Kayak Fish Finders: What Do They Do and Do You Need One?

Fish finders can help you find fish-holding features and the fish themselves in open water that otherwise looks fishless. One thing’s for sure, fish finders are a great tool to have in your armoury and they can definitely save a session from a blank. But can you use a fish finder in a kayak? You may have heard of fish finders for larger fishing boats but is there any need for one in your kayak?

In this article, we’ll be looking at fish finders, their uses, and whether they’re worth your time. We’ll also be looking at why a fish finder for your kayak could change your fishing game completely. 

What is a Fish Finder? 

A fish finder is a piece of SONAR (Sound Navigation and Ranging) equipment that sends soundwaves through the water and bounces them back off the lakebed. These soundwaves paint a picture of what lies beneath the surface. On a fish finder you will see the depth of the water, the density of the bottom, underwater features, and fish.

You will be able to read what’s underneath the surface when you use a fish finder. The ability to see what the bottom of the lake, river, or coastal water looks like while sitting on the surface of the water allows you to adjust your angling approach. Depending on what you’re fishing for, you’ll be able to adjust your approach if there’s weed on the bottom or in mid water. You’ll also be able to find clear patches of gravel, areas of silt, as well as clay. This insight can give you the edge when finding the feeding areas of species such as carp. 

Most fish finders also feature a GPS option, so when you find a good spot, you can mark it on a map for the next time you’re out on the water. This is a great feature and means once you’ve put in the hard work once you’ll be able to fish over the features you have logged time and time again with ease. 

Fish finders allow you to look deep beneath the surface of the water so you can take a more informed approach to your angling. Rather than simply sticking to the margins and visible features you’ll be able to fish in places that before looked baren. This is extremely useful on large lakes and rivers that intimidate you with their vastness. You will be surprised at how intricate the habitat is under the water. What seems like one large expanse of water may be broken up by underwater banks, ledges, drop offs, gravel patches, and underwater structures. Understanding what the habitat is like below the surface allows you to fish confidently rather than blind.

Can You Use a Fish Finder in a Kayak? 

In short, yes. You most certainly can use a fish finder on a kayak, and it is well worth doing. There are fish finders designed specifically for kayaks and some such as the deeper pro fish finder that are designed for carp fishing but can be attached to a kayak with a boat mount. 

Kayak fish finders are designed so they can be easily mounted on the boat without taking up precious space or being cumbersome to use. Products such as the deeper pro can be mounted on a pole off the side of the yak and connected to your phone wirelessly so there’s no need for a separately mounted screen. After using these devices myself, I’ve found them to be extremely insightful, efficient, and reliable to use. The simplicity of these kinds of fish finders makes them extremely easy to use and by using your phone as a receiver and screen you cut the costs down incredibly. This isn’t a sales pitch by the way, we don’t offer the deeper in our store, but after using them with great results recommending them is a no brainer.

If you’re just starting out and want a fish finder for your kayak, I would definitely recommend the deeper pro. It’s cost effective and extremely rugged, so you won’t be too scared to use it. They should do everything you need it too when paddling in environments suitable for a kayak. Not needing a separate screen is also a huge plus as it not only saves you money, but it also saves you the space, hassle, and time of mounting a separate screen on board. That being said, there are better fish finders available for the tackle tarts out there and they are packed with features!

Fish finders from Garmin, Eagle, and Lowrance are all fantastic options for your kayak. You don’t need anything too high tec for your yak though. There really is no need to go “overboard” on a fish finder for your kayak as it’s unlikely you’ll be fishing in extreme depths and harsh conditions. A decent fish finder that displays details about the lakebed, riverbed, or seabed as well as underwater structures, bottom density, and marine life will be perfect. There’s no need to purchase something that functions in extremely deep waters and offshore environments because unless you are fishing for game in Panama you are unlikely to reap the benefits of an extremely high tec SONAR.

Why Bother with a Fish Finder for Your Kayak?

A fish finder isn’t needed for everyone. If you’re just a casual paddler that occasionally brings a rod and reel on your trip for a bit of fun, a fish finder will likely be wasted. However, if you have caught the fishing bug and want to start fishing for specimens seriously from your kayak, a fish finder is as essential as your rod, reel, and line.

If you are only paddling in shallow rivers where you can see the bottom and both banks, a fish finder will also be a waste of your time. If you can see under the surface to the bottom, you aren’t fishing blind, so there will be no need for one. However, if you constantly fish on large rivers, lakes, and coastal areas, a fish finder is essential if you want to improve your success rate and track down those huge fish. 

Not only will a fish finder tell you where the fish are, it will tell you where the fish aren’t. You may be frustrated because you’ve been fishing a specific area for weeks on end without prevail. The spot you are fishing may look pristine on the surface but what lay below may be very different. Rather than targeting fish that aren’t there, a fish finder allows you to rule out certain locations. That means you can focus your efforts on areas that you know for sure hold fish.

Fish finders boost your confidence massively. If you’re a keen angler like me you’ve probably sat for hours, days, or weeks on end in the hope for that one BIG specimen. After a while, blanking takes it’s tole on your mind and you start to wonder whether you’re using the right tackle, the correct bait, whether your spots are good, or whether there are even any fish on your spot. A fish finder gives you an insight into whether there are fish in your area. If you know they are there and you are confident that your spots are good, you can start to make tactical changes to your rigs, bait, and campaign. This gives you a huge edge on your fishing.

Bottom Line: Are Fish Finders Worth Your Time? 

Whether fish finders are worth your time really depends on your kayaking habits. If you’re a casual weekend kayaker that takes the rod out to pleasure fish for a couple of hours, you may not warrant a fish finder. However, if you’re a keen angler with the dream of landing a mega pike, carp, or catfish on your kayak, then a fish finder may be the tool that’ll help you achieve your dreams of a huge specimen. 

One thing’s for sure, fish finders can help you track down fish in places that otherwise seem uninhabited and baron. If you’re down about blanking on your local lake and have a spare bit of cash around for your next piece of fishing equipment, I would highly recommend a fish finder for your kayak. Sure, it’s not a nice new reel or a fresh bag of tackle, but what’s the use of a pristine setup if you can’t find the fish? In my opinion, you’re better off throwing money at the things that’ll help you catch rather than the things that’ll make catching more enjoyable.

That’s it for this one, happy paddling and tight lines to all you angling kayakers out there.

Have you caught a fish of dreams from your yak? Let us know in the comments down below!

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