The Best Castable Fish Finders:
Boons for Landlubbers (May 2019)

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Welcome to the castable fish finders review for May 2019!

Back in the day, fishing was about waiting — sometimes for nothing. Nowadays, thanks to fish finders, you can actively target specific fish species, even in murky or deep waters.

Castable fish finders are technical products, however. You cast it out on a line and let it bob on the water where it and emits a beam sonar into the water to detect aquatic vertebrates. It then sends the information to your smartphone or tablet. You have to understand how they work and what each model has to offer before moving forward with a purchase.

To help you out, we did extensive research to provide you with general information and product reviews so you can make an informed decision.

Our Top Pick

Of all the products we will be reviewing today, we recommend the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+. This fish finder has the longest transmission range between the transducer and your device. Also, it is suitable for shallow and deep-water fishing. What’s more, the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ allows for bathymetric mapping.

If you’re stuck on which item to get, read over our castable fish finder reviews. Compare their pros and cons to see which matches your fishing style.

Best Castable Fish Finders — The Product Reviews

Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ (The Best Product Overall)

The Deeper Smart PRO+ offers everything you want in a fish finder, from bathymetric mapping to an onboard GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Key Features

  • Weighs 3.5 ounces
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • A transmission range of 330 feet
  • 6-hour battery life
  • Dual beam frequencies of 90 kHz and 290 kHz
  • Sonar depth of 260 feet

There is much to love about the Deeper Smart PRO+. This fish finder has a connectivity range that is 30 feet longer than the Vexilar below, and it comes with an intuitive smartphone app that features an onboard GPS.

The GPS has a bathymetric mapping function that you can use to capture and save contour maps on Lakebook’s cloud for access to all users. Another notable benefit of the Deeper Smart PRO+ is that its transducer can emit waves down to a depth of up to 260 feet, which is up to 100 feet more than other fish finders in this category. All these make it a great choice for ice fishing too.

The Deeper Smart PRO+ is not without its drawbacks, however. Since it is on the heavier side, you need a sturdy rod to cast it out properly. Another common issue is that it doesn’t work correctly in shallow water, and you can expect to see inaccurate depth readings as the result of a sonar return signal that is too strong.

Pros

  • Versatile fish finder that works well in several settings
  • Cloud access to bathymetric mapping
  • Connectivity range of 330 feet
  • Sonar depth of 260 feet
  • Intuitive app
  • Enough weight for casting

Cons

  • Inaccurate readings in shallow water
  • Requires a stiff rod for casting out

The Deeper Smart PRO+ has all the features you need to explore the water from the shore and to enhance your fishing experience. That’s why it is the best castable fish finder on our list. 

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Vexilar SolarPhone 100 (The Best Value Product)

The Vexilar SP100 with its transducer pod offers incredible value for money with Wi-Fi connectivity, a sonar depth of 120 feet, and four-hour battery life.

Key Features

  • Wi-Fi connectivity with a transmission range of 300 feet
  • 30-degree cone beam with a frequency of 125 kHz
  • Sonar depth of up to 120 feet
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Four-hour battery life

For an entry-level castable fish finder, the SP100 offers a wide range of valuable features, including a unique form factor for enhanced daylight visibility, a fishing line connection, and easily readable 2D sonar data view.

The transducer pod goes live as soon as it touches the water, and it can provide underwater information to a depth of 120 feet, which is sufficient for most shallow water fishing.

One drawback of the SP100 is that, unlike some of the models in this category, it doesn’t keep a log of underwater information. The battery life is also relatively short, and in the case of constant trolling, the battery may not last four hours.

Pros

  • Several high-end features at an affordable price
  • Optimal size and weight for casting
  • Alarm capabilities for fishes, shallow water, and low battery
  • Impact-resistant material
  • 30-degree angle coverage

Cons

  • Only one beam frequency
  • Short battery life
  • Doesn’t keep a log

The SP100 is a viable option for anglers who prefer a no-frills device. While this product doesn’t offer high-end features like bathymetric mapping or multiple depth readings, it gets the job done.

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ReelSonar iBobber

The ReelSonar iBobber is essentially a bobber in a float fishing setup that has been fitted with a sonar transducer. If you prefer Bluetooth connectivity and a dedicated smartwatch app, this is the one for you.

Key Features

  • Bluetooth connectivity with 100 feet connectivity range
  • 42-degree beam cone
  • Sonar depth 135 feet
  • Weighs 1.7 ounces
  • 10-hour battery life

At under 2 ounces, the iBobber is one of the lightest castable fish finders available. Although it makes casting difficult, it is not likely to scare your quarry in the splash area.

The iBobber’s app has two modes, namely a mapping mode that displays a 2D side view of the bottom and a fish finding mode that you can employ after recording the bottom contours. Unique features of the iBobber include an electronic fish attractor that mimics prey vibrations and a strike alarm.

The iBobber also has a dedicated smartwatch app that you can use after recording the bottom contours. It can also alert you if your unit is in alarm mode.

If you want to scout out a wide range, the iBobber’s Bluetooth connectivity and 100-feet connectivity distance may limit you. Another drawback is that the app doesn’t offer the same usability and display features as most other models’ platforms.

Pros

  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • 42-degree sonar angle and 243-foot mapping range
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Casting with any rod
  • Includes a fish alarm

Cons

  •  Bluetooth connectivity
  • Does not work in water shallower than four feet
  • May confuse fish with other underwater objects

If you are a minimalist angler who uses a light rod, the iBobber is a viable and affordable solution.

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Lowrance FishHunter Directional 3D

The FishHunter is packed with contemporary technology to make your life as an angler easier. What makes this product stand out is the large amount of underwater data that it can capture and display.

Key Features

  • Five directional transducers
  • Wi-Fi connectivity and a transmission range of 200 feet
  • Three sonar frequencies: 381 kHz, 475 kHz, and 675 kHz
  • Sonar depth of 160 feet
  • Weighs 6.3 ounces
  • 10-hour battery life

This popular model offers a wide array of modern features — the most notable being the five directional transducers. All the information from these transducers is consolidated into two data views: a 3D view of the underwater surface and a unique data view.

The directional transducers and battery with its ten-hour life add significantly to the fish finder’s size and weight. While the 6.3-ounce weight makes casting easier, you will need a stiff rod to cast it. When it reaches the water, it may spook fish in the area.

Pros

  • Comprehensive data views to detect fish and underwater vegetation
  • A versatile fish finder with a wide frequency range
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Connect with Wi-Fi
  • Relatively long transmission range of 200 feet
  • Multiple fishing views

Cons

  • Setup is complicated
  • Limited use in shallow water

Despite being somewhat bulky, the FishHunter Directional 3D Wireless offers a clear glimpse at what you can expect in the future. Its multiple transducers will certainly be useful if you’re hunting a big catch.

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Deeper START Smart Fish Finder

This one gives a step away from the noise with its intuitive app, and if you are looking for a well-designed interface, the Deeper START may be the perfect option for you. The Deeper START offers all the features you can expect with fish finders in this category but at an affordable price tag. You can view other similarly priced fishfinders in this roundup.

Key Features

  • Wi-Fi connectivity and a transmission range of 165 feet
  • 40-degree sonar beam cone at 120 kHz
  • Sonar depth of 165 feet
  • Weighs 2.3 ounces
  • Battery life of six hours

This mid-range unit is a valuable addition to the shore angler’s fishing equipment. It offers reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, optimal weight and size for long-distance casting, and a battery life that will keep you fishing all day long. The Deeper app is user-friendly and detailed. It is one of this fish finder’s most valuable features.

See how easy it is to set up.

Pros

  • Versatile device for shore anglers
  • Low price for the transmission range and depth
  • An intuitive and well-designed app
  • Optimal weight for casting without spooking fish

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide accurate information in shallow water
  • Not entirely compatible with 4G
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Buying Guide

When shopping for a castable fish finder, you have to take several factors into account. These help not only to find a product that offers the highest value for money but also to ensure that the gizmo you buy meets your unique fishing requirements.

View more reviews of other types of fish finders here.

Connectivity and Range

Connectivity is a crucial consideration, especially if you want to cast your fish finder out over a long range, or if you typically fish in settings where there are obstacles and interference.

A castable fish finder can connect to your phone or tablet with either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Bluetooth models are, generally speaking, more affordable than Wi-Fi models. However, they are more susceptible to interference, and Bluetooth has a short connectivity range of up to 130 feet.

Wi-Fi models, on the other hand, provide a connection to your device that is reliable. It gives you a connectivity range of up to 300 feet.

Depth

A castable fish finder’s frequency is significant as it determines the depth at which it can detect fish and other underwater objects. The frequency refers to the number of soundwaves that your device emits per second past a fixed point.

As a rule, lower frequencies are more effective to detect fish in deep water. If you typically cast off in shallow waters, a high frequency of 200 kHz will be sufficient. In deep lakes or rivers, your fish finder needs a low frequency of 50 kHz or even lower.

An advantage of high-frequency fish finders is that they provide you with a detailed underwater image. If you usually fish in many different settings, consider purchasing a model with a transducer that can emit two or three frequencies. Some fish finders have a CHIRP feature, which is an automatic rotation between frequencies to achieve alternating clarity and depth.

Sonar Method

A castable fish finder can display information in one of two ways: 2D view and 3D view. Some models also feature bathymetric mapping.

2D View

2D is a minimalistic side-scrolling view that is generated by a transducer that emits sound waves straight down into the water. While 2D is the most basic information display option, there is a full readability spectrum, and your units display on its quality and the amount of information that your transducer can receive.

3D View

The 3D view is slowly but surely replacing 2D as a sonar method. While layered 3D information is not the dominant fish finding technology, it is a modern feature when it comes to castable fish finders.

The 3D view displays an accurate representation of the floor, fish, and other underwater objects. This sonar method works exceptionally well in combination with high-frequency wave emission.

Bathymetric Mapping

This feature is particularly valuable to fishermen who are interested in underwater topography. Bathymetric mapping involves the process of combining GPS information and depth measurements to produce a map of the bedding structure.

Bathymetric mapping doesn’t provide information on fish in the area, but if you cast several fish finders in your area, you will receive a clear idea picture of the water body floor.

Size and Weight

Weight plays a crucial role when it comes to casting distance. As a rule, the heavier a transducer, the farther you can cast it away from you. A high-end sensor with a wide frequency range may be too heavy to travel far with each cast. You may need a stiff rod and a 10-pound line to get some distance.

If you have a fish finder that works with Wi-Fi, you want to optimize the connectivity range you have available. An optimal weight to ensure a long-distance case is 3.5 ounces. Any heavier, and you may need additional casting equipment.

Apps

All castable fish finders need an iOS or Android device to display information, regardless of whether it is a smartphone or a tablet. Almost all manufacturer’s apps are free to download, and if you want to test the app out before you buy, you are free to do so.

Since the app’s interface is crucial when it comes to the fish finder’s usability, it is worth checking out the app or its demo mode for yourself. Since some fishing settings are in remote areas, no fish finder app requires a cellular signal to work.

Versatility

Ideally, you want a castable fish finder that you can use for all types of fishing and in different bodies of water. Additional features like boat mountings or accessories for ice fishing will ensure all-around value.  

To ensure optimal versatility, select a fish finder with two or more frequencies, a 3D view sonar, and bathymetric mapping. It is also worth paying a premium for a more extended transmission range, especially if you are a landlubber who likes to catch deep-water fish.

Pros and Cons of Using a Castable Fish Finder

Suitable for Shore Anglers

Conventional portable fish finders are only suitable for fishing from a watercraft. A significant benefit of castable fish finders is that they make it possible for shore anglers to join the fish finder club as well.

Information on Underwater Settings

Knowing the underwater settings and the location of fish will optimize your fishing activities and ensure that you get more bites.

Target Specific Fish Species

A fish finder will give you the depth of the water, allowing you to target specific fish species. This is helpful during competitions or when you are fishing out of season.     

Cons

Less Reliance on Skill

There is a degree of skill involved in unassisted fishing. While a fish finder makes life easier for fishermen, some may feel that using a fish finder undermines the art of fishing. If you like to use traditional skills to find the fish, a fish finder may be excessive.  

Adds to the Costs of Fishing

If you are a casual angler, you may not want to spend that much on fishing equipment. While a fish finder is helpful, it is an added expense.

Final Thoughts

You have reached the end of this review guide. Hopefully, you now have enough information to buy a fish finder that helps on your next day by the water.

We recommend the Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ as the best castable fish finder for shore anglers. Not only does it have a transmission range of 330 feet and a sonar depth of 260 feet, but it also makes bathymetric mapping possible.

The Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ is suitable for use in a wide range of settings. You can use it as a fish finder on a boat or for ice fishing. For this reason, you won’t regret picking up this fish finder.

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