Hello there! Today, we’ll be bringing you the five best kayak fish finders, plus the best battery and power pack for fish finders. As an avid kayak fisherman myself, I know how important a fish finder is on a kayak. Together with the Fishing Sensei team, I meticulously went through each fish finder on the market to find which ones pair with kayak anglers best.
If you’re looking for a high-quality and reliable fish finder, the Raymarine Element 7 is an excellent choice and our best overall pick. With a large 7-inch display and intuitive controls, this device makes navigating and finding fish a breeze. The Element 7 features Raymarine’s advanced RealVision 3D sonar technology, which basically recreates the entire underwater world. It also has a built-in GPS and a range of advanced navigation features. These include chart plotting, waypoint marking, and route planning.
Each of these are fish finders that I’ve used extensively and trust on my own kayaks. That said, I do have more experience with the Raymarine Element 7 HV as I’ve been ice fishing and kayak fishing with it for nearly 2 years now.
Our Top 7 Picks
The 5 Best Kayak Fish Finders (Plus Battery and Battery Box)
Let’s drop our fishing line in the water and get this list started.
- Screen Size: 7 inches
- Type of Connection: Wi-fi
- Weight: 3 pounds
Starting the ball rolling is our best overall pick – the Raymarine Element 7 HV. With features like RealVision 3D, side vision, and down vision, this is as close as it gets to seeing what’s below the surface without getting in the water.
Raymarine has always been a staple in the fishing community, especially in the fish finder department. Their patented transducer gives you an all-in-one accessory. Whether it’s GPS, charts, real 3D, side view, chirp, or down view, it’s got it all.
Next, the RealVision 3D constructs the entire underwater world for you to see. This revolutionary technology means you’ll know exactly what’s going on underneath the surface, as if you were a diver.
Normally, upgraded technology means more complex systems. In this case though, it’s quite the opposite. The pre-configured pages simplify managing the system. And the clearly-labelled push buttons make navigation a breeze.
The patented Raymarine technology, Real 3D vision, and simple interface truly set this unit part from all others on the market today. Serious fishermen get serious gear, and this is it.
- Screen Size: 7 inches
- Type of Connection: Bluetooth
- Weight: 6 pounds
Next up, the Humminbird Helix 7 G4N Mega SL is the best kayak fish finder that money can get. The intelligent computer plus its incredible features make landing fish and mapping the water a piece of cake.
The 7-inch display screen is entirely customizable. So you can choose whether you want a digital sonar, classic flasher, or GPS. And with the capabilities of split screen mode, you can enjoy GPS, flashing, and sonar scanning all at the same time. On top of this, you also get five different screen size options, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 inches. In short, you can choose from a unit compact enough for a kayak, to a product large enough to affix to your boat helm permanently.
The technological capabilities are also impressive. The dual SD card reader keeps the onboard memory tracking your points throughout the day. What’s really impressive though is the Neema five-prong adapter on the console’s rear. Neema 2000 is a marine communications command center that allows your equipment to communicate with each other. Without this, you’d need an expensive adapter ($200), so I’d say you’re getting a pretty good deal.
If you’ve got the extra money to commit, this is worth the investment. In the long run, you’ll be saving money on adapters, plus the module and onboard configurations are ahead of the times. However, if you don’t have the money to invest, not to worry, we have gear for all wallet depths.
If you’re looking for a fish finder with all the bells and whistles though, the Humminbird Helix 7 is the machine for you.
- Screen Size: 7 inches
- Type of Connection: Wi-fi/Bluetooth
- Weight: 5 pounds
Coming in at number 3 is the Garmin Echomap UHD 73sv, which is here to help you land monsters with just a “touch” of your finger.
Now that I’ve got your attention, the touch screen on the Echomap is simple, works well when wet, and can handle the glare of the sun. Let’s face it, we’re in the day and age of touchscreens, so this is a huge add-on for the modern angler.
But that’s not the only reason to buy it. The Garmin Echomap also made the list due to its Panoptix capabilities. If you want to scope a large area from one point, you’ll want the Panoptix. Other options on the market use Livescope, which is great for searching a small area, but you’ll be forced to move around to search continuously. Time is of the essence, especially when trying to land those fish in the early dusk hours.
It’s also worth noting that even though it’s a touchscreen, there are still push buttons for some navigation points within the module. This great mid-range fish finder will hook you fish consistently. If you’re looking to save a few bucks and don’t mind missing out on some high-tech fish finder features, this is the best fish finder for you.
Best For Beginners
- Screen Size: 7 inches
- Type of Connection: Micro Sd Card
- Weight: 4 pounds
Next on the list is the Lowrance Hooke Reveal 5 Split Shot fish finder. This is the right fit for you if you’re a beginner in the fish finder market or just not as tech-savvy as the millennials are these days.
The Lowrance is simple right out of the box. It’s as easy as plug-in and go. And if you’re thinking how it navigates the interface, well, the Hook Reveal comes with push buttons descriptively labelled with pictures. When we say it’s plug-in and go, it doesn’t get simpler than this, even with the high-tech features most anglers desire.
Another awesome feature is its fantastic night fishing mode feature. Most anglers know you have to sacrifice to get those monsters. In this case, we’re talking about going out into the daunting night and landing those personal bests. Once turned on, it automatically adjusts brightness and frequencies for the interface to optimize your time on the water. On the other hand, the Solar Max screen also gives you the ultimate glare protection during the brightest of days.
This is a simple-to-use interface that will get you on the water quickly without sacrificing features.
- Screen Size: 4 inches
- Type of Connection: Only Module Memory
- Weight: 3 pounds
Our last fish finder is the Hawkeye Fishtrax 1C-K.
This is a portable fish finder designed to help anglers locate fish at the cheapest price. Landing at our best budget, this is the most basic unit on the market that still excels in finding fish.
The Fishtrax 1C-K features a high-resolution color display showing detailed bottom contour images. It’s similar to the more expensive units, but you’ll be losing resolution and sonar options here. On the bright side though, it has a depth capability of up to 240 feet and a wide-angle sonar beam that covers a large area. This allows you to scan more water in less time.
This fish finder is a popular choice among novice and veteran anglers because it’s so easy to use. Forget about charging, it runs on four AAA batteries, providing up to 30 hours of continuous use. It can be easily mounted on a boat, kayak, or by hand. With a variety of options for your transducer (float, down view, attached to the bottom of the boat), there’s nothing much you can’t do with this unit.
Other notable features of the Fishtrax 1C-K are its Fish ID+ technology, which helps identify different fish species. There’s also its audible fish alarm, which alerts you when fish are near. If you’re on a budget or don’t have the means to invest, this is the best fish finder for you.
- Battery: Lithium
- Weight: 2 pounds
- USB Ports: No
This next pick isn’t a fish finder, but rather the best battery to use with fish finders for kayaks. The Dakota Lithium 12V 7AH battery is the power source I use for my kayak, and it’s never failed me.
Lithium is the best power source you can get due to its long battery life, quick recharge, and weight. When buying a lithium battery, you’re just about cutting the weight in half compared to a lead-acid one. In addition, the Dakota Lithium 12V 7Ah Battery has a built-in battery management system. This system prevents overcharging, over-discharging, and short outs, ultimately preserving your battery.
This battery can last for quite some time on a full charge. The exact length will depend on how much power it supplies and the device it’s powering, but you can be sure it will outlast any other battery out there.
You’ll also be glad to hear that this battery can deliver over 2,000 cycles. This means it can be charged and discharged many times before you need to get a new one.
As mentioned above, I’ve always counted on this battery to power my kayaks. So rest assured this battery will run your fish finder with no issue, and the lightweight design will be perfect for your kayak.
Best Battery Pack
- Battery: Lead-Acid
- Weight: 4 pounds
- USB Ports: Yes
Our final contender is the Yak-Power Power Pack. This power bank is versatile in every way you’ll need on the water. It’s lightweight, strong, water resistant, and resilient. It has an IP67 rating, which means it can withstand being submerged in water up to three feet deep for 30 minutes. It’s also dustproof and shock-resistant. This makes it an ideal power source for harsh outdoor environments such as kayak fishing.
In case of an emergency, the Yak Power Power Pack comes with a built-in light source and battery display. You’ll never be left in the dark again. Now, you might be wondering which power source is better, the Yak-Power Power Pack or Dakota lithium. Well, the power pack comes with USB ready plugs and outlets, whereas the Dakota has 12V battery connections.
So if you’re looking for a portable power source to take anywhere, go with the Yak Power. But if you’re looking for a more permanent power source, go with the Dakota.
How To Choose The Right Kayak Fish Finder
Before you start dropping cash on items just for their names, it’s important to understand the product. Take a quick look at these tips to help make your choice.
A fishing kayak isn’t the largest vessel on the water; the more room you have for yourself, the better your fishing trip will be.
Having said that, a decrease in size means a loss in features and screen size. So before making your purchase, consider your eyesight (smaller screens are harder to see), the room on your kayak, and your mounting surface.
When choosing a mounting platform and brackets for your kayak fish finder, it’s crucial that you take into account the size and weight of your device. And of course, don’t forget about the the design of your kayak.
The mounting platform and brackets should be compatible with both your fish finder and your kayak. At the same time, it should be strong enough to support the device’s weight without bending or flexing the boat. As such, I wouldn’t put a $1,000 fish finder on a cheap $100 kayak. The chances of losing your equipment or damaging your kayak increases as kayak quality decreases.
The transducer is a piece of the fish finder that sends and receives sonar signals to and from the water. The transducer handles converting electrical signals from the fish finder. It then turns it into sound waves that are transmitted into the water.
When buying a fish finder, be sure to understand what kind of transducer your equipment has. There are five different styles of transducers, but the most common are the traditional and CHIRP transducers.
Traditional transducers are suitable for most fishing conditions. They use a single or dual frequency and are typically mounted on the transom or hull of the boat. In contrast, CHIRP transducers use a wider range of frequencies than traditional transducers to provide more detailed images of the underwater environment. CHIRP technology allows for better target separation and can detect fish in greater detail.
In this section, we compiled the most frequently asked questions, plus answers to help you quickly find the information you’re looking for.
Can You Put Just Any Fish Finder on a Kayak?
Although it’s possible to mount most fish finders on a kayak, not all fish finders are compatible. You should factor in the size and weight of the device when choosing a fish finder for your kayak. The power consumption, mounting options, and display are key considerations too.
How is a Fish Finder Powered on a Kayak?
Almost all fish finders are powered by a battery. The size of the battery needed depends on the size of your fish finder and the duration you’ll be using it. The more power is drawn, the larger the battery that’s needed. Vice versa, the less power is drawn, the smaller the battery you’ll need.
How Long Do Batteries Run on Fish Finders?
The battery life of a fish finder depends on several factors. These include the size and capacity of the battery, the power consumption of the fish finder, and its usage. On average, most fish finder batteries can last anywhere from 6 to 12 hours on a single charge.
The fish finder industry has had huge advances in technology. These are the best fish finders, and the technologies reflect it.
If you’re still having trouble deciding what to choose, let me leave you with the fish finder I use myself – the Raymarine Element 7 HV. I’ve had nothing but good days when using this unit to find and catch fish, not to mention the high-quality display.
If you’re a northeastern kayak angler chasing the stripers up in New York, I’ll probably see you around. Either way, good luck and get those lines wet!
By the way, since you’ve just found your dream kayak fish finder, here are the best fishing kayaks to use it with.