10 Best Portable Fish Finders: All Budgets & Types Reviewed

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To make the most out of fishing trips, you need to have the right set of tools and equipment such as rods, reels, hooks, weights, bait, knives, apparel, etc. — but the truth is, you need more than these accessories to help you reach fertile fishing grounds.

You need a portable fish finder to do that as it can help you snoop around underwater to know where the fish are, how they behave in their natural habitat, and then use this info to your advantage.

If you are in search of a portable fish finder for kayaks, ice fishing, or other types of fishing, you’re in luck. We are here to help you learn about the many available options, and make the right choice so you can find the best portable fish finder units out there.

Preview

Model

Screen Size/Resolution

Max Depth

Check Price

Garmin Striker 4 with Portable Kit

Garmin Striker 4

3.5, 5, and 7 inches/ 480 x 320

1,600 Feet (Freshwater)

 750 Feet (Saltwater)

Humminbird 410170-1 PIRANHAMAX 4 PT...

Humminbird 410170-1

4.3 Inches/ 480 x 272

600 feet

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C Fish Finder with HD Color...

HawkEye Fishtrax 1C

2 x 1.6 Inches / High-resolution

240 feet

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar - GPS Portable...

Deeper PRO+

N/A

262 feet

LUCKY Handheld Fish Finder Portable Fishing...

LUCKY 5582692495

2 Inches/ Anti UV LCD display

328 feet

Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder,...

Venterior VT-FF001

N/A

328 feet

ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER iBobber Wireless...

iBobber ReelSonar

N/A

135 feet

Humminbird 410050-1 Fishin' Buddy MAX...

Humminbird

410050-1

3.5 Inches

600 feet

Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/...

Lowrance

000-12635-001

3.5 Inches / 320 x 240

800 feet

LUCKY Fish Finder Wired & Wireless Portable...

LUCKY FF718LiC

2.8 Inches / 320 x 240

328 feet


How Fish Finders Work & Benefits of Using Them

All handheld fish finder units come packed with a device called a transducer that emits sound waves. These waves travel underwater and bounce back when something comes in their way, such as fish life, vegetation, rocks, etc.

The intensity of the returned signal portrays the size of the object and your distance from it. Similarly, anglers help fishers determine what to expect from the waters, i.e., how far down should the bait be lowered, and what is the possibility of reeling in a good catch.

There are various options to choose from when it comes to portable fish finder devices — some send signals downwards, some sideways, and some are powerful enough to emit soundwaves at all angles. A fish finder can have a black and white or colored display – both are fine as long as you can easily distinguish between fish and random objects. Once you get the hang of it — you will be coming back with a bucket full of fish from your fishing adventures.

Here are some of the many benefits of using this nifty equipment:

  • Fish finders make it easy to locate where the lowered bait stands, so you can start jigging at the right moment.
  • Accurate readings of water depth help you make a calculated guess of what type of fish to expect.
  • All your fishing trips tend to be fruitful because the guesswork is out of the equation now.
  • The best units allow you to mark rich-in-fish locations to come back to at a later time.

Keep reading to find out why it’s always a good idea to keep a fish finder on you.


What To Consider When Buying Portable Fish Finders

Mounting Type/Material

A lot can go wrong when on water, which is why your fish finder needs to be sturdy enough to withstand everything from inclement weather to bumps, falls, and more. Also, you may end up fishing in saltwater, so the selected device has to be corrosion resistant as well. Therefore, please make sure that when narrowing down your options, you are not compromising on quality and durability.

You have the following choices:

  1. 1
    Portable fish finder units that come with a carry case and all necessary equipment. These feature a three to seven-inch screen, a portable transducer, and a 12-volt rechargeable battery. You can easily find the best portable fish finder for small boats online or at your local supply store.
  2. 2
    Castable fish finders units connect with your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. These are thrown into the waters along with the bait. Once submerged, they transmit all activity to your smartphone. This makes them a suitable choice as a portable fish finder for kayak fishing.

Transducer

As we mentioned earlier, whether you pick a cheap portable fish finder or an expensive unit, it relies on a transducer to help you figure out what’s going on underwater. All objects that fall under its beam are displayed on the screen, along with info on how deep they lie and how big they are.

So it's essential to consider the cone angle when narrowing down to your selection — this signifies the width of the beam sent from the transducer. A narrow cone angle covers less area but provides more accurate results, and vice versa.

The best portable fish finder units on the market feature transducers that are capable of outputting signals at a cone angle of 9-degrees to 60-degrees and the more affordable options are capable of providing an angle of 16-degrees to 20-degrees, which is sufficient for hobbyists. An excellent choice would be to pick a portable fish finder that comes with a twin-beam transducer, i.e., it emits two beams at a time, one narrow and another broad, for accurate results.

Display Screen

Handheld fish finder units can have two types of displays:

  1. 1
    Color screens with millions of colors on display
  2. 2
    Black and white screens with 256 shades of gray

The colored variants of battery operated portable fish finders tend to be more expensive because they are easier to read and understand. However, black and white displays aren’t complicated either, and most fishers choose these because they are available at a better price point. 

Almost all devices that we reviewed offered easy-to-read displays in all conditions, whether it’s bright and sunny outside. Furthermore, your portable fish finder should have an adequate screen resolution, display size, and as many pixels as you can afford. Your best bet would be to get a device with a minimum of 240 by 160 pixels, and a large enough display screen to make the readings legible at a glance.

Power Rating/Wattage

When selecting the best portable fish finder for your needs, check the amount of power it requires to operate. If you use the device on a pontoon boat or kayak, choose a high wattage portable fish finder. In contrast, a low wattage fish finder will work fine when shallow fishing.

For example:

Wattage

Frequency

Depth

100-watts

50 kHz

400 feet

100-watts

200 kHz

100 feet

Dimensions & Weight

Whether fishing onshore, on ice, on a lake, or in the deep blue sea — you do not want to own a fish finder that is heavy and hard to lug around. You’ll have enough equipment to keep track of, as it is. Make sure your fish finder is portable in every sense of the word - it should be easy to pack and carry as, and when you please.

CHIRP vs. Traditional Sonar

As opposed to traditional handheld sonar fish finder units, CHIRP devices offer a better, more comprehensive picture of what lays beneath. CHIRP stands for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse – this technology is a game-changer that’s used by the military in sonar and radar equipment. It ensures 100% accuracy because a CHIRP-enabled fish finder can send out a multitude of sonar waves at various frequencies at the same time. 

Frequency

Typically, a portable fish finder for ice fishing or any other type of fishing offers various frequencies, and many of them feature twin-beam transducers that provide cone angles of 20 and 60 degrees.  In your search, you will notice the available frequencies seen on most devices are 50, 83, 192, and 200 kHz — higher the frequency, better the results.

These are your ideal picks:

Type of waters

Frequency

Shallow

192 to 200 kHz

Deep

50 kHz

Performance Features

Here are some excellent features of fish finders to augment your fishing experience:

  • External memory
    the option to add an SD card to make room for new maps
  • Side-scanning
    A handheld ice fishing fish finder should allow you to see what the water on the sides has to offer, not just what lays beneath
  • Connectivity options
    Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to connect your device to your smartphone and the internet

Price & Warranty

You can get a portable fish finder for as little as $50, but if you want all the bells and whistles prepare to pay over $350. The more features you expect, such as mountable options, connectivity, a big, high-resolution display, GPS, etc. — the more it may cost.

Additionally, almost all handheld fish finder devices are backed by warranty, which is a much-needed assurance when investing in something. However, don’t forget to read the fine print to figure out what coverage you may receive if your device malfunctions. The selected fish finder should be ideally covered for at least a year.


10 Best Portable Fish Finders Reviewed

1. Garmin Striker 4

Our Top Pick!

Screen Size/ Resolution

3.5, 5, and 7 inches/ 480 x 320

Mounting Options

Tilt/swivel mount, transducer, transom, and motor mounts

Max Depth

1,600 Ft. freshwater

 750 Ft. saltwater

Operating Frequency

CHIRP (77/200 kHz)

Battery Length

53 to 54 hours

Warranty

1 year

After much research, we narrowed to our top picks for portable fish finder reviews. This particular unit ranked pretty high up on our list. The Garmin Striker 4 is leading the race for the best portable fish finder.

Thanks to GPS and fish finding technologies, you can reach depths of up to 1,600 feet in freshwater and 750 feet in saltwater. This Garmin portable fish finder rocks a 3.5, 6, or 7-inch HVGA colored display, which provides us with crisp glare-free readings at all times.

The Garmin Striker 4 features CHIRP sonar, so the transducer provides detailed imaging — you will be pinpointing every aspect of what lays within waters. Once a suitable location has been found, you can save it on the device, the Striker 4 allows you to store 5,000 waypoints — so come back to the spot courtesy of the GPS when need be.

Target separation is also on-point; you can always differentiate between fish, bait, vegetation, rocks, boulders, and other objects. This also helps you determine when the right moment would be to hook. Above all, the device also has traditional twin-beam sonar for enhanced clarity. The Garmin Striker 4 is a perfect portable fish finder for kayak, ice, float tube, and shore fishing, and the provided battery provides you with a considerable amount of backup.

Pros
  • 2D sonar + CHIRP
  • CLEAR VU scanning
  • Sturdy device
  • Colored display
  • GPS
Cons
  • Need to purchase a 50 kHz transducer separately

2. Humminbird 410170-1

Best Portable Fish Finder For The Money

Screen Size/ Resolution

4.3 Inches/ 480 x 272

Mounting Options

Tilt and Swivel Mount

Max Depth

600 feet

Operating Frequency

200/455kHz

Battery Length

7 Amp-hour battery with charger

Warranty

1 year

Ranking second in our portable fish finder reviews is the Humminbird 410170-1 AKA, the PiranhaMax 4 PT, which per our opinion, is a leading contender among best portable fish finders for float tubes. The device features a DualBeam transducer capable of sending out sonar waves at 200 and 455 kHz. However, both frequencies cannot be emitted at the same time, and there is no down imaging sonar.

Out of the box, you receive an XPT 9 28 T transducer, which works fine no matter how good or bad the weather gets, plus there is a suction cup and a 6-meter cable. The transducer disperses two cone beams – 28-degree beam at 200 kHz and 16-degrees at 455 kHz – with the 28-degree beam, you can reach depths of 600 feet, and 320 feet with the 16-degree beam.

Like most Humminbird portable fish finder units, the PiranhaMax 4 PT features Fish ID+, several alarms, structural ID, WhiteLine, and bottom view. A combination of these features makes it quite easy to distinguish between big and small fish and other objects in proximity.

It features three alarms to enhance your fishing experience:

  • Fish alarm
    it can be set up to shoot an alert when a particular sized fish comes under the beam
  • Depth alarm
    it rings up when you have reached a selected depth
  • Battery alarm
    it goes off when the battery is almost out of juice and requires to be charged
Pros
  • Clear display
  • Portable transducer with suction cup
  • IPX7 rating
  • 7 AMP hour battery
Cons
  • No upgrades
  • No GPS and SD card slot

3. HawkEye Fishtrax 1C

Best Portable Sonar Fish Finder

Screen Size/ Resolution

2 x 1.6 Inches / High-resolution

Mounting Options

Suction Cup Display Mount

Max Depth

240 feet

Operating Frequency

83/240 kHz

Battery Length

30 hrs

Warranty

2 year

Next, we would like to bring your attention to another brilliant device — the HawkEye Fishtrax 1C. We feel that if you indulge inshore fishing often, this will be your best bet as it is one of the best portable fish finders for shore fishing.

It is a highly portable device, as it is slightly bigger than a smartphone, and its dimensions are 6 x 3 x 2 Inches. It seamlessly fits in your hand and lasts you for about 30 hours, courtesy of the required 4 AAA batteries.

All units that fall under the Fishtrax umbrella have a transducer that can float for shore fishing, can be used as a trollable unit, or can be mounted to the transom; above all, Fishtrax units are also an excellent handheld ice fishing fish finder.

The FishTrax 1C operates on two frequencies — 83 kHz for deeper waters up to 240 feet, and 200 kHz for shallow fishing. You can get reading at depths ranging between 1.5 feet to 240 feet. This HawkEye portable fish finder is also a portable fish finder flasher with a dedicated colored screen that allows you to choose between 100 sensitivity settings for accurate results and it will enable you to choose between these different modes:

  • Data mode
    shows the depth, temperature
  • Ice flasher mode
    once chosen, the device transforms into a portable fish finder flasher, and all results are shown in different colors
Pros
  • Sturdy built
  • Good battery backup
  • Excellent for kayak fishing
  • Best portable fish finder for shore fishing
Cons
  • Not the best in saltwater

4. Deeper PRO+

Best Castable Portable Fish Finder

Screen Size/ Resolution

N/A

Mounting Options

Fishing rod

Max Depth

262 feet

Operating Frequency

90/290 kHz

Battery Length

5 hrs

Warranty

2 year

If you enjoy bank fishing, experts recommend this particular equipment for outstanding results with a castable fish finder, which is why the fourth product on our list of portable sonar fish finder reviews is the ever so popular Deeper PRO+. It is unanimously agreed that this is the best castable portable fish finder.

Whether you want to do ice fishing in the winters or you something for your boat or the shore — this is a worthwhile investment. Simply attach it to your rod via the provided mount and cast it alongside the bait. Courtesy of the featured dual-scan technology — the device shows everything in its surrounding on your phone or tablet.

Consequently, this also makes it the best portable fish finder for bank fishing and the best wireless portable fish finder. You just have to download a free app available on the app store, and the device can then connect to your handheld device by using the built-in Wi-Fi. Once a connection is built — all results are shown in real-time thanks to the built-in GPS.

On one full charge, the battery provides you with at least five hours of backup and device work through all types of environments — freshwater, saltwater, or ice. The reason we call it the best wireless portable fish finder because once cast, it can reach small places, where standard portable fish finder units won’t fit.

Pros
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Real-time results
  • User-friendly app
  • Dual scan sonar
Cons
  • The device adds weight to your rod

5. LUCKY 5582692495

Best Cheap Portable Fish Finder

Screen Size/ Resolution

2 Inches/ Anti UV LCD display

Mounting Options

Can be mounted to boats and fishing rods

Max Depth

328 feet

Operating Frequency

200 kHz

Battery Length

4 to 5 hrs

Warranty

1 year

If you have a budget to consider when buying a portable fish finder, your best bet would be to go with the LUCKY 5582692495 — the best cheap portable fish finder. It comes with a multitude of features and accessories which significantly enhance your fishing experience.

One such feature that defines its uniqueness is the fish school alarm, which goes off every time a group of fish is within the transducer beam. Apart from this LUCKY portable fish finder has four more modes — battery saver, backlight, sensitivity, and the ability to switch from feet to meters and vice versa, you also receive a separate transducer with a 25-feet connecting cable, a neck strap, and a bolt plus wind nut to help you in mounting the device. 

Furthermore, the LUCKY 5582692495 allows you to get results of depths up to 328 feet thanks to the featured 48-degree cone angle, which are then computed and shown on a well-lit LED display. This also puts it among the best portable depth fish finder units on the market.

A good selection for stationary waters and also for kayaks the move slowly, as the device is not waterproof — it cannot withstand drops and splashes. Also, it is a perfect pick for newcomers as well as seasoned anglers, owing to its ease of use, and it provides good enough battery backup by using 4 AAA batteries.

Pros
  • Pocket-friendly
  • Fish school alarm
  • Easy to read in the night
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • No temperature readings
  • Not water resistant

6. Venterior VT-FF001

Best Portable Fish Finder For Ice Fishing

Screen Size/ Resolution

n/A

Mounting Options

Flexible — can be put anywhere

Max Depth

328 feet

Operating Frequency

200 kHz

Battery Length

4 to 5 hrs

Warranty

1 year

Coming in at sixth in our portable fish finder reviews is the Venterior VT-FF001, which per us is the best portable fish finder for ice fishing. This Venterior portable fish finder has all the features needed by anglers to meet their fishing goals, regardless of the type of fishing they indulge in, be it ice fishing, boat fishing, or swinging in the reel from the pier or shore.

To ensure that you don’t miss out on a potential catch — the device comes with an audible fish alarm, when a pre-selected fish comes within the transducer beam, the alarm alerts you. Furthermore, Venterior VT-FF001 provides you with a detailed outlook, everything beneath is distinguishable, you can quickly point out fish, bait, rocks, boulders, vegetation, etc.—a much-needed feature for proactive fishing.

Depth readings are precise on this Venterior portable fish finder; it uses sonar to read where the fish swim and how deep the water is. This becomes possible as the device emits a 45-degree cone at a 200kHz frequency, which allows it to provide a holistic outlook at depths ranging between 1 meter to 100 meters, i.e., 3 feet to 328 feet. It is quite durable and portable and requires 4 AAA batteries to run, which provide a decent amount of run time, i.e., 4 to 5 hours.

Pros
  • Pocket friendly
  • Two-year warranty
  • Accurate readings
  • Fish alarm
Cons
  • Not the best in cold weather

7. iBobber ReelSonar

Best Portable Fish Finder For Kayak

Screen Size/ Resolution

N/A

Mounting Options

Fishing rod

Max Depth

135 feet

Operating Frequency

118 kHz

Battery Length

10 hrs

Warranty

1 year

Seventh in our portable fish finder reviews is the iBobber ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER if you ask us this is the best portable fish finder for kayak and the best portable fish finder for canoe. We included this device as an honorable mention owing to its ability to reach places where other portable fish finder units cannot go. 

The device does not require a screen as it’s a castable unit. Simply, download the required app, and the ReelSonar will connect to it via Bluetooth. You have the added advantage of using a tablet for a more prominent display, and you can view crisp images in real-time. Furthermore, it only weighs 1.7 ounces and is sized at 2.3-inches, which makes it a worthy option to be mounted to a fishing rod — the added weight won’t distort your fishing experience.

Using it is quite simple — mount it to the rod along with the weight and bait, and swing in your reel. Once inside, all aspects of the surrounding will be displayed on your handheld device. The device can be lowered to a maximum depth of 135 feet, and it can be cast up to 100 feet away, anything further, and the Bluetooth connection might break.

The display shows the location, temperature within the water, and the type of species in proximity. Additionally, an alert is set off when a fish gets hooked or when it falls for the trap. It measures water depths of 135 feet deep, whereas the castable range is 100 feet.

It provides a wide range of information, including water temperature, location, and several fish species. The device has alarms too, which can alert you when you have a catch. It has low power consumption, giving it a long battery running time of up to 10 hours. However, because it is too small, its casting range is limited.

Pros
  • Economical choice
  • Fish alarm
  • 10-hour battery
  • Durable and portable
Cons
  • Only 100 feet cast range

8. Humminbird 410050-1

Best Mountable Option

Screen Size/ Resolution

3.5 Inches

Mounting Options

Portable clamp

Max Depth

600 feet

Operating Frequency

200/455 kHz

Battery Length

30 hrs

Warranty

2 year

If a mountable fish finder is what you need, then the Humminbird 410050-1 AKA Fishin’ Buddy MAX Fishfinder is a viable option, as it is by far the best mountable option. This Hummingbird portable fish finder can be mounted to your boat, a float tube, a kayak, or to a dock—the possibilities are endless, thanks to the provided multi-directional mount. You can seamlessly mount the device anywhere as there are no cords involved, or you don’t have to mount a transducer separately.

Furthermore, the device can be used by anyone, as it depends on a One-Touch control for operations and provides exceptional readings as it also features Down Imaging. It can work anywhere at any time, and provides a decent amount of battery backup—just grab your rod and headful.

The Fishin’ Buddy MAX Fishfinder allows you to get readings at depths as low as 320 feet courtesy of the down imaging feature. To add to that, anglers also receive outstanding sonar-coverage with 28-degrees, 16-degrees, and 74-degrees cone angles @ -10dB. Also, the emitted frequencies are 200/455 kHz that can reach depths of 600 feet.

Here are some other features that make this device so great:

  • It tells you the water temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit, as per what you choose.
  • You get crisp results as the down imaging feature helps you in distinguishing between fish, bait, rocks, debris, etc. so you can always make on-point decisions.
Pros
  • Down imaging
  • One-touch control
  • Multi-directional mount
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Not the best battery life

9. Lowrance 000-12635-001

Best Portable Fish Finder For Small Boats

Screen Size/ Resolution

3.5 Inches / 320 x 240

Mounting Options

Transom mount, arm mount

Max Depth

800 feet

Operating Frequency

83/200 kHz

Battery Length

Up to 38 hrs.

Warranty

1 year

If you own a small boat and use it on your many fishing adventures, the Lowrance 000-12635-001 AKA Lowrance Hook 3x is right up your alley; it is hands-down the best portable fish finder for small boats. Also, per popular opinion, this is the best Lowrance portable fish finder.

You can buy the device with an optional portability pack, making it easier to be carried from place to place. The best part is that the device itself does not cost an arm and a leg; it is quite affordable.

The Hook 3x comes with an impressive colored LED-backlit display, which is glare resistant and has a 320 x 240 resolution, which makes it readable in bright as well as dark conditions from different viewing angles. Moreover, there are many well-placed buttons on the device which let you scroll through the menu with ease.

Additionally, this Lowrance portable fish finder features a dual-beam transducer that emits frequencies of 83 kHz to scan broad areas, and 200 kHz for more precise, on-point readings. Courtesy of the detailed readings, anglers can know precisely what to expect, how-to strategies, and they can distinguish between different objects within waters.

As a matter of fact, you can know things such as how hard the floor is, the location of the thermocline, and other structural details. Moreover, fish are displayed as icons and not arches, thanks to the featured Fish ID technology, which makes it quite easy to interpret results.

Pros
  • Backlit screen
  • Dual-frequency
  • Advanced signal processing
  • Thermocline depth can be monitored
Cons
  • Not the best in deep waters

10. LUCKY FF718LiC

Best Handheld Fish Finder

Screen Size/ Resolution

2.8 Inches / 320 x 240

Mounting Options

Flexible arm mount

Max Depth

328 feet

Operating Frequency

125/200 kHz

Battery Length

10 hrs.

Warranty

1 year

Last but not least, we want to include the best handheld fish finder to our portable fish finder reviews, and no device will fill the place better than the popular LUCKY FF718LiC. Whether you are a novice fisher or a seasoned angler, you can’t go wrong with this LUCKY portable fish finder, it provides you with 10 hours of continuous use, and can efficiently perform in fresh as well as saltwater.

The best part is that no castable sonar can be cast to such extents as the Lucky FF718LiC; it has a wireless operational range of 328 feet, i.e., 100 meters. Plus, you don’t need to drain your phone’s battery to read up on findings, as this device has a 2.8-inch display.

The build quality is quite sturdy, and it can withstand through a variety of environments, once bought, this device will be your humble companion for years to follow. Above all, this device works seamlessly, no matter the type of fishing you choose, whether you like ice fishing, boat fishing, shrove fishing, kayak fishing, etc. In other words, this is a highly versatile device.

With the cable, you can have a cone angle of 45-degrees at 200 kHz, and it can go as deep as 328 feet. On the other hand, this LUCKY portable fish finder wirelessly operates at a 90-degrees beam angle, at 125 kHz, and can reach depths of 147 feet.

Pros
  • Blue, red and gray LCD
  • Excellent sonar coverage
  • Good castable range
  • 10-hour battery backup
Cons
  • Not the best customer support

Comparing CHIRP to Traditional Sonar

CHIRP AKA Compressed High-Intensity Radar Pulse was introduced in the fifties as a military-based technology. Recently it has been recognized as one of the best portable fish finders for canoe, boats, float tubes, ice fishing, etc. 

Traditional portable sonar sensor fish finder units are dependent on a maximum of two frequencies to find fish. On the other hand, a newer, better CHIRP enabled portable fish finder device shoots out a multitude of frequencies simultaneously to detect anything and everything in reach.

Thanks to this, the readings are more accurate, with a better target separation (easy to distinguish between a single fish, a school of fish, and other random objects) and coverage of greater depths. Anglers can make sense of how sea life reacts to the lowered lure, and accordingly, they jig and hook to reel in a catch they can be proud of.

A portable fish finder that features CHIRP provides holistic results owing to two features – a CHIRP Sidevü and a CHIRP Clearvü – the former shows what swims on the sides of the boat. In contrast, the latter provides results on what lays beneath.


How To Use A Portable Fish Finder

Some things to know:

  • If you are shallow fishing, operate on a higher frequency, but select a lower frequency when searching in deep waters.
  • Use down-imaging and side-imaging if your fish finer allows, to get a better understanding of the down-below.
  • Learn to make out between fish and other items such as vegetation, rocks, garbage, etc. because frequently, the reading may seem to show a school of fish, but it may just be vegetation. 
  • Some fish finders display fish as arches, and once you master reading these arches, you may need more than a bucket or two to make room for the plunder.
  • Inspect the thickness of the arch, as it tells you how big or small the fish may be, simply put, the slender the arch the smaller the fish and vice versa.
  • If the apparent arch is not fully formed, it means that the fish is not falling within the transducer beam, it’s either a touch and go situation, or it has just come under a part of the beam.
  • A fully formed arch means that the potential fish is circling within the beam.
  • Distinguish between sea life and the lowered bait, as you need to precisely understand when the fish may fall for it as that is the time when you hook. Your lure appears as lines, balls. Dashes, or dots, and some of the many best portable fish finder units show it in yellow.

Fish Finder Care & Maintenance

For your fish finder to last for years to come, ensure its upkeep. Here are some steps you should take to keep your portable fish finder maintained and functional at all times:

  • Never clean the screen under running water; instead, use a soft microfiber towel, and if necessary, some soap water. 
  • Remember, saltwater can compromise some connectors and ports that may not be resistant to corrosion. Regularly apply anti-corrosive wax, grease, or spray every season.
  • Since it’s a portable fish finder, when not in use, make sure it is placed in a protective portable fish finder bag, and it should be kept in a safe place and not be left behind in your boat, etc. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Does Every Fisherman Need A Portable Fish Finder?

No, it is not necessary, but having it improves your fishing experience significantly by removing guesswork. You know beforehand where to throw in the reel, and when to hook.

Do Portable Fish Finders Work?

Owing to their small size and reasonable weight, portable fish finder units can go places where regular units may not be able to reach. They come in handy for shore fishing, ice fishing, and can be mounted on to small boats if need be.

Is Side Imaging Better Than Down Imaging?

Both, when combined, provide comprehensive readings of everything within your surroundings, so we cannot play favorites.  Down imaging shoots out a transducer beam downwards, whereas side imaging sends sonar waves to sides of the boat.

Do I Need GPS On A Portable Fish Finder?

Depends on how and where you fish, you may not need a GPS per se. But if you enjoy Kayak fishing or fishing from your pontoon boat, you should buy the best portable fish finder GPS combo. All in all, having a GPS can augment your fishing experience; it allows you to keep track of fertile fishing grounds so you can go back to those hotspots when needed. Also, it goes without saying; you will never be lost— a GPS will always direct you back to shore.

How Do I Mount A Portable Fish Finder On A Float Tube?

The best portable fish finder for float tubes are easy to mount, just buy the mounting kit for float tubes and follow these steps:

  1. 1
    Put the provided strap through the selected mount.
  2. 2
    Connect the strap to the transducer
  3. 3
    Put the strap in a circular form and place it along with the device on a float tube and tighten it.
Is A Garmin Better Than Lowrance Or Humminbird Portable Fish Finder?

When you survey the market, you will come across many fish finders manufactured by different brands. So essentially, it all depends on your preferences. Even though a Garmin portable fish finder tops our portable sonar fish finder review, you may choose another make and model per preference. 

Where Can I Buy These Portable Fish Finders?

You can buy portable fish finder units and their parts such as mounts and a portable fish finder bag from the local market such as shops that carry fishing accessories, or you can find brilliant deals on Amazon.


Conclusion

Overall, a fish finder will considerably augment your fishing experience. However, if you are a traditional fisher or angler who loves to wait for the right moment, and loves the guesswork; a fish finder may distort your experience.

After various tests onshore, in ice, and the sea, we narrowed down to the ten best portable fish finder units and included them to our in-depth portable fish finder reviews. If you ask us, the best portable fish finder, and the best portable fish finder GPS combo, is the Garmin Striker 4, it checks all the boxes in the right places.