Best Fish Finder for Small Boat 2020 – Review

Do you end up catching less fish than you though you should, even after a hard day of fishing? If you answered yes then a fish finder is the right tool for you as it helps in boosting your catch.  A great device for anglers, the fish finder helps you locate the fish in water and helps you save time and energy as you know where to fish. We have selected the best fish finders for you after careful consideration so let’s take a look.

Quick Overview - Best Fish Finder for Small Boats 2020

Quick Comparison - Best Fish Finder for Small Boats

Preview
Best All Around
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
Best Value
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
Deeper Chirp Castable and Portable Fish Finder for Kayaks Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder Smart Sonar Fish Radar Depth Finder
Title
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5″ GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
Deeper Chirp Castable and Portable Fish Finder for Kayaks Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder Smart Sonar Fish Radar Depth Finder
Screen
5″
3.5″
None (use your phone)
Max Depth
1500 feet
1600 feet freshwater, 750 feet saltwater
330 feet
Customer Rating
Best All Around
Preview
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
Title
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
Screen
5″
Max Depth
1500 feet
Customer Rating
Best Value
Preview
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
Title
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5″ GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
Screen
3.5″
Max Depth
1600 feet freshwater, 750 feet saltwater
Customer Rating
Preview
Deeper Chirp Castable and Portable Fish Finder for Kayaks Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder Smart Sonar Fish Radar Depth Finder
Title
Deeper Chirp Castable and Portable Fish Finder for Kayaks Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder Smart Sonar Fish Radar Depth Finder
Screen
None (use your phone)
Max Depth
330 feet
Customer Rating

Buying Guide

Searching for the right fishfinder for your boat can be overwhelming as you have so many options available on the market. We have provided you with the best options suitable for you so that it easy for you to select the right one according to your needs. To further narrow down your search we will acquaint you with the important features to look out for in a Fishfinder before investing your hard-earned money. Let’s look at each of the features in detail:

Material

If you are going to use an in-hull or a thru-hull transducer mount then you need to be careful about the material that the Fishfinder is made of. Whichever material you opt for should be compatible with the hull of the boat. So, if you have a wooden hull it is good to opt for bronze housing material. On the other hand, if the boat has a steel or aluminum hull then you should go for stainless steel housing material as it is more durable and compatible. If you are an amateur then plastic housing would also be a good fit.

Battery Life

The choice of the battery would depend on your usage. So, if you go fishing for a couple of hours then you can opt for finders that have AA or AAA batteries but don’t forget to carry extra ones in case they run out. On the other hand, if you like to spend the whole day fishing then you should go for finders with rechargeable batteries that have a longer battery life and you can also pack some spare batteries just in case you run out.

Frequencies and Cone Angles

Another important consideration before getting a fish finder is its frequency. The finders are available in single, dual as well as multiple frequencies. The frequency of a model would depend upon the cone angle. The distance and speed of travel of the cone beam is directly related to the cone angle. So, if you go for a high frequency mode then it will provide you more detail as compared to a low-frequency Fishfinder. Higher frequencies are suitable when you are fishing in shallow waters.

If you are fishing in deep waters then a low-frequency transducer will be a good fit for you. Also, people who regularly go for fishing at one spot can opt for a low-frequency Fishfinder as a single frequency will work well for them.

Also, some fishers come with both large and small cone areas and this helps you choose the cone area according to the depth you are fishing at. These days many finders come with a lot of customization so you can choose the right frequency and cone angle according to your needs. Although these are generally costly but you can use them for different fishing styles and depths so they are worth the investment.

Display Resolution

Display resolution of the screen is important in order to view the images and other info clearly. If you want sharp pictures then go for maximum pixels. However, you will see that some displays work fine with fewer pixels and might be good enough. The minimum resolution that is required to see images clearly is 240×160. A basic Fishfinder would generally have less resolution and you will not be able to see many details in this resolution.

The Best Fish Finder for Small Boats

man on a boat on a lake fishing using one of the best finder for small boats

The Best All Around Fish Finder for Small Boats

Best All Around Fish Finder for Small Boats

Pros

Cons

  • Has a precision Internal GPS Chart plotting that includes an in-built Anima cartography making it easier to create maps
  • Comes with a new operating system and user interface that is easier to operate
  • The imaging sonar is of great quality and precision
  • Includes a micro SD card slot for optional maps or for saving waypoints
  • The micro SF card enables it to save 500 points waypoints only. If you save more than 500 then waypoints memory will disappear when you switch the power off

The HELIX 5 Series has a great widescreen color display. The company has come up with innovative models and has developed some great technologies which make it easy for you to locate fish in different types of water. This model has a new user interface as well as operating system and has a great 800H x 480V, 5″ 256 color display with backlight.

Humminbird is famous for creating innovative technology that makes fishing more fun. The Helix series of GPS finders has a range of technologies that include an accurate broadband CHIRP, a REFLEX interface, an Auto Chart Live that helps in mapmaking and much more! Moreover, the imaging sonar is of great quality and helps you detect fish from a long distance. The industrial design coupled with a new user interface and operating system make this GPS finder a must have for all the avid anglers out there who are looking forward to catch more fish.

Although available on select models, Humminbird CHIRP Digital Sonar and Imaging Sonar are helpful in revealing the bottom of the lake. The product also includes a mounting hardware, a mounting bracket, a power cable and a transducer. If you are wondering what can be a perfect gift for your family member or a friend who loves fishing, then you need not look further. The 1.    Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder is the best gift for them and has a reasonable cost.

Features & Specs

  • Display Size: 5 Inches
  • Display Color: TFT
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH :1.13 x 7.55 x 4.28 inches
  • Map Type: Nautical
  • 5-Inch Color WVGA Display
  • CHIRP Dual Beam PLUS Sonar
  • Power Output RMS: 500 Watts
  • Target Separation – 2.5 Inches

The Best Value Fish Finder for Small Boats

Best Value Fish Finder for Small Boats

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to operate 3.5-inch color Fishfinder
  • Has an in-built high-sensitivity GPS
  • Enables you to locate fish and mark and return to your favorite locations with ease
  • Keypad is convenient to operate
  • Has CHIRP (77/200 kHz) sonar transducer; transmit power (200 W RMS)/(1,600 W peak-to-peak)
  • Provides you the option of upgrading to high performance CHIRP with GT8 or GT15 transducers that are sold separately
  • The mount in this Fishfinder does not have suction and so it can’t be mounted to a kayak without getting mounting brackets for an extra cost

The Striker Fishfinder series launched by Garmin earlier was hugely successful and so they came up with new Striker Fishfinder that has an improved technology and design. The new Striker Fishfinder series is equipped with ClearVu technology that enables you to mark the fishing spot you love and you can easily come back to it tomorrow. This helps you save time and money. This particular model is 3.5 inches but you can get other models with a larger display of 5 inches or 7 inches. The display resolution for this Fishfinder is 480 x 320 pixels.

Wondering what’s in the water around your boat? The Clear Vu Sonar has a high frequency that enables you to get clear and detailed images of fish and the surrounding objects and structures. If you want something that is easy to operate and install then you should go for Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer. This model has a 3.5-inch display but you can get other models with larger displays of 5 inches and 7 inches respectively. The water rating for this one is IPX7.

The Waypoint map in this model can be used to view and navigate to different locations such a stumps, docks, and brush piles. Moreover, you can easily mark the locations that you find suitable. The maximum depth for freshwater is 1600 feet whereas for saltwater it will work best till 750 feet.

The CHIRP sonar in the Fishfinder will send a constant sweep of frequencies that provide a range of beneficial information. The CHIRP sonar enables the Fishfinder to create crisper fish arches that have better target separation. If you are looking forward to get a Fishfinder that has good features and also does not burn a hole in your pocket then it is wise to invest in this one.

Features & Specs

  • Display Size: 3.5 Inches
  • Display: LCD
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH:3.6 x 1.6 x 5.9 inches
  • Map Type: Worldwide

The Best Castable Fish Finder for Small Boats

Best Castable Fish Finder for Small Boats

Pros

Cons

  • It is the only castable fish finder with CHIRP Sonar
  • Is compatible with iOS and Android devices
  • Generates its own Wi-Fi signal to connect to your smartphone.
  • Has a fast charging battery that saves time
  • Enables you to create your own bathymetric maps
  • Helps you map the waters for maximizing your catch rate
  • As of the time of writing this review, the ice fishing mode is not supported by the app yet

The Deeper CHIRP Smart Sonar Phone Castable Wireless Fishfinder is great for ice fishing and kayak fishing and it works efficiently in saltwater. The CHIRP sonar helps in sending out continuous frequencies that provide clear and accurate readings and high-resolution images as compared to traditional sonars.

It has a castable CHIRP sonar that sends out three beam frequencies that help you conveniently locate the holding spots of your favorite fish and also enables you to fish at greater depths. In fact, you can cast out to 330ft with solid connectivity!

This model works well with both Android and iOS. Moreover, it has its own Wi-fi signal that enables it to connect with your smartphones. You can also create Bathymetric maps for your canoe, kayak or boats and access all these maps conveniently.

The Deeper CHIRP Smart Sonar Phone Castable Wireless Fishfinder enables you to map your favorite fishing locations so that you can keep coming back to them without wasting your time and energy. Also, it comes with an Extended 5-year warranty so you know that you don’t need to invest in a new Fishfinder anytime soon. It is for this reason that this Fishfinder is highly sustainable for the environment.

Features & Specs

  • Casts out to 330ft with solid connectivity
  • Precise 0. 4in target separation
  • Accurate scanning in water from 6in to 330ft deep

Best Fish Finder for Small Boats - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

As you go deeper you would need lower frequency as they travel larger distances and provide better returns. So, your fishing depths and frequencies are inversely correlated. If you are fishing in depths that are more than 1,500 feet then you should opt for frequencies lower than 140kHz. On the other hand, if you are fishing in medium water depths that range from 600 to 1,500 feet then it is good to go for frequencies between 80kHz and 150 kHz.

If you are fishing in shallow waters up to 600 feet then opt for frequencies above 150 kHz to get an optimal performance.

Yes, seasoned fishers may be able to determine the species of fish based on their sonar returns, however it takes a lot of skill and practice. The fish are detected with the help of their air bladder which varies from one species to another. As all the fish belonging to the same species have the similar shape of returns it is possible to identify the species.

As a matter of fact, all three of them do! But if you are looking specifically for ice fishing, you might also want to check out our article on the best ice fishing flashers.

Happy Boat Fishing

With the detailed reviews of finders and the buying guide we hope that you will find the best fish finder according to your requirements. Happy fishing!