How Do You Install a Fish Finder on a Kayak?

There are more advantages to fishing from a kayak than traditional boats. Due to their size, kayaks are highly maneuverable and can even float in very shallow waters. Moreover, they are so portable that you can carry them in your backpack or by hand. As a fisher, it’s easy to travel overland with your kayak, looking for the best fishing spot.

Unfortunately, kayaks have a problem accommodating a lot of extras. The limited onboard space plus the single hull and close proximity to the water mean that it’s close to impossible to attach accessories onto them. However, this doesn’t mean you should give up on making use of a fishfinder to enhance your fishing experience.

Of course, the process of mounting a fishfinder on your kayak, whether permanently or semi-permanently, is no small task. Most of these devices require external power sources, usually a 12V battery. This is something your kayak doesn’t have. Worse still, many kayaks lack a mounting point for sounders.

Fortunately, it is still possible to find a fishfinder that’s suitable to install on your kayak. A number of the commercially available options are perfect for kayaks. Apart from being waterproof, such fishfinders are designed to withstand scrapes and bumps that they’re likely to encounter while on an excursion. They also have many other positive features.

Does a Fish Finder Need a Big Battery?

Typically, fishfinders do not come with their own battery. So, you’ll need to buy the extra accessories and fix them by yourself. Since you don’t want to add excess weight and use too much space on your kayak, you’ll need a small and lightweight battery option. Fortunately, you can find a small-sized power source for your fishfinder.

Typically, a 12V battery that clocks between 8-10 amps is ideal for use while on your excursion. It tends to power smaller and bigger units well. If you’re going to stay for more than 12 hours on the sea, which doesn’t happen often for many people, you may need a 12V 21 amp battery.

When it comes to sizes, however, there’s one more important thing to consider: the type of battery. While Sealed Acid Lead batteries are cheaper and leak proof, their downside is that they are very bulky and quickly lose power in cold weather.

This is the reason you might consider small and lightweight Lithium batteries. They hold up their charge well during cold weather and have a longer shelf life. However, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pocket for this option.

How Much Space Does a Fish Finder Need?

Since kayaks have a limited onboard space already, installing additional accessories might make you feel a bit uncomfortable sitting inside. The installation of fishfinders might sometimes mean that parts of the mounting project into the kayak, limiting your legroom. That’s why it’s always important to cover protruding objects to keep your legs safe from cuts.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that the installation of your fishfinder does not occupy too much space. First is to purchase a small-sized device such as a standalone sounder. Moreover, look for a smaller battery to power your device. Only ensure that it the type that retains enough current for longer periods of time.

You could also choose to install the mounting permanently by using an adhesive. This means you’ll reduce space usage by eliminating the need for using screws and bolts, something that usually occupies extra space by protrusions.

Advances in technology are quickly eliminating the need to use on-board fishfinders for kayaks. Today, you can buy a device that floats on the water instead of one that requires mounting onto your boat. The only thing you’ll need on-board is your trans-receiver, which may even be a cell phone. These devices are reducing space requirements significantly.

Do I Need to Drill a Hole in My Boat?

With free-floating or over-the-side transcoders and self-contained batteries, many fishfinders need minimal or no installation at all. If you’re to install yours semi-permanently, there’s a likelihood that you’ll only require to drill a few holes and just drive in some screws. This makes its installation and removal quite easy.

If you’re going to install your fishfinder this way, ensure that there’ll be no harm on your kayak. For the folding type, drilling holes may cause structural damage, tearing, or ripping. Moreover, a fabric-covered kayak doesn’t have a suitable place to mount stationary objects even if you were to remove it when you’re not using the boat.

Therefore, it is important to find out if your kayak is designed to hold fishfinders with solid mounting points. If you’re lucky to be having this kind of boat, then be sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This ensures you don’t drill in the wrong place.

Before you drill the holes for your hard mount, use a template and make sure no sharp pieces of plastic or metal extend inside the boat without covering them. Such can cut or tear your legs or pants while kayaking. Also, ensure that you can easily remove your mount when you’re not using it to prevent breakage during storage.

Fortunately, there are situations where you may not need to drill holes. The first is when you don’t have a problem leaving the mount on the boat during storage. In this case, you can use an adhesive to secure it on your kayak permanently.

Also, you can opt to go with fishfinders that come with suction cups to provide easy mounting and removal. Unfortunately, they are not good options in cold conditions and when you’re moving on rough water as the device may break loose at the wrong time.

Today, it’s not a must to use a fishfinder with a mounted unit, thanks to technological advances. Multiple companies are producing devices that float outside the kayak independently, typically on a line. They only communicate wirelessly to a handset in your boat.

However, this means that you’ll require a waterproof case. You should also tie the receiver to your kayak to keep it from flying away. Although these types of trans-receivers offer lower resolutions than their permanently mounted counterparts, they’re good enough to improve your kayaking experience.