3 Best Kayak Fish Finders of 2023
Kayak fishing has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. It allows anglers to explore areas that are often inaccessible by larger boats and get closer to the fish they are targeting. However, in order to maximize your success on the water, it’s important to have the right gear, and a fish finder is one of the most important pieces of equipment for any kayak angler. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at three of the best kayak fish finders that are available in 2023 based on expert recommendations from a top kayak fishing guide and competitive angler. One of the hardest parts about getting the right gear for any pursuit you may be on is the process of trial and error you must go through to find what you like and don’t like. In this article, we aim to take that arduous process out of the equation and put you on the fast track to finding what works best for you. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned kayak angler, these fish finders are sure to help you find more fish and take your fishing to the next level.
Expert Pick for The Best Kayak Fish Finder
Lowrance Elite FS 9 Fish Finder/Chartplotter Combo
- Dimensions: 11.02″ x 7.04″ x 3.05″
- Input: Multi-Touch Touchscreen Zoom +/- MOB
- Display Size: 9″
- Display Resolution: 800×480
- Weight: 2.7 lbs
- Waterproof: IPX7
- Mounting Options: Gimbal Bracket or Dash Flush Mount
- Warranty 2 Year + 3 additional years of upgrade options totaling 5 years
- Active Imaging 3-in-1 Sonar
The Lowrance Elite FS 9 fish finder is a powerful and user-friendly device that can be a great asset for kayak fishermen. It features a high-resolution display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, and advanced sonar technology that can help you locate fish and underwater structures with remarkable accuracy.
With its intuitive controls and customizable settings, the Elite FS 9 can be tailored to your specific needs and preferences. Whether you are fishing in shallow or deep waters, in freshwater or saltwater, this fish finder can provide you with the information you need to make the most of your fishing trip.
Thanks to its compact size and lightweight design, the Elite FS 9 is also easy to mount and use on a kayak. Its rugged construction and reliable performance make it a great choice for any serious kayak fisherman who wants to take their fishing game to the next level.
Kayak Fish Finder Options to Consider
Humminbird SOLIX 10 CHIRP Mega SI+ G3
- Dimensions: 18.3″ x 12″ x 9.25″ in”
- Input: Touchscreen with Keyed Assist
- Display Size: 10.1″
- Display Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels
- Weight: 12 lbs
- Waterproof: IPX7
- Mounting Options: Gimbal
- MEGALIVE compatible
- 360 imaging compatible
- Two-year warranty
The Humminbird SOLIX 10 CHIRP MEGA SI G3 fish finder is a highly advanced device that can be a game-changer for kayak fishermen. With its large touch-screen display and powerful sonar technology, this fish finder can provide you with detailed and accurate information about fish and underwater structures.
The SOLIX 10 CHIRP MEGA SI G3 features advanced CHIRP sonar and MEGA Side Imaging technology that can help you identify fish and structures with incredible clarity and detail. Its touch-screen interface is intuitive and easy to use, allowing you to quickly access and customize its various features and settings.
Despite its advanced capabilities, the SOLIX 10 CHIRP MEGA SI G3 is also designed with kayak fishermen in mind. It features a compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to mount and use on a kayak, and its rugged construction ensures that it can withstand the harsh conditions of the water.
Overall, the Humminbird SOLIX 10 CHIRP MEGA SI G3 is an excellent fish finder for kayak fishermen who want to take their fishing to the next level. Its advanced features, ease of use, and kayak-friendly design make it a great choice for any serious angler.
Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv
- Dimensions: 11.6″ x 7.7″ x 3.9″
- Input: Touchscreen with Keyed Assist
- Display Size: 8.5″ x 5.4″; 10″ diagonal
- Display Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels
- Weight: 4.0 lbs
- Waterproof: IPX7
- Mounting Options: Bail or flush
The Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv is a feature-packed fish finder that is well-suited for kayak fishing. It offers a large and clear touch-screen display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, and advanced sonar technology that can help you locate fish and underwater structures with impressive accuracy.
This fish finder comes with a variety of useful features for kayak fishermen, such as built-in mapping and charting, Wi-Fi connectivity, and compatibility with a wide range of Garmin accessories. It is also rugged and durable, making it a great choice for use in challenging environments.
With its intuitive controls and customizable settings, the ECHOMAP Ultra 106sv can be tailored to your specific needs and preferences. Whether you are fishing in shallow or deep waters, in freshwater or saltwater, this fish finder can provide you with the information you need to make the most of your fishing trip.
Kayak Fish Finder Points to Consider
When choosing a kayak fish finder, there are several important points to consider. On a recent episode of the Northwest Florida Fishing Report, I interviewed Brandon Barton, owner and head kayak fishing guide for Emerald Waters Kayak Charters to pick his brain on kayak fish finders. Brandon has over a decade of kayak fishing experience and he has competed in one of the most prestigious kayak fishing competitions, The Hobie Fishing Worlds. I feel lucky to have been able to glean information from his years of testing, trial, and error on the subject of kayak fish finders. Here are some of the most crucial points to consider:
The transducer is the part of the fish finder that sends and receives sonar signals. For a kayak, a transducer that is compatible with the kayak’s hull type is ideal. Transducers can be mounted inside or outside of the kayak, and some can even be installed on the kayak’s trolling motor.
Q: When you are thinking about a kayak fishfinder especially when it comes to transducer type what’s important to you on a kayak when it comes to transducers?
A: “Well there’s a lot of different transducers out there, they have sonar, you’ve got down scan, you’ve got side scan, and now they’ve got live target/ activetarget, etc. that pretty much shows a live video. In reality, it would be awesome to have all that to use at your disposal, but, the main thing that you really must have to kayak fish is you need sonar. You can get away with doing almost everything you need to do in this area with sonar.”
Some fish finders come with built-in GPS, which can be useful for navigation and marking fishing hotspots. The GPS can also help anglers keep track of their routes and waypoints. I asked Brandon his thoughts on if GPS is a must have.
“I highly recommend having GPS to be able to mark spots and go fish but just to have that option where you can pull up your coordinates [and or if it’s foggy and you need to get back to the launch or getting dark] to be able to navigate your way back to safely to where you launch is huge. So I would say at the very least, you need to have sonar and GPS.
Display Size and Image Quality
A clear and easy-to-read display is important when fishing from a kayak. The size of the display should be considered based on the size of the kayak and the angler’s preferences.
Q: What about your your image quality and your display size?
A: “It really depends on the kayak you’re fishing and what your style is. Over the years I have slowly upgraded to bigger and bigger units. A lot of it was the fact that I do some bass fishing and tournament bass fishing. So I’m running a nine-inch now. I started off with a four-inch and then went to a six and then now all the way up to a nine-inch, but six is kind of the sweet spot. You know, if you’re on the Hobie Pro Angler a bigger kayak, you can go up a little bit, but it’s not necessarily needed. So I’d say if you keep around the six or you can go up to the nine if you got the extra cash and you’re on a bigger kayak.
The power source for the fish finder can come from batteries or the kayak’s power supply. The battery life and capacity should be considered, especially for longer fishing trips.I had to know what Brandon looks for in a power supply.
“So, since I do have a nine-inch screen, and I have side scan, down scan, sonar, and GPS, that does burn up some battery. I’ve messed around with a lot of different battery sources over the years. You know, back in the day, when we had four-inch units, we were using deer feeder batteries. We’ve upgraded and went to lithium batteries, and now I’ve been running that for about a year. So I run a 30 amp hour lithium battery and I’m telling you, you know that 30 amp hour will last me multiple days. Especially when I’m running a trip or doing a tournament, I can’t afford to have my battery go dead and my unit die while I’m out there. So having something that I know that it’s going to at least last a whole day, maybe two is definitely a must-have.”
Depth and Range
The depth and range capabilities of the fish finder are important for finding fish in different depths and distances. Consider the types of water bodies and fishing spots you will be exploring when choosing the depth and range capabilities.
Q: I know that the depth and the range capabilities of the fish finder are important. Do you think that there’s a fish finder that won’t work well offshore? Like, if somebody says, “I don’t fish offshore”, Would you point them to a different fish finder then you would if they do both like you do?
A: Well, I think most of the fish finders nowadays are probably going to cover both. If somebody said they didn’t have, you know, a certain amount of money to spend, they really were trying to low budget and mainly fish inshore, you can definitely get away with a smaller unit. I still wouldn’t recommend getting away from the GPS, but they could probably get away with it if absolutely needed. You know, just having a sonar that shows your depth is the very bare minimum. So a smaller unit, maybe getting away from the GPS if you have to, can help you save some money, but still having that sonar is going to be huge.”
A user-friendly interface is important for ease of use on the water. Consider the buttons, menus, and navigation when choosing a fish finder. I asked Brandon what interface he found to be the most intuitive and user friendly.
I’ve been using Lowrance for many, many years and recently, I purchased a Ti9 and the TI is actually the touchscreen version. For many years, there weren’t really any touchscreen fishfinders that made sense to put on a kayak, they were usually all like 12-inch screens that were made for boats. So when they came out with the smaller units that made sense to put on a kayak, I definitely picked one up. I really like the interface on the Lowrance, it is very simple. It reminds me a lot of like, the iPhone vs. Android debate. I have used Garmin and Humminbird before they’re both great units. It’s hard for me to switch to anything else just like moving from an iPhone to an Android.
The cost of a kayak fish finder can vary greatly, so it’s important to consider your budget and the features you need before making a purchase. That being said, I have learned that when you buy once and cry once, you usually end up ahead in the long run. I asked Brandon how he approaches his budget for kayak fish finders.
“Just thinking about the features that you must have. Do you want sonar? Do you want GPS? Would you like to have downscan/sidescan? Finding the features you want, then finding a price range with the features in it, I think is really important because fishfinders don’t do a great job of holding their value. They get beat up in the sun and any kind of electronic in the saltwater doesn’t seem to always last a very long time. So I would say just spend the money and get the features that you really want and you think you really need and go ahead and pull the trigger. Even if it’s a little outside of your budget. I think that a kayak fish finder is a huge thing. Besides the kayak, the fish finder is probably your next best big purchase that you need to make. Make sure that you get the right stuff for your kayak to make your fishing fun and efficient.”
The Bottom Line about Kayak Fish Finders
The three best kayak fish finders of 2023 offer a range of features and capabilities to enhance any angler’s fishing experience. All provide high-quality displays, reliable GPS capabilities, and advanced sonar technologies. Each fish finder has its unique strengths, making it a great option for different types of anglers and fishing environments. By considering the key features and benefits of each product, you can choose the one that best fits your needs and preferences. With the help of these top-rated kayak fish finders, you can improve your chances of catching more fish and enjoying your time on the water.
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