Installing a Fish Finder on a Kayak

Tips & Guides on Installing a Fish Finder on a Kayak

A fish-finder is a device which helps to locate fishes under the water. This device is used by fishermen and also by those who take fishing as a leisure activity. Installing a fish finder on a kayak is quite a work without proper guidance.

To do so, you will need to understand how a fish finder works. And then you need to know how the kayaks work. Understanding them both will help you installing the fish finder in a proper way in the kayak.

How Fish Finder Works?

Fish-finder like the Garmin and Lowrance Fish Finders work with Sound Navigation and Ranging technology which is also called a SONAR system. This technology was 1st used in the ’90s. This device has a LED or CRT monitor through which it shows fishes’ location. If you are using kayak for fishing and also want to use fish-finder, then 1st you will have to install it on the kayak. To install a fish-finder properly you need to know the process very well, you need to buy the tools to install it and also need to wear safety equipment using power tools.

Kayaks Work Process

Kayak has more advantages than traditional boats. It is small in size, highly controllable, and can even float in the shallowest water. Installing a fish-finder permanently, or semi-permanently, on a kayak is a difficult task to perform.

All though some recent kayaks do have a mounting or installing point, most do not. Also, most fish-finders need an external power source which doesn’t exist on a kayak. If your kayak does not have a mounting point then you need to install a mounting point on a desirable place.

Tools for Installing the Fish Finder

1st you need to make a list of tools you need for installation. To install a fish-finder on a kayak the materials you need- a depth finder, a unit, a battery pack, mount, a mount adapter, a plate underneath you adapter, steel screws, fuses, electric tape, dielectric grease, and silicones. You also might want to use wire caps to make a clean appearance.

You also need a power drill, different sized bits, socket wrench, screwdriver, wire stripper, soldering iron, heat gun or hair dryer. 

Guides Installing a Fish Finder on a Kayak

The method of installing a fish-finder is discussed below:

1. Locate the Unit Where You Can Mount Fish Finder

While locating the screen unit you need to keep in mind some of the factors. The new fishing kayaks have center storage and so you can mount you fish-finder on top of the storage cover, for the old version of kayaks you will have to choose an area with a flat surface.

Another aspect to keep in mind is you need to choose a location which is close enough to reach, and a point which does not stand as an obstacle while fishing. If you mount the unit far from you, you will have to shuffle forward every time which is not at all safe. If you wish to mount the fish-finder on the side of your kayak, make sure it does not interfere with your paddle strokes.

Another point to be considered is always using stainless steel for all closures, otherwise, you will end up with rusty screws and stains on your kayak after just a couple of trips.

2. Locate Place in the Kayak to Set Transducer

The transducer is the part of the technology which scans the water under your kayak. While installing transducer make sure to install it somewhere out of your way. The new versions kayaks have specially-designed transducer scuppers. You can use the kayak transducer mount external also for the job.

These scuttle holes which are made on the bottom of the kayak to adjust and set the transducer, this way your transducer will be totally inside the water which will give you the best view you could ever imagine.

If you have an older version of kayak may not have a transducer scupper, hence you will have to put your transducer inside the hull of the kayak.

3. Installing the Transducer on the Kayak

Installing the transducer is a part of installing the fish finder on the kayak. You can properly follow the transducer installation instructions from the below part to understand how to mount a transducer inside the hull of a kayak.

First, remove the seats of your kayak. After that, turn over the kayak to find a flat area of the hull. This is where you will be mounting the transducer where you reach easily. Before mounting sand, the surface lightly and wipe the area clean with a rag.

Use a silicone-based adhesive to cover the bottom of the transducer with no air bubbles inside. This will help you with the bumps of the road, waves, and other movements.

Place the transducer on the area with bracket pressing down and moving it from side to side just a little bit until it is all the way down against the hull.

This is the easy kayak transducer mount system you can follow.

The process of installing need to have ideas on how to protect transducer on kayak too. In the process leave some space between transducer and bracket so that it can function properly.

Now put a weight on top of the transducer to make pressure and let it dry for about 24 hours.

4. Install the Unit on the Kayak

After locating your screen unit mount your rod holders on the surface area. Drill holes where you can fit plugs through. Now pull cables through the holes in the deck and put them into the grommet. After that, use a screwdriver to fix the grommets into holes. Lastly, mount the base.

Some kayakers want the unit to be removable. In that case, you can build a holder from PVC pipes and an end cap. This will fit into the kayak’s forward cup holder perfectly.

5. Kayak Fish Finder Battery Install

You always need to carry your own battery pack, an SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) battery. This type of battery operates with the safety of the acid being sealed inside the battery’s plastic case. This is an ideal battery for your kayak as there is no chance of the acid being spilled while the kayak floats on the sea.

Check the Capacity and Sizes of the Battery for Proper Installation

These batteries come in many different sizes but the most available sizes are 7, 12, and 18Ah. Most kayakers use 12Ah battery packs for fish-finders.

Battery capacity is measured in Ampere Hours (Ah). An Ah is one amp for one hour, so a 12Ah battery is capable of supplying 12 amps for an hour, 1 amp for around 12 hours but not more than that.

For example, of a 250mA fish-finder needs one-quarter of an amp. If you plan on fishing for 6 hours or so then you will need at least a 1.5Ah battery. Remember you should never take the battery past 50 percent of the battery capacity. Keeping this in mind you might want to purchase a 3.0Ah or higher rated battery.

A place for the Battery of the Fish Finder

Look for a place for the battery pack inside your kayak, to keep it away from saltwater. Saltwater can short out the battery if submerged, and the saltwater can rust the battery terminals very quickly which leaves them unusable.

Protecting the Battery

You can protect the battery by using a battery tray or a foam block. Pick a clean foam block and mark the center of the foam. Cut the foam leaving an inch gap on each side around the battery. Then glue the foam on the body of your kayak to keep it away from the saltwater.

Also always remember to carry your battery pack’s charger. Do not use any normal or car battery charger as this will damage your SLA battery very quickly.

6. Wiring and Soldering the Fish Finder on Kayak

wiring fish-finder is very simple, just run the wires through the battery pack and connect it with the fish-finder. Make sure to not leave any exposed cable joints. Give them a quick coat of electric tape and cover with some heat shrink to keep the moisture out.

For the plugs and sockets, make sure you protect those with electric tape as well. You can also bundle loose wires and cables with zip ties,

A soldered joint gives a solid connection and also keeps the moist out. Therefore if possible solder the joints rather than joining those with tapes.  

Fuse for Protection of the Fish Finder

Protect your electronics with fuses. It should be placed in the positive line of your wiring. Apply some dielectric grease to your fuse. Always you might want to keep an extra fuse with you just to be on the safer side.

Connect the Battery with the Finder and Set to go

after putting all the electronics in space properly, connect the unit to the battery. Then turn on the fish-finder display. If it works well then you are good to go.

7. Cleaning the Kayak and Fish Finder After Returning:

All the belongings you will be taking with you on your kayak, is going to get exposed to saltwater during the trip. Therefore, after coming back home you need to remove the salt water which will be a crusty layer of salt all over your fish-finder.

The easiest way to do this is with some barely warm fresh water. Gently bathe your fish-finder in the freshwater for a couple of minutes. This will help you to dissolve the salts quickly. Another way you can pursue is to simply sponge the fish-finder with tepid water.

So, it will be better if you are unsure about bathing your unit. Once the salt has been removed, put the fish-finder to dry, and after drying put the fish-finder in a dry environment or you can put it inside a box.

Don’t Use Hot Water

Please avoid keeping your unit in the hot water and in a moist environment as it is not ideal for the fish-finders. You can use an airtight box or silica gel to keep the fish-finder dry.

Check if the Device is Waterproof for Water Cleaning

The most important thing when you are selecting the devices for your kayak always see whether these are waterproof or not. Check the feature of the fish finder and know its capacities and capabilities. You also should check the label where IP67 or above should be mentioned, it indicates the waterproof rating. IP stands for Ingress Protection.

The 6 means “totally protected against dust” and the 7 means protected against water ingress when submerged to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. Therefore, if your electronics are rated to IP67 you should be safe from a certain level of water.

Last Few Words

Fish-finders can give you a good understanding of what is in the water, what is underneath the kayak, the depth, the terrain and structure, and of course the location of fishes.

Keep in mind that the fish-finders can only inform you about the general area where the fish should be hanging out in, but they cannot find the particular type of fish you want to catch. After taking help from the fish-finder start baiting and scoop the best of it.    

About the Author Alex Raynold

Looking at the bluest sky, I forget all my stresses. Going through the green I try to breathe, more than I do in my reality. So, that's why I love camping.

Leave a Comment: