Finding the right fish finder is a task and installing it on your boat is another. If you already have one on hand and looking forward to setting out for a fishing expedition, installing it right will impact its performance and how you use it.
Most fish finders on the market come with a user-friendly interface, which is pretty straightforward. However, even the most seasoned anglers might have challenges setting fish finders up.
This article highlights the entire process of installing a fish finder. You will understand why it is important to follow the steps, as a small mishap will affect the overall performance and usability of the device.
Before Installation: Set Up the Fish Finder
Before installing your fish finder on the boat, you need to get it ready. You need to turn it on and register the device on the company’s website. You may need to update the fish finder software to ensure you have the latest features for optimal performance.
Fish Finder Installation: Step-by-Step Guide
The process can be complex, especially for beginners, but with the right tools and following the steps, you can do it in a short time. Here is a useful video .
Step 1: Gather Installation Tools
Here are the tools you need for the job:
- A power drill
- Wire strippers
- Fish tape
- Head screwdriver
- Cable ties
- Adhesive sealant
- Terminal connectors
- Crimp connectors
- Silicone sealant
- Clamshell fitting
- Heat shrink tubing
Step 2: Set Up The Fish Finder Mount
Find the most appropriate place on your boat to install the fish finder. This needs to be a convenient place where you can easily access to monitor the fish finder while in use.
Consider whether the fish finder will be affected by the sun causing glare, the height, and location in relation to the steering wheel. Also, consider if you can easily access SD clots and if it is close enough to the power source.
The most convenient place is near the center, where you have enough room for wires and bolts.
Consider the power outlet’s position as it needs to be close enough to the mount. Make sure the cables can get from the battery to the fish finder. The idea is to ensure you do not have a lot of wires hanging around, in which case, cable ties will come in handy to secure them.
Step 3: Mounting
Once you have the most convenient position to mount your fish finder, bust out the drill and make mounting holes. Make holes big enough for the wires to fit; you can measure your wire bundle to see how big a hole you need to make.
Make a big-enough hole but be careful not to drill too big as sealing it after will be challenging. After drilling, run a sealant around the holes and add some bolts if necessary.
This step will ensure a secure and snug installation to prevent moisture buildup. The sealant will help you hold the wires in place when installing the fish finder in the next steps.
Install the binnacle, using some sealant on the bolts for extra security. Make sure you seal them in place and tighten the locking nuts. At this point, you should have a firm and secure installation, with no wobbles or excess space around.
Step 4: Running the Wires
Check the length of the wires and run them through the holes. With correct measurements, everything should fit right, but even with that, you might need to adjust a bit for extra security. The good thing is you can cut the wires or add more to match the distance.
Use crimped barrel connectors to connect the same color of wire. Make sure the wires match the fish finder manufacturer’s recommendation. After connection, use a heat shrink tubing and a heat gun to seal the connection.
Lastly, connect the fuse block and secure the wires. For reference, measure 18 inches from one cable tie to the other to keep everything secure.
Step 5: Installing the Transducer
Once the fish finder is secure, install the transducer to complete the process . Follow the process of installing the fish finder, paying attention to the position and the space around. Your best bet will be a deep spot on the hull for optimal performance.
A point to note; the transducer should be installed horizontally and below the hull’s surface, about ⅛ inch. Secure the transducer bracket and mark the points where you will drill the holes.
Before you install the bracket, run the transducer wires. You will need to use a fish tape to pull the wires through the wire chase. Pull the wires together and use cable ties to secure them.
Caution: do not cut the transducer wires, even if you have excess. Cutting will interfere with the overall performance of the transducer, ultimately affecting the fish finder’s functionality.
Lastly, mount the transducer following the marked points to drill holes. Use a sealant to coat the mounting screws for extra security. You may need to apply more to the holes and the bracket for a water-tight installation.
Seal all the holes completely to prevent water from coming through the bottom. Note that the sealant will not dry instantly, so you must wait until it is all dry and sealed before taking your boat out.
Step 6: Wire Connections
With the devices secure and safe, it is time to connect the wires and test performance. First, make sure the battery is off before plugging in the power leads and transducer wires. After this, turn the battery on and make sure the fish finder is powered.
Turn the battery off again and check the wiring. Look for loose connections and fix them if necessary. Make sure all the connections are sealed and secure for safety before turning the battery on again.
At this point, you might find leaks and unsealed spots, which you have to seal and wait to dry before taking out the boat. Once everything is well installed, run a test to see if the fish finder and transducer are working correctly.
Turn on the fish finder and go out to see how it functions. Check how the transducer works during movement to assess its functionality. You might find that you installed too high or too low, which you can adjust for optimal performance.
Mounting a Fish Finder on a Kayak
The steps above apply to installing a fish finder on a kayak, only that you will have limited space to work with. You will need to mount it in front of you or on the side of the footwell, but all the installation steps are similar.
If your kayak does not come in a specific design for transducer mounting, you will have to use an in-hull kayak transducer. You can secure it in place using an adhesive sealant and put it in a transducer well to keep it protected.
The Bottom Line
Installing a fish finder can be a daunting process, with all the mounting and connections involved. But, with adequate time, patience, and the right installation position, the process is seamless. These steps are easy to follow and are detailed to help you set up your fish finder and start operation in no time.