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Kayak Fish Finder Setup

Last Updated on July 27, 2022 by Donnell Henderson

The kayak is one of the most used types of boat for fish hunting due to its easy accessibility and manageable size. Innovations on gadgets designed for these small boats have primarily sorted out things for fishermen, so they don’t have to spend their whole day without catching anything.

Setting up for a day of fishing is much more satisfying when you don’t have to waste time checking flooded rolls and retying your line because the spot was too thick with vegetation or underwater structures. As an angler, nothing can be more frustrating than coming back empty-handed after setting out all morning only to find no fish hiding in those tangled vines. But fish finders have made things easier and worthwhile. They will map out how big everything else might look nearby while also helping locate hidden treasure troves just waiting below our feet.

Most kayaks these days come with built-in support for installing a fish finder. However, if you’re using an older model or one not designed specifically for fishing, you might need to do custom rigging. But don’t worry, the kayak fish finder setup is pretty simple, and you need not worry about how to attach a fish finder to a kayak in a few simple steps. You can turn your kayak into a fully-fledged fishing vessel by following these mounting tips:

Mounting the Display Unit

A fish finder’s display unit is the part of the fish finder that shows information about the location of the fish, as well as the depth and temperature of the water. The display unit typically consists of a screen representing the bottom of the body of water. Fish are represented as dots on the screen, and the density of the dots indicates how many fish are in a particular area. The fish finder display unit may also show other information, such as the depth of the water and the temperature. In some cases, the display unit may also include a GPS, which can be used to track the boat’s location. The display unit is an essential part of a fish finder for a kayak angler, and it is crucial to choose a model that is easy to read and understand.

The fish finder display is typically mounted on the dash or console of a boat. While this is convenient, it can make it difficult to see the screen in direct sunlight. For this reason, many anglers opt to mount their fish finders in a location that is sheltered from the sun. This can be accomplished by mounting the unit on the overhead console, installing a sun visor, or attaching an extension cable to the unit and placing it on the floor.

Whichever method you choose to fix the head unit in the chirp sonar technology, kayak anglers need to be sure to secure the unit firmly in place to avoid damage during rough weather or waves. With some planning, you can ensure that it will be easy to read your fish finder no matter what the conditions are like on the water.

kayak fish finder setup

Installation of the Transducer

A transducer is the component of a fish finder that emits and receives sound waves. It is usually mounted on the boat, and its purpose is to transmit sound waves into the water. The sound waves bounce off objects in the water, and the transducer picks up the reflected waves. The fish finder uses these reflected waves to create a picture of what is beneath the water’s surface. Transducer placement can be done in different methods as they come in different sizes and shapes and can be made from different materials.

The most common type of transducer is a cone-shaped transducer made from plastic or ceramic. Cone-shaped transducers are generally used on small boats like fishing kayaks because they are less expensive than other transducers. Larger boats often use array transducers, which are more expensive but provide better performance. Array transducers of kayak fish finder are made from multiple more miniature transducers arranged in a line. This type of fish finder transducer emits sound waves in multiple directions, making it possible to create a more detailed picture of what is beneath the surface of the water. Transducers can be installed in more than one way in a kayak are as follows:

In the Hull

The first step is to determine where you want to mount the transducer in the kayak hull. It is essential to choose a location where the kayak’s hull will not obstruct and will provide a clear view of the water. Once you have chosen a spot, use a drill to make a hole through the hull. Be sure to use a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the transducer, as this will ensure a tight fit. Next, insert the transducer into the hole inside the kayak. Once it is in place, fish finders should use a sealant to create a water-tight seal around the edge of the transducer. Finally, attach the cable from the fish finder to the transducer and secure the connection to utilize the fish finder technology.

At the Back

Most kayaks don’t have a built-in transom, which means you’ll need to install your own if you want to use a fish finder. Luckily, it’s a relatively straightforward process. Start by finding a flat area on the back of the kayak and mounting a metal or plastic plate. The plate should be about 3 inches wide and shorter than the kayak itself. Once the plate is in place, the kayak angler can mount the transducer on top of it. Make sure the transducer is positioned a little higher than the rudder or the bottom of the kayak so it can send and receive sonar waves well.

If you hit a rock, the bottom of the kayak will take the brunt of the impact instead of the transducer. After that, all a kayak angler needs to do is run the wire from the transducer inside to mount the fish finder wherever you want. Be sure to secure the cables with clamps or twist-ties so they don’t come loose while you’re out on the water. And that’s it! You now have everything you need for successful kayak fishing trips.

Scupper Mounted

Whether you’re looking to install a new transducer scupper or simply want to move your old one to a new location, understanding how to properly install a scupper-mounted transducer is essential. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Select the appropriate location for your transducer. The placement of your transducer will depend on the type of fish finder you have and the size and shape of your kayak. It’s essential to place the transducer in an area where it will be protected from impact and get a clear view of the water.
  2. Drill a hole in the hull of your kayak at the chosen location. The hole size will depend on your transducer’s size, but it should be large enough to allow the transducer to be mounted flush with the hull.
  3. Apply a generous amount of silicone sealant to the back of the transducer. This will help create a waterproof seal and prevent moisture from entering the kayak.
  4. Carefully insert the transducer into the hole, ensuring it is flush with the hull. Use a clamp or weight to hold the transducer.

That’s all, plug and play and you are ready to be on the way to catch more fish.

Portable Kits

If you use your fish finder on multiple boats or in different locations, a portable kit is probably the best option for you. Portable kits come with a suction cup transducer mount that can be easily attached and detached from any smooth surface like a transducer arm. This makes it very convenient to use your fish finder on different boats or in different locations. The only downside to this method is that the portable kits are a little more expensive than the normal ones and kayakers opt for this.

There are times when it may be more convenient to use a portable kit or suction cup transducer mount rather than the traditional fish finder installation method. Portable kits are self-contained and come with everything needed for installation, including the transducer, cable, and power supply.

Suction cup transducer mounts can also be removed and replaced quickly, making them a good choice for fishermen who frequently change locations like for the deeper water. While they are more expensive than traditional mounts, they offer the convenience of being able to be used in multiple locations.

Installing the Battery

A fish finder is a good addition to any kayak, providing the ability to locate fish in even the deepest waters. But are you wondering how you power a fish finder on a kayak? Most high-quality fish finders will run off a 12V power supply, making batteries the most practical power source with a waterproof box. Amongst batteries, rechargeable Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries are the most popular for trolling motor kayaks.

With this information in mind, you’ll be able to select the correct battery box and charger for your fish finder and land fish, ensuring you can enjoy many hours of fishing on your kayak while keeping your battery inside.

Installing a battery in a fish finder on your kayak is not tricky, but it is essential to do it correctly to ensure the system will work properly. There are two main types of power cable batteries: lithium-ion and lead-acid. Lithium-ion batteries are smaller and lighter, making them a good choice for portable fish finders. Lead-acid batteries are larger and heavier but last longer and can be used with trolling motors.

When installing the battery, ensuring the terminals are clean and free of corrosion is essential. The positive terminal should be connected to the red wire, and the negative terminal should be connected to the black wire.

Once the wires are connected, securing the terminals with nuts or bolts is essential to prevent them from coming loose. Finally, replacing the battery box is crucial and ensuring that it is securely fastened and away from all the splashes. By taking these simple steps to install a fish finder, you can be sure that your fish finder will gear track and have a reliable power source and battery dry.

Choosing a Fish Finder for a Kayak

Kayak fishing is a suitable way to get out on the water and enjoy the sport of fishing without having to invest in a boat. However, it is essential to have the proper equipment to be successful. Therefore, when choosing the best fish finder for your kayak, it is crucial to consider the unit’s size, weight, and features like rod tip and water temperature reader.

Some units are essential and provide information on depth and temperature and sonar signals, while others offer more advanced features, such as GPS mapping, larger transducers, detailed image, water column and split screens.

Once you have chosen the suitable unit for your needs, setting it up is relatively simple. Most units come with suction cups that can be attached to the kayak hull. Other gear and tips are comprehensively described in this guide to help most anglers and hobbyists find fish.


By using sonar, the fish finder can detect the presence of fish and determine their location, and this guide explains well how to attach a fish finder to a kayak. While many modern fishing kayaks come with pre-installed equipment to hold a fish finder, you can make minor modifications to your current kayak like increase mapping options, adding electronics and split screens.

While it may seem daunting for anglers to install a fish finder on their kayaks, it is well worth the effort when you see sonar images of individual fish in normal or split-screen mode. With time and patience, you can be on your way to more successful fishing trips. Kayak anglers just need to install their equipment the right way, and you are done.

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