Using a Fish Finder in Your Canoe or Kayak

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Canoes and kayaks are versatile watercraft that work well for fishing. They have the flexibility to travel lakes, rivers, streams and oceans and can handle a variety of conditions from deep calm waters to whitewater rapids. They move you silently to avoid scaring fish. They allow you to explore shallow waters, shorelines and other areas that larger boats can’t reach. They even provide an eco-friendly means of transportation, helping you protect the waters you navigate.

But what if you want to paddle out with a fish finder? Are these handy gadgets just for larger watercraft? Absolutely not! In fact, the benefits of using a fish finder with a small watercraft go well beyond helping you locate fish.

From the Shallows to the Drop-offs

With their shallow drafts, canoes and kayaks can glide in mere inches of water. But as you approach the drop-offs and the deeper waters beyond, new obstacles emerge. As you paddle further away from shore, be mindful of rocks, plant growth and other obstructions. A good fish finder will help you avoid these obstacles en route to the ideal fishing location.

The All-important Transducer

A typical fish finder includes a display screen and a transducer. The transducer is an electronic device that emits a pulse into the water. The transducer then receives and interprets the echo in order to display an overview of the water and its contents on the screen. The resulting images may include the contours of the waterway’s bottom, structures rising from beneath, and of course, fish swimming throughout the water.

The Transducer Mount

In order to use a fish finder in your canoe or kayak, you’ll need to mount the transducer to your boat. Options include an in-hull mount, a shoot-through hull mount, or a transom mount.

The in-hull mount requires a hole in the bottom of the boat. The transducer goes through the opening and should be attached with a waterproof seal. This method is recommended for boats with wooden or metal hulls. The transducer should be mounted flush to the bottom of the boat allowing it to fire the signal directly into the water.

The shoot-through mount is best for fiberglass models. The fish finder rests on the inside of the hull and shoots its signal through an epoxy resin holder on the fiberglass bottom.

The transom mount is effective for metal or wooden craft. The transom is the flat back edge that connects a boat’s port and starboard sides. Though most canoes and kayaks sides are tapered, you can still attach the transducer with a hole above the water line to house the wires. The transducer should ride in the water – just not below the hull.

Benefits of Fish Finders

A well-designed device can provide you with a lot of helpful information including the location of fish, their depth, and their surroundings. It will also help you keep up with the fish when changes in the current, water temperature or the location of predators push game fish from shallow water too deep and back again.

A canoe or kayak can take you just about anywhere you want to go. And with a fish finder on board, that “anywhere” is more likely to be where the fish are. Discover tips for using a fish finder here. Or if you’re not ready to make the investment, read our recommendations for finding fish without a fish finder.

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