Recently, a friend asked me the following question: “I fish from a kayak and I’m always wishing for a fishfinder - do you know of a way to rig one up on a yak? A portable unit would be even better, because I also have a small jon boat I like to use on the reservoirs sometimes.”
With the popularity of kayak fishing exploding the past few years, I figured this is a question that deserves being addressed here. Especially because the answer is a resounding “YES,” and there are, in fact, several options that work very well.
One of the easiest ways to go is to purchase a portable black and white unit from the likes of Humminbird (the PiranhaMax) or Eagle (the Cuda). These units go for about $100, and some models in the lines come with a carrying case and a portable transducer that sticks on with a suction cup. If you have a fiberglass or aluminum rig, these will do the trick and can be easily swapped from one boat to the next. But, there’s one problem: if you have a polyethylene (plastic) kayak of boat, the suction cup won’t stick to the material’s rough, uneven surface.
In this case, look for an all-inclusive unit with a shaft-mounted transducer, like Humminbird’s Fishn’ Buddy. These have a display mounted on the top of the shaft, which sits in a clamp-on mount you affix to the side of your boat. This should be considered a second choice, because with the shaft remaining in the water at all times it can get in the way when paddling, causes enough drag to slow you down, and can’t be used at speeds over two or three miles per hour. And there’s one other problem: if you have a poly boat with a rubrail that sticks out, the clamp-on mounts don’t always fit over it. So make sure you size it up, before you buy. Luckily, virtually every rig on the water can be outfitted with a fishfinder using one of these two methods. So if you like ‘yak fishing – and who doesn’t? – get yourself a view beneath the surface with a portable fishfinder.