & Rechargeable

One of our favorite features of this fish finder is that it’s both portable and rechargeable.

You don’t have to worry bout carrying around large batteries or wires. Simply charge it and it’s ready to be used for 5 continuous hours. It comes with a USB cable for charging and you can display the brightness of the display to conserve battery power. 

What We Like

  • No batteries needed
  • Comes with a wired sonar transducer
  • Can be used for ice, river, sea, and kayak fishing
  • Color display
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Fish alarm

What We Don’t Like

  • Inconsistent fish readings
  • May not work in a strong current

5.Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Fish Finder – Best For Mapping

The Deeper PRO+ Is the ideal fish finder for those who are looking to accurately map their fishing expeditions. It’s suitable for boat, ice, and kayak fishing, allowing you to look for detailed data in the areas where you’re fishing. 

Rock Solid Connectivity

Sometimes it can be hard to rely on products that generate their own WiFi, but with this fish finder, you don’t have to worry about that issue. It connects to your phone with ease based on its own WiFi generation. Simply sync it to your device using Bluetooth and you’re good to go. 

Real-Time Date 

With the two beam frequencies, you can see down to 260 feet in real-time. You can see depth, the bottom of the body of water, vegetation, fish, and more. There’s also a built-in GPS that created bathymetric maps from whatever you are fishing from.  You can then access all of your data saved on the Fish Deeper app and web platform.  

Casting Abilities

As with many of the other bobber-type sonar devices, the Deeper Pro+ can be used on your reel. You can cast it out to 330 feet and it causes less of a disturbance than using a marker float. Use it to check the temperature, depth, and more. 

What We Like

  • It’s easy to use
  • Has great casting range
  • Acceptable depth range
  • Makes its own WiFi
  • Can be used with multiple devices
  • Ideal for ice fishing, canoe, and kayak fishing
  • Rechargeable battery

What We Don’t Like

  • Faulty battery after a year

6.Lucky Portable Sonar Fish Finder – Best Waterproof 

One would think that all fish finders are waterproof right? This should be true, but there are certainly some products that don’t hold up to the splashes from reeling in the big ones. TThe Lucky Portable Sonar Fish Finder is one of the few truly waterproof devidces. 

Waterproof Capabilities

We were very impressed with this devices waterproof capabilities. It is capable fo withstanding rain and frequent splashing.

If you were to drop the fish finder into a body of water, it will float rather than sink like other models. If you do drop it, simply air it out to avoid any water vapor from pooling inside of the display due to temperature differences. 

Wireless 

You can operate this fish finder at a maximum of 328 feet with the transducer. Additionally, it operates in depths of 147 feet. The lightweight sonar ball is also castable. Simply attach it to your line and cast it away. The wireless transmission will send the information to the handheld device. 

Sonar Transducer

The sonar transducer has a 90 degree beam angle working off of 125Khz. This fish finder will then alert you when it detects a school or single fish as well as shallow waters.

Additionally, it will show you the approximate location of the fish, depth of the water, fish size, water temperature, and bottom contour. A great feature of this ball is that it glows in the dark for night fishing. 

What We Like

  • Rechargable battery operates for 5-6 hours and 10 hours on battery save mode
  • Glows in the dark
  • Alarm notifies you of fish and shallows
  • Castable
  • Fully waterproof

What We Don’t Like

  • The bobber isn’t waterproof

7.RICANK Portable Fish Finder – Best For Ice FIshing

Ice fishing is a sport loved by many and generally very easy for everybody. All you need to do is drill a hole and drop your line, but it’s tough to see through the ice.

What’s a better way to accomplish that task than to drop a fish finder in the water? The RICANK Portable Fish Finder is a product we highly recommend for ice fishing.

Acceptable Readouts

The readouts generated by this fish finder are pretty acceptable. The range on it is between 3 feet to 328 feet with a 45-degree cone. The sonar sensor has a 25-foot cable that’s removable.

This sensor detects water depth, fish location, fish size, weeds, sand, rocks, and more. Most of these may not matter if you’re using it for ice fishing since the line is stationary. The main concern is the fish and their size. 

Fantastic Functions

We love when fish finders have multiple functions for easier use. This fish finder has five modes, a battery save mode, fish alarm, backlight mode, and unit of measure.

You can use the fish finder for 4-5 consecutive hours before needing to use battery saver mode. If you’re lucky enough to have power to your ice fishing hut, you can simply charge your unit right there. 

What We Like

  • Waterproof transmitter
  • Auto shutoff feature after five minutes of “—”
  • Comes with a 25-foot transmitter cable
  • Strong 200kHz sonar beam
  • Fish alarm
  • Battery saver mode

What We Don’t Like

  • Receiver is not waterproof
  • Does not detect fish smaller than 10cm

8.Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Fish Finder – Most Detailed Maps

If you’re looking to spend a pretty penny for some pretty high-quality images, then look no further than the Lowrance Hook Reveal Fish Finder. It features high-detail inland maps, CHIRP sonar, autotuning sonar, and more. 

FishReveal Technology

The FishReveal technology was one of our favorite features of this fish finder. This allows you to see clear fish light up on your display by separating the CHIRP sonar and high-resolution images that come from DownScan Imaging. The fish were certainly much easier to see and were more accurate to identify. 

Great Map Detail

We really enjoyed that we could use this fish finder to obtain high-detail maps of over 4,000 inland lakes in the United States. With this technology, you can easily create custom contour maps or GPS plotter thanks to Genesis Live. This will give you the ability to track fish quicker and easier. 

Impeccable Sonar 

This device features a splitshot transducer which is ideal for anglers who want to see exactly what’s under their boat at all times. We aren’t very happy fishermen when we drop our line and it gets snagged in the weeds that weren’t visible under our boat.

Fortunately, with this transducer, we were able to see high-resolution images of what was lying under our boat.  Additionally, this device has autotuning sonar. This feature automatically adjusts te settings as fishing conditions change, allowing you to get the best sonar image no matter where you are. 

What We Like

  • Great sonar technology
  • Clear picture display
  • 5-Inch screen
  • 4,000 US lake maps
  • CHIRP system

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s expensive
  • Lack of instructions for use
  • Should be professionally installed

9.Venterior VT-FF001 Fish Finder – Most Affordable

If you’re looking for an affordable fish finder with no fancy bells and whistles, then check out the Venterior Fish Finder. It’s not expensive and it does just about everything the pricer models do. This is why we determined this one to be of the best value. 

Accurate Depth Readings

What’s the point of a fish finder if your readings aren’t accurate? We love that this fish finder uses 200kHz frequency sonar to detect up to 45 degrees under the transducer. It can detect objects at a depth between 3 feet to 328 feet. You’ll be able to view water depth, fish, weeds, sand, rocks, and more. 

Simple Use

Some fish finders require professional installation and others are just a hassle to set up. This fish finder is very simple to use in our opinion. Turn on the display. You will then be able to see the fish depth. Additionally, there are multiple modes for your convenience including backlight mode, battery saver, fish alarm, unit of measure, and selectable sensitivity. 

Warranty

This is one of the only devices we’ve seen that openly offers a warranty. This device comes with a 2-year warranty as well as brand support. If you have any issue with your product, you can simply contact their customer service department. 

What We Like

  • Battery operated
  • Accurate depth reading
  • 2-year warranty
  • Multiple settings
  • Can be used in both fresh and saltwater
  • Portable

What We Didn’t Like

  • Inconsistent readings

10.Hanrico Underwater Fish Finder – Best Value

Last on our list is the Hanrico Underwater Fish Finder. It’s by far one of the best value fish finders we’ve seen.

It offers professional quality at rookie prices. It’s not equipped with the bells and whistles of other fish finders, but it gives you such a crisp and clear look at what’s in the water. 

Professional Quality

This fish finder offers you a 1000 TVL LCD screen and an underwater camera. The screen is in all colors and the buttons are on the touchscreen. You can adjust the lighting and change the focus and infrared functions. This will allow you to clearly see whether or not the target fish are biting your bait. 

Exceptional Viewing

We love how well we can see underwater with this fish finder. The 4/3” HD screen allows you to clearly see the underwater world. There is a 4-level zoom function and an infrared sight function. The fishing camera itself is capable of viewing a 200-degree angle without the water is clear or turbid. This is all thanks to the 8 infrared lights. 

Ease of Use

This product is very easy to use. The fishing camera cable is a whopping 30 meters long and can tolerate 80 kg of tension. It’s also waterproof, cold-resistant, and allows you to have a deep fishing experience without the hassle. Additionally, the device itself offers 20 hours of continuous use after just 5 hours of charge. 

What We Like

  • 20 hours of consecutive power
  • Easy to use
  • Amazing underwater views
  • Professional-quality imaging
  • No fancy bells or whistles

What We Don’t Like

  • Touchscreen isn’t sensitive

What To Look For In A Fish Finder

Throwing all of these different fish finders at you may have you confused. We understand how frustrating it is to want to choose the best product for your specific needs but don’t quite know where to start. If you’re in this particular boat, then we’re here to show you what you should look for in a fish finder. 

Transducer

The transducer is the main part of our fish finder that’s going to help you locate the fish. They work by sending out and receiving sonar waves. These waves bounce off of objects and the data is picked up by the transducer. When the data is returned, it goes to the central unit where the signals are translated into a picture on the display. 

Transducer Mounts

The mount of the transducer is equally as important as the transducer itself. The mounting material solely depends on the type of boat you’re going to use. Plastic transom mounts are the most common type and they are compatible with almost all boat types. 

If your boat is made from fiberglass or metal hulls and you’re using a transducer with a thru=hull or in-hull mount, you’ll need plastic housings. If you have aluminum or steel hulls, you’ll need stainless steel housings. Lastly, you’ll want bronze housings for boats made from fiberglass with wood hulls. 

Cone Angle

The cone angle goes hand-in-hand with the transducer. The angle of the cone tells you the width of the beam that is emitted into the water. Wider cones offer larger areas of coverage. The cone angle expands as the beam goes into the water, but the sensitivity will change.

You will find that transducers come with cones that range from 9-60 degrees. Many of the transducers on our list have a range between 15-20 degrees. A 20-degree cone is ideal for those who are just beginning and are fishing in various depths. Additionally, some transducers come with more than one cone. The more cones, the more area of coverage you’ll have. 

Beams

If you see that a unit comes with multiple beams, expect to pay more. The number of beams directly relates to the price of the fish finder. If you’re fishing in shallow water, dal beams are the better choice because they cover more area. 

Color or Black and White Screens?

You will find that a majority of fish finders are made with color displays. There are millions of colors and a lot more detail than black and white screens that only have 256 shades of gray.

Colored screens offer you information that’s easier to read and understand. You can’t read black and white screens as easily in direct sunlight or dark and cloudy weather. However, if you’re on a budget, you’ll find that the black and white screen fish finders are more affordable than their colored counterparts. 

Frequencies

One of the biggest factors of transducers is frequencies. You will find that they may come with 200, 192, 83, or 50 kHz frequencies and the cone angles directly relate to these. If you’re fishing in shallow waters, 192 and 200 kHz frequencies are suggested. In deep water, 50 kHz transducers are ideal. What you need to remember is that the higher the frequency, the more detail there’s going to be on your display. 

Power

Don’t purchase a fish finder until you’ve looked at the power of it. If you’re looking for something that’s going to give you quick and deeper readings, you’re going to want a unit with high wattage.

Units with low wattages will be slower, but they perform better in shallow waters. You should know that your unit will show depth readings of up to 400 feet with 100 watts of power at 50 kHz. Also, your unit will show depth readings of up to 100 feet with 100 watts of power at 200 kHz. 

Water Resistance

It seems kind of silly that products being used around water wouldn’t be water-resistant, right? This is the last consideration you need to make before you settle on a fish finder.

Look for the IS or IPX ratings of units you’re going to mount to open vessels. A rating of four is safe from splashing, a rating of five or six means it can withstand low to high-pressure jets of water, six to seven allows for 10 to 40-foot water submersion, and a rating of eight can be underwater for extended periods. 

Conclusion

Finding the perfect fish finder can be quite the hassle, we know. There are so many considerations you have to make before you settle on the perfect one.

We really hope that this guide has helped you determine which fish finder would be the best for your next fishing expedition. All of the products on our list have their own strengths, but we do highly recommend the Garmin Striker 4 as it has a decent price, great quality, and stellar reviews. 

Leave a Comment