Why You Should Consider A Fish Finder In Your Kayak (Plus Install Tips)


I’ll have to admit, I was very undecided when it came to installing a fish finder/depth finder onto my kayak…

In fact, I really didn’t think there was a need for one until I finally tried it.


Because I’m mostly fishing in water less than 2 feet deep, and I can usually see the bottom.

However, I’m now realizing that having a fish finder on my kayak gives me some serious advantages in catching fish.

Here are just a few reasons why you might want to consider using a fish finder on your kayak.

Find Out Exactly What’s On The Bottom (Structure, Fish, etc.)

snook fishing

Find the structure, find the feeding fish…

I can’t even tell you how many different kinds of great underwater structure I’ve found using my fish finder/depth finder.

Being able to see what’s on the bottom below you is a huge advantage.

And even if you’ve already spooked the area below you while finding new structure, you can always mark it and come back if you have a fish finder on your yak.

Also, when fishing inshore, there are certain situations where you can be fishing deep to find those big reds or snook lurking on the bottom.

These areas could be in channels, barge canals, passes, backwaters that may have deep holes, etc. 

It is always nice to have a good understanding of the bottom contour if you can’t see it with your own eyes.

For example, you could easily be paddling right over a small hole that could be holding fish in a channel or canal, but you would never know without a depth finder.

Once you get used to seeing certain things on your depth finder and associating it with holding fish, you will see yourself start to become more successful in deeper water.

Great For Finding Bait

finding bait with a fish finder

Find the bait, you usually find the predatory fish…

Also, if you like to fish with live bait and catch them on your own using a cast net, having a depth finder can help you locate those stubborn schools of whitebait and/or threadfins that may be holding on the bottom in deeper water. 

When these baitfish aren’t spooked up to the surface by a nearby predator, you can find them on the bottom in water from 10-20 feet deep around structure. 

The best way to find them is with a fish finder!

My little fish finder on my kayak has helped me find schools of bait much more easily than my naked eye ever could.

To check out Captain Mike Goodwine’s tip on finding bait using a fishfinder, CLICK HERE

Marking Your Spots & Finding Your Way Home

fish finder kayak

Most depth/fish finder units now come equipped with a GPS in them.

It can be used to plot a course, mark spots, and most importantly, help you get back to where you launched from in case you do long-range kayak trips like me.

The nice thing about fishing from a kayak is that you have access to many areas that boats can’t get into.

The biggest problem with this is that you can easily get lost and turned around when exploring these backwater areas.

When turned on, many GPS units will track your course throughout the day and leave a trail of where you have been.

This makes it much easier to get back as you can use that trail to follow and get back to where you started.

There is always the option of using your cell phone to figure out where you are, but it is much more convenient to have a waterproof device mounted on the kayak, and you don’t have to worry about the battery running out on you (these fish finder/GPS units easily run all day + on a 12v AGM battery – shown below)

kayak fish finder battery

So now that you have a good understanding of why a fish finder/GPS unit can be handy to have on a kayak, you may be curious as to how, and where, to even install one.

It is much simpler than you may think.

All you really need is whatever brand fish finder you prefer, a 12-volt battery, and a means of securing your transducer to your kayak.

kayak fish finder
Lowrance transducer mount that fits into a scupper hole on your kayak

In the following video, I will be showing you how I mounted, installed, and ran power to the fish finder/GPS unit that I use.


Installing & Powering A Fish Finder On A Kayak

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Having a fish finder GPS unit on your kayak can give some distinct advantages as a fisherman.

Not only do I mark my spots with it, but I also have the advantage of finding underwater structure, finding bait, and I can map my way back to the launch site quickly as well.

As you can see in the video, it’s not too intimidating to install one of these small fish finders in your kayak.

And if you need any help or have further questions, let me know in the comments.

Also, if you have any other tips on using a fish finder on your kayak, let me know.

Tight lines.

Related Post: 11 Essential Kayak Fishing Tips For Newbies (see it here now)

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10 months ago

Glad to read this article and now I’m convinced to install my new fish finder on my kayak than on my boat. https://thefishingcage.com/

John Martin
2 years ago

Swell review. Have a 21” Expandacraft . Check it out . Huge flat deck. Have you found other fishfinders GPS units you had a eye on? Fish inshore and near article reefs.
Best Regards
John Martin

Best Fish Finders HQ
3 years ago

Great, being a fish lovers I really need this post badly. Undoubtedly it will work for me a lot. Thanks for sharing with us, Good Luck!

Kennedy Gilly
3 years ago

I got the west marine wire caps but notice that they are only screwed into place with three small screws…the whole thing is held by those 3 screws…I don’t know if I trust that. Have you checked out the Hobie Thru Hull Wire Plug? It just seems safer with it screwing on from the inside


Edwin Walker
3 years ago

Just want to know what will you charge($$) to mount one on my kayak?

Chris Ordeneaux
3 years ago

What brand of wire covers did you use in this build? I’m trying to find something low profile that’s secure to send the wires through the hull.

Steven Free
3 years ago

Great video. Tony I installed a lowrance pro id-4 on my hobbie years ago in fact I had to calllowrance today because the screen got cracked and they said that the equivalent to it is what your using the hook series I believe equivalent to mine is the hook 3 not sure but I don’t believe mine has GPS don’t know till it gets here they shipped it today but yes I use a fish finder a lot to find structure also in the winter time I troll a lot and a finder is good to have so as to stay at a particular depth anyways thanks for the video

Kennedy Gilly
3 years ago

Hello! Im wondering if you could post a list of all the things you have in your kayak fish finder set up. I have a hook4 on my boat and am going to be unplugging it and using it between my boat and the kayak i just got. If you could please finish this list of everything i need for this set up:

-Duracell 12v 9amp hr AGM
-West Marine 1-2 Wire Cap
-Hook 4 mount
-Hook 4 extra cables?
-battery case (yes can use a container from walmart etc)
-Transducer (2 options not sure which)

-Transducer Scupper Mount

Please let me know if im missing anything/if the items ive ID’d are the ones i need

also what is this silicone stuff you speak of? Is it spray you spray onto the screws?

Kennedy Gilly
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thanks for the reply Tony! So i clicked on the hook 4 mount link and they mustve removed it from their online store, ill have to search elsewhere

Also, does the battery come with female connectors and an inline fuse? or could i buy it at a Batteries Plus store? Difficult/dangerous to install the fuse? Thanks in advance

Scott Rispaud
4 years ago

I wouldn’t be without one. Inshore and offshore, they are invaluable. I have had less than clear water with a bottom that was hard to see at 3 feet. Screen showed a hole that was a foot deeper and loaded with fish. Made my way to 50-60 feet away, staked off and cast beyond the hole and let it drop in, POW! 6 fish before they got wise. Little changes in bottom contour you cant see produce.

Here’s were you need to be wise. My Lowrance, a larger one, only runs 7 hours. You have to look at your amp draw per hour vs what the battery can provide and you can quickly see how long your machine will run. Tight lines

Drift Smith
4 years ago

Would a side view be better in skinny water than a down imaging one. What are their pluses or minuses to either one, other than cost. Thank you for doing what you do for all of us!


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