How To Install Fish Finder On Best Boats & Kayaks In 2022

To fish properly on a kayak, you must know where the fish are. And to do so you will need important information about the body of water you are fishing on. You will need a fish finder to get these pieces of information. In this article, we will be informing you about how to install a fish finder.

A fish finder is an essential tool that both beginners and experienced kayak anglers will use just because of its usefulness. This fish finder can come in many different forms and price points, but it will generally provide some basic information such as water temperature, depth, GPS, and mercury level.

How to install a fish finder:

Now to use the fish finder you will need to install fish finder to your boat or kayak. The process of install fish finder isn’t complicated and for the most part, it’s similar for most boats. Additionally, install fish finder will only require some common tools that everyone should have.

Firstly, we will inform you about the tools you will need on top of the fish finder.

What do you need to install fish finder?

As stated above, the tools you will need are basic and common for most households. Sometimes you might need something unique but only if you install a really expensive or complicated fish finder.

Right now, you will be informing you about the basic tools to install fish finder that is required for most boats. These tools are:

  • A power drill
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Fish tape
  • Cable ties
  • Adhesive sealant

While we have listed quite a few tools and for the most part you won’t need everything here. But it’s better to be safe than sorry! This thought process is similar to when packing for things you will need for kayak fishing.

Steps to install fish finder

Now we have come to the main part of this article which is how to install a fish finder on a boat or kayak. As I mentioned above, the process is fairly similar for both boat and kayak so we will explain the boat’s process. 

Step 1: Unbox everything

To start any process or installation, you need to unbox everything, organize them correctly, and install a fish finder; it’s the same. When you get your fish finder and transducer you need to unbox them and organize all the components.

This means taking everything out of their plastic covers and arranging all the screws, washers, and bolts accordingly. Also, you need to preinstall some parts such as the transducer to the transducer plate and other similar things. This will make the whole process easier for you when install fish finder.

Key point:

  • Make sure not to mix up the screws and bolts
  • When prebuilding some parts don’t tighten them too much

Step 2: Mounting transducer board

Before you attach the transducer you need to mount the transducer plate on which the transducer is mounted. The purpose of the transducer board is to make it easier for you to attach new transducers to your boat without increasing the number of holes in it. Also, this will help you by making leaks less likely to happen.

To mount the transducer plate you will need an electric drill and some screws which should come with the plate. Firstly figure out where the board will go on your boat and place it there—Mark where the screws will go with a pencil or marker. Put the pencil or marker through the holes of the transducer board for best marking.

There are some boats where there might be a rivet where you will be placing your board. In those cases mark the location of the rivet on your board. For example, you can use some anti-seize to mark the rivet location. Use a Forstner bit to drill just enough on the board to make sure it lays flat on the boat.

You will need the drill and a couple of screws to mount the board.

Step 3: Install the transducer

With the transducer board mounted adequately you can now mount the transducer itself without any issues. Again you will need to figure out where on the board you will be mounting your transducer. Before choosing where it will go, you must attach the mounting bracket to the transducer. 

This should be done when you are unboxing everything. Once you have chosen where on the plate the transducer will go you need to mark it. You should pick a position where the motor’s lower unit doesn’t hit it if you are mounting a side imaging transducer.

For a high-speed transducer, we say you pick a position where the lower side of the transducer is about a quarter inch below the boat. Now drill some pilot holes on the board where you have marked it. If the screws that come with the transducers are longer then the board picks different kinds of screws.

Ensure your screws aren’t tight immediately; make them snug. Once all the screws are on the board, you can make final adjustments before tightening them fully. And you have just mounted your transducers onto your boat.

Step 4: Cable management

If you only install one transducer, you don’t have to worry about too much cable and their management. However, some bigger boats require multiple different sizes and purposes transducers. In those cases, cable management is what you need to think about.

For the most part, all you will need are cable ties and a cable tie gun if you want to be extra. The gun is to tighten the cables well and cut them properly so that it doesn’t have a rough edge. Ensure that your cables are correctly tightened and fastened to the boat. If you need to drill a hole or two use some adhesive on the hole and the screw to prevent any chances of leaks.

Step 5: Install fish finder

Once all the cables are managed, you are ready to install fish finder. To install it you will need to get both the transducer cables and the power cable to the front of the boat from the back. There will be times when you will need to disassemble the boat slightly or at least take some covers from the top.

For the most part, you could do this step with your hands, but for those hard-to-reach places, you can use fish tape. This will help you run your cables through neatly and without fuss. Once all the cables are run through the boat properly you can attach them to the fish finder. 

You might need to make a subpanel if you have multiple transducers with multiple cables. For a fish finder like the Humminbird SOLIX, you will need to install an easy gimbal bracket. Just drill some hole where the bracket will go and screw it tight.

Why do you need to install fish finder?

Even though you know how to install a fish finder some of you will be asking why you need a fish finder in the first place. So we have compiled a list of reasons that should help determine if you will be getting before the fishing season.

Here are some of the advantages of getting a fish finder:

  • Makes fishing easier: this reason should be easy to understand since we are getting $200+ electronic. Using a fish finder helps you locate the bait as it floats on the surface.
  • Get useful information: The fish finder is useful because it provides you with information such as depth and water temp which can help you figure out where to throw a line. If you are targeting a particular type of fish these extra bits of information can be quite useful.
  • Find your old spot: With certain fish finders, you can backtrack to previous locations where you caught some good fish.

These are just a few that we personally find attractive about a fish finder; there are many more positives and negatives by other anglers.

Install fish finder: Types on the market

The type of fish finder you choose isn’t just restricted by price or size and features. There are many different kinds of fish finders, all of which work differently and provide different advantages. 

That is why their price can be so wildly different and why you need to do some research before picking one. To make the deciding process a little bit easier we have done some research and found some of the best types that are most popular amongst fish finder users.


Most people have used a 2D device before and are comfortable with it. Rough texture, soil hardness, and even fish while fishing is reliably displayed on the right-to-left scrolling display that is either black-and-white or colored. 

Even if it’s not realistic, with some practice and the help of some serious electronics, you can identify a fish by its swim bladder symbol, which is commonly a dot or a dash.


Using sonar technology known as CHIRP (Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse) has led to one of the most important improvements in fish finders. Commercial and recreational fishing has been completely transformed by CHIRP because of how much more effective it is than older methods of fish detection.

For many years, conventional fish finders relied solely on either 200 kHz or 50 kHz, or sometimes on a combination of the two. Fish finders that use CHIRP technology produce a signal that varies in frequency across a broad range. Having multiple overlapping fish finder frequencies is analogous to this situation. The result is a high-resolution image showing previously unseen bottom details and fish.

CHIRP typically operates in three frequency bands, each optimized for a specific depth and fish species. The most common CHIRP frequencies are in the 25–60 kHz, 85–135 kHz, and 130–210 kHz ranges.


That’s why more and more people are picking up the more affordable DownScan models. This type of fish finder provides a bottom-up, photorealistic perspective. Due to the fixed and limited detection range, even relatively shallow lakes will be difficult to survey.

Even yet, the image is nearly lifelike and clearly depicts whatever is under there. Fish, however, can only be shown off to their best advantage in clear water. As with the high-backed body of a carp, you can use the elongated body shape of a pike to identify the species. 

Once a fish spotted by the device’s sensor makes too much movement, it is no longer identifiable. Typically, the soil hardness is not presented.


For optimal picture quality on any display, a side-scan sonar is required. While it covers a little space under the boat, its width is practically completely customizable. Each side is nearly photorealistic from a distance of 1 meter to an astonishing 30 meters. 

This is a fantastic way to explore broad seas and vast lakes. SideScan fish finders, on the other hand, are typically more expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs):

How hard is it to install a fish finder?

You don’t need anything too uncommon to install fish finder; installing it is also rather easy. While it might take some time and there are some differences in the installation process for different boats and kayaks, the basis of it is similar. Also, you don’t need any special knowledge, just some basic drilling and wiring stuff which you can learn from the internet or YouTube. Just like how to fish from on a kayak.

Is it ok to wire a fish finder to a battery?

You can wire a fish finder to a battery, either a separate one or one that’s already on the boat. When you have multiple transducers it is better to use a separate battery because it will give you better performance. With a separate battery you will get less frequency overlap and thus clearer pictures.

Which is the best angle for my fish finder?

If your boat has either an outboard or an inboard/outboard (I/O) engine, you should install it 18–24 inches to the starboard of the bottom unit. If the boat is being moved from the inside, mounting the transducer far enough to starboard will keep it from being affected by the propeller. 
The transducer’s mounting plane should be tilted upward by three degrees concerning the hull’s bottom. A transducer set perpendicular to the bottom of the hull can also work, but even a small amount of downward tilt can cause turbulence or cavitation, killing the boat’s performance.

Should I tighten my fish finder?

The transducer needs to be set down 3.25 millimeters (0.125 inches) below a fiberglass hull and 3.75 millimeters (0.125 inches) below an aluminum hull. Boats powered by outboard or inboard/outboard motors should install the transducer as close to the transom’s centerline as practicable, but at least 38 cm (15 in.).


To install a fish finder you will first need to take everything out of the box and arrange them properly. Next up mount the transducer board in the ideal place after which you can install the transducer itself. The cable(s) for the transducer needs to manage until it reaches the front where it’s plugged into the fish finder.

So the process in its basics is fairly simple, but there will be some changes depending on the fish finder and the boat it’s being mounted on. However, stay calm and follow the instructions here and on the fish finder and you will be golden.

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