[2022 Review] Best Fishfinders For Kayaks

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If you own a kayak or any other type of small boat and you’re looking for a fishfinder that can help you find and catch fish, then this guide is for you. From my findings, the best fishfinder for a kayak owner has got to be very compact, easy to install and use, and easy to read in addition to being equipped with a transducer that can show you clear images of fish and other objects underwater. It’s on this note that we present to you our top best fishfinders for kayak and small boat owners.

Note that this list is updated regularly to reflect our best findings as far as fishing with a Kayak is concerned.

Best Fishfinders for Kayak – Our Top Choices

 
 
Product Info
Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv specs and features

Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv Fishfinder - Specs and Features

Deeper Smart Sonar CHIRP+ 2 - Specs and Features

Deeper Smart Sonar CHIRP 2 - Specs and Features

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv specs

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv Fishfinder - Specs and Features

Price$514.99$359.99$179.99
ABOUT DEVICEABOUT DEVICEABOUT DEVICEABOUT DEVICE
Device NameGarmin Striker Vivid 7svDeeper Smart Sonar CHIRP 2Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv
Device TypeFishfinderCastable FishfinderFishfinder
BrandGarminDeeperGarmin
Date ReleasedOctober, 2020May, 2021October, 2020
DESIGNDESIGNDESIGNDESIGN
Case materialThermoplasticABS/TitaniumThermoplastic
Dimension235 x 140 x 58 mm_98 x 174 x 45 mm
Weight770g92g320g
Fishfinder Mounting StyleFlush, Tilt/swivelCasting, TrollingFlush, Tilt/swivel
Waterproof RatingIPX7_IPX7
DISPLAYDISPLAYDISPLAYDISPLAY
Display TypeWVGAvia phoneQSVGA
Display Size7 inchesvia phone4.3 inches
InputKeyedvia phoneKeyed
SONAR FREQUENCYSONAR FREQUENCYSONAR FREQUENCYSONAR FREQUENCY
CHIRP455/800kHzYes455/800kHz
Beam Frequency(s)77/200kHz100kHz, 240kHz, 675kHz77/200kHz
Beamscope2.0°x50° (455kHz) and 1.0°x30° (800kHz), 24°-16° (traditional sonar)20° (240kHz), 47° (100kHz), 7° (675kHz)2.5°x53° (455kHz) and 1.6°x29° (800kHz), 45°/15° (77/200kHz)
Casting Range-394ft-
Scanning Depth500ft (Clearvu and Sidevu), 800ft (traditional)330ft1,900ft (traditional), 750ft (CHIRP)
Transducer Mount StyleTransomCasting, Trolling motorTransom
Transducer Ping Power250W (Traditional), 350W (Clearvu/Sidevu)__500W (Clearvu), 500W (traditional)
BATTERYBATTERYBATTERYBATTERY
Battery LifeExternal batteryUp to 15hrsExternal battery
Charging ModeCharging cableUSB chargerCharging cable
MISCELLANEOUSMISCELLANEOUSMISCELLANEOUSMISCELLANEOUS
Inbuilt GPSYesYesYes
MapQuickdraw Contour mappingBathymetric mapQuickdraw Contour mapping
Preloaded MapsNoNoNo
Show Boat SpeedYesYesYes
Water temperatureYesYesYes
Show Water DepthYesYesYes
NMEA SupportNoNoNo

A Quick Checklist – Tips to Choosing The Right Fish Finder For a Kayak

Before we proceed there are a few important criteria you should consider to help you choose the right fish finder for your kayak. These are also the factors I took into consideration before coming up with my recommendations.

  1. Durability and Waterproof Rating
  2. This isn’t specific to kayaks, if you are searching for a fish finder for any boat, you want one that’s very durable and swim-proof. A durable fishfinder has non-corrosive parts and can withstand the rigors and unforeseen circumstances associated with fishing. You want to be as focused as possible without worrying about damaging the fishfinder.

  3. Display Should be Easy to Read
  4. The display of a fishfinder is a very critical part of a fishfinder that cannot be over-emphasized because it offers the medium to see what’s in the water. Thus, you want a fish finder with an easy-to-read display even under direct sunlight. And if you decide to go with a castable fishfinder, your phone display should be bright and easy to read especially under sunlight.

  5. It Should be Compact
  6. For kayak and other small boat owners, space is everything. The best fishfinder for a kayak has to be very compact and easy to move around. So you have to take into consideration the available space on your kayak before choosing a fish finder.

  7. Easy Installation and Navigation
  8. Even well-experienced angulars don’t want a complicated setup and a hard to operate fish finder. The ideal fish finder for not just a kayak but any other type of boat has to be easy to install and setup, and as well should be easy to use. You want a fishfinder that gets you going easily and the navigation option should be easy to use. Some fish finders have a touch-sensitive screen that might not be easy to operate with a wet finger, however, a combination of touchscreen and buttons makes more sense.

  9. Mounting Option
  10. You should also consider the available mounting option, where will the fish finder be mounted? Most fish finders are designed to be mounted on the transom, while others are designed to be mounted on the hull or stern of a boat. Meanwhile, the display can easily be mounted on the gunwale of your boat.

  11. Inbuilt GPS
  12. Inbuilt GPS is an important component in a fish finder that offer navigational features which of course can better your experience on the water. With inbuilt GPS in a fish finder, you will be able to map your routes, mark your favorite spots like boat ramps and fish-holding spots as well as track your boat speed. Some fish finders also support offline maps that can help you navigate effortlessly.

Best Fishfinders for Kayak 2022 Review

1. Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv

Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv

Frequency: 150/240kHz(Traditional sonar) 455kHz/800kHz(Clearvu/Sidevu) | Inbuilt GPS: Yes | Sonar beams: Traditional: 24°-16° (455kHz: 2°x50°)(800kHz: 1°x30°) | Weight: 770g Display size: 7 inches Scanning Depth: (Clearvu and Sidevu: 500ft) (Traditional: 800ft)

This is not the most compact fishfinder on this list, however, if you have got some ample space on your kayak and a little more budget, then the Garmin Striker Vivid 7sv is an outstanding fishfinder that can help you catch more fish. Some of the things I like about this fishfinder is that it’s very easy to install and setup, and it also has a vivid display that’s easy to read even under direct sunlight. Moreover, it ships with the Garmin GT52-HW transducer that offers CHIRP in traditional, Clearvu and Sidevu sonars. While the traditional sonar shows you clear images of what’s under your boat, the Clearvu sonar shows you very clear images of what’s under your both. Meanwhile, the Sidevu sonar will show you very clear images of what’s on both sides of your both.

The Clearvu and Sidevu sonars scan at higher frequencies and thus will show you near-photographic images of what’s under and to the sides of your both. With a scanning depth of 800ft for the traditional sonar and 500ft for the Clearvu and Sidevu sonars, the Striker Vivid 7sv is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

The Striker Vivid 7sv also has a built-in GPS that allows you to see boat speed, mark your favorite spots (waypoints) and also generate 1° contour maps as you travel on the water. You will also see the water temperature and you can download maps generated by other users using the Active Captain app.

Although this fishfinder doesn’t have touchscreen support, it has a couple of keys that make it easy to navigate. And with the option to choose from 11 color pallets makes it a lot easier to see and catch fish. The transducer can be installed on the transom or attached to a trolling motor while the display comes with a swivel/tilt anchor that can easily be attached to the gunwale.

The Striker Vivid 7sv can be connected to the boat’s 12V power system or alternatively, you can connect it to any other 12V lead-acid rechargeable battery system.

So, if you’re looking for accuracy, a vivid display that is easy to read, and easy to install fishfinder, the Striker Vivid 7sv is certainly a bang for the buck and one of the best fishfinders for kayaks.

Pros

  • Sturdily built and easy to install.
  • The high-end transducer offer high accuracy
  • Display is vivid and easy to read.
  • Has inbuilt GPS.

Cons

  • Quite expensive.
  • Lacks a chartplotter.

2. Deeper CHIRP 2

Deeper CHIRP 2
Deeper CHIRP 2 review

Frequency: 100kHz/240kHz/675kHz | Battery Life: 15hrs | Inbuilt GPS: Yes | Sonar beams: 47° (100kHz), 20° (240kHz), 7° (675kHz) | Weight: 92g Casting range: 394ft Scanning Depth: 330ft

Another outstanding fishfinder I highly recommend for kayak owners is the Deeper CHIRP 2. It’s a very compact and lightweight castable fishfinder you wouldn’t have any problem carrying along on your kayak or any other type of small boat. You can troll from your kayak using a flexible arm mount sold separately or cast it out. It has a whopping 394ft casting range, the longest in the list of castable fishfinders we reviewed. The CHIRP 2 with Wi-Fi maintains a stable connection even when cast out wide over 150ft apart and streams data to your phone effortlessly so that you can see and catch fish in real-time.

Like other castable fishfinders, the CHIRP 2 works by streaming data directly to your phone, in other words, your phone act as a display. You will need to install the Fish Deeper app which is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. You will need to pair the sonar and your phone from the app, the setup process is easy and it’s also very easy to use.

The CHIRP 2 is one of the very few castable fishfinders that offers CHIRP frequency. It offers three frequency modes; 100kHz, 240kHz, and 675kHz frequencies with 47°, 20°, and 7° beamscopes respectively, and a maximum scanning depth of 330ft. This gives you options to scan a wider area using a low frequency, then use the higher frequency to horn in on your target. It has a target separation of 0.4 inch which results in high-quality imagery. You can choose to view fish as symbols which makes it easier to identify where the fish are biting.

There is an inbuilt GPS in the CHIRP 2, this enables it to scan and generate a bathymetric map of the bottom structure of the water. This map can serve as a reference point allowing you to mark important spots. The CHIRP 2 will also show you the water temperature as well as water depth.

Also worthy of note is the amazing battery life of the CHIRP 2. It has a long battery life of up to 15hrs, and with GPS enabled, it has about 9hrs of battery life. It comes with a rechargeable 1300mAh lithium-ion inbuilt battery that takes less than an hour to fully charge, thanks to the fast charging technology.

Clearly, the CHIRP 2 can be a great addition to your fishing gear. It’s compact, has a long battery life and offers incredible sonar readings that can help you catch more fish. It’s indeed one of the best fishfinders for kayaks.

Pros

  • Very portable and studily built with titanium.
  • Up to 15hrs of battery life.
  • Easy to setup and use.
  • Has inbuilt GPS.
  • Highly accurate and also great for ice fishing.

Cons

  • Not suiltable for very shallow water below 6ft.
  • Quiet expensive.

3. Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv

Frequency: 77/200kHz(Traditional sonar) 455kHz/800kHz(Clearvu) | Inbuilt GPS: Yes | Sonar beams: Traditional: 15°- 45°, Clearvu: (455kHz: 2.5°x53°)(800kHz: 1.6°x29°) | Weight: 320g Display size: 4.3 inches Scanning Depth: (Clearvu: 750ft) (Traditional: 1900ft)

With a highly sensitive transducer and a very durable and compact design, the Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv is no doubt one of the best fishfinders for kayak owners. It’s also easy to install and use and has a bright and easy to read display as well as features an inbuilt GPS and quickdraw contours mapping that lets you map your path as you travel on the water.

The Striker Vivid 4cv is one of the models in the Striker Vivid Series. It’s the lowest in the rank, yet a decent fishfinder. It has a 4.3 inches display that is bright and easy to read. It features lots of vivid colors to choose from and also easy to navigate using the button pads.

This fishfinder comes with a GT20-TM transducer that combines traditional and Clearvu sonar. While the traditional sonar shows you images of fishes and other objects passing under your both, the Clearvu CHIRP sonar can show you very clear images of objects and fishes passing under your boat. At a 1900ft maximum depth for the traditional sonar and 750ft for the Clervu sonar, the Striker Vivid 4cv is a suitable choice for the lake, pond and coastal water fishing

The traditional sonar operates at 77/200kHz frequencies, you will not get CHIRP in the traditional sonar. You will need to upgrade to the GT22HW-TM or GT23M-TM transducer to get CHIRP in the traditional sonar. However, the Clearvu sonar offers CHIRP at 455/800kHz frequencies, as a result, it can show you near-photographic images of fishes passing under your boat.

The Striker Vivid 4cv has inbuilt GPS which comes in handy in allowing you to mark docks, boat ramps, create waypoints and routes. This will make your travel on the water more efficient and faster. It also shows your boat speed allowing you to plan your travel better while the transducer shows real-time water temperature.

Furthermore, the inbuilt GPS will allow you to generate a 1° Contours map as you travel on water. This is strictly a user-generated map that can serve as a reference point for future outings on the water.

The GT20-TM transducer can be mounted on the transom or on the trolling motor, while the fishfinder itself comes with a tilt/swivel mount that can be anchored on the gunwale of your boat. You can either connect this fishfinder to a 12V power system on your boat or you can use a separate 12V battery source to power it.

Pros

  • Sturdy and portable.
  • Has inbuilt GPS.
  • Easy to read display even under sunlight.
  • Shows clear images of fish and bottom structures.

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well in water less than 7ft deep.

4. Deeper Pro Plus 2

Deeper Pro Plus 2

Frequency: 100kHz/240kHz/675kHz | Battery Life: 9hrs | Inbuilt GPS: Yes | Sonar beams: 47° (100kHz), 20° (240kHz), 7° (675kHz) | Weight: 92g Casting range: 330ft Scanning Depth: 330ft

The Pro Plus 2 is another outstanding castable fishfinder from Deeper and no doubt one of the very best fishfinders for kayaks. It’s very durable, compact, lightweight and highly recommended for kayak or small boat owners. Beyond the awesome design, this fishfinder is packed with hardware that makes it one of the best castable fishfinders.

Just like the CHIRP 2, you’ll need to install the Deeper App on your phone and then pair it with the Pro Plus 2 via a WiFi connection. The pairing process is straightforward and easy. The app is compatible with both Android 6.0+ and iOS 13.0+ smartphones. It doesn’t require internet access to work, it will send scanned data to your phone when you are not connected to the internet and it has a maximum casting range of 330ft. Moreover, the stability of the connection is top-notch.

Trolling the Pro Plus 2 from your kayak at a slow speed of 2mph gives the best result. Or perhaps, you can cast it out. Though, you will need a strong line to get the best result. The Pro Plus 2 scans at a maximum depth of 330ft, thus it’s ideal for lake, pond, and coastal water fishing. Note that this fishfinder seems to perform poorly at a depth below 6ft.

The Deeper Pro Plus 2 offers three frequency modes, a 100kHz, 240kHz, and 675kHz with 47°, 20°, and 7° beamscopes respectively. The depth range is 330ft, and it sends up to 15 scans per second with a target separation of 0.4 inch which results in a crisp-clear image of fishes and other objects underwater.

It has an inbuilt GPS that enables the sonar to scan and generate a bathymetric map of bottom structures. It will also show the water temperature and depth. This map comes in handy for reference purposes.

The Pro Plus 2 is equipped with a 950mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It takes just over an hour to fully charge this sonar and it can last up to 9hrs.

If you are looking for a compact and durable fishfinder that can show you clear images of fish, then you should checkout the Deeper Pro Plus 2. It’s one of the best castable fishfinders for kayaks and other small boat owners.

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight and durably built.
  • Has inbuilt GPS.
  • Easy to read display even under sunlight.
  • Shows clear images of fish.

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well in water less than 6ft deep.
  • Night mode requires fishing cover which is sold separately.
  • Casting out gives the best result, as mounting on the side can pick false signals.

5. Garmin Striker Cast GPS

Garmin Striker Cast GPS

Frequency: 260kHz/455kHz | Battery Life: 10hrs | Inbuilt GPS: Yes | Sonar beams: 22° x 63° (260kHz), 9° x 14° (455kHz) | Weight: 75g Casting range: 200ft Scanning Depth: 150ft

The Striker Cast from Garmin is one of the best castable fishfinders for many good reasons. It’s compact, lightweight and also durable. So, if you are looking for a good fishfinder for your kayak, it’s worth considering.

This fishfinder in conjunction with the Striker Cast app will show you crisp clear images of fishes and other objects underwater. The app is available on both the Apple apps store and Google Playstore, and it’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices. You need to install the app on your phone, put the Striker Cast on the water, then pair both. The Striker Cast is designed to automatically power on when on the water and it turns off when out of the water.

It offers two frequency modes, 260kHz and 455kHz with a scanning depth of fewer than 2ft to 150ft. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth connection which from our findings is very stable even at the maximum range of 200ft. You can troll at a low speed from your kayak or cast the sonar with a reliable line. It works well for both freshwater and saltwater, although doesn’t work well in very shallow water below 3ft. So, while you might want to use this in a lake or pond, it is recommended you seek out the deepest part of the pond or lake. This sonar will show you water temperature and depth. You can choose to see fish in the traditional 2D format or use Fish icons which is easier.

The Striker Cast comes in two models, GPS and no-GPS. If you choose to get the GPS model, you will be able to generate a 1° contour map which can serve as a reference point for future trips. You can also mark where you found the most fish or other favorite spots on the map. Moreover, you can download maps from other users in the Garmin Quickdraw community.

The battery life of the Striker Cast is impressive. It comes with a rechargeable battery and you can get up to 10hrs of battery life. Charging is via a USB charger cradle and it takes about 2hrs to fully charge. When the sonar is not in the water, it will automatically turn off after 2 minutes, this help elongates the battery life.

So, if you’re looking for a cheap and compact fishfinder for your kayak or small boat, take a look at the Striker Cast.

Pros

  • Very compact and lightweight design.
  • Very easy to setup and use.
  • Maintains stable connection.
  • 1° contour maps can serve as reference points.
  • 8hrs or more battery life.
  • App has a neat interface, interesting features and is easy to use.
  • Gives accurate temperature and depth readings especially in deepwater.
  • Shows an accurate reading of where the fish are biting.

Cons

  • Not ideal for ice fishing.
  • Takes 2 hrs to fully charge.
  • There is only one anchor point on the sonar, more anchor points would have been better.

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