Best Fish Finder For Small Boats

As one of the most enjoyable and relaxing activities, fishing can help you unwind and find tranquility. You can spend hours reeling in your prize catch, and not even notice time pass by. But if you do not know where the proper fishing spots are, you may waste time without catching anything. This is where fish finders come in handy. It can be more enjoyable to fish alone than with others, as noise can dissuade the fish from coming closer. To relax, you may head out in small boats or kayaks. Those who want to elevate their fishing experience should invest in the best fish finders for kayaks, jons, or any other small aluminum boats. It might be tough to choose the best fish finder for small boats with so many options available, so to make the selection and purchasing process easier, we have reviewed the six best fish finders for small boats and added a buying guide.

Top 6 Best Fish Finders For Small Boats


If you want top-notch quality, then you are in the right place. GARMIN STRIKER VIVID 7SV is something that you have been looking for in this market. This fish finder is among the best of all; whether there is a Jon or any small aluminum boat compatible and easy to use. It can be a little expensive though, but worth buying because once bought, all your worries about fishing would end. A screen display of 7 inches combined with the depth finder gives you all the ease and comfort you need while fishing. With two-dimensional contours and mapping, this overhead map depicts the landscape in two dimensions. Chirp side-scanning allows you to see what’s around your boat as well as what’s directly underneath it. With high-sensitivity GPS, you can mark hot spots, plot routes, and view the speed of your boat easily. Quickdraw Contours real-time mapping lets you create and save maps with 1′ contours. You can connect your smartphone to the Active Captain® app as well as the Garmin Quickdraw TM Community with the built-in Wi-Fi® connectivity.

  • Active Captain app compatibility
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Multiscan wide beam transducer
  • Expensive
  • Limited networking options


With Garmin right beside it, Humminbird is the next big thing in the fish finder market. Here’s a fish finder that could fit the bill if you prefer the Garmin but want something just a little smaller and easier on the wallet. That is the HUMMINBIRD HELIX 5 SI. Featuring a good-sized display, detailed sonar with side and down imaging, and a GPS/chart plotter along with Anima cartography. The screen is pin-sharp and clear with a 5-inch color WVGA display and a target separation of 2.5 inches. Thanks to the CHIRP dual beam, you will receive a crystal clear return all the way from the bottom to the top. With it, you’ll never lose your way. Instead, it will help you track your spots and see any fish that are nearby, offering everything you need from a fish finder.

  • Micro SD card slot
  • Amazing map technology
  • Two display modes
  • Transom clips are made of plastic, so they are quite fragile
  • No screen covers


In the world of advancements and the modern era of 2021, LOWRANCE HOOK REVEAL 7 TRIPLESHOT is among the greatest, most effective fish finders. The LOWRANCE HOOK REVEAL 7 TRIPLESHOT is part of our world-class fish finders, for its inclusion of Fish Reveal, one of the most popular features. With the Down Scan Imaging tool, you can view high-resolution images of the bottom structure and detail along with Lowrance CHIRP sonar’s proven target identification technology. With the ultimate fishing view, you can point out fish and see how they interact with the structure without needing CHIRP-Down Scan Imaging. It has a unique feature of Autotuning Sonar that automatically adjusts sonar settings based on conditions. With double the sonar coverage of other fish finders, you can cover more water in less time. The 3-in-1 transducer in the fish finder gives you both wide-angle high-CHIRP sonar and Side scan. Furthermore, this high tech fish finder identifies structure under your boat and lets you scan large areas around you while tracking baits and marking fish.

  • Genesis Live Real-Time Mapping
  • Preloaded worldwide base map
  • micro SD card slot
  • No screen cover
  • Sharp learning curve, especially for beginners


A 7-inch screen isn’t really needed on a small boat, but if you want something a little lighter and more compact, look at the GARMIN STRIKER 4CV. Unlike some fish finders, this one is mounted in portrait mode, particularly easy to see when you are stood up. The CHIRP technology, paired with the Garmin ClearVü scanning sonar that it has, produces a nearly photographic, wide image of the area beneath your boat. When in the water, you can clearly see structures, submerged objects, and fish. Coupled with Garmin’s CHIRP traditional sonar, this transducer helps you capture more fish. Moreover, the map features scan across the bottom and display pin-sharp contour images so you can get an idea of what lies beneath. Even in direct sunlight, it offers an adjustable brightness display to avoid glare and increase practicality under any circumstance.

  • Water temperature log and graph
  • Fish Symbol ID
  • Adjustable depth line
  • Water temperature sensor
  • No unit cover
  • Limited networking options
  • No current coordinates


If you’re an intermediate or a beginner fish angler, or you want to enjoy fishing with your friends or family and don’t have a huge budget, then the HAWKEYE FISHTRAX 1X may be the best choice for you in 2021, as you can use it easily while rowing or canoeing. It’s pocket friendly, very easy and simple user interface allows you to display raw sonar data on the VirtuView Dot Matrix LCD. Or you can turn on the Fish Target feature to pinpoint precisely how deep your prey is. The device has a 10-level sensitivity adjustment, multi-level depth range, auto-zoom bottom tracking, and dual beam FishTrax with a dual-beam.

  • Dual Beam Intelligent Sonar
  • Ice-mode digital flasher
  • Dual Beam Intelligent Sonar
  • No unit cover
  • Very basic and fundamental


If you want to get bundles of fish and are tired of big bulky screens, then RAYMARINE DRAGONFLY-5 PRO will be your best friend out on the water, with a 5 inch high-definition, all-weather LED-backlit display, optically bonded for sharp visuals, wide viewing angles, and no internal fog. Furthermore, it has a dual sonar channel for down vision images and another for targeting fish. With Ray marine’s Wi-Fish mobile app, you can stream live sonar data to your smartphone; you can also rewind, save and share your catch with friends on your favorite social media sites. Moreover, it has internal storage for 3000-way points and 15 tracks plus an additional micro SD card option. With its ball and socket mounting system, Dragonfly 5 Pro can easily fit into tight spaces. The articulating ball and socket allows for easy positioning and optimal viewing.

  • Inbuilt GPS
  • Wide cartography capabilities
  • Supports micro SD cards
  • The cartography heavily relies on purchasable map packs
  • The 5-inch display is a little small for mapping, especially in split-screen


Before buying any product or equipment, reading its buyers guide is essential as it envisages you choosing the best equipment according to your desires, preferences, and budget. It aids you in understanding the real factors and ideals on which the product depends. Following are the factors you should have in mind while buying a fish finder, and advice for any consumers in the market.


The fish finder material needs to be durable as well as compatible with the boat’s hull. If you plan to mount the fish finder on the hull of your boat, you should pay special attention to this. It is best to use a plastic casing on small boats. The hull is durable and lightweight and can be easily attached to most hulls.


The display is essential because it contains all the information about what’s underwater. The larger and clearer the display, the easier it will be to see. Moreover, you can choose between white, black, or colored displays depending upon your budget. Be sure to select the display of your choice while taking into account your comfortable vision range. If you have trouble seeing certain identifiers in some situations, make sure you consider higher quality imaging and colored displays.


A navigation system is essential. The GPS will help you return safely and will also save you time. So, getting a unit that has GPS capabilities is advisable. As a result, you will not only be able to navigate stress-free, but you can also mark waypoints so that you know exactly where to go next time.


There are transducers with one, two, or multiple frequencies for fish finders. As the frequency of the fish finder increases, so will the detail of images displayed on the screen. For fishing in shallow waters, you should use a fish finder with high-frequency output. Fishfinders with multiple frequencies are ideal if you take your fishing to various types of waterways and conditions.


The transducer is the most important part of the fish finder since it emits sonar waves to capture data and create images. As the transducer sends sonar waves into the water, they bounce off underwater objects. On the screen, the information is displayed as images. If the transducer is not of high quality, you won’t be able to see what lies beneath the surface, and locate fish with reliable precision.


Choose a fish finder that can be mounted in a variety of ways. So, you have maximum flexibility regardless of the boat’s geometry. Keep your boats shape, size, and features in mind when shopping for fish finders that you plan on mounting.


Fortunately, big boats now come equipped with fish finders. However, a possible problem arises in a small boat, as you are likely to get wet. Depending on the conditions, it could be rain or splashes from the water could hit the device. If you are going to spend a lot of money on a fish finder, you do not want it to break once it gets wet. Ensure that the one you choose is waterproof, or take necessary precautions to avoid damage.


Q: What does CHIRP mean?

A: The CHIRP acronym stands for ‘Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse.’ Essentially, this means transducers work by cycling through and emitting a wide range of frequencies to produce a high-quality image.

Q: Are fish finders useful?

A: Knowing how to interpret your data and using fish finders effectively can be extremely useful. Scouting large portions of water and pinpointing ideal fishing spots are much easier with them by your side.

Q: How do fish finders work?

A: Transducers (sonars) are used in fish finders to generate sound waves in the water and capture reflections. With this information, it determines whether the object is a rock, a fish, etc. Depending on your needs, many fish finders use cabled transducers and others that connect to your smartphone directly.

Q: Can fish finders work on ice?

A: Yes, A fish finder can locate fish directly through the ice using sonar. Make sure the ice is clear and has a smooth surface, and keep the transducer from coming in contact with air.

Q: Is side imaging important?

A: Yes, The side imaging allows you to see through the water and creates a really clear picture of what to expect nearby. You get a birds-eye view of features, which can be much easier to visualize and understand.

Final Thoughts

The article above encompasses six quality fish finders for all types of small boats that can be used worldwide in any area. All the fish finders are of top-notch quality based on your requirements, needs, and budget. You can buy any above-stated fish finder and can enjoy the supreme desire of fishing. However, if you’re still confused and caught juggling about what model to buy, we highly recommend and suggest you buy GARMIN STRIKER VIVID 7SV as Garmin is one of the top leading brands that deals in fishing products and their accessories. Moreover, this particular device has the highest sonar depth range with multiple frequency ranges, numerous map features, integrated and improved GPS tagging, CHIRP sonar, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a wider screen display of 7 inches to get clear readings and data. Furthermore, the device has an easy interface that saves the images to look for your missed waypoints and has all the advanced features one could desire for fishing in the 21st century.

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