best fish finder for small boats

Top 8 Best Fish Finder for Small Boats 2021 | Reviews & Buying Guide

Not all of us have access to larger boats when we go out of the waters to fish. Maybe you just own a smaller boat or you can’t afford to rent larger ones. Or maybe you just want to fish for fun. No matter the reason, one this is for sure, we always want to catch a haul. Today you are going to read our complete best fish finder for small boat reviews.

And to do so, we must make sure that we have everything that we need on board with us. Having said that, we should put in the conscious effort to make sure we only bring essential and compact tools and equipment with us on our trip.

Don’t you ever set out without a fish finder if you want the trip to be meaningful? And so, we’ve listed down some of the best fish finder for small boats. Have at it, and see which one best suits your needs and style.

Though this unit did not make it to our best fish finder for small boats it still has some quality features. Let’s have look.

Go check our reviews!

Top 8 Best Fish Finder for Small Boats Product Reviews

1. Garmin Striker 4 – Portable Fish Finder

Garmin Striker 4

With the first entry on our best fish finder for small boats review, we find ourselves looking at a feature-packed device that you can own at an affordable rate. We’re talking about the Garmin Striker 4 and as well all know this brand is all about innovation.

You’ll get to employ a 3.5-inch screen that’s not only easy to navigate but also quite intuitive. It’s a colored screen of course and you get to access high-sensitivity GPS through it. It also comes with an ergonomic keypad for you to tweak some settings for the device.

It is super easy to use, find fish, mark the spot, and catch. You can use this device to map out hot fishing spots, docks, and ramps so you know exactly where to go anytime. You’ll have access to creating waypoints because of Garmin’s high-end GPS.

You may also check your speed on your screen and you may take this fish finder anywhere so it’s very much suitable for smaller boats. And of course, we can’t talk about the Striker 4 without talking about the cream of the crop, its transducer.

This unit includes CHIRP technology. Clarity is ensured in your readings and you will catch a haul like a pro. It operates on 77/200 kHz of frequency to map out and interpret high-quality images for you at an accurate rate.

Pros:
  • An all-in-one device
  • Useful GPS and mapping features
  • Very intuitive screen and easy to read
  • Tough construction and affordable
  • A pretty portable device, high-quality image display, and interpretation
Cons:
  • Some waterproofing and corrosion issues are documented for this model

2. Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder

Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2

From one top of the line product to another one, we’ll be discussing the innovative Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fishfinder next. That’s from arguably the top competitor of the Garmin brand in this side of the industry.

The Helix 5 is designed to arm you with the information that you need way before you set out to go fishing. That’s how advanced its features are and this device will help you tremendously when it’s go-time.

It comes with a transducer, mounting hardware, and gimbal mounting bracket so it’s not only fit for smaller boats, it’s also quite convenient to take with you no matter what your setup is.

This is a hybrid device as you’ll enjoy the much-coveted dual beam technology onboard. That’s both down and side-scanning capabilities! Look out below or scan sideways, it’s got it all. You’ll read the interpretations on a 5-inch display that operates on a resolution of 800H x 480V.

Impressive, right? It’s also got a built-in BaseMap feature and AutoChart live so you can build maps as you go.

Pros:
  • Very innovative features onboard
  • Tough construction and can be operated easily in harsh climates
  • Very accurate details
  • Dual-beam technology
  • Ergonomic design
Cons:
  • Easily the most expensive unit on our review

3. Deeper Pro Plus – Portable Fish Finder

Deeper PRO+  GPS Portable Fish Finder

Let’s discuss the innovative and stylish Deeper pro Fish Finder this time. This unit is characterized by its unique, futuristic looking, and ball-shaped transducers.

The Deeper Pro promises to help you find fishing spots faster. Once you cast it, you’ll immediately get depth and water temp readings off of it. It will tell you where to look for fish or your intended catch by showing you the environment these fishes love.

In short, it will completely map out the waters and the ground beneath for you. It operates on powerful connections as well as accurate readings. Its Wi-Fi signal is up to 330 feet and it sends out 15 scans/second and will have a target separation of an inch.

Of course, you’ll also get to enjoy dual scanning modes on this fish finder. That’s either 330 feet per 100 meters or 260 feet per 80 meters.

This unit operates in two frequencies, 90 kHz at 55 degrees for wider scans on broader areas and 290 kHz at 15 degrees for more detailed scanning with more depth. Switch from narrow and wide scanning beams easily!

You will have access to GPS mapping as well as saving your data on the cloud. Operate with your smartphone conveniently. That’s what you call innovation.

Pros:
  • A very innovative look and design overall
  • The set of features are amazing it’s not only a fish finder but more
  • Convenient to utilize
  • Unique transducer with dual-beam capabilities
  • Accurate
Cons:
  • Takes a bit of a learning curve to fully utilize and a tad pricey

4. LUCKY Fish Finder

LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder

The next entry on our list is a beloved fish finder by a lot of anglers. That’s because of its versatility, function, and most of all, affordability. We’re talking about the LUCKY Fish Finder of course.

This unit can be utilized in a lot of fishing situations. Whether you are riding your kayak, going for some ice fishing, or staying right at the shore. This fish finder is fit for all of that.

You’ll read everything off of a 2-inch display but while it’s not the widest and most innovative of screens, it’s still very efficient and will give you access to everything you need as far as fish-finding goes.

The transducer operates at a 45-degree angle at 200 kHz. That’s a depth and range of about 328 feet or 100 meters. Pretty impressive, huh? For a cheaper device, it sure is. It is quite sturdy too given that it’s fit for ice fishing and also kayak fishing.

Pros:
  • Wide range and depth
  • Very versatile design and function
  • Great value for money
  • Operates well under any condition
  • Pretty straightforward symbols on display
Cons:
  • It’s not the sturdiest and most innovative device on our list for sure

5. Deeper Smart Fish Finder- Castable Fish Finder

Deeper Start Smart Fish Finder

If you fish for leisure but still want to own one of these slick Deeper devices then worry not as you may go for the Deeper Smart Fish Finder. Enjoy convenient fish finding features at the comfort of your smartphone.

This unit is super easy to use and you may utilize it whether you are on the shore, bank, or dock. The display would be straightforward with different fish sizes indicated. You’ll also see underwater details and you may retrieve and store your data as you go.

You won’t need any Wi-Fi connectivity to operate this device via your smartphone. Charge, connect cast and scan. As simple as that. You can cast out up to 165 feet and this unit operate with a 40 degrees sonar beam.

It’s pretty lightweight with a 6-hour battery life per 5-hour charge.

Pros:
  • Meant for beginners and attractive to kids too
  • Pretty decent range and depth capability
  • Very affordable
  • Sleek design and operate via Wi-Fi with no connectivity required
  • Easy to understand readings
Cons:
  • Application is not as useful as you might think

6. Garmin Striker 4cv

Garmin Striker 4cv

All right, Garmin comes back on our list with a couple more devices and we continue with the Garmin Striker 4cv up next. Which as you might think is an upgrade of the previous device we discussed.

If you can spend a little more and want a few more features from the Striker 4 then this is the unit for you. This unit comes with a larger 4.3 inches screen that’s ready to take on even the harshest of sunlight.

Perhaps the biggest add-on to this device is that it operates using the CHIRP sonar technology and the coveted Garmin ClearVu system onboard. But that’s not all for it comes, together with its awesome built-in GPS, an equally useful mapping software.

The Garmin QuickDraw Contours software onboard lets you create as well as store maps on the fly. So create waypoints, maps, routes, and view the speed of your boat on the screen. It’s also quite easy to use. Naturally, it contains all of the features we discussed for the Garmin Striker 4 earlier too.

Pros:
  • Great value for money if you go for this upgraded version
  • Clear and accurate readings
  • Useful for mapping
  • Easy to utilize
  • Solid construction
Cons:
  • Reports of screen freezing have surfaced online for this device

7. Garmin STRIKER Plus 5cv

Garmin Striker Plus 5cv Fish Finder

From one upgrade to another, we present the Garmin Striker Plus 5cv. This is a different version but still, if you want to splurge a little bit and be serious about catching a lot of fish especially on difficult waters then this is the unit we recommend.

This fish finder for small boats is convenient to carry and mount so it’s ideal for a smaller boat. It won’t occupy much space either for the features that it brings literally onboard.

The transducer still operates with the Garmin CHIRP and ClearVu technology for accurate readings with impressive range and depth. All the mapping features to create routes, waypoints, and mark your fishing spots are built-in on this device too.

That’s up to 1-foot contours for maps of up to 2 million acres. View the speed of your boat as you go and enjoy the 5-inch sunlight-ready display. All discussed Garmin fish finder features on previous units also on this one.

Pros:
  • Very portable and ergonomic design
  • Solid construction meant for tough climates
  • Easy to use and low maintenance
  • More than just a fish finder this can also act as an emergency device
  • Readable display on any situation
Cons:
  • The upgrades are not as worth it as you might expect for the price

8. RICANK Portable Fish Finder

RICANK Handheld Fish Finder

The last entry on our best fish finder for small boats review is the underdog but efficient RICANK Portable Fish Finder. If you’re looking for something that’s just a notch higher than the Lucky unit we discussed above then this should be your choice.

Very affordable unit but comes with just enough features you’d need on your fishing trips. Comes with a 2.8-inch screen with accurate and easy-to-understand symbols. The interface and buttons are quite easy to navigate and operate too.

This is one versatile device as well and used for kayak, ice, lake, sea, river, and shore fishing. It’s got a 45-degree cone angle and a depth range of 328 feet. It’s also armed with various useful features.

Like, sensitivity, backlight, and depth adjustments. Noise filter and alarm settings are also onboard. It’s an efficient device if you know how to explore it.

Pros:
  • Great value for money
  • You’ll have everything you need onboard to find fish
  • Great range and depth
  • Easy to use and understand
  • Pretty portable unit
Cons:
  • Beware of early deterioration

Best Fish Finder for Small Boats Buying Guide

Here are a few important things that you need to know to maximize your investment should you buy a fish finder for small boats.

Transducer

We don’t know what you’ll do if your fish finder does not come equipped with a transducer. And we take this chance to talk about how a fish finder works, to begin with.

Your transducer is what’s responsible for sending out and receiving the signal from your device. Once the signal is sent out, it reaches whatever objects and fish depending on its depth and range and then that signal is received right back and interpreted on your screen.

So, what you need to watch out for are your fish finder’s cone angle and frequency. These things determine the effectiveness, efficiency, and versatility of your chosen device.

Some devices operate in multiple frequencies enabling you to have dual zones. Usually, the wider zone with lesser detail and the deeper zone but with hyper-visualized details. Choose wisely depending on your needs and frequent fishing spots and style.

Ergonomic Design

A fish finder needs to be portable and be easy to handle. Especially when it comes to these smaller handheld models that we’ve discussed. While most of them can probably be mounted properly even on smaller boats, it’s better if you can hold them firmly.

An ergonomic design refers to how the body is designed that in such a way you can wield them as you go. That’s all the while operating some other tool or maybe your fishing rod on your other hand.

Also, an ergonomic design would refer to its screen. It should be readable enough at all times, no exception. Whether the weather gets bad, it gets slippery, messy, or it gets extremely bright. Choose a unit with a readable screen even in extreme conditions.

Add-on Features

While add-on features can increase the price of your fish finder a little bit, they will come in handy. Devices with built-in GPS features will aid you a lot. You can make maps, create waypoints, or use them as an emergency tool to get you back home when it gets tough.

And trust us, it can go downhill fast when you’re out fishing especially in poor weather conditions.

Construction

Of course, there’s no point in high-tech features if the unit is not built to last. It should be constructed that in such a way it’s rugged and made out of the finest materials for endurance. The devices we listed are fit for ice fishing so you know they are tough.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Different Types of Fish Finders?

There are 3 common types of fish finders. You have the older 2D fish finder that operates mostly in black and white as these are the first iterations of the device. And then you have the two most common types utilized nowadays.

We’re talking about the side scan and down scan fish finders. As their names imply, side scan fish finders have a wider range up to about 100 feet on both sides when it comes to the details it can present.

They are mostly utilized in freshwater fishing or shallower bodies of water but do take note that sometimes, devices that have a wider range will have lesser details. But that’s not in any way saying that these side scan fish finders have not been innovated to still provide photographic images.

Down scan fish finders will have more depth so they are, of course, utilized more on saltwater and they provide better details.

Also, there’s a somewhat fourth type of fish finder that some of the devices we listed above are categorized into. It’s a hybrid device and will have both side and down scan properties.

How do I make sure to properly utilize my fish finder?

Well, first you need to make sure you know how to operate it especially its interface. Some modern fish finders will have all sorts of symbols on their screen so familiarize yourself with what they mean.

Make sure when to know how to choose the right settings so as not to go on auto-mode all the time. Sometimes, operating on auto won’t get you the desired results.

Get to know sensitivity, range, zoom, color pallets, and screen settings more and more as you utilize it.

Any Maintenance Tips to Prolong the Service life of my Fish Finder Device?

Take note that the waterproofing rating of your fish finder has a limit to it and so don’t be overconfident on either submerging it in water or cleaning it under running water forcibly.

Only use a little amount of soap with your water if it’s really dirty and only use soft microfiber cloth so as not to damage the screen. Also, make sure to take care of your transducer and other components.

Especially when operating on saltwater, the components of your fish finder may suffer from corrosion. Make sure to spray, wax, or grease them with anti-corrosives regularly.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, these are some of the best fish finder for small boats out in the market today. Not only are the products we discussed are from top brands but reliable innovators as well.

You must be fully equipped when you go out in the waters for your fishing trip and so you must have everything that you need anytime and anywhere. And these fish finders, well, they literally will fit in your pocket plus they are quite handy.

Portability, efficiency, and an ergonomic plus rugged design are what you want from your device, and any of the models we listed above are worthy investments.

So the next time you plan on going for a fishing trip, spend a few bucks to arm yourself with a worthwhile device. A fish finder will not only help you find your intended catch they’ll make sure that your time and energy won’t go to waste.

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