mounting fish finder on kayak

Mounting Fish Finder On Kayak: Step-By-Step Instructions

Well-rounded anglers often suggest using a fish finder on the kayak to make the process easier. Utilizing a fish finder allows you to go into the deeper water and catch fish. Not only that, but they also help to have a good outcome from shallow water. 

However, if you are new to this, mounting a fish finder on a kayak might not be easy. First, you need to select the right fish finder and location. After cleaning the mounting area, you need to install the mounting bracket and the fish finder display unit. Then it requires attaching the transducer with suitable wiring and power source. 

The whole process is not as easy as it sounds. So, we have prepared a brief to help you follow it. Let’s delve into it! 

For Beginners: What Is A Fish Finder? 

what is a fish finder

A fish finder is used in fishing, and it helps to locate fish both in deep and shallow water. They have sonar technology included that they use to emit sound waves into the water. Thus, the wave bounces off and returns when it finds any fish. 

Fish finders help an angler know the location of a fish so they don’t miss a target. Besides, they can precisely cast their lines, making the whale process easier. This device is used in various fishing environments, like kayaking, boating, and shore fishing.

How Does A Fish Finder Work?

This device utilized the power of sonar technology to detect and locate fish. It will come with two components, a transducer, and a display unit.

The purpose of the transducer is to emit sound waves that work behind the main functionality of the fish finder. The sound waves then travel through the water until they discover an object like a fish.

Once the wave hits the fish, it returns to the transducer and sends the information to the display unit. The display units process the echoes, and the angler can see the visual representations on the screen.

Mounting Fish Finder On Kayak: The Steps To Follow 

how to mount a fish finder to a kayak

Now that you know the fish finder contains two components: a transducer and a display unit, let’s find out how to mount this on your kayak!

Required Tools: 

  • A mounting bracket
  • Screws
  • Nuts
  • Washers
  • A drill
  • Silicone sealant
  • A power source (such as a portable battery)

Once you have everything in your hands, here’s what to do:

  1. Choose The Right Fish Finder: The first step is to get a fish finder that matches your interest and kayak type. You need to consider the size, power, and features.
  2. Fix The Mounting Location: Now you have to find a good spot to attach your fish finder display. Choose an area where you can easily access the transducer.
  3. Prepare The Mounting Area: The next step is to prepare the mounting area where you want to attach the transducer and display. You need to clean the chosen mounting area on your kayak. Notice whether any loose dirt, debris, or adhesive residues are left or not.
  4. Install The Mounting Bracket: Now is the time to install the mounting bracket. To do so, you must place it in the chosen area and drill holes there. Then, attach the bracket securely using screws, nuts, and washers.
  5. Mount The Fish Finder Display: The mounting bracket will help attach the fish finder display unit. So, place the display on it and secure it properly. 
  6. Install The Transducer: Now, find a good spot for the transducer so you can easily access it. Besides, it shouldn’t interrupt your kayaking or movements. It should be in direct contact with the water. Be extra careful so the transducer doesn’t come in contact with turbulence or obstructions. Attach it securely to the kayak hull using screws, nuts, and washers.
  7. Secure Wiring: At this point, you need to route the given wiring from the fish finder display unit to the transducer and power source. You need to use cable clips or adhesive mounts to secure the wiring with the kayak. Connect the wiring from the fish finder display unit to the transducer and power source. 
  8. Test: Before you go fishing, you must test it all through and check the wiring. Calibrate the settings according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, adjusting acuity, depth coverage, and other parameters.

Key Factors To Consider When Selecting A Fish Finder:

best fish finder for kayak

Fish finders can come in handy to locate fish underwater. However, most of the kayakers are caught up in the technical aspects of it. So here are a few essential key points to consider when selecting a fish finder for your kayak:


Transducers send and receive sonar waves to process and showcase the accurate picture on display. Choose the right transducer mount depending on the size of your kayak and the intensity of your activity. If you have a smaller kayak and use it only for recreational purposes, a transom mount might be the right option. However, for larger kayaks, go for thru-hull or in-hull mounts.

Color Display & Resolution

While selecting a fish finder, always choose a colored display over a black-and-white one. Besides, a larger screen size will be convenient for comprehending readings. Your experience also depends on your screen resolution. 

A resolution of 640×640 pixels is the minimum requirement. But try to aim for 240×160 pixels, or it makes the images blurry enough to understand properly.


Transducers come with a few different frequency options; choose one depending on your needs. For casual kayakers, frequency options like 192 and 200 kHz are appropriate. But if you desire to do it professionally, 50 kHz transducers will be the best choice.

Power & Battery Life

To ensure a hassle-free fishing trip, ensure the fish finder is compatible with the kayak’s power system. Additionally, take extra batteries as replacements. Devices with lower wattage will generate hard-to-read images. So if budget isn’t your concern, aim for the higher-wattage batteries.

Water Resistance

Keeping your fish finder safe from water damage should be a priority. Always ensure that the device is water resistant or not. You need to check the ratings to understand the water-resistant level of any fish finder.

Disadvantages Of Fish Finders

Though fish finders are amazing tools for catching fish easily, they don’t come without drawbacks. Here are a few disadvantages of fish finders for you to consider before buying one:

  • Expensive: These devices are not at all budget friendly. A standard fish finder can be somewhat affordable if you don’t purchase a few of its advanced attribution materials. However, a side imaging fish finder is expensive and won’t be worth the money if you only desire to use it occasionally. 
  • Limited Coverage: A standard fish finder won’t cover a larger area to detect fish. Most only work for a few meters around the transducer. Besides, it will not cover after a certain depth as well.
  • Power Shortage: Fish finders use power to operate. To make it last till your trip ends, you must carry a lot of spare power batteries. Moreover, with all the spare batteries, it overweights the kayak.
  • Incorrect Readings: Even with multiple advanced technologies present, fish finders can sometimes generate false readings. Especially in deep water after 75 feet, the fish finder will generate an image of lower quality, which is hard to understand.

Tips For Protecting The Fish Finder From Water Damage

waterproof fish finder for kayak

Though we all believe that all fish finders are waterproof or at least water resistant, sadly, this is not the case. Besides, it is constantly close to the water and can get damaged fast. So, here are a few tips to protect your fish finder from water damage:

  • Use Waterproof Grease: Use dielectric grease to provide an additional layer of protection. This grease works as a silicone layer without hampering the regular electrical flow. Remember to use it on the cables, and connection points, as it will protect those points from corrosion.
  • Waterproof Case: Consider using a waterproof case like your mobile phone, especially on the display. The display will get splashed by water directly; hence, an added layer of physical protection will be essential to avoid damage.
  • Secure Batteries: Your fish finders will not operate without their batteries. Carry a waterproof battery box to keep it safe from water damage. Also, maybe cover the spare batteries with silicone goop too.
  • Check The Cable Connections: Connection points can be easily damaged due to corrosion. In addition to waterproof grease, use marine-proof tape to cover all the points. The transducer cable, power cable, and other most important points will need added protection, as without these, the device will not work at all.
  • Install Accurately: Make sure the mount is not loose or falls out in the event of turbulence. Find the correct position to mount the transducer according to the size of your kayak. Also, be extra careful that there is no leakage on the kayak or water entering through the loose mount.

Further To Explore 

1. Can you use a fish finder on a kayak?

Fish finders are commonly used in kayaks to detect fish. Any type of fish finder can be attached to kayaks these days. If you desire to become a professional angler, we recommend getting one for your kayaks as well.

2. Where is the best place to mount a fish finder on a kayak?

Setting the transducer close to the seat or on one side of the kayak will be a better option. Besides, mounting it on the kayak’s center will constantly move the wires, making it difficult to concentrate.

3. Can you catch more fish with a fish finder?

Fishing is a skill to master over a period of time. But devices like fish finders can help accelerate it. However, if you lack the basics, you will not catch more fish using a fish finder.

4. How long do fish finders last?

The longevity of a fish finder depends on its quality, brand, frequency, and maintenance. But even with proper maintenance, a fish finder is supposed to last no more than 5-6 years. After 1200 discharge cycles, batteries start to degrade.

Calling To The End 

If you’re considering going on your first kayaking adventure, you’re probably debating whether you should get a fish finder. Getting a fish finder can make your job easy, so we suggest trying it out, forgetting the small drawbacks. Follow the steps on mounting fish finder on kayak, and start fishing! 

Similar Posts