There are many opportunities of improving your possibility of catching fish. I’m usually at a loss when people tell me they are frustrated that they have no catch for the day.
Why should you go out on your boat and wonder aimlessly in the water hoping to get a catch when you have no strategy? By strategy, I mean having a fish finder device.
A quality fish finder can help you see everything happening beneath your boat. Therefore, you will know where to draw your fishing line. Whether you are a beginner or experienced fisherman, this article will help you know the best fish finders for small boats.
Best Fishfinder For Small Boats – Comparison Chart
|Image||Product Name||Display Size||Editor Rating||Price|
|Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+||Phone Display||4.9|
|FishHunter 3D Fish Finder||Phone Display||4.7|
|iBobber Smart Fish Finder||Phone Display||4.0|
|HawkEye FT1PX Fish Finder||2.7"||4.3|
|Erchang Sonar Fish Finder||3.2"||4.0|
|Garmin Striker 4DV||4"||4.5|
Qualities of a Good Fish Finder for Small Boat
The transducer is the part of the fish finder that emits and receives sonar waves. This part should be a prime factor for consideration when choosing a fish finder.
The transducer will send a signal to the water, which then bounces off the objects in the water. The transducer then picks up the signals and sends them to the main unit to be converted into an image.
Most fish finders have a transom mount transducer. The accessory takes little effort to install and is relatively easy to mount.
There are three different types of frequencies a fish locator may have; single, dual and multiple frequencies. To get a good fish finder, the frequency, which is often linked to a cone angle, plays a very important role. A fish locator with a high frequency means it can send more sonar waves. Consequently, you will have more detail on your screen.
You will especially appreciate the benefit of a high frequency when fishing in shallow water. I recommend going for a single frequency fish finder if you only fish in one water type. However, a multiple frequency fish finder will be ideal if you are the adventurous type.
Most people don’t pay attention to the resolution of their finder’s display screen and yet it important. A higher resolution (more pixels) will lead to clearer readings. The sharpness of the image you get is directly as a result of your resolution.
A minimum screen resolution of 250 x 160 pixels should be good enough. However, this is still substandard if you want really perfect images.
Color technology is a sensation in the fishing electronics world. Devices can relay greater image detail by using millions of multi-colors. The 256 shades of gray that comes with black and white screens has been updated. Therefore, buy a finder that keeps trends.
A color fish finder will show more clearly what’s underneath the water. It will also be easy for you to see in bright sunlight. This is important because you don’t want to catch small fish simply because it’s a sunny day.
Power will determine when and how you will use your fish finder. The power is indicated in watts. A fish finder with high wattage can go deeper in the water and display readings relatively fast. A low wattage fish finder is slower in displaying readings. Such a device can only serve well in shallow water.
As a rule of thumb, the deeper the waters you will be fishing, the higher the wattage your finder should have and vice versa.
Best Fish Finders for Small Boats
If you don’t want a household fish finder, get the Erchang Sonar fish finder. This device is built to satisfy; from an interactive screen to intricate but detailed parts. Even better, the gadget is one of the affordable small boat fish finders.
In addition to displaying the water depth, the Erchang Sonar fish finder can display the water temperature, fish size and their approximate location. The 3-inch dot matrix LCD produces clear display even when you are fishing on a bright and sunny day.
The Erchang Sonar fish locator also has a round transducer sensor with a 30-foot cable and 45-degree beam angle. It also has battery saving mode. Using the feature can help you extend your battery life. The device has a backlit screen. Therefore, you can go fishing with it at night. Lastly, you can fish in muddy waters with the fish finder, something that most fishermen shy from doing.
- Battery saving mode
- Can work in muddy water
- Backlit screen
- Screen built into the unit
- Detects water depth and temperature
- Displays fish size and location
Some people prefer a fish finder that displays everything on the unit rather than them having to connect it to a smartphone. If this sounds like you, the HawkEye FT1PX fish finder is for you.
The fish locator comes with a VirtuView Dot Matrix display screen that tells you exactly where the fish are and how they look. Unfortunately it’s a black and white screen, which can be a turn off for some people.
This fish finder uses dual-frequency FishTrax Intelligent Sonar. This technology is known for accurate readings of what’s underneath the water. You will especially enjoy this feature when testing out an unfamiliar fishing ground. With the technology, you can know the depth of the nearest fish. This will make it easy to decide where to cast your line.
You can either mount this fish finder on your boat and use it hands free, or carry it around with your hands.
- Handheld and portable
- Fish depth indicator
- Dual-frequency FishTrax Intelligent Sonar
- VirtuView or Matrix Display
- Black and White Screen
- The screen is on the main unit
The iBobber Smart Fish Finder is a wireless locator that uses an App on your smartphone to display readings. This is an affordable fish finder for small boats, but also boasts of various intelligent and fun features.
To begin with, this model employs a patented sonar fish identifier technology. The technology makes it possible to know the exact location of fish in the water. The battery used is rechargeable. The device has a battery indicator that will alert you when you are almost off charge. However, you shouldn’t worry about running off charge all the time. When the fish finder is fully charged, it lasts for more than 10 hours.
The iBobber fish finder uses sonar technology and can read down to almost 135 feet. There are also two different snap swivel connections. The connections allow you to use this gadget as a bobber or as a remote fish finder. The accompanying app is free to download.
- Works on Android and iOS
- Two snap swivel connections
- 135 feet depth range
- More than 10 hours of battery life
- Rechargeable battery with battery level indicator
- Patented sonar fish identifier technology
- The display screen used in your smartphone
Like the iBobber, the FishHunter fish finder uses your smartphone as the display screen via an app. The fish locator has 5 powerful tri-frequency transducers that include 381 kHz, 475 kHz, and 675 kHz. All these improve the area covered and the resolution, making the FishHunter one of the best fish finders for small boats in the market.
The fish finder has 5 different sonar viewing options. You can choose from 3D structure, 3D fishing, ice fishing flasher view, directional casing, and bathymetric mapping. The total depth range the device can reach is 160 feet and about 100 feet when ice fishing. It also boasts of an internal Wi-Fi connectivity of up to 150 feet.
Finally, the fish finder is perfect for canoe, kayak and other small boats since you don’t need a cellphone tower with it.
- Internal Wi-Fi connectivity
- 160 feet depth coverage
- 5 sonar viewing options
- High resolution
- 5 powerful tri-frequency transducers
- App for readings and picture delivery
- Smartphone is used as screen
The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ is for you smart fishermen out there. Like the previous two, this unit doesn’t come with an external screen and hence displays data on your smartphone. To use the fish locator, you need to download its app on your phone.
Since you will be watching everything from your phone rather than viewing from a finder screen, the information will be more relatable and easier to digest. The PRO+’s image delivery technology is the high performing dual frequency sonar. You can use this device in both salt and fresh water
The Deeper Smart fish finder comes with a rechargeable battery. The battery life is about 6 hours. This is enough time for you to catch some good numbers of fish. The fish finder is portable, get fully recharged within 2 hours and is very handy.
- Rechargeable battery
- Minimum complete recharge time
- small and thin which makes it portable
- Lasts about 6 hours on a single charge
- Works perfectly in both salt and fresh water
- Uses the smartphone as screen
The Garmin Striker 4DV fish finder features an in-built GPS which will help you avoid the trial-and-error process of locating fish. When you have turned on your GPS, you can easily determine your cruising speed. This is a perfect fish locator for adventurous fishermen.
The CHIRP sonar will enable you get continuous frequencies;from low to high. The fish arches that it’s capable of creating are crispier and will help you distinguish the fish types. Moreover, the CHIRP sonar won’t stop working while you’re cruising.
The Striker 4DV features a waypoint map that enables you to track the best fishing spots. So, before trying different spots, you can check the ones already tracked by the finder. The data can be recorded in the flasher format and you can either do vertical jigging fishing or ice fishing.
This fish locator has the most compact design among Garmin fish finders. The rugged look feels perfect on the hands and will survive in harsh environments.
- High performance
- Double screen displays more information
- Capable of recording favorite fishing spots
- Has GPS
- Installation is easy
- User manual is not comprehensive
- Poor readability and clarity on bright sunny days
Getting all the information you need to make a good purchase decision can be challenging and time-consuming. That’s why I decided to put the information on how to choose the best fish finder for small boats in one review article.
The information above should help you determine the best fish finder for your small boat. The fish finder models I’ve recommended are the most trusted, reliable and highly-rated by other fishermen.