We all like to rig our kayaks and having a fish finder on a kayak became almost a standard piece of equipment. Not that I won’t admit that men are like boys, always drooling for a new toy, collecting them and playing with them, but having a fish finder can help a lot…..seriously.
Saying it will help a lot doesn’t mean fish finder will show you all the fish around the boat and you just have to cast there and catch it, because it’s not that simple. Knowing how to read a fishfinder is a learning process. It takes hours and hours spent reading it to be able to recognize the fish with certainty.
For most, until you master your fish finder, having info on depth, water temperature, contour of the bottom, where the rock is, weeds, other obstacles or holes are is priceless. That information will help you to decide where to start fishing at the first place, especially if the water we are fishing is not familiar to us. When we catch a fish and have all the data mentioned from the sonar we can easily learn fish behavior and patterns at the certain time of the year and get the idea where to look for specific fish species at specific time of the year by learning their habitat and behavior. Reading a fishfinder so you can recognize fish just adds to all other benefits when you learn it.
Fish finder for kayak
When it comes to kayak fishing you don’t need anything big and fancy to get the basic data I was talking about. Big screen fish finders might be in a way, and some more advanced features that bigger, more expensive fish finders have is something that majority can live without so kayak fishing market is focused on fish finders up to 5” screen size. Of course if you need bigger screen, possibility of loading navigation maps and the budget is not a problem go with the personal preference.
When I was buying a fish finder I still wanted some advanced features, but at the same time not to spend too much, having in mind that rigging a kayak with the additional rod holders, anchor trolley, camera mounts, ice boxes or crates, kayak carts for transport, and car rooftop carrier might turn a kayak fishing into expensive sport, not to mention additional fishing tackle, PFD, cameras, clothing.
GARMIN Striker 4DV-CV
With a limited budget I was willing to spend on my first fish finder I found a best buy deal in Garmin Striker 4DV.
This small, compact 3,5” screen unit is hard to beat in this price range. It offers some options of a higher class models for much less money. For around 220 Euros I don’t think you can find a unit with Down scanning, CHIRP and GPS.
After writing this original article, Garmin replaced itd 4DV model with a new one, now called Garmin Striker 4CV.It’s basically the same thing, except DownVu (down imaging) technology has been replaced with their so called ClearWu technology.The only difference is a new transducer that comes with ClearVu technology and they claim wider image than with DownVu technology.
You can buy a new model on this link
Down Imaging scanning
– Scanning downward with high frequencies, much higher than usual sonar frequencies which give much more detailed, lifelike picture. Drawback of that are shorter range and a very narrow beam.
This is a better way of processing and displaying regular 2D sonar picture by shooting multiple frequencies in sequence, rather than one which regular 2D sonar does. By using multiple frequencies we get more reliable and more detailed view of fish and objects, because some objects reflect better at certain frequencies than others. With CHIRP you scanned with multiple frequencies, which means more details.
GPS built in Garmin Striker 4dv allows us to locate our current position, mark waypoints, good fishing spots or some other points of interest like docks, boat ramps etc.
Same price units, like Lowrance Hook 4x and Hummingbird Piranha 4 don’t have GPS which I find very useful for marking fishing positions.
Garmin Striker 4 dv comes with a color screen which is easy to read even in a bright sunlight. Built leaves the impression of quality built, compact unit. It has IPx7 waterproof rating, which is important because you will capsize sooner or later. Unit comes in a box both with transom mount and trolling motor mount for the transducer and a mount for the screen, which is perfect for placing the screen on the mod pod.
Garmin Striker 4dv-cv is a best buy unit for me. If you can live without Down scanning than you can find Garmin Striker even for 150 Euros or less and still get a great little unit for your kayak. If you need bigger screen, than again Garmin Striker 5 is hard to beat for the price.
I must mention, Garmin Striker series (even the Striker 7) doesn’t support a memory card for loading maps. This sacrifice is well worth considering other great features for the price. In case you need maps and are willing to spend more than I can strongly recommend Lowrance Hook 4, which is about 80 Euros more.
You can buy Garmin 4cv here
Stay tuned for installation of the unit and videos of using it in our next articles.