Kayak fishing is exploding in popularity. More and more people are finally migrating from the shores of their favorite pond and lake and venturing into the best spots that can’t be reached by foot, or boat! Kayak fishing gives anglers an edge over everyone else as their small profiles on the water get them in tighter spots where big fish always seem to lurk. But owning a kayak may not be enough for many anglers, which is why adding equipment traditionally saved for bigger boats has become an attractive option. We’re going to show you the best kayak fish finder on the market today and help you pick the right one for your ‘yak!
Best Kayak Fish Finder – Guidelines
Given how little space you have in a kayak, compared to a good sized boat, size and weight of a fish finder is an absolute essential factor in determining the right one for you. Screens over 6″ will likely be too bulky. Ideal placement of a fish finder differs for anglers, but the majority of anglers prefer the fish finder between their legs in front of them, as if it were taking the position of a steering wheel of a car. This gives you the best viewing angles as well as easy access to all its functions. Therefore, mounting a fish finder with a screen larger than 6″ may not be possible. Stick with a finder 6″ or less.
Color vs Grayscale Screens?
Conventional wisdom says color screens are more advanced and should be considered superior over grayscale, but that’s simply not true in all cases. Depending on the technology of the fish finder you use, you may prefer grayscale over color. Additionally, grayscale tends to prevent washout from sunlight better than color screens. This isn’t true with all models, however.
GPS or non-GPS?
More and more videos can be seen on YouTube and other video sites of anglers fishing deep waters like the great lakes or the ocean in their kayaks. Now, while that’s not really recommended, it is possible you may need a GPS unit to help navigate where you are. For most kayak anglers, however, the body of water is relatively small and easy to navigate by site. However, with a GPS unit, you will be able to plot your favorite spots so you can return to them when the bite isn’t as strong in a new area. Keep in mind, a GPS unit will be slightly larger than a non-GPS unit, despite the screen size.
Power via marine battery or battery pack?
Some of the more portable fish finders are equipped for common commercial batteries with a waterproof case directly attached to the unit. You may want to go this route if you’d rather not add the weight of a marine battery to your Kayak. Keep in mind, however, the battery life of those units typically last less than five or six hours. Whereas a marine battery will give you hours and hours of use.
Best Kayak Fish Finder – Top 3
Our favorite fish finder is the Raymarine Dragonfly 6. It’s a Navionics and Fishfinder combo packed with features. Starting with a brilliant 5.7″ color screen in wonderful 640×480 resolution, you will have a sharp image when scanning the bottom for fish. Its three button panel make it one of the easiest to learn how to use. Raymarine predicts users will become experts with their equipment in minutes rather than days and weeks with other products. Other exciting features include amazing CHIRP technology, which provides a crystal clear down image of the bottom. It’s 50-channel GPS gives you accurate locations when you’re marking hotspots in your favorite fishing hole. While a higher priced unit, we feel you cannot go wrong with the Dragonfly 6. It’s certainly worth looking at seriously as your goto fish finder.
Another great option is the Humminbird 561 DI fish finder. It’s a grayscale 3D Sonar that gives you great detail of the bottom like the Dragonfly. While not color, arguably this fish finder performs the best in direct sunlight. At 5″ the screen is a manageable size. 320×320 resolution is not top of the line, but detailed enough to help spot fish hiding in cover. This unit is strictly a fish finder; no GPS available. A sturdy, lightweight option for your kayak that will give you great pictures of the bottom as you seek your next trophy!
Finally, rounding out our Top 3 is the Garmin 551 DV Worldwide fish finder. With a 5″ display in brilliant 480×640 resolution, this color fish finder will provide vivid 3d imagery of the bottom. Dual sonar technology gives crisp, clean 3d imagery of the bottom while providing clear fish arch returns. Incredibly accurate in shallow water to depths as much as 2300 feet, this fish finder will be all you need no matter where you take your kayak!