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Portable fish finders are great tools for fishermen. They can help you “map” the best fishing areas and even save time. They take up less space than conventional, bulky fish finders, and come in just as good a quality—as long as you do your homework and make sure they have all the right features.
We’ve done some research for you, and we put together a list of the best portable fish finders available!
What to Look for in the Best Portable Fish Finder
A smaller screen will help you save space, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice a good finder just to save space. It’s important that any fish finder you purchase has the following functions, regardless of size. Here are the main things to look for when looking into a fish finder:
- Power source
Power source: on a portable fish finder, this is the place where you put a battery cell in the fish finder to keep it powered. The standard is as 12 volt battery.
Display: the most visible part of the fish finder. It contains all the buttons and the screen. We already discussed the size above, but the weight of a unit is also important in a kayak with limited space. The bulk of it comes from the display, so choose wisely!
Transducer: almost like a little satellite. It’s what sends signals to the water and then “translates” them into images we see on the display so that we understand what’s actually happening.
You also have to decide if you want a GPS unit with your fish finder. This can come in handy if you’re kayaking in a large river or lake, or on a long stretch of coastline. GPS can also help you keep track of your best fishing spots. But with all the market options, it can be hard to decide which portable fish finder is best. We tested some models out just for you in hopes that it’ll be easier for you to make your decision.
What is the Best Portable Fish Finder?
Lowrance Mark-4 Combo Base Fishfinder
This model has a built-in GPS, and is only 4 inches. The menu is also very easy to control, and you can even do so with one hand. If you’re a first-time kayak fisher you’ll find this model easy to install. Lightness is very important, and this model is only 2.5 pounds, which makes it a great space-saving tool.
Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish
This fish finder is compact, at about 3 inches, which is ideal for most fishing yaks. It uses sonar to find schools of fish, and can help you gauge the water’s depth. The display is in color and the kit includes a mounting screw and bracket.
If you live in a colder area, this model can withstand being used at a 0°C temperature without a problem. The manufacturer cautions against using it at lower temperatures than that.
Garmin Echo 200 Fishfinder
This fish finder comes in 4 and 5 inch sizes, and although we encourage using the smallest size you can find when you’re kayaking, it’s good to have options! The Garmin Fishfinder weighs about a pound and it has a grayscale.
We were surprised at how easy it is to see the display even in direct sunlight, since glare is always an issue with devices like this. This is a plus if you live in a sunny area (think California, Florida).
Humminbird Black and White Sonar Fishfinder
Though the display is in greyscale, it’s very clear and efficient. Since saving space is important in kayak fishing, you’ll be glad to know this fish finder has a 5 inch screen.
It also has a split screen and can work in depths up to 800 feet. It also classifies fish into three different sizes and installing it is very easy, especially if it’s your first time using a fish finder.
Deeper Smart Portable Fish Finder
This fish finder is actually made to go with your smartphone or It’s available for iOS and Android, but the battery lasts about 4 hours. Still, if you don’t fish the entire day, then it’s a good buy since it weighs very little, and has no wires.
This model works well on both salt and freshwater.