Fish Finder Buying Tips for New Kayak Anglers

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Things are looking up…

You have taken the plunge…

Purchased your new kayak even launching it onto your local lake while mastering the art of kayak fishing.

After spending most of your first kayak fishing adventures probing the shallows, you’ve decided to up your game and invest in a sonar unit to explore the watery depths of your favorite honey hole.

fish finder tips for kayak anglers

So as most good Internet-oriented anglers do, you fire up the app to your favorite online tackle retailer starting your research into the different types of fish finders available to kayak anglers. It doesn’t take long to get mesmerized by the numerous models of fish finders available in the market today.

Question is, how do you identify the best fishfinder to meet your needs?

Since I am also a relatively new kayak bass angler, I developed this list of questions, thoughts and considerations developed as I work through my search for my ideal sonar unit:

What degree of portability do I want or need in a new sonar unit?

Most traditional sonar units come with sonar displays and transducers designed to be mounted on the boat or kayak and powered by the vessel’s 12 volt electrical system. These types of units work fine for anglers willing to dedicate the fish finder to a specific kayak or boat. For those anglers desiring a greater degree of portability with traditional sonar units, many manufacturers produce portable sonar packs including a protective case, an internal battery system along with portable transducer mounts.

One of the more interesting recent advances in the sonar industry is the development and introduction of wireless transducers and associated apps for mobile devices such as cell phones. It should be pretty obvious, these wireless transducer-type fish finders offer the greatest potential in portability. These wireless transducers are also “cast-able”, affording the user the option to either employ it from any kayak or when fishing from shore. Of course the increased portability of wireless transducers means less functions/features are available on these fish finder compared with traditional units.

What types of sonar display functions are desired?

A number of other exciting technological advancements have been developed by fish finder manufacturers over the last decade or more, These advancements include features like color sonar displays; down and side imaging displays; and GPS mapping and tracking functionality.

fish finder image displays

Sonar, Down & Side Imaging Displays

Each of these features offers the kayak angler different ways of viewing their favorite fishing environments but typically at a greater cost and lower level of portability.

How much of an angling techno-geek are you?

One of the major considerations you should give serious thought too…

How comfortable are you in implementing and using new technologies?

Let’s face it, not all of us are technically oriented and prefer to keep things relatively straightforward and simple. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with keeping things simple. Understanding your level of technical prowess and accepting it will minimize your frustrations when selecting your new fish finder both during set-up and during later use.

If you are the type of person looking to minimize your frustration and usually fish the same small lakes and ponds, you may want to consider either one of the wireless units or a traditional-type fish finder with sonar and/or down imaging displays. Kayak anglers more comfortable with technology who desire more features/functions and have deeper pocketbooks may want to consider units with GPS mapping and side imaging features to meet their requirements.

What types of water bodies do you normally fish?

As I mentioned in the previous section, if you fish a limited number of small lakes, ponds and rivers, a sonar unit with fairly basic displays and functions may well suit your needs.

On the other hand, if you fish larger lakes and rivers with more complex bottom structure and cover, fish finders providing the different types of sonar and imaging displays along with GPS mapping features may be a better option.

Bottom line…

It all comes down to a matter of personal preference and size of your pocket book relative to the set of features and functions that will work for you when buying a fish finder for your first kayak.

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