What makes fishing difficult is locating the spot where you can fish effectively. While there are a lot of tips that would guide you in finding these spots, some anglers, especially beginners, might find this task difficult. This is why you need the necessary accessory to find fish.
Fishfinders are very helpful in locating your bait, identifying the water depth, and knowing where fish is abundant. We have reviewed and compared the eight best fish finders for the money you can choose from. This article will also explain why fish finders are necessary for you as an angler and the different things to consider in getting the right one.
Top 8 Fish Finders Table
|1. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer||750 ft max||1.9 x 2.9 in||3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 in||.5 lbs|
|2. Lucky FFC1108-1 Portable Fish Finder||328 ft max||2 in||5.9 x 3.9 x 3.9 in||1.1 lbs|
|3. Lucky FF1108-1CT Portable Fish Finder||328 ft max||2.4 in||5.31 x 2.76 x 1.1 in||.88 lbs|
|4. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder||328 ft max||2.4 in||9.6 x 2.2 x 5.9 in||1.09 lbs|
|5. HawkEye FishTrax 1 Fish Finder||240 ft max||3 in||6 x 3 x 2 in||.64 lbs|
|6. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder||240 ft max||2 x 1.6 in||6 x 3 x 2 in||.6 lbs|
|7. Raymarine Dragonfly Pro Chirp Fish Finder||900 ft max||6 in||13.78 x 13.78 x 13.78 in||2.3 lbs|
|8. NorCross HawkEye F33P Fish Finder||99.9 ft max||2.3 in||6 x 3 x 2 in||.7 lbs|
What is a fish finder and why do you need one?
Some anglers might think that fish finders are unnecessary and that it could just be an added cost. However, this is a misconception. First, not all fish finders are costly. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a fish finder. There are a lot of inexpensive electronics out there you can use (and most of them are on this list!). Also, these basic fish finders have benefits you might need in your fishing – benefits that outweigh their costs.
So, what is a fish finder, and why do you need to buy one? These are just some of the reasons:
In locating bait
Sometimes, you might find it challenging to locate your bait once it is on the surface. When baits are suspended in the water column, the sounder on your fish finder can locate them. You won’t regret purchasing a fish finder in times when you can’t place your bait on a dependable spot.
Finding structures or flat areas
When you want to catch a particular fish species, you would like to use your electronics. Finding the structure or the flat areas will help you identify the depth of the bottom, which is at your advantage when you are in an unfamiliar area where you do not usually fish and are not used to the fishing spots. With this, you would be avoiding guesswork and would have a more systematic way of fishing.
Great when diving off the kayak
Some want to dive off their kayak for recreation. However, they have to make sure first the depth of the water to avoid hitting any reef structure at the bottom. To save time, fish finders could predict the deep, and you could identify if a particular area is a safe spot to dive into.
Aside from all these, a fish finder has several handy features, like the transducers, dual-screen options, and the like.
What makes a good fishfinder?
Now that you know the importance of a fish finder, you need to know how to find a great one. It would be best to consider several factors when choosing these electronics, and we listed all of them for you. You can use this as a guideline to identify the best fish finder for the money when you plan to purchase one.
Seeing the reading on display of your fish finder is one crucial thing you need when you go out fishing. This can be achieved best only when your fish finder has excellent power. Fishfinders with high wattage display readings faster compared to those with low wattage.
Fishfinders with low wattage would display slowly and work best when you are fishing in shallow water.
Pixels are used when measuring screen resolution. Greater pixels on your screen would mean greater screen resolution. Through this, you can see more details on the screen. Aside from the screen resolution, you also want to consider the screen size for a more accurate display. Screen resolutions that are no less than 240 x 160 pixels work best. But you can also go higher and pick those screen resolutions with a maximum of 640 x 640 pixels.
Another essential part of a fish finder is transducers. They emit sonar waves and sonar signals to the water. Usually, you need to install the transducers to your fish finder as they are sometimes out of the box. However, you can easily mount it to your electronics. You would want to consider that cone angle. A wider cone angle means more area coverage.
If you are an angler who uses in-hull or thru-hull transducers, it would be great to choose that which has plastic housing for hulls made of metal or fiberglass. However, for hulls made of aluminum and steel, it would be best to use transducers with stainless steel housing. Bronze housing is more appropriate for wood hulls.
As mentioned, wider cone angles could give you more coverage. Transducer cones have angles that range from 9 to 60 degrees. If you are an angler fishing in different water depths, choosing a 20-degree cone would be best. While wider angles give you wider coverage, widening the angle also means lessened sensitivity when you fish in deep waters, so you need to choose carefully.
Kayak fish finders may have dual, single, or multiple frequencies. For dual-frequency transducers, 20 and 30-degree cones are available. A lot of transducers may come with around 50 up to 200 kHz. Fishing on shallow water means needing higher frequencies like 192 or 200 kHz. Deepwater fishing requires kayak fish finders of lower frequency.
In buying your kayak fish finder, you, of course, want to examine your kayak. Is there enough space on which you can place your fishfinder? Your kayak must have enough space to hold cable rods and accommodate a fish finder of sufficient screen size that would allow you to see details. For larger kayaks, you might want to choose fish finders with a 5-inch screen. There are also smaller screen sizes, around 3.5-4 inches, for kayaks of small sizes.
8 Best Fish Finders for the Money
1. Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer
Because of its high-frequency sonar, Garmin Striker 4 could show you an almost photographic representation of what is around you as you fish. The detailed representations of structures, objects, and fish could guide you on where to go.
It could be used and installed easily; the device is available in screen sizes of 3.5 inches, 5 inches, or 7 inches, depending on what suits your needs. You can examine depths even at 1,600 feet below (for freshwater) and 750 feet (for saltwater).
This device could also help you check your speed to guide you as you troll with your lure. Plus, its GPS is also really helpful in navigating.
- Features GPS
- Near-photographic representation
- Could measure up to 1,600 feet
- Very detailed
- Come in different sizes
- Difficult to read under the sunlight
2. Lucky Portable Fishfinder with Sonar Transducer and LCD Display
This fish finder’s many functions are detecting the depth of water, locating fish, weeds, and rocks, and giving a graphical representation of your surroundings. It’s very portable. You can even hang it around your neck, so you don’t need to carry it around with your hands. This can work on any water and in different conditions: in lakes, sea, and even on ice! Kayaks in motion with a speed less than 5mph can use this fish finder.
The transducer detector of this device is in a range of 45-degree cone underwater, giving you wider area coverage. You can detect up to 3 feet to 328 feet from the sonar sensor. This comes with a transducer float and a 25 feet cable.
You can use this continuously for around four to five hours with new batteries. Its displays also feature backlight modes and fish alarms.
- 45-degree sensor range
- Can detect up to 328 feet
- It comes with 25 feet cable and floater
- Very portable
- It can’t be used for long hours continuously
3. Lucky Portable Fish Finder Wired Sonar Sensor Transducer
This fish finder has a 45-degree detect angle and could detect up to 100 meters from the surface. The underwater contour displays of this fish finder are already updated, clearer, and more professional. It is also easier to set up the features of this device like its fish alarm, depth alarm, screen brightness, fish icons, and language.
You can recharge this fish finder for greater power, as it comes with a USB cable for charging. When in full charge, this device could last up to 5 hours. Because you can easily carry this around, this is among the best portable fish finders for kayak fishing.
- It comes with a cable charger
- 45-degree detect angle
- Could detect up to 100 meters
- Screen features are easy to adjust
- Some reviews expressed trouble with receiving the unit
4. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
What’s great about this fish finder is that you can use it even at night because of its backlight mode. It can be used in any fishing environment like lakes and rivers. Plus, this comes with a 25 ft cable and a transducer float. You can also use its battery save mode to make it work for a longer time. This could detect up to 348 feet from the surface. This device comes with a two-year warranty, so you are guaranteed great customer service.
- It comes with transducer float and 25 ft cable
- Could detect up to 348 feet
- Two-year warranty
- Most effective only in shallower waters
5. HawkEye FishTrax 1 with Virtuview Icon Display
What’s great about this fish finder is that it is very suited for beginners because of the detailed manual that comes along with it. Convenient, this fish finder is in full-color HD display, making it clearer and easy to comprehend. Along with it is the 100-level sensitivity adjustment. It features an auto-zoom to enhance your fishing experience that would help you view your target more accurately.
This fish finder also allows you to see fish of different sizes. Fish sizes can also be determined through the sonar echoes you would see on screen, which can be activated by turning off the fish icon. It could last 24 hours with a AAA battery. It could display depth up to a maximum of 120 feet.
- Full HD Color Display
- Easy to carry and mount on your kayak
- Small screen, icons, and numbers
6. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color Virtuview Display
This version of Hawiye Fishtrax features an intelligence sonar that is dual-frequency and contains a fish depth identifier. With its HD Color Display, you could quickly locate fish and read the depth of the water. It features a 14-degree beam angle for wider coverage and has bottom composition indicators to know what’s in the water. This also has a fish alarm you could easily hear to alert you of nearby fish.
What makes this suited for you is also its pair of functional airwave frequencies that allow you to fine-tune the sonar readings of the device effortlessly. With the correct accessory, you can easily mount this device on your boat or your kayak. Power this with 4 AAA batteries, and it could last longer.
- 14-degree beam angle
- Audible fish alarm
- Two functional airwave frequencies
- Screen size could be more significant to make numbers easier to read
7. Raymarine Dragonfly Pro CHIRP Fish Finder
This elegant fish finder already has a built-in GPS to help you navigate as you fish. At 4.3 inches, this device is very portable, and you can use this in any weather. It has a dual-channel sonar that provides you with a clearer image of the depth of water. This covers around 20,000 lakes and rivers of the US and Canada.
This fish finder is also straightforward to mount. If you want reality mapping, you can use this device and an App called Wi-Fish for a more enjoyable fishing experience.
- Double-channel sonar
- It can be used in different weathers
- Bright display
- You may have problems with the device’s sun cover
8. NorCross HawkEye F33P Fish Finder
This fish finder is small enough to fit in your hands, making it easy to carry around. Yet, despite its size, you can be assured that Norcross HawkEye fish finder could serve you your fishing needs. Among its many features is its sonar sensor, which has a 25-degree beam angle, which can precisely tell you water depths and readings on bottom structures even up to around 100 feet!
The versatility of this electronic is also manifested by how you could use it no matter what temperature is – even during extreme conditions like when it’s freezing at zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Aside from this, Norcross HawkEye also has features like its sonar sensor, which you can easily mount on your kayak and which can float as well, an integrated fish identifier, four sensitivity settings, and its excellent liquid crystal icon display.
- 25-degree sonar beam angle
- Could read depth from 1.5 to 99.9 feet
- Can operate in extreme temperature conditions
- It can be used continuously for 20 hours with AAA batteries
- Exceptional display
- An obtrusive fish alarm sound
Now that you know everything you need to consider in finding the best fish finder for the money, you’re ready to choose and weigh what would work for you as a beginner or intermediate angler.