Installing a fish finder on a kayak can be a daunting task. Knowing how to accurately position the display, transducer, and battery can be overwhelming at first. Don't stress; we've got you covered. We will explain how to assemble your fish finder, the potential benefits, and the factors you should consider before the installation process.
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Should You Even Put a Fish Finder On a Kayak?
If you're serious about fishing, definitely! A kayak alone has many benefits when compared to traditional boats. They are affordable, easier to manage, compact enough to get into small, watery cervices, and float in the shallowest waters! Putting a fish finder on a kayak will improve your angling success rate with its ability to scan the depths below.
Fishfinders can also be attached semi-permanently, so you can interchange them between your boat and your kayak. With budget options hovering around $100, you have everything to gain. The transducer mounting process might seem challenging at first, but we’ve also got you covered with easy, step-by-step instructions.
Related Article: How To Install A Fish Finder? (Guide For Other Boat Types)
Installing Fish Finder On Kayak (How To Mount The Transducer)
There are three main areas of focus when installing a fish finder to a kayak – the main screen, the power source, and the transducer. In this section of the guide, we will specifically focus on the transducer and the various installation options you can consider.
1. General method
- 1Remove the seats of your kayak, flip it over, and find a flat area on the hull.
- 2Sand the area you want to mount the transducer on and wipe it with a clean rag.
- 3Apply a silicone-based adhesive to the bottom of the transducer.
- 4Place the transducer on the flat area and press down.
- 5Put a weight on top of the transducer to maintain pressure and allow it to dry for 24 – 36 hours.
(If you're looking for more installation methods and techniques, keep reading below!)
2. Magnetic Mount
A magnetic transducer mounting kit works like an invisible clamp. The great part about this option is that you will not require any additional holes, tools, or glue. There isn’t a designated position, and users can choose just about anywhere to fit them. Place the magnets in the kayak, and then fit the transducer arm on the other side. Once the magnets are locked in, your transducer should have a firm lock. Magnetic mounts also can switch between other fishing vessels because the setup and dismantling process is so easy!
3. Suction Cup
Suction cup transducer kits prioritize portability, as they’re designed to mount on the transom or side of a kayak. They work best with wood, fiberglass, and aluminum, so you might run into a few issues if you’re using a standard polyethylene kayak. The suction cup should still provide an alright-ish transducer mount experience (granted, you're moving slowly), but caution should be taken if you're planning to go at high speeds. They're not particularly well known for their durability.
4. Scupper Mount
Above, we mentioned that the easiest way to fit a transducer on your kayak is via the designated spot at the bottom of your kayak, but what happens if your transducer is too big? Enter the scupper transducer mount, which fits most common scupper hole sizes and requires few tools and no adhesives to install. The scupper mount allows you to position the transducer directly under the water, which results in maximum sonar-signal sensitivity.
5. YakAttack SwitchBlade
The YakAttack Switchblade is a pre-built arm mount that simplifies the mounting process. You can choose to either attach it to your deck mount, cell block, or on a track system. The arm is adjustable, so you’ll be able to lower or raise your transducer in and out of the water.
Benefits Of Installing & Using Fishfinders On Kayak
Let’s You Know What’s Going on Below
One of the most important advantages of a fish finder is its ability to let you know what's going on below your kayak. You'll be able to see the depth, habitat, and structures below the surface. Knowing what lies below lets you keep your bait and lures in the strike zone, and, consequently, will yield better fishing results.
Sooner or later, you should get the hang of things, and once a pattern develops, your fishfinder information will turn into instinct, making you an overall better angler.
Related Article: How Does A Fish Finder Work? A Comprehensive Guide
Mark Your Territory and Save Key Locations
It’s common knowledge that some fishing spots have more potential for a great catch when compared with others. Perhaps it’s a certain area of rocks or a particularly gated area of the river, but how do you remember this for next time?
Sure, you can rely on a landmark, but a fish finder provides pinpoint accuracy. The next time you find a fruitful fishing spot, save the location directly on the fish finder and use them as a reference for future endeavors.
Related Article: How To Use A Fish Finder? Tips For Success On The Water
Having the ability to accurately read the water temperature on a hot summer day can make an incredible difference. Different species of fish prefer different climates, and for the most part, fish generally move to the coldest part of the lake. If you have a fish finder, you’ll be able to navigate your kayak to the coolest part of the creek where all those little fries are gathering.
Find the Bait, and You’ll Find the Fish
Any experienced angler knows that a large school of bait usually means there's a good number of fish in the area. Using your fish finder, you'll be able to identify dots, dashes, or uniform lines, which means you can target specific areas where you're fishing. Therefore, if you're looking to save some time and go directly to the most popular place in the lake, a fish finder has you covered.
Safety and Direction
A fish finder can get you home safely. If you plan to go out into a large area of water, you might find yourself disorientated over time when you have lost sight of land. Luckily for you, most fish finders nowadays have a built-in GPS so you can return to the shore safely. Additionally, the digital map will help you know about potential hazards or rocky areas to avoid, so your fishing experience stays as safe as possible.
Things To Consider Before Fish Finder Installation
Where To Mounting the Main Screen
The main screen shows all the information picked up by the transducer. Before you install your transducer, you need to decide on a position for your main screen. Most fish finder kits will include a mount, which works great on flat surfaces, but sometimes they don't fit. In this case, you'll need to look for aftermarket alternatives that can either be mounted via the deck, slide tracks, or a swing arm.
Whatever your decision, ensure that the main screen is close enough for easy viewing and access, and away from any obstruction while you're fishing.
Where To Store the Power Source
Your fish finder is going to need power, and that's where the 12V power supply will come in. Kayaks will usually use a rechargeable sealed lead-acid battery of some sort ranging between 7Ah to 10Ah. There is one dilemma, though, and that is waterproofing. Batteries need to be stored in a waterproof box, compartment, or bag in order to keep the power source dry and functional.
If you’re looking for a quick fix, we can recommend the Yak-Power YP-BBK Power Pack Battery Box. However, if you're looking to save some money, a waterproof/plastic bag might also be ok for storage. Alternatively, you can also try your hand at a DIY battery box, and a link to a YouTube video tutorial can be found here.
When running a wire from your battery to your fish finder, it's important to use a marine-rated cable for all extensions. Additionally, you should always try to solder your connections as opposed to crimping, and above all, seal everything to prevent saltwater from getting in.
Never leave cable joints exposed, and ensure they're covered with a heat shrink. Plugs and sockets should also be coated with a protectant, so your pins remain safe and your electronics functional.
A fuse is an electrical safety device that prevents short circuits. In other words, if there is too much current flowing through the electrical circuit, the fuse will melt and prevent an overload or blackout. How do you apply this safety precaution to your fishfinder?
Well, the fuse should be placed in the positive line of your wiring, and also inside your fishing kit. Typically, a 3 Amp fuse should be enough but always consult your user manual.
Frequent Kayak Fish Finder Install Questions
Does a fish finder require maintenance?
Yes, if you’re exposing your fishfinder to saltwater, then you will need to clean it regularly. A crusty layer of salt will likely form when you return home. Therefore, use a soft cloth or sponge with clear water and wipe down the device.
Where should you place a kayak transducer?
A kayak transducer can be placed in the hull, transom, through scupper holes, or on the side of the kayak via an arm mount. There are various ways to mount a transducer, but caution should always be considered to ensure the transducer is protected but still functional in the water.
How much should you spend on a fish finder?
Fishfinders can range from a few hundred dollars all the way to the high thousands. The more you spend, the more extras you get, and the higher product quality. Do your research and see what features are necessary. For example, you may want GPS, Bluetooth compatibility, or pre-loaded lakes.
Fishfinders are great at improving your angling experience and are well worth the money if you're looking to take your kayak fishing experience to the next level. There are many benefits to installing one to your kayak, and we hope that you've found a preferred method for the installation process.
Before you go out and buy one, remember to assess your needs and the features you require. Have fun, and keep your fish finder clean after every adventure!