Boat fishing is an engaging recreational activity; however, not knowing where to focus on when fishing can leave you frustrated. For this reason, you need an effective fish finder to make your experience more fruitful.
A fish finder plays a pivotal role in any fishing expedition. It uses sonar technology to scan the underwater environment and provide crucial information on fish schools and water depth. But, you need a fish finder that is compatible with your boat for a seamless experience.
Shopping for the best fish finder for small boats can be daunting. You have to consider numerous factors to ensure your choice matches your boat. This article aims to make the selection process stress free by highlighting the best fish finders on the market.
Top Fish Finders for Small Boat
1. Best Overall | Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
If you spend a lot of time boat fishing and need a reliable fishfinder, the Deeper pro+ is the best overall. It is packed with unique features in a compact design, making it popular among small boat owners.
- Onshore mapping
- Inbuilt GPS
- Fish deeper app
- Lithium battery
- WI-FI connectivity
- Smartphone compatibility
The Deeper Pro+ sonar ball has a diameter of 2.55 inches. This tiny device incorporates a highly sensitive inbuilt GPS that allows you to track your movement in the water. It also allows you to record detailed maps and mark waypoints when fishing. The device also comes with bathymetric maps that you can use from the shore.
The best thing about this device is that it is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones. This feature allows you to receive sonar feedback on your mobile device. The device is also castable and has the best connection range, so you will not miss a thing even when you cast the device.
Finally, the fishfinder has four fishing modes: standard, ice fishing, onshore, and boat mode. The boat mode allows you to scan underwater structures for fish and display the results on a split screen on your phone. It also has excellent depth capabilities and can scan depths of around 260ft.
- Easy to cast
- Accurate readings
- Rechargeable battery
- Can only connect to one smartphone at a time.
2. Best Premium | Garmin Striker Vivid 4cv
The Garmin Vivid 4cv is an incredible fishfinder with powerful features. Its compact design and advanced sonar make it ideal for small boats and kayaks.
- GT20 transducer
- CHIRP sonar
- High sensitivity GPS
- Quickdraw maps
- 4.3-inch screen
- Mounting Hardware
This model comes with dual-beam sonar technology, meaning it can run ClearVu and standard CHIRP sonar. As a result, the device covers a wide frequency range with a depth penetration of around 1750ft. It also produces high-definition images that increase your chances of getting fish.
The GPS on this device allows you to view your current location, track your speed and mark your favorite fishing spots. It also comes with QuickDraw contour maps that you can use to draw the ocean floor accurately.
The device also comes with tilt-and-swivel mounting hardware that allows you to fix the fish finder on your boat. It also features a 4.3-inch screen with a color display and LED backlight for better readability in the sun. It also comes with the best waterproof technology meaning that it can survive accidental water exposure.
Lastly, the Striker 4cv has a user-friendly interface. The keypad buttons beside the screen allow users to navigate the menus and settings smoothly. It also has a portrait orientation to allow one-hand operation.
- Easy to mount and use
- IPX7 waterproof
- Long battery life
- No microSD slot
- No NMEA.
3. Best Budget | Humminbird Piranhamax 4
The Piranhamax 4 is a budget-friendly fishfinder with high-quality features and an intuitive user interface. It is best for users with small boats looking for an efficient fish finder on a tight budget.
- Dual-beam sonar
- 4.3-inch color screen
- Down imaging
- Tilt and swivel mounting hardware
- Temperature sensor
- Fish ID and fish alarm
This device offers dual beam sonar that provides outstanding levels of clarity. It uses high frequencies to scan what’s underwater and delivers detailed images with remarkable target differentiation. It also comes with zoom functions which allow the users to target specific parts on the sonar returns for more precision.
The until also comes with a vibrant 4.3-inch backlit color display that is big enough to show all your findings. It is also high-resolution and allows users to create color contrast between the dark and light sonar returns for better distinction.
The FishID feature identifies fish and displays them as fish icons on the screen, thus, making it easier to differentiate fish from structures. It also has an alarm that alerts fishers when fish are within their vicinity. These two features are beneficial for beginners who have no idea how to interpret sonar data.
- Compact design
- IPX7 waterproof
- Great value for money
- Simple to use
- No split-screen feature.
4. Best Portable | HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder
Hawkeye has fit premium fish finder features on the compact Fishtrack 1C model. It is lightweight and easy to carry or mount, making it the best fish finder for small boats.
- Fishtrax dual-beam sonar
- 3.2-inch HD screen
- Keypad user interface
- Floatable or mountable transducer
- 4AAA batteries
- Ice flasher
The gadget comes with a polarized screen with an LED backlight meaning that the screen is visible in any weather condition. It also has a couple of functional display modes: the fish finder mode, the ice flasher for ice fishing, and the data mode for displaying depth and temperature. In addition, the device comes with a split-screen function that allows you to see two screens simultaneously.
The model is adaptable to any fishing platform. It has the TraxNut mounting system that allows you to mount the device onto your small boat. It can also be mounted onto a float tube, a trolling unit, or a paddleboard.
Lastly, the device comes with dual-beam sonar that runs various frequency settings. Lower frequencies offer adequate depth penetration but less definition, while higher frequencies offer better clarity and structure differentiation. The sonar also comes with noise rejection for more precision.
- Versatile sonar
- Easy to mount
- No external power source
- No maps
- No networking features.
5. Best Hands-free | Lowrance Hook2 4X
If you spend a huge chunk of your time fishing and need a fish finder for your boat, the Hook2 4X is the right choice. It comes with fantastic features that will make your fishing trip a breeze.
- Wide-angle CHIRP sonar
- Solarmax display
- Triple shot transducer
- 4.2-inch screen
- Automated sonar
- Keypad user interface
The 3-in-1 sonar features Side imaging, Down imaging, and wide-angle CHIRP. It lets you scan a large area for fish and structure. It also has auto-sonar settings, which offers a hands-free experience since it automatically adjusts sonar settings to suit the water conditions.
The device also comes with an inbuilt GPS for easy navigation. It also allows users to mark fishing routes and waypoints. It also comes preloaded with Cmaps of over 3000 US lakes that give you a clue where to sonar scan.
The unit also gives the clearest views due to its SolarMax display system. The display automatically adjusts its brightness depending on how bright the day is. On top of that, the 4.2-inch screen allows an ultra-wide viewing angle with the best resolution. This allows you to have a complete view of what’s happening underwater without straining.
- Easy to install
- User-friendly interface
- Small size
- Great viewing angles
- No microSD slot
- No split-view mode.
The Bottom Line
The best fish finders for small boats are accurate, easy to use, and simple to set up. They are also compact and light, so they can easily be stowed away when not in use. Consider investing in one of the fish finders above for a better fishing experience.