Our pick for the best fish finder for kayak fishing is the Deeper Chirp. It's small, accurate, portable and doesn't require permanent mounting or alteration to your kayak.
The best fish finders for kayak fishing don't disrupt the peaceful enjoyment that fishing brings, but rather enhance it. They allow you to spot good locations where schools of fish are settled, determine the type of fish you are seeing and provide GPS to help you navigate the open waters.
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The Deeper Chirp is a smart, small portable fish finder. Deeper creates our favorite mid-range fish finders ever. We know that's a bold statement for such a small, unassuming piece of kit, but here at Fresh Hunting we’re all about innovation and forward-thinking, and Deeper absolutely provides a new way to find fish that cuts out the unneeded and goes all out on making sure the tech is top-notch.
While we love brands such as Humminbird and Lowrance we really hate the way that their fish finders look and behave like they haven’t evolved since the CRT TV. Who knows what operating system they use but it certainly isn’t Android or the like. This is where Deeper excels, all of their main technology lives inside of its Deeper app, which is substantially easier to update and runs on hardware that is probably 1000x more powerful than that of alternative fish finders.
Considering most of us now have some form of smart device, it is a great cost-saving to forego the screen for an excellent piece of kit that is so easily portable. Deeper has also released plenty of extras for their fishfinder products and one includes a rod mount for your smartphone (currently no option for a tablet), making it extremely easy to keep an eye on what's going on on the screen while you fish, and also keeps your phone nice and safe at the same time.
The Deeper Chirp is smaller than a tennis ball and weighing only 3.20z it will fit nicely into your trouser pocket. Yep, it’s really that small. What makes its size so astounding is the technology it packs inside of it.
The Deeper Chirp is a wireless fish finder and acts as a hotspot to connect to your smartphone or tablet and provides information in as close to real-time as you can get.
Not only is it wireless, but as the name suggests it includes CHIRP (compressed high-intensity pulse) sonar, which instead of sending just one frequency, it beams three continuous frequencies of varying ranges from low to high, resulting in a much clearer, higher resolution image.
Along with this, it allows you to discover fish hotspots faster by scanning a large area with the wide-angle beam, hone in on a hotspot with the mid beam and then target specific fish with the narrow beam.
While the Deeper Chirp is a castable fish finder, it’s also extremely easy to mount it to your kayak with the Deeper flexible arm mount. What we really like about this is that it is ridiculously easy to install and requires no drilling or in fact any tools at all, it simply clamps onto the edge of your kayak.
Detects and displays
Pros: High level of accuracy, Great in shallow water, Three beam frequency, Lightweight, Small, Battery powered, CRAZY battery life, Fast charging, Portable, No alterations to your kayak needed
Cons: You will likely require a power bank for your smartphone/tablet as that is more likely to run out before the Chirp does.
The Lowrance Hook2 is our favorite premium fish finder for kayak fishing. It has all the features of a product that costs way into the thousands at a fraction of the cost, including down scanning, side-scanning (triple-shot version only), CHIRP, and GPS. The Hook2 5 (5-inch display) is the perfect size for installing in a kayak where space is limited.
We chose the triple-shot version of the Hook2 as opposed to the split-shot as it includes side imaging as well as down imaging and CHIRP and gets you the most bang for your buck. Despite being slightly more expensive than the split-shot, it’s still cheaper than any other fish finder with side scan on the market, and if you plan to use it with your kayak, we would highly recommend forking out the extra to have side imaging.
Our main choice for choosing the Hook2 as one of the best fish finders for kayak fishing is that it's one of the quickest and easiest to set up and use considering all of its features.
Lowrance has really worked on user experience with the Hook2, allowing you to spend more time catching fish and less time figuring out what the heck you need to do to get it working. We also love the fact that it comes preloaded with mapping for 4,000 US lakes and provides GPS plotter navigation and waypoints. The fact that Lowrance included GPS navigation in this extremely competitively priced unit is almost like a free gift. The amount of features the Hook2 has without GPS is more than enough for this price point and having GPS is just the cherry on top.
The transducer on the triple-shot is quite large at 10” long, whereas the split-shot transducer is only 3 ½“ long, so it's worth checking that the triple-shot transducer will fit in your kayak. We fitted the Hook2 5 into our Hobie Revolution 13 with no problems, but please do check your kayak.
Requires 12-volt battery - For your kayak, I would recommend a gel cell battery, that has at least 7 amps.
If you decide to purchase the Hook2 we'd recommend getting the Lowrance sun cover as well. It protects your screen from sun damage and debris.
Detects and displays
Pros: Downscan, Sidescan, Under $500, Easy to install and setup, Compact, Easy on batteries, Amazing maps
Cons: Transducer for the Tripleshot is a little on the large side
The Lucky fish finder is a great cheap option if you are a hobbyist angler and would like a fish finder to use for a bit of fun or if you are just wanting to test out how a fish finder works before investing in a higher-end product or one that requires wiring. It's also a great starting point if you're teaching your kids how to fish.
The Lucky can be attached to a kayak with the supplied mount, thrown into the water using the supplied float, attached to your pole and stuck in the water or used through the ice.
Detects and displays
Pros: Cheap, easy to set up, easy to use, battery-powered, portable, great for kids
Cons: Single beam frequency, no air or water temperature display, can be temperamental, not suitable for serious anglers