Which Fishfinder is right for you?

You have been paddling around your Jackson Kayak for awhile now hitting up those favorite fishing spots and having a good time. But you have always wondered what lies beneath in other parts of the bay, lake, ocean and/or river? The best way to find out is to install a fishfinder to your kayak. Having a fishfinder unit on your kayak can provide you with valuable information about the waters that you frequent. 

With so many brands and models on the market, it can be a little confusing to select the right unit. The first thing you will need to consider is what kind of features you will need in a fishfinder. How big of a screen do I need? Color or Grayscale? With or without GPS? Do I need Down Scan Imaging? There are many other things to consider along with price. Yes, you get the picture. Similar to the process in selecting your Jackson Kayak, start by looking for the features that are most important to you.

I personally look at brands that have a good reliability factor such as Raymarine and Lowrance. I have always been a Lowrance guy since I was a kid with Paper Graphs and Flasher Units. 

I have been kayaking and fishing now for 14 years and have had many different kayaks with a wide range of fishfinders mounted on all of them. I have found over the years that my needs have changed along with technological changes, these go hand and hand. I started out with Grayscale units and small sub 4 inch screens. I thought these were great in the beginning for a couple reasons: very inexpensive if I needed to replace it because of damage and the simple fact I had a fishfinder on a kayak, how cool is that! For me those days have long passed. I do need a few features that were not available back then that make owning and using a fishfinder on a kayak a must. 

I have found that using a color fishfinder helps me to see the screen in more light conditions and angles then a Grayscale unit. You can also change the brightness level on the unit to reflect current conditions. Wearing Polarized Sunglasses has always made viewing a fishfinder a little more difficult in bright sunny conditions. Unfortunately this is something that hasn’t changed over time. You can purchase a suncover or make one yourself to fit your needs if not available for your particular model. Coupled with the color screen it should greatly improve your fishfinder viewing.  

Screen size has equal importance to me as the color screen. Kayak come in all different sizes with different areas available to mount fishfinders. I have found that using a larger screen size will greatly improve your ability to see the fishfinder from any kayak whether in the High or Low seated position or standing. Screen sizes on series 5 and 7 units from Raymarine and Lowrance make good units for kayaks. Some say they are overkill for a kayak but I disagree. It is about having the best experience out the water as possible. These size units do afford a higher price tag but are well worth it if it’s going to allow you to see better and improve your fishing and kayaking experience. Smaller Series 3 and 4 units have much of the same technology as there bigger brothers just a smaller screen and a lower price tag. These units will work great for many anglers when mounted in the right location.

HDI and DSI features on many new fishfinders are really nice. These technologies can give you a very clear real time image of your surroundings. This can be very useful when looking for structure and the fish that may be hiding within it. This technology is widely utilized throughout the freshwater bass community on very expensive boats fishing for lots of money, so why not give yourself that same edge in a kayak. With all of the kayak tournaments that are available, many kayakers already are. It is important to note that some of these units have larger transducers and even 2 transducer that must be mounted in the water to gain the full effect of the unit. Mounting these can be tricky on some models of kayaks if they are not equipped with transducer scuppers like many of the Jackson Kayak fishing model kayaks.

GPS to me is a very important feature to have in a fish finder especially on a kayak. The Global Positioning System utilizes satellites to pinpoint your location. This is very helpful in areas that have little or no cell phone signal. Cell Phones are a one stop shop for taking pictures of your catch, keeping in contact with others on the water and using it for GPS location as long as you don’t drop it over the side or have no signal. It is a lot harder to lose a fisfinder then a cell phone when out on the water. The greatest advantage of the GPS empowered units is the ability to mark your fishing locations and also map out routes for paddling expeditions. Find a sweet spot and mark it so you can keep coming back to it and catching fish. This will save you valuable fishing time when you can go directly to the spot with no wasted casts, like there is ever a wasted cast. The waters you are on may involve smaller backwater cuts, inlets or even trailblazing through the stuff to get to some sweet water. With the GPS you will have a track of where you came from so you can always make it back home. Yes the units will cost a little more but well worth the investment for the versatility they provide you in fishing and safety.

The Cuda 12, Cuda 14, Cuda HD, Kraken 13.5 and the Kraken 15.5 all feature a large hinged Center Hatch with 2 gear tracks on them for mounting many accessories including your fishfinder.

This can be done by using a YakAttack Screwball Mount, YakAttack Accessory Plate and/or RAM Track Balls. All of these mounting options will allow you to mount a fishfinder and position it anywhere along the 18″ gear track. This is extremely helpful for viewing different screen sizes from different seated and standing positions.

Couple that with the included transducer scuppers on the Cuda HD and Kraken models that were designed to fit Raymarine Dragonfly Fishfinder Transducer and many other manufacturers transducers for better in water rigging options. (Lowrance transducer pictured above)

Jackson Kayaks’ other fishing models include the Big Rig, Coosa FD, Coosa HD and the Mayfly that also feature transducer scuppers. (Big Rig scuppers pictured above)

These kayaks will require you to mount the fishfinder on a left or right side gear track, a RAM Ball installed in one of the molded in threaded inserts and on the Big Rig a single gear track down the center of the kayaks footwell area. All of these mounting areas are sure to provide you with a good rigging option to suit your needs.

No matter what model of Jackson Kayak you choose, there is sure to be a fishfinder that will meet your needs and mount right up. Be on the look out for my step by step install of a fishfinder on my Jackson Kayak!

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