The best portable fish finders are going to be small, compact, and lightweight. Without sacrificing screen clarity, or other options that may help you out when spending a day on the water.

Portable fish finders can also make a great option for shore anglers, or for people who have smaller boats. Making them the best portable fish finder for kayaks. As well as other small boats such as canoes and Jon boats.

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#1 Best Portable Fish Finder Overall: Humminbird PiranhaMax 

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So, if that sounds good to you then check out the article below. We’re going to have five different products listed, as well as going over some of the best features of portable fish finders.

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What is a Portable Fish Finder?

The best portable fish finder is going to meet all of your needs as an angler. On top of that, it will also be very easy to carry or transport from your house to your boat.

Best Portable Fish Finder

Some portable fish finders are small enough that they can even fit in your pocket. However, these may have some limitations on them that the bigger sizes may not.

Types of Portable Fish Finders

You may think that there is only one type of portable fish finder. There are actually several different types that you can utilize as an angler. It can be a little overwhelming at first though. Have no fear because we are going to break it down for you.

Below, we’re going to check out each type. So, read carefully and determine which one is going to be the best product for you and your style of fishing. Because the wrong product could result in longer days and less time spent fishing.

Mountable

Some portable fish finders will come with a mount. This allows you to easily take it on and off the mount. Making it ideal for taking it with you when you finish up fishing for the day.

Ensure that the mount is secure though. You don’t want to lose your fishfinder because the mount was either faulty or installed improperly. Most products will come with the mount and screws so you don’t have to worry about going out and picking anything up.

Fixed

If you come across a “fixed portable fish finder” then let me know, because that defeats the purpose of having a portable fish finder doesn’t it?

All portable fish finders will be able to be moved by hand whenever you need to move them. That’s the whole point of having a portable fish finder. So, if you need to be able to easily move around your fish finder then stay away from anything that says fixed.

Portable

Here is what we’re all here for. Portable fish finders come in all different sizes. Most can be carried in a tackle box, by hand, or inside of your pocket.

The smaller they are the more portable they become. So, think about what you plan on doing with them and ensure that is a factor in your decision when picking one out.

Handheld

These are going to be the smaller version of the portable fish finder. These are going to be smaller enough to fit inside of your hand. Similar to a cell phone.

The screen may be smaller on these so keep that in mind when purchasing one. It may be a little more difficult to see if you are not holding it closely because of how small the screen is.

Castable

These are the new type of handheld fish finder. These are a transfer that you attach to your fishing line and then you cast it out into the spot where you want to see below the water.

Typically, these work by using an app on your smartphone. This is truer with the newer models. Some of the older models might actually come with a handheld device that you use to see.

When To Use a Portable Fish Finder?

Anytime you want to have something small and lightweight in your pocket, tackle box or floor of your boat is when you can be using a portable fish finder. The lightweight makes it great for this.

However, don’t think that you can use one on larger boats as well. This makes for easy visibility no matter where you are located on the boat. No longer do you have to find the screen. Just pop it out of your pocket and you can see what’s beneath you.

Do You Really Need a Portable Fish Finder?

You don’t need to have a portable fish finder in order to have success while fishing. You can easily locate structures with your eyes and find fish that way.

However, having a portable fish finder is only going to increase the number of fish you catch. You can only see so much with the naked eye and a fish finder is going to open a whole new world to you as an angler.

Five Best Portable Fish Finders

Below, we’re going to go over five different portable fish finders. All of them are going to be of different sizes and will contain different features as well as prices.

So, think about what you need in a fish finder. Then apply that to the list below. I’m sure we will have at least one that meets most of, if not all of the needs you may have as an angler.

Lowrance Hook2 Ice Fishing

  • Pros – Come in several different sizes and a carrying case
  • Cons – Can be complicated and time-consuming to learn how to use the unit

If you want something to use for ice fishing and need it to be portable then look no further than the Lowrance Hook2. Compete with easy to pack and hold carrying cases.

It has five different sized screens to choose from. So, you can pick exactly what size you need the screen to be so that you can tell exactly what you’re looking at. This is great for the gear weight-conscious angler as well.

It does seem to have some difficulty when you first start out using it though. As with most technology it just takes a little time to figure out exactly how to use it and then you are off and running.

Product Specifications

  • Five different screen sizes. 4, 5, 7, 9, and 12 inch screen sizes
  • High resolution
  • Solarmax Display
  • Auto tuning Sonar
  • Double the CHIRP Coverage
  • Broadband Sounder
  • High CHIRP
  • Downscan

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Lucky Portable Fish Finder

  • Pros – Can show you up to 328ft depth, Great price
  • Cons – Can be difficult to mount the transducer

For the price, this might be the best fish finder on this list. It shows you everything you need to know so that you can go out and find those big fish lurking in your local lakes.

The Lucky Portable Fish Finder also comes with a TFT LCD color screen. This creates a more clear display so that you can detect exactly what is beneath your boat. No longer do you need to question what you’re seeing.

The display will also tell you the size of the fish beneath you. It will show you three different sizes so that you can decide if it is a bait fish or the sport fish that you’re after.

Product Specifications

  • LCD Color Screen
  • Water depth
  • Water Temp
  • Contour
  • Fish Size
  • 45 degree beam angle
  • 328 foot depth

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Venterior Portable Fish Finder

  • Pros – Wireless and also a castable fish finder
  • Cons – Very short battery life

The Venterior Portable Fish Finder device is both wireless and castable. Making it ideal for fishing in situations where you need your gear to be lightweight. Perfect for shore anglers, or for fishing from a kayak.

The device is also very easy to use. The learning curve is very low so you will be able to figure this device out pretty quickly. Which will make it easier when you’re out on the water.

The castable transducer is perfect for someone who wants to see what lies beneath the surface in an area you cannot get to or want to have a stealthy approach. Ideal for shore anglers.

Product Specifications

  • 2.6 inch screen
  • 131 depth
  • 20 level sensitivity
  • 10 level backlit brightness
  • 125KHZ Frequency
  • SOnar beam angle 135

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Garmin Striker 4

  • Pros – Store maps and comes with GPS
  • Cons – The screen is difficult to read if you’re wearing polarized lenses.

The Garmin Striker 4 device includes a transducer that is compatible with CHIRP sonar and scanning sonar. Allowing you the ability to see everything beneath your boat.

The mapping software allows you to create and store maps. This allows for 1′ contours and up to 2 million acres. Perfect for the angler who needs a reference point for the lakes they’re fishing.

You can also mark waypoints on the maps for the water that you plan on fishing. Making it easy to find structures that you may have forgotten about or those lucky spots that always hold fish.

Product Specifications

  • Four inches long
  • Garmin CHIRP Sonar
  • Quickdraw Mapping
  • GPS Included
  • Can store maps
  • allows for water depth
  • boat speed
  • water temp

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Humminbird Piranha 4

  • Pros – Comes with carrying case and has a 328-foot depth
  • Cons -Great at seeing the bottom and structure not so much for seeing fish

The Humminbird Piranha 4 is great for seeing the bottom of the river or the lake. However, the fish can sometimes be misrepresented. Making it tough to determine what is a fish and might just be floating in the water column.

That being said, the portability aspect of this device is great. It comes with its own case so that you can easily and quickly move it from the house or truck to your boat.

The 328-foot depth is great for fishing in just about any type of water. Very rarely are you going to be fishing in something deeper than that so this is going to be ideal for 99% of users.

Product Specifications

  • 4 inch display
  • Dual Beam Sonar
  • 2400 Watts
  • 300 Watt RMS
  • 320ft Depth Sonar
  • Sonar coverage is 28 degrees
  • Tilt and swivel mount
  • Carrying case

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Features of the Best Portable Fish Finder

Now that we’re covered some different products, let’s go over in some detail about what makes the best fish finders. Some of the features might not work for your style of fishing so think about what you need and apply it to the list below.

A fly angler using one of the best portable fish finders while fly fishing on the boat

GPS Integrated

Having GPS integration on your fish finder is a great feature to have. It can help you navigate the waterways effectively and also safely. The best portable fish finder GPS combos will make sure you don’t get lost. Ensuring you don’t get lost.

Also, many of these GPS integrated maps also come with preloaded maps that you can add waypoints to. Making it easier to find those great spots where you have caught fish before.

Cone angle

Think of the cone angle as an upside-down ice cream cone. It shoots out from the transducer and then the transducer receives back the information that is within the range of the cone.

A larger cone is going to give you a larger area that you can see. Ideal for fishing in deep waters and jigging. However, a narrow angler is going to give you more clarity of what is directly beneath your boat.

Side Scan Vs. Down Scan

Side scan is going to give you an image of what is on the boat. Allowing you to see a laydown that might be twenty yards away and locating a fish sitting near it.

Down scan tells you exactly what is beneath the boat. This is great for fishing in deep water and you want to jig. This way you can hover over a fish and bounce your jig just in front of its face.

Mounting Type

The type of mount you use is going to be important. A fixed mount is great for larger boats that have the ability to hold a larger and heavier fish finder.

Smaller boats such as kayaks and cones do best with smaller fish finders. Portable ones are ideal. Look for a removable munt so you can take it with you when you need to go inside.

Vessel Specific Fish Finders

We touched on this in the earlier section. Vessel specific fish finders usually depend on what type of boat you have and also what type of fish finder you have.

Larger fish finders do well on larger boats. Where smaller fish finders do well on smaller boats. However, a portable fish finder can be used on any sized boat. Making them very versatile.

Transducer

The transducer is the most important part of the fish finder. if you have a bad transducer then you’re going to have a bad fish finder. It is the heart of the device and you need to ensure it is installed correctly.

It receives all of the information and send s it out. You need it to be able to read all of the information quickly and accurately. Without it, your fish finder is just a screen.

Display

The display is crucial in ensuring that you can actually see what you want to on the screen. Having a screen too small is going to impair you visually so it can be difficult to locate fish and structure.

Look for something large enough for your style of fishing. Also, ensure that it works well in direct sunlight and in low light conditions. Fishing is done in low and bright light. You need your screen to work in all conditions.

Frequency

Most frequencies on fish finders are going to be between 15KHZ and 200 KHZ. While the majority of fish Finders will usually be somewhere between 50KHZ and 200KHZ.

Anything above 200KHZ is going to be used for commercial fishing. This would be overkill for the average angler so it does not need to be used.

Who Makes the Best Portable Fish Finder?

There are many different companies out there that produce fishing electronics. So, if you’re new to the game then it can be a little overwhelming when picking out a product.

A close-up photo of fishfinder on a boat

So, below, we’re going to go over three different brands. Each of these makes phenomenal fish finders and all of them are quality products.

Humminbird

This is one of the best-known fishing electronics companies in the world. They make quality electronics, and their fish finders are top-notch. It’s hard to go wrong when picking out a Humminbird.

They make a wide range of fish finders. From larger sizes that are ideal for larger boats, all the way down to smaller sizes as well as portable fish finders.

Lowrance

This is a company that is similar to Hummingbird. They make great products and are well known across the world for making some high-quality fishing electronics. Lowrance portable fish finders are great and are easy to use as well.

These can be slightly cheaper than Humminbird. Making them perfect for the angler who is shopping on a budget or is cost-aware.

Garmin

The final name of the big three. If you want a great product then any of the three brands I just mentioned are going to work well for you. Garmin portable fish finders will flat out help you catch more fish.

Garmin is always up to date one ensuring their products on the cutting edge of technology. Ensuring you are in the best position possible to catch more fish.

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Conclusion

A portable fish finder is a great way to get out and enjoy the water. It is easy to move, and use. As well as being easier on the wallet as well. Especially compared to the larger sizes.

Portable fish finders are also great for shore anglers. Easily carry this in a pocket, or in your tackle box. Then break it out whenever you feel the need to check out the bottom of the lake.

So, use the article above to help you make your decision. Check out the features we listed and see which ones you like the best then take a look at the products list and check them out. We might have the one you’re looking for!