Last month my father and brother went on a fishing expedition because we decided to have grilled fish for dinner.
But what happened instead was that we ended up having omelet for dinner. What a pity!
Despite spending all day by riverside, they failed to catch any fish. Not even a single fish!
People were catching fish left and right, but our fishing rod remained empty all day.
It seemed like the fish had boycotted our rod. But the reality was that water was full of fish, only we were looking for them on the wrong side.
If only we had a good fish finder, we would have enjoyed a delicious grilled fish.
Fish finders use sonar radiations that display information on a screen upon hitting an object letting you know the exact position of fish underwater; so you know where to cast your snare to capture them.
Not only this, but a good fish finder will give a detailed underwater structure map and foliage information to let you navigate your fishing rod accordingly.
Best Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat 2023 Reviews
To save you from the disappointment of not finding any fish, we picked some of the best fish locators that will make sure that you do not come empty-handed from your fishing adventure. For your convenience, we have divided them into two sections.
Kayak is like a canoe, only made of a lighter frame. Since they are designed for a single person therefore, you need such fish-finding tool that has minimum accessories and can be easily set to motion while you keep paddling.
These fish finders will deliver the best results even when you are on a kayak.
Top Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat Comparison Table
Deeper PRO Smart
– Best Top Pick
Overall Fish Finder
Moocor – Best
Lucky – Best
FF688C – Best
Color LCD Dual
Sonar Fish Finder
Eyoyo – Best
HD TVL Fish
Eyoyo – Best
Moocor – Best
DVR Video Cam
Eyoyo – Best Top
Lucky – Best
1. Deeper PRO Smart – Best Top Pick Overall Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat
The name says PRO, meaning, it is loaded with such unique features that will help you detect fish like a pro. It comes with a Wi-Fi setting. Simply connect it to your phone or tablet and let it do its magic.
Wireless means worrying less about carrying extra internet devices and junk and focusing more on your fishing expedition.
It is smart because with its dual beam sonar radiations you can cast it as far as 330ft and it will scan for fish up to 260ft depth. That’s a wide range! As far as your eyes can see, the ocean is yours to explore. No fish will skip your radar, that’s a promise.
The story does not end here. It has a built-in GPS to help you create your own bathymetric map.
In simple words, not only will it pinpoint the location and details of your prey but also display all the information of the underwater world hidden from your eyes.
It’s like you yourself are swimming underwater witnessing everything with your naked eye and taking notes.
I said notes because it has a Lake book where all your mapping details will be saved that you can review and analyze anytime and with any device.
All in all, it’s a real boss for outsmarting fish whether you are onshore, in a kayak or ice fishing.
- Wireless connectivity
- Easy to operate.
- Tremendous casting and depth scanning range.
- Free access to Lake book data.
- The screen will display the same fish repeatedly if the sonar is kept stationary.
Deeper Smart Pro is the best for both kayaks and small boats because not only it tracks fish swiftly but also records key hideouts where you can fish in the future. Its built-in Wi-Fi relieves you of extra weight to ensure your small vessel navigates smoothly through lakes and rivers.
2. LUCKY Handheld -Best Affordable Movable Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat
Money is often a deciding factor while making such purchases. The first thing that will attract you towards this fish finder is its budget-friendly price. Seems like half of your mind is made!
Its versatile. Meaning, its suitable for about any type of fishing, kayak fishing, lake fishing, sea fishing, ice fishing, or off-shore fishing. You name it and it will deliver reliable results.
Casting range and depth scanning are what buyers pay more attention to while purchasing a fish finder.
This one here will not disappoint you in this regard with its casting range of 24ft at a 45 angle and depth range of 3ft – 328ft. If you thought its casting range was less than its depth range makes it up for that.
With its portable design, you can attach it to a boat or hang it around your neck; the choice is yours.
Another interesting fact is its various customized modes. With battery saving mode on your fishing expedition can last for 9-10 hours.
Why should you fish only in daylight when it offers you a night mode? Yes, you can look for fish in the calm of night too.
Also, turn on the fish alarm so you will know when it detects any fish. Looks like a real treat, right?
Note that the handheld display is not waterproof. So, if you dropped it in water, it’s game over for you.
- Affordable price with 1-year warranty.
- Multiple user modes.
- Versatile usage.
- Display is not waterproof.
Lucky Handheld device changes your attitude towards cheaply-priced fish finders with its superb fish-tracking skills in diverse fishing scenarios. The portable gadget has multiple adjustments to ensure you don’t lose reliability with the change in scenery.
3. Moocor – Best Underwater Fishing Finder Camera for Kayak & Small Boat
This fishing camera is a blessing for sea and ice fishing addicts because the camera can bear up against as low as -4F temperature.
The set comes with an underwater camera and an HD LCD display screen. Therefore, quality of the image is unquestionable, of course.
Enjoy the beauty of the world underwater unfold before your eyes HD quality. What’s unique is that the camera lens packs infrared lights. So, even if you are navigating under the dark water, you’ll still get a clear picture.
There’s no way a fish can escape your eyes now.
Furthermore, you don’t have to squint your eyes anymore to see the information on the monitor in bright sunlight due to sun shield on the screen. Oh, and do not fear the water because the monitor is waterproof.
Also, the 15m long cable wire of the camera allows you to observe deepwater activity conveniently.
And its strong enough to allow you to search for bigger fish.
Look for big fish as long as for 8 hours because that’s how powerful its battery is if fully charged.
- Multi-functioning LCD monitor.
- Infrared lights for dark waters.
- Premium quality imaging.
- Anti-corrosion and cold-resistant cable wire.
- There’s no recording.
Moocor Underwater Camera is ideal for those enthusiasts who want HD-quality large pictures of aquatic life without losing portability and convenience. The device can search for hours to catch small and large fish with similar ease and accuracy.
4. Lucky – Best Wireless Easy to Use Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat
It is easy to move around and is loaded with effective features. It is wireless! Why burden yourself with extra wires and stuff when you can have a wireless fish finder that promises to deliver amazing results? Yes, that’s right. Liberate yourself from extra hassle.
You are out on a hunt. So, there’s no point in wasting time. This fish finder will start tracking fish as soon as its sonar sensor hits the water surface.
Yes, it’s that fast! Just make sure that the display monitor does not come in contact with water or your adventure will come to an end sooner than you intend to.
You can expand your search to a large area because it can easily operate in a wide range of 394ft (120m). It will search for your prey as deep as 147ft into the water. These are pretty impressive dimensions, right?
Don’t think it’s useless at night. It has LED backlight so you can easily read the information on screen even when you are in water at night time. Not only this, but you can also zoom in that specific area where fish are present.
Of course it detects fish and shows water temperature. That’s what fish finders are for.
What makes this one stand out is that it will also show you the actual depth of water. Useful information right, if you decide to take a dip in water?
Lucky prides in manufacturing versatile products, and this baby here will not disappoint you in this regard.
Take it on kayak fishing, shore fishing, ice or sea fishing, boat fishing etc. and it will work just fine.
- LED backlight for night reading.
- Easy to use, even for novice fisherman.
- Only the transducer is waterproof.
This Lucky unit is a match-made-in-heaven example for kayaks and small boats because of its ultra-compact design and wireless setup. Its impressive horizontal and vertical depth dimensions allow you to detect targets in different freshwater excursions.
5. Phiradar JOYWEE FF688C – Best Color LCD Dual Sonar Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat
You cannot understand English well? So, who says that’s a reason enough for you to not go for fishing?
This fish finder has got your back whether you speak French, Russian, Danish, Korean or any other language. Yes, you got it!
It comes with a multi-language manual setting. So tune in to any language that you are comfortable with and off you go on your fishing hunt.
Pro fishermen can capture fish with quite an ease, with or without fish finder. The problem is for average fishermen and beginners.
But even that is not a problem anymore because this one is specifically designed for newcomers. Yes, it is that easy to operate and understand the data.
Since most people prefer to go fishing in broad daylight and then strain their eyes to read details on display screens. You will face no such trouble while using this one because its display is readable even in bright sunlight.
Auto zoom the area where your fish is loitering and capture it upon hearing the fish alarm. The alarm will go off when it detects a fish, alerting you to get ready for your prey is near.
Even grassy lakes will not prevent it from giving you results.
Whether it’s -10C in water or 300m deep, it will find fish for you quite efficiently. What else is there to worry about? Go on your fishing adventure with confidence.
- Multi-language setting.
- Designed for beginners and professionals both.
- Fish and depth alarm.
- Display is readable in sunlight.
- Anti-interference from grass only in lakes.
Phiradar Joywee FF688C is an apt demonstration of fishing beyond borders due to its multilingual settings and tolerance for sub-zero temperatures. The power of colour LCD paired with auto zoom will not let you miss fish any time of the day.
6. Eyoyo – Best Design HD TVL Fish Finder Waterproof Camera for Kayak & Small Boat
Fishing cameras are good because they give you a more vivid image of underwater activity.
So what happens when a fishing camera plays live footage of HD 1000 TVL resolution before your eyes?
It’s like you have dived in the water to witness sharp and clear images with your naked eyes instead of a monitor screen.
With such high quality live image, capturing a fish will become a piece of cake. Isn’t that your first priority while purchasing a fish finder?
Its rechargeable battery is powerful enough to give you a non-stop usage of around hours. You are definitely going to capture a few fish in such a long span.
You are worried that its getting dark and you haven’t caught any fish yet? Do not stop your search just because its getting dark.
Turn on its infrared lights, after all they are there for working in such dark environments.
Let’s just not forget that it’s waterproof and has a detachable sun-visor also. So, whether it’s rainy, blinding sunlight or dark night, keep fishing because the display will be visible no matter what the weather condition is.
Oh, and the 30m long cable of the camera can go quite farther in search of fish.
Whether you plan to fish in the ocean, lake or ice, don’t worry about the results.
If you decide to just see and survey the world underwater, you can do even that without actually diving in the water thanks to its high-quality footage.
- 7-inch color LCD monitor with sun-visor.
- Infrared lights for dark environment.
- HD 1000 TVL resolution.
- Waterproof monitor.
- A little bulky.
Eyoyo HD TVL Underwater Camera impresses professionals and recreational anglers alike with its vibrant live footage and fuss-free use. The results will always be on point whether you fish in a lake, ocean or frozen environment.
7. Eyoyo – Best Best Easy to Carry DVR Video Camera Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat
This is yet another impressive fishing camera by Eyoyo. It has a bigger, 9-inch, LCD monitor. Of course its impressive.
Enjoy HD quality images on a bigger screen. That’s why you enjoy watching a movie in cinemas because among many other reasons one is the picture on a big screen.
This one also has infrared lights for seeing clearly in the dark sea, and a sun-visor for bright sunlight.
Hold your breath because it has packed a punch for you. It features an amazing DVR recording function. It comes with an 8GB memory chip.
Record all this premium quality image to your heart content. Isn’t it amazing?
The long cable will not only allow you to get close to the fish, but the distinctive design of the camera will also attract the fish towards your snare. Pretty smart!
6 hours’ battery backup is long enough for you to find and capture a fish of your choice.
- 9-inch LCD waterproof monitor with sun-visor.
- 8 GB memory card for recording video.
- Infrared lights for night recording.
- Unique design to lure fish.
- Image might not be clear in murky water.
This fishing camera is an upgraded version by the same Eyoyo. The presence of high-resolution footage on a bigger screen coupled with a video recording feature and a memory chip puts it higher on the choice list of serious fishermen.
8. Moocor – Best User-Friendly Brand Fish Finder Camera DVR Video Cam for Kayak & Small Boat
This portable camera comes in a pair of cameras and LCD monitors, that part is quite obvious since it’s a fishing camera.
What it offers besides that is where it outshines many others.
It is befitting for sea fishing as well as ice fishing enthusiasts because you can not only observe underwater features but also see clearly whether the fish got trapped in your hook or not due to zoom in option.
The image is going to be absolutely clear and vivid because the camera is packed with HD 1000 TVL resolution. So, why settle for a low quality image when you can get your hands on such premium quality footage at quite a reasonable price?
If you think the cabled cameras cannot go farther, then you are in for a surprise man. Its 15m long cable, cold-resistant and waterproof, is long enough to go far tracking your fish.
There’s more. The cable is strong enough to withstand a 30kg pull. Meaning, if your camera is after a bigger fish, then you have nothing to worry about because the cable won’t break.
Another good thing is that it comes with a sun shield and LED backlight. So, you will be able to see clearly the display on monitor no matter what the lighting condition is.
Its multiple applications ranging from kayak fishing to lake fishing and ice fishing is like icing on the cake. Invest money once and enjoy its magic on different expeditions.
- HD TVL camera.
- 15m long cable with high tensile strength.
- LED backlights for night time.
- Zoom in option
- Camera does not come with recording option.
When you want to enjoy the perks of high-definition fishing cameras without losing ease of use, the Moocor 720P portable camera w/ DVR is a worthy option. Its commendable performance in open-water and ice fishing makes it outshine other cameras of its class.
9. Eyoyo – Best Top Rated Portable Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat
Fishing cameras are all about excellent quality images and recordings and this one is quite a beast in its line because it has packed a 7-inch TFT color screen.
Also, the camera has HD 1000 TV resolution. In short, best resolution picture is right in front of your eyes.
Eyoyo does not want you to strain your eyes in bright sunlight or under a dark environment to see the display that’s why it’s packed with sun-visor for your convenience.
Why is dark environment a bothersome thing for you when it’s 12 built-in infrared lights? Turn them on and keep fishing.
Now you are worried about how to carry all this stuff in a boat? It’s simple, stop worrying. All these pieces of equipment come in a mini portable suitcase that is also waterproof.
Like I said, stop worrying. It has got you all covered.
8 hours’ battery backup is pretty amazing. All in all, it is money well spent, isn’t it?
- 7-inch TFT LCD Monitor with sun-visor.
- 12pcs of built-in infrared lights.
- Portable waterproof suitcase.
- No recording.
We recommend the Eyoyo 1000TVL 7-inch LCD fishing camera to all those anglers who don’t want to give up on the quality of images due to portability and money. It lacks recording, yet it is one of the best underwater fishing cameras under $200 due to its efficient performance in freshwater and icy lakes.
10. Lucky – Best Movable Handheld Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat
Looking for fish in a huge body of water is not an easy task. It takes a lot of patience and effort.
With fish finder, the arduous job becomes quite easy, but you still have to be patient enough for your fish finder to detect a fish.
This is where this portable fish finder comes in handy because its batteries are long-lasting. So, you can stay on the water for up to 5 hours.
Its 2.4” LCD screen might not be big enough like fishing cameras’ monitors, but it will display a clear image of underwater outlines, water temperature, fish size and location.
All in all, you will get a piece of pretty decent information to work around.
The operating dimensions are also quite impressive. Since it is wired, therefore, it can be cast as far as 26ft. the tool is small, but it will locate fish for you up to 328ft depth. Do not underestimate its small size.
Another interesting feature for your convenience is that the sonar sensor has a lighting cap.
Meaning, if you are night fishing, you will easily locate it on water. Also, change the display colour according to visibility conditions.
That’s not all. Feed the settings of your desired fish size, and the alarm will go off when it detects the fish that you are looking for. With higher sensitivity setting, the tool will be more sensitive to fish presence.
So you’ll be fully geared when the object of your interest comes near. No chance for a fish to escape!
- Affordable and reliable.
- Adjustable sensitivity.
- Fish alarm.
- It’s wired.
- It’s not waterproof.
Lucky Movable Handheld device is a budget-friendly and user-friendly option for average anglers fond of fishing in shallower bodies. You can modify the display colour to ensure you read it correctly, irrespective of the lighting condition.
Buyer’s Guide for The Best Fish Finder for Kayak & Small Boat 2023
Every day you come to know about a new product making its debut in the market. When you plan to make a purchase, there’s a plethora of choices in front of you to choose from.
It’s like a kid has entered a candy store and every shiny and sparkly wrapping is attracting him. A buyer’s guide is there to help you choose the best product that will serve your purpose in the best possible way.
When you are looking for a decent fish finder, make sure you pay attention to the following details before making the purchase.
1. Sonar Sensor (transducer)
It is the indispensable part of a fish finder. The transducer emits sonar waves that when hit an object is then transferred to the central unit and displayed in the form of data on the display screen.
Choose the appropriate transducer material that will be compatible to the kind of boat that you are going to use.
A plastic transom mount is the usual pick of ordinary fishermen due to its compatibility with almost all kinds of boats.
Bronze housings are used for boats with wood fiberglass hulls.
2. beams & Cone Angles:
When you are buying a fish finder, pay attention to the transducer’s cone angle. The wider cone angle indicates that a larger area will be covered by your sonar sensor.
For beginners, a transducer with 20 angle is a decent choice. Most devices have 16-20 degree range.
Note that the transducer can emit more than one beam from a single point as well. Ordinary transducer come with a single beam, but more advanced devices can even have two or three beams and even a side beam also.
Multiple beams are best for large bodies of water like lakes and seas.
3. Screen type:
If the fish finder has a colored screen, the information will be more clear and easy to understand. It will display detail in different colors for you to distinguish easily.
On the other hand, a black and white screen limits your reading ability in the dark.
In a dark or cloudy environment, you have to strain your eyes hard to see the information on a black and white screen. However, fish finders with black and white screens are less expensive than the ones with colored screens.
4. Screen Resolution and Display Size:
Since you rely on the data available to you on a display screen, therefore, picture quality matters the most. Try to purchase that device that offers a high resolution because the higher the resolution, the better will be the image quality.
The display size of screen is also a factor to be considered. Less expensive fish finders have smaller displays. The downside of a small screen is that all the information gets mixed up making it hard for a fisherman to comprehend.
If money is not an issue, opt for bigger displays. That way you will be able to read all the data with great detail.
A higher frequency project more details on your screen, but they cannot dive deep, which is fine in shallow-water excursions.
If you want to search vertically deep, like well over 600 feet deep, it is better to pick frequencies lower than 140kHz. For commercial fishing in oceans and deep seas, a high-power transducer with a sonar frequency as low as 50kHz serves the best.
Check the power of the fish finder you are deciding to buy. If you want a unit with quick readings, then go for a high-wattage device. The fewer wattage devices are good for shallow waters.
The less the power, the more time fish finder will take to convert sonar waves. The data of fewer wattage devices is not very reliable.
7. Water Resistance:
Water-resistance is an important factor to be kept in mind if you are planning to set your device on a smaller, open boat. Check JIS or IPX ratings for this purpose.
For instance, a rating of four means that the device is safe from splashing water, not good if you are on a kayak.
A five or six IPX/JIS rating means your fish finder can withstand a low to a high-pressure streams of water.
With a 7 rating, it is safe to submerge the unit 10ft deep in water for around 30 minutes.
A rating of 8 means the unit can stay underwater for a longer period of time. The ranking defines where to use the fish finder and in what scenarios.
8. GPS Incorporated or Not?
GPS-integrated devices are game changers in the real sense because you rarely cast the line blindly here and there with them. Most GPS-integrated finders have built-in waypoint plotters that let you mark the exact and possible hangout spots of fish. These fish finders are specifically best for searching ultra-large bodies of water on kayaks or boats, particularly for the first time. With this onboard, you will know which trail to follow to get back to the shore without bumping into obstructions.
However, if you’re fishing in familiar neighbourhood lakes, you can do without GPS and save additional dollars. After all, who gets lost in the lakes or rivers they have been fishing in since childhood? Yep, no one!
9. Ease of Use
It is never wise to prioritise features over ease of use, especially when you are still learning to improve your fishing skills. Almost all the units I reviewed above have uncomplicated user formats, regardless of multiple features and options for customisations and adjustments. The main aim is to ensure average anglers don’t face a tough time mastering the operating mechanism of a unit. Uncomplicated use also serves professionals as they will spend less time fumbling over settings and more on hooking targets.
What size of the fish finder is the best for a kayak or small boat?
A kayak is a bit more space-deficient than a small boat. Plus, its weight limit is also comparatively lower. So, a size range of up to 5-inch is ideal. You can accommodate a 7-inch unit as well after checking the weight limit.
Similarly, a display size of up to 7 inches doesn’t give rise to weight issues or make the boat cluttered with bric-a-brac. You can also set up a 9-inch device, provided it doesn’t weigh your vessel down. However, these are not always the best options as they usually get in your way.
What fish finder is the best for kayaks or small boats?
Since kayaks, canoes and Jon boats are pretty short on space, the following feature-packed options will look good on such small vessels.
- Garmin Striker 4
- Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv
- Lucky Portable Fish Finder
- Moocor Underwater Fishing Camera (7” screen)
- Lowrance Hook Reveal 5x Splitshot
- Humminbird Helix 5
Is a portable fish finder good for my small boat?
Good? It is The Best for small boats and kayaks. You can use these space-efficient devices to steer your vessels to fish-concentrated areas. A portable or handheld unit can easily sit in your pocket to let you row your boat freely. Since it’s portable, you don’t have to mount it in the given cases, nor it comes with a lot of junk to get in your way.
Where is the best place to mount a transducer on a kayak?
When you’re using a sit-on-top kayak, the scupper hole on the bottom of the inner hull of a kayak is the best location for mounting a transducer. Some transducers work better when attached below or to the side of your vessel. Generally speaking, if your transducer is small, mount it inside the kayak to acquire the best outcome.
If you’re using a sizeable side-imaging transducer, it will perform better if mounted outside your kayak’s hull.
Fish finding is not an arduous task like it used to be in the past. Now you do not necessarily need to spend all day on water in order to catch a single fish. Thanks to the development in technology, now you can locate a bunch of fish in water with water temperature and details of underwater features with a good quality fish finder. Whether you are a professional or a recreational user, you’ll be able to find a device that will serve your needs best. Fish finder makes sure that your fishing expedition ends with a fruitful result at the end of the day i.e. with a fish of your desired choice and size.