The Best Fish Finders For Kayaks Under $300

Unless you’re strictly fishing for scenery and are not particularly concerned with your fish catches you should really consider investing in a quality graph as owning one can protect the value of your rig. Today I will be discussing the Best Kayak Fish Finders for under $300 that can easily be installed.

The Most Successful Kayak Anglers Tend To Utilize Electronics

A Graph can be an incredible asset to a kayak fisherman but many folks think that they would have to shell out over a thousand dollars for a quality graph.  While it’s true that you can spend upwards in the tens of thousands of dollars on the perfect setup great units exist that won’t break the bank.  I will break down a comprehensive list of the best kayak fish finders for under $300

Why Should I Consider Fish Finders For My Kayak?

Having underwater eyes is an invaluable tool.  Due to being euphoric about my new purchase, I’ve beached my new HooDoo Tempest 120 a couple of times before I added my graph.  Fortunately both instances were in clay where the bottom would just dig in slightly.  Similar to a barge floating on a river shallow water can damage your vessel causing expensive repairs and a loss in value.  At the very least you will know if you’re approaching hazardous conditions so that you can watch for underwater logs and stumps which can tear up a pedal driver rather quickly.  If I’ve spent over a couple of thousand on a kayak it makes perfect sense to add a quality graph.

The other major reason is a guaranteed increase in fish catches as you learn to read your unit!  You will find contour lines leading to drop offs where fish pull off on hot sunny days.  Manmade brush pile sets will present themselves revealing the fish’s best hiding spots where they feel most comfortable to hang out and feed.  Also with many of the graphs you can mark each spot which will save into an internal GPS so that you can return to the exact location.  If you have ten or more spots marked on a lake you are going to really be ahead of the curve!

How Does A Fish Finder Actually Work?

There are four main parts to a fish finder that combine to give you a clean image and location when you’re out on the water.  

  1. Box
  2. Transducer
  3. Power Source
  4. GPS

The Box refers to the the main unit itself.  A screen, some buttons, plugins from the back, and some mounting equipment.

The Transducer is where all the data is collected from the bottom readings, and where it’s all put together on the box.  Transducers are typically mounted close to the bottom of a watercraft in a safer zone where damage is less likely to occur.

Power Source simply means a battery.  Most fish finders run off of 12 volts.  Batteries can be heavy but with advancements in lithium technology you can actually find high efficient ones that weigh less than 10lbs!  I will cover this in more detail in another article. 

GPS which is short for Global Positioning System can set specific waypoints, track you, or help guide you to areas on an unfamiliar lake.  Learning how to use your GPS will make you a much better and efficient angler.

Grasping the concept is easy once you receive your graph and install it.


Ranking My Top 5 Fish Finders For a Kayak That Cost Under $300.00

What I looked for when comparing units to each other before deciding on my purchase, I had 4 key factors in mind….

  • Features (options)
  • Screen Size
  • Ease Of Use
  • Power Consumption

The other important factor is that I’ve actually used four of these five graphs and understand the features needed when looking for a fish finder for your kayak.  

And for the results….

RankGraphScreen ResolutionInternal GPSDown ImagingSonarPower Consumption
1.Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2800H x 480VYes!Yes!Yes!615 mA
2.Garmin Striker Plus 5cv800H x 480VYes!ClearVuYes!.4 Amp
3.Lowrance Hook Reveal 5800 x 480 pixelsYes!
FishRevealYes!.9 Amps
4.Humminbird 410200-1 HELIX 5 DI G2800H x 480VNoYes!Yes!615 mA
5.Garmin STRIKER PLUS 4cv272 x 480Yes!Yes!Yes!.4 Amps

5.)Garmin STRIKER PLUS 4cv

From top to bottom of price ranges Garmin carries it all! The Striker Plus 4cv is the smallest profile to make my list.  For under 200.00 you get most of the bells and whistles of units priced twice as high.  The first thing I saw was the extremely low power consumption which means you can fish longer with less battery which means less weight in the boat!  The graph weighs less than a pound and has such a small profile that you shouldn’t have to worry about it getting in your way.  Find your way points easily taking advantage of the built in GPS and once you locate them switch over to your 2D and see how many fish are located on your brush piles!

Simple mounting instructions and transducer are delivered in the box so that you can quickly install and get out on the water!

4.) HELIX 5 DI G2


Humminbird is well known for carrying a diverse line of fish finders that can meet any angler’s needs.  With the HELIX 5DI G2 an angler sacrifices the GPS and waypoints but has incredible viewing of the structure below.  Split screen option is offered where you can turn up your frequency in 2d mode while getting a crystal clear image of the structure below.  If you know your lake’s best locations or carry a handheld GPS then this is the unit for you.

A 5” display screen reflects fish, bottom structure, and accurate depth.  The menu control is really simple and Humminbird’s customer support has always been great to me.  

3.) Lowrance Hook Reveal 5

Lowrance is a highly reputable company who tends to focus more on their higher end units but has been kind enough to provide their expertise in a unit that’s perfect for any kayaker. 

Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 contains probably the clearest picture and largest screen of any of the graphs with their “FishReveal” feature in my top 5.  It’s almost like you’re using underwater binoculars to look at the bottom.  Also they’ve made this menu really easy to navigate so you’re not spending too much time on the “back” button.  

With such a great sonar at this affordable price you do have to provide your own map card but you still have the ability to mark GPS coordinates so that you can return to your favorite spots. Also power consumption is a bit high at almost a full amp per hour but that’s due to the incredible picture you get!

2.) Garmin Striker Plus 5cv

How do they do it!? Garmin is able to provide a triple split screen with all three main features I use in a graph at less than half an amp providing all day fishing and precision!  A 5” display screen makes viewing simple and their “ClearView” is truly crystal clear.

Garmin has always been ahead of the game so any updates made to the units will only make your purchase better as time goes on.  For me it was a virtual tie between Garmin Striker Plus 5cv and my eventual purchase.

1.) Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder

As stated above I had narrowed my needs down to two options and I ended up going with Helix 5.  My experience with Humminbird has been so good that it was hard for me not to stay loyal to the brand I’ve stuck with since my first graph.

The Helix 5’s GPS is 2nd to none and their 2D sonar is so easy to read that I can literally count the fish I’m fishing over.  I’ve actually been able to see fish come up and eat my lures so what more can you ask for?  

A power cable and transducer cable are all you need to hook into the back of the box.  Once you’re connected to a power source just push off your kayak and go catch fish!

In Conclusion I Believe A Graph Is One Of The Best Investments You Can Make For Your Kayak And These Truly Are The Best 5 Fish Finders For Under $300.00

Whether you decide to add a graph from my list or you go with another I’m positive it will eventually lead to more fish catches.  I love going to a lake and knowing immediately where the most productive areas are in each cove.  Just like with cell phones prices usually come down as more products are added to each brand’s lineup.  I will go into more depth on the power source in my next article relating to Kayaks.

If you can’t afford a fish finder now don’t worry!  Fish will still be caught and it’s all about enjoying the outdoors anyway :).

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