how to install a kayak fish finder

How to Install a Kayak Fish Finder – Mount Installation Guide

Do you want to mount a fish finder on a kayak? That’s a good idea. But I advise you to read this advice before you do so.

Just imagine you’re on the water with your fishing kayak on a sunny day in May, bait in hand, ready to catch some admirable fish that will leave your angler buddies envious.

But there’s a problem: You can’t catch any fish! 

That’s why you need a trusty fish finder. It’s like a superhero in a cape that will rescue you from the dreaded “no fish” situation.

Here is the guide on how to mount a fish finder on your kayak (the correct way) like the pros – and not the wrong way, so you avoid embarrassing yourself in front of your neighbors.

What is a fish finder?

A fish finder is the ultimate fishing device that uses sonar technology to locate the hardest-to-find fish deep under the surface. Don’t worry; it sounds advanced but is easy to use. Once fish pop up on your fish finder device, you can be arrogant and cast your line with confidence that something will bite. Let’s show you how to mount a fish finder on your kayak like a champ.

How to Choose the Right Fish Finder

how to mount a fish finder on a kayak

Before you pick a fish finder for your kayak, don’t just pick any random fish finder off the shelf of the store (that’s probably something your next-door neighbor would do – not you). You want a reliable product, so there are a few things to remember when selecting a model. Here are a few requirements:

  • It should be compatible with the size and dimensions of your kayak.
  • It should be portable and easy to carry around when you move.
  • It must have enough battery power to last for your entire trip.
  • It should be accurate, so you can depend on it to find fish.

Here are a few different types of fish finders:

  • Portable fish finders are small, handy, battery-powered units you can pick up and carry onto your kayak. It’s an excellent option if you want to try it before you commit to a more expensive model or mount it on the kayak.
  • Transom-mounted fish finders are larger and more powerful devices mounted on the back of the kayak. The benefit of these bad boys is that you will always have accurate and reliable fish readings. Go for this type if you want the best kind of fish finder, and plan on using it a lot.
  • Through-hull fish finders have a fixed position inside the kayak, give accurate readings, and are reasonably practical as you get reliable fish readings from the comfort of your kayak. But they are a pain in the neck to install, so I can’t recommend them to beginners or anyone who’s not a handyperson. But if you want the ultimate max-comfort mounted fish finder experience and know what you’re doing or can pay an expert to install it, this is the best option.
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Consider how you will power your fish finder

It’s a neat device. But it’s only partly magical – it also needs electricity like every other high-tech device. Most fish finders plug into traditional boats’ electric systems or via an inverter. On a kayak, you don’t have that option, but there are a few options you can consider to keep it powered when you’re on the water:

  • Battery-powered: The most common types of fish finders run on batteries. The advantages are that they can easily be changed, recharged, or replaced. You could carry some spare batteries with you on long fishing trips.
  • Solar-powered: The good thing about solar is that you don’t have to carry around the batteries as it absorbs energy from the sun. The downside is that you may need to purchase the solar panels and install and connect them to the fish finder. Another downside is that solar panels are less effective when it’s cloudy, the sun is not shining, hidden behind a mountain, or sitting low in the sky.
  • Engine-powered: Fish finders can often be powered through a car or boat battery using an inverter that fits the voltage and power. Since this is not practical on a kayak, there are better options than this one.

Prepare to install the kayak mount

place the fish finder mount

Before you start doing anything, ensure that you have the necessary tools to get the job done. Nothing’s worse than working a while on a project and suddenly realizing you don’t have all the parts to complete it, am I right?

You should have these materials and tools:

  • A drill
  • Bolts and screws
  • The mounting hardware that came with your fish finder, or some other type of mount
  • A measuring tape
  • A pen or marker
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Now that you have all the stuff let’s measure the kayak’s dimensions and find the best place to attach the fish finder.

The spot to fix the mount is where it can find fish reliably and is within your view while you paddle the kayak. Try to find a place near the center near the seat or just behind the seat.

How to Install a Fish Finder on a Kayak

fasten the screws and bolts of the mount

Let’s start on the fun part – installing the fish finder mount on the kayak. Follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Place the fish finder in your chosen location.
  2. Use the pen to mark the spots where it needs the holes for drilling.
  3. Using the drill, make the holes in the marked spots.
  4. Place the fish finder in the location, insert the screws or bolts, and fasten them.
  5. Connect the power cable
  6. Double-check that everything is tightly secured
  7. Press the turn-on button to test it
  8. Try paddling to make sure it doesn’t obstruct your motions or paddling

It’s that simple. Do you see any fish?

FAQ about installing a fish finder on a kayak

Can I install a fish finder on a kayak by myself?

fasten the screws and bolts of the mount

Yes, but you need the proper materials and tools and follow the instructions.
If your fish finder comes with a mount, there should be an instruction manual you can read for guidance for your specific model, and you can install the fish finder on your kayak without a problem.

How do I know where to mount the fish finder on my kayak?

place the fish finder mount

It depends on your kayak and your preference. Some people prefer to have them near the kayak’s center or behind their seat so it doesn’t obstruct their paddling motions.
The best idea is to measure the kayak and test it before you fix it permanently to the kayak structure. It should be easily accessible within your view while paddling but not hinder your fishing or paddling activities.

What should I do if my fish finder isn’t working correctly?

how to install a kayak fish finder

If you’re having fish finder problems, I feel bad for you, son. On a serious note, ensure the power source is connected, and if that doesn’t help, check the manual to see if there are troubleshooting instructions. If you are still looking for help, you should contact the manufacturer or the seller to see if they can assist you.


Congratulations. You can pat yourself on the back and be proud of your achievements. You are now closer to being a fish finder mounting expert. The next time your friends ask for advice about mounting fish finders, you can give good advice based on personal experience or even show them how to do it. Remember to keep the fish finder powered and batteries charged before you go fishing.