When you embark on a fishing venture with the intention to catch at least one catfish then a regular fish finder will most probably fail to provide the desired results.
It’s not because the water has run dry of the species, but because catfish prefer a special habitat, deep in freshwaters or near rocky shorelines.
This means you need the best fish finder for catfish on-board to become your eyes and ears in such waters to help you easily detect the desired finned target without spending hours on end.
Fish finders designed for catfish have better sonar coverage that can travel deeper in order to reach river beds to search for prey.
High quality graphical display along with extra performance features like built-in mapping and navigation mechanisms help you become the master of a water territory so as to reach productive sections of water without bumping into unnecessary obstacles.
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Best Fish Finder for Catfish 2023 Reviews
However, we still come across anglers – amateurs and pros – complaining about their best fish finders not delivering as best results as expected. It is mainly due to investing in a faulty device.
To ensure you steer clear of such horrible experiences and instead land directly on the best suited product, we’ve listed 10 best fish finders for catfish carrying excellent value.
A short but detailed buyer’s guide towards the end highlights key aspects that will help you reach the best possible decision.
Top Fish Finder for Catfish Comparison Table
1. Lowrance Hook2 5 – Best 5-inch Fish Finder for Catfish with SplitShot Transducer
Lowrance Hook2 5 is always at the forefront among angler’s search due to its balanced price, neither overly expensive nor ridiculously cheap, and better sonar functioning.
Whether you’re going after large catfish or smaller crappies, you’ll definitely find them because its broader sonar coverage with SplitShot transducer will accurately detect the finned target even if submerged near bottom.
The decent 5” large screen depicts sonar information containing fish arches and structure in such a clear and real-like picture that there doesn’t remain any need for straining eyes or guessing which icon stands for what.
Moreover, the setup and operating process is also hassle-free due to the variably mounting transducer and phone-like keyed menu along with auto-tuning sonar.
So if I were you, I would definitely give this to a younger one in my family who’s planning to join the sport.
Pro angler or not, you’ll not get lost nor will you experience any dry spell since this one comes loaded with inland lake maps containing data about thousands of lakes in the U.S.
Just pick a waterbody and jump in the game with confidence.
- Reasonable price.
- Beginner-friendly installation and use.
- Broader sonar coverage with SplitShot transducer quickly and accurately detects target.
- Screen presents a clear and sharp view of fish arches and structure.
- Pre-installed inland mapping.
- Customer service is disappointing.
- Transducer isn’t suitable for ice fishing.
Lowrance Hook2 5 is among the best inexpensive fish finders for catfish due to its high functioning sonar and clear viewing of fish activity around the vessel. Avid anglers and beginners go for this unit blindly because its set up and use is extremely easy.
2. Humminbird Helix7 – Best Top Rated Chirp MSI G3 Fish Finder for Catfish
Coming across a fish finder that carries high-tech features like Mega Side Imaging and a pretty large screen at quite a competitive price is once in a blue moon chance that’s why fishermen very seldomly ignore Humminbird Helix7 Chirp MSI model.
As mentioned, its magical performance is attributed to Mega Side and Down Imaging that provides a detailed search of over 100ft radius in surrounding waters and immediately detects presence of gilled targets around your watercraft.
You’ll be surprised to see the clarity of view as it’s so clear and bright that for a second one feels like he is watching an HD quality live footage.
The 7” screen is pretty large to display multiple information at once without getting cluttered yet you have the option of SwitchFire sonar to allow only that data to be revealed on the display that you find absolutely necessary.
Last but not the least, with its bluetooth connectivity and map charts the prospect of meandering around looking for previous productive spots is abolished as you’ll be able to row directly towards fruitful locations or save waypoints and fish active spots along the way for revisiting.
- Higher prospect of detecting fish with Mega Side and Down Imaging.
- Unmatchable clarity of view on 7” large and bright screen.
- Amount of information presented at once can be controlled.
- Map charts help anglers reach productive spots without meandering around.
- Set up and running procedure is time-consuming and demanding.
- Preloaded basemap charts have incomplete information.
If you’re an avid fisherman looking for a high-end fish tracking unit at a pretty competitive price, going for Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp MSI will be the most fulfilling option. Its superior sonar functions and clarity of view make fish tracking a breeze.
3. LUCKY Handheld – Best Movable Fish Finder for Catfish
Who said only big names like Lowrance and Humminbird can yield more fish for you? This Lucky Handheld fish finder is a living proof of the fact that even a small, portable and inexpensive device can lend you fruitful results.
This small gadget can accompany you on any fishing venture whether it’s ice fishing, kayak fishing, offshore fishing or dock fishing.
More impressive is the promise of always becoming lucky when it comes to catching the targeted species of fish, be it a trout, crappie, a catfish or any other species.
No, it’s not because of some voodoo practice, just an efficient sonar sensor. It can be called magical as not a single fish can outmaneuver its search within a depth range of 1m-100m (3ft-328ft).
What fishers, especially ambitious ones, find more impressive is the large time window that it offers to land objects of one’s interest.
A 4-5 hours time span is enough to locate a fish which can be extended to almost 8-9 hours by using battery saving mode if you want to catch more fish.
Additionally, nighttime darkness will not compel you to pack up and return because you’ve option of using a backlight format along with a fish alarm.
So even if you miss a target on the screen, the fish alarm is still there to notify you of its presence. Now you know how it makes you a lucky fisherman every time.
If you are looking for a space-efficient, portable and budget-friendly fishfinder that can yield fruit, think of purchasing the Lucky Handheld fishfinder. The unit can quickly track crappie, trout, catfish or any other targeted species in numerous fishing ventures at any time of the day or night.
4. Deeper Pro+Smart – Best Sonar Fish Finder for Catfish
Deeper Pro+Smart Sonar fish finder is like a smart and sneaky stalker with obsessive attention for fish.
All it takes for you is to sync it to your phone – as wireless connectivity relieves you from the trouble of packing internet devices – and toss the transducer in water. Rest is just a game of waiting which won’t be longer than a few minutes.
Thanks to its dualbeam sonar, you’ll get a wholesome scan of the surrounding territory, both horizontally across the waterbody and into depth up to 330ft and 260ft respectively.
In such a foolproof search only a magic spell can prevent a fish from appearing on your radar.
It’s so depressing when you’ve no idea what route to follow to return to a fish hotspot where you previously captured some prey.
Thanks to its built-in GPS, not only do you get accurate coordinates to navigate with confidence but also have the option to note down your observations pertaining to fish, bottom contours, rocks and vegetation. This data is stored in a Lake Book from where you could easily review it anytime.
What really seals the deal is that it delivers the same impressive performance in any fishing situation – ice fishing, offshore fishing, or shoreline fishing.
The price might seem a tad bit expensive as compared to other portable units but the assurance of returning with a catch works like a balm for your upset budget.
- Easily transportable.
- GPS system offers accurate navigation along with the option of saving personal notes.
- Dualbeam sonar quickly detects fish.
- Suitable for a variety of fishing situations.
- Shows the same fish icon repeatedly when the watercraft is on a standstill.
- Battery doesn’t last for long.
Deeper Pro+Smart is an all rounder as it can offer efficient performance in any kind of fishing situation. Its active GPS mechanism and quick sonar scan make it hands down the best portable fish finder for catfish as well as general fishing.
5. iBobber – Best Wireless Smart (Bundle) Fish Finder for Catfish
iBobber Smart fish finder has one aim: to show how less becomes more. This might seem like a minion in front of exalted names like Humminbird and Lowrance yet it will let you have an enjoyable getaway.
We said enjoyable because you’ll return with a catfish to grill, or any other fish of your choice.
To show you how less is more, it comes with minimalistic techniques required for setup and operation. Piqued your interest? That’s exactly what it was aiming for. This characteristic alone attracts weekend warriors and novice anglers like honey bees to nectar.
They fall hook line and sinker when it reveals features like wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. You can safely take out your phone for syncing it with the unit as the package comes with a waterproof phone case.
It’s not a pro but still smart enough to track a fish for you to imprison whether you’re kayaking, rowing a canoe or perched on a dock.
- Simple to operate.
- Features wireless and bluetooth connectivity for added convenience.
- Comes with a waterproof phone case.
- Disconnects when casted at a distance.
- Only suitable for occasional fishers and newbies.
- Doesn’t perform well in deep sea fishing.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an amateur, the inexpensive and simple iBobber Smart fish finder will meet all your demands. It’s an excellent value fish finder because at an economical price the unit offers reliable fish detecting ability in a number of fishing ventures.
6. Hawkeye – Best Value Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder for Catfish
When you jump into water with the intention to capture a specific species of fish, say catfish, then only a fish finder possessing as keen sight as a real hawk can accurately detect your desired target.
In other words, you need HawkEye Fishtrax 1C fish finder on-board with you.
Don’t worry, the unit doesn’t demand you to splash the cash yet it features strong sonar rays to accurately search and trace a fish up to a 240ft parameter around your watercraft.
In a flash you’ll hear an alarm indicating it’s time for you to cast a line as the target is within range.
You’ll not miss it because the unit won’t let you. It ensures your win with a crisp and sharp image of fish arc along with its depth and bottom structure.
In addition, the LED backlight of the screen makes sure that not even nighttime low visibility allows your target to slip from your clutches.
There’s a big crowd of avid anglers and beginners who love this unit for its flexible nature. Not only is it easily mountable, but also floatable and trollable thereby capable of accompanying you on any fishing expedition.
It’s so perfectly crafted that we actually found it a challenge to find any significant flaw in it other than the slight hike in price – some find it a bit expensive for a portable gadget.
- Compact and portable device.
- Simple to use.
- Capable of quickly detecting fish within 240ft search parameters.
- Screen has LED backlight to offer an anti-glare, bright view.
- Audible fish alarm makes certain you don’t miss the target.
- Relatively pricier.
- Lacks transducer’s mount.
HawkEye Fishtrax has rightfully earned the title of best value portable fish finder due to its high ratio of precisely tracking fish, be it along the shoreline or deep in the middle of river. Its simple use makes it a captivating choice for novice and seasoned fishers alike.
7. Venterior VT-FF001 – Best Pocket Friendly Fish Finder for Catfish
Cheap price and small size isn’t a curse; this is what this low-budgeted fish finder named Venterior VT-FF001 highlights.
The unit will literally have your jaws hanging when you look at its ridiculously low cost and then observe its accuracy in a variety of fishing situations.
The cable is a bit short so you wouldn’t be able to toss it farther. However, that will go in the background when it provides a wholesome picture of aquatic activity underneath your boat.
Anything from fish to bottom contours, vegetation and rocks will be displayed in a distinguishing manner on its small screen. Yeah, the display is tiny but, once again, the shortcoming is overshadowed by the crystal clear viewing.
In my opinion, as well as that of many expert fishermen, this is definitely the highlight of this little gem.
Those preferring an uncomplicated setup to focus entirely on capturing the desired target will fall head over heels for this one as its use doesn’t involve any rocket science.
The unit runs on a battery yet, with the help of battery saving mode, you can fish from morning till evening without worrying about the unit abruptly leaving you in the middle of a crucial catch.
With evening comes the nuisance of straining eyes and trying really hard to read the information displayed on the screen. Not anymore. It comes equipped with a backlight setting and fish alarm both of which prove helpful, especially during nighttime fishing, to let you know about the presence of finned targets.
In short, you will always return with extra weight, due to captured fish, no matter what type of fishing venture plan.
- Rugged and portable.
- Simple use with multiple user selectable modes.
- Accurately tracks fish within 3ft-328ft depth range.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty.
- Batteries aren’t long-lasting.
- Accuracy is compromised when the boat is moving faster.
- Short-length cable.
Venterior VT-FF001 fish finder makes certain that low budget never keeps you from enjoying personally-hunted fish. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest value fish finders available in the market due to its efficient sonar scan and comfortable use.
8. Garmin Striker 4 – Top Pick Overall Fish Finder for Catfish
It’s exclusive of Striker series of Garmin to provide a stellar fish finder at such a humble price. Don’t believe my words, just take a look at Striker 4 (010-01550-00) by Garmin.
The unit is a perfect illustration of simplicity at its best which combined with its shrunk size make it a perfect match for amateurs, weekend warriors and fishers with small boats and kayaks.
To maintain portability, the screen is also kept smaller yet the quality of picture and data presented is so clear and sharp that even a momentary glance will clearly distinguish between fish icon, structure and bottom plantation.
But, the viewing window isn’t water-resistant thereby an accidental dunk in turbulent waters or bath in heavy rain will bring your sport to an abrupt stop.
General fishing isn’t as challenging as tracing a specific target like catfish but this unit always comes out victorious as long as the water is productive of your desired target.
Besides, you can never miss the presence of your object of interest on its watch even when sheets of ice have fully concealed it as the flasher mode detects their existence without any false trigger.
This will also prove handy during nighttime fishing.
What proves more handy and fruitful is the integration of a waypoint map which gives you an opportunity to save those fish schools and hotspots where you previously captured a target so you could directly land on those productive spots on the next trip.
- Small and portable.
- Bright display with clear distinction between contours, bottom plantation and fish icons.
- Beginner-friendly use.
- Waypoint map enables fishers to store favorite fish hotspots and schools for revisiting.
- It cannot withstand heavy rain and turbulent waters.
- There’s no protective bag.
Garmin Striker 4 despite all its flaws is regarded as the best economical and portable fish finder for catfish due to its accuracy and clarity of display. The unit is pretty simple so even those who recently joined the sport will also be able to operate it without any hassle.
9. Lowrance Hook2 4X – Best 4-inch Fish Finder for Catfish with Bullet Skimmer Transducer
There’s hardly any cheaply-priced fish finder that leaves both chaser and the object being chased as hooked within the first few minutes of its use as Lowrance Hook2 4X does.
Half of the credit of its unbeatable winning streak – when it comes to locating your desired species of fish – goes to its active sonar scan.
The said feature garners maximum data not just about your prey but also regarding the general marine world beneath your watercraft in order to present a wholesome picture before you.
Speaking of pictures, the display, though available in just one small size, is Solarmax so the data revealed on it is super clear and readable even under blinding sunlight.
Lowrance Hook2 has a reputation to maintain and a name to prove that’s why it has kept the setup and running technique pretty simple and undemanding to ensure fishers of any level could prompt real action without any delay.
On top of that, what will absolutely make you fall hook, sinker and line for Hook2 is the inclusion of a bullet skimmer transducer and manufacturer’s 2-year warranty.
Meaning, there’s no extra expenditure involved here and you can blindly trust this fish finder just as Lowrance has complete trust in its creation.
- Undemanding setup and operation will have it ready for action in a snap.
- Clear footage with sunlight readability.
- Active and effective sonar function.
- Portable structure is compatible with small watercrafts.
- Screen isn’t available in any other size.
- Charger and a carrying bag need to be purchased separately.
Those anglers who’re low on budget but still don’t want to compromise on quality and reliability of a fish finder will find Lowrance Hook2 4X a great value option. It’s pretty simple and portable yet carries everything to successfully locate a gilled target in a flash.
10. Humminbird 410150-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 – Best Dual Beam Sonar Fish Finder for Catfish
There’s hardly any model that could be as eligible to be a showstopper and provide bang for your bucks as Humminbird Piranhamax 4.
The highlight of this budgeted device is its dualbeam sonar frequency that helps you either achieve a wider scan of large swathes of water column or target a certain spot to receive in-depth information pertaining to fish presence, contours and vegetation.
In other words, whether you want to search a larger shallower water territory or go hundreds of feet deeper towards the bottom, both are a game for this gadget.
Another arguably most distinguishing feature is the relatively larger screen. Along with size, the picture quality equally deserves applause as it gives such a clear and crisp view that you’ll even know the angle and depth of a productive spot for throwing a line.
The second a fish appears on your fish finder’s radar its fate is sealed as the fish alarm immediately notifies you of the target’s presence.
Additionally, you can alter mounting angle to achieve better results in case the previous position failed to garner sufficient information.
The bleak side of the picture is that the unit lacks a GPS system so you’ll have to master the ins and outs of a selected waterbody to prevent meaningless meandering.
However, all is well as it ends well – with a few catfish in your luggage upon returning.
- Space-saving and portable device.
- Relatively bigger display with crystal clear view.
- Adjustable mounting angle for enhanced performance.
- Audible fish alarm.
- Dualbeam sonar provides wider search as well as detailed depth scan.
- Lacks GPS navigation system.
- Not suitable for commercial use.
From price to reliable structure and performance, Humminbird Piranhamax 4 fulfills all requirements to become the best inexpensive fish finder for small boats. Although it lacks a navigation system but its superior sonar performance and better display fully compensate for the loss.
Buying Guide: By Getting to The Best Fish Finder for Catfish in 2023
There’s a lot that you need to know about a fish finder to ensure you spend money on the right model. We’ve underlined a few essential aspects in the buying guide below that call for fishers’ attention in order to easily identify the best fish finder for their needs.
Screen Size & Resolution:
Any fish finder whether high-end or low-end will become a piece of junk if the information garnered by the device is hard to comprehend.
The size of the screenplays a huge role as the bigger the display is, the more easily readable it will be. Also, larger displays can reveal several pieces of information at once without getting cluttered.
Displays of size 4” or larger are acceptable but as the size increases, the price also goes higher.
Similarly, screen resolution is necessary for making streamed data intelligible. It’s like the more sugar you add, the sweeter it gets.
In the same manner the higher the screen resolution and greater the number of pixels, the better will be the quality of the picture. Also, make sure the screen is backlit to be easily readable in sunlight and low visibility.
Transducer is like the eyes, ears and mind of a fish finder as it shoots signals in the water to detect the presence of a fish and projects the received information on your device’s display screen. These signals are sonar frequencies that are either higher in degree or lower.
Higher frequencies cover double the amount of area and provide in-depth detailed view. Since they can’t penetrate deeper therefore they’re ideal for shallower waters.
On the contrary, a lower frequency of 50kHz – 80kHz will go deeper but the image will lack details. Low-frequency devices are ideal for offshore fishing.
However, there are many models that feature dual beam frequencies to allow users to switch to the sonar scan according to the depth and width of the selected waterbody.
Keep one small factor in mind the depth range of a transducer highly depends on its power. So if you want to search shallower waters like lakes and rivers, pick a unit with a transducer of around 500 watts power.
Side Imaging & Down Imaging:
For hunting a specific species of fish like catfish, it is crucial to have innovative sonar functions like Side Imaging and Down Imaging.
As the name suggests, down imaging cast beams directly beneath your vessel while side imaging shoots waves on either side of the watercraft in order to fully cover the surrounding territory to detect your target’s presence in the vicinity.
Side imaging proves handy especially when trolling through narrower rivers and lakes as it will allow you to see structure and rocks to ensure you steer your boat accordingly in order to prevent a collision.
The depth range of a fishfinder matters more when you want to target a specific species of fish, such as catfish. The depth of catfish differs according to their species. For instance, freshwater catfish loiter around 20-25 feet below the surface. So, a low-depth range unit designed for shallow waters will do.
On the other hand, if your goal is to capture giant catfish, especially those monster blue cats, then you will need a unit capable of searching several hundred feet deep. These usually reside near the bottom of deep lakes, rivers or reservoirs. In that case, you will have to consider a unit designed for deeper waterbodies.
A unit that works well in both situations, i.e. shallow water and deep water, is a safe and economical choice.
Ease of Use
With features comes the disadvantage of a complicated operating mechanism, quite often. Pick a unit that, despite having the latest features, doesn’t require much optimising or fiddling with the settings. The same goes for the setup and installation. Easy setup and management procedures will not occupy much of your precious time, allowing you to commit most of your leisure time to the catfish hunt. You can consider settings like auto-tuning sonar for straightforward operation.
For guidance, you can have a look at units like Lowrance Hook2 5 and Humminbird Ice Helix G2. Even newbies and anglers with low levels of expertise can run these smoothly, courtesy of their uncomplicated user interfaces.
As it’s all about competition so brands are introducing more and more performance features to help their products gain an edge over rival models.
Some of those high-performance features involve GPS system, built-in mapping, customized charting, Bluetooth connectivity and SDcard storage.
All these additional features help you gain access to productive waters without any trouble to ensure you always return with the target you went hunting for.
I’ll share a tip with you. When it comes to performance-improving features, give priority to GPS and mapping software and technologies. Why so? Catfish change their location according to the time of the day, food availability and water temperature.
You may lose track of time and sense of direction chasing a specific target – it has happened to even the best of us. In that case, GPS and maps will act as your guides, keeping track of crucial landmarks and helping you navigate like an expert.
Moreover, combining the results of these features with sonar jacks up your chances of success against tough catfish opponents exponentially.
What is the best time of the year for catching catfish?
Summer is the best time to catch channel catfish. On the other hand, if I have to pick productive months for flathead catfish, September and October are the best and hottest action months for catching flatheads.
Late March to early May is the ideal time for targeting Blue catfish. If you are interested in trophy blues, i.e. the big monster trophy class, ‘peak’ and ‘red hot action’ time is Dec-Mar.
What bait works the best for catfish?
Ask any professional angler worldwide, and he will tell you that Chicken Livers are the best way to catch catfish. It is effective for deep-water fishing.
Another bait that can help you catch more catfish is Nightcrawler. In fact, it is a favourite food for almost all species of fish.
A popular belief among anglers is that catfish cannot resist the bait smelling like cheese, meat or bacon.
How deep should you search for catfish?
Regular catfish or flatheads prefer shallow rivers and lakes. Most catfish reside between 15 to 20 feet depth in lakes or rivers. It is known as the ‘catfish zone’ in most lakes and rivers.
If your target is monster trophy-class blue cats, you will have to head towards deep rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
Which sonar technology is best for catching catfish?
Most anglers, including myself, use multiple sonar technologies at a time, like 2D broadband, side scan (imaging) and GPS or a combination of 2D sonar, side scan and down scan to hook catfish. The collaboration of these technologies is beneficial for catfish hunting.
Which fish finder is best for catching catfish?
Any fishfinder whose sonar offers accurate detail about fish’s size, species and riverbed topography is ideal for catfish. However, if I am to pick the top 5 best fishfinders for money for catfish, my choices are:
- Lowrance Hook2 5
- Humminbird Helix 7 Chirp MSI
- Garmin Striker 4
- Lowrance hook2 4x
- Hawkeye Fishtrax 1C
Shopping for the best fish finder for catfish demands more attention than what you’ll pay to a regular fish tracking device. It is mainly because catfish dwell in specific water bodies at a certain depth which calls for a certain type of fish finder in order to successfully locate their presence. We’ve included a buyer’s guide containing key factors that you need to look out for to make sure the fish finder garners fruitful results regardless of your level of expertise.
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