SLH have been installing fish finders onto kayaks ever since installing fish finders onto kayaks became a thing. We're especially handy at fitting them into Hobie kayaks and thanks to Hobie's Lowrance-Ready and Guardian Transducer Scupper systems, we get great results every time. We take various approaches to installations and some people are surprised to learn it's not really a simple plug and play affair and that there is a few pieces to the puzzle. There's no single silver-bullet solution that suits every scenario. The kayak model and sounder type we are working with can dictate how we go about it, as well as the transducer type and battery mounting options available. Fortunately there's more than one way to skin a cat so we haven't yet met a kayak we couldn't install a fish finder onto. The following information relates to some of the equipment we typically use and why
Fish Finder Mounting Brackets
Most fish finder units do come with a mounting system, although they don't usually work where people like to install them, which is where 3rd party mounting brackets can come in handy. There are various types available with the most popular options for kayak anglers being RAM and Railblaza systems.
- Small Lowrance Elite / Hook Mount
- Large Lowrance Elite / Hook Mount
- Small Hook 2 Mount
- Large Lowrance Hook 2 Mount
- Ram Universal Mount
- Railblaza Lowrance Hook 2 Adapter
- Railblaza R-Lock U-Bracket Sounder Mount
In the majority of cases we mount sounder units to kayaks using the time-proven RAM mounts. The simple ball and socket system is reliable, versatile and offers almost unlimited mounting options onto rails, tracks and flat surfaces. There are two sizes commonly used (1 and 1.5 inch) with various fitting options available in both sizes
Most kayak anglers are using reasonably small and light fish finders (for obvious reasons) in most cases the smaller 1" ball/socket mount is sufficient. The larger 1.5" size mount is more appropriate for larger and heavier units and are a good idea for kayak fishermen who are launching through surf.
Railblaza also have some great mounting options for mounting sounders to kayaks. We're rather fond of their new R-Lock friction joint system as used in the Universal R-Lock Fish Finder Mount (for larger units with U-brackets) and they also have an adapter for the Lowrance Hook 2 series, which can also be mounted to any Railblaza Starport.
Fish Finder Batteries
We are huge fans of using FPV Lithium Kayak Fishing Batteries as a power source (due to their light weight, compact size, suitability for use in kayaks and value for money) and offer 7 and 17AH options. These are supplied with a charger and pigtail which will suit most installation scenarios, but long pigtails are available as an optional extra (for instances where the power source is being mounted a relatively long way from the sounder unit) as well as a double pigtail for instances where extra devices such as safety lights or Power Poles are also being used.
For most users the 7AH model will be sufficient. It will power most modestly sized sounder units for a full days fishing session. For anyone trying to get a whole weekends fishing from a single charge and or using larger units and or multiple devices should invest in the 17AH version.
BerleyPro Batterang FPV Battery Holders are a handy accessory we often use for mounting these batteries into the lids of Hobie 8" hatches, but we also have various techniques for mounting them in other ways. Our most popular method is to use Trem Tube Clips to mount the battery to the sail mast receiver (exclusive to Hobie Mirage kayaks), which is the lightest, cheapest and easiest to install
Thru-Hull Wiring Kits
Hobie's thru-hull wiring kits are typically used for passing power and transducer wires through the hull. They include rubber grommets with various pass-thru hull patterns that will accommodate the vast majority of installation requirements. While these kits are commonly used with Hobie fishing kayaks they are also used by many users on various other brands of kayaks as well. There are two types available. The standard thru-hull wiring kit contains two single cord thru-hull plugs and the 3-way wiring kit is supplied with a single 3-way thru-hull plug, which makes it easier to pass through multiple wires with a single plug.
Recommended Fish Finder Units and Accessories
We sell and recommend Lowrance Fish Finders due to their compatibility with Hobie's Lowrance-Ready Transducer Scupper system, although we have installed various other brands onto Hobie kayaks as well. Our most popular sounder models are the Lowrance Hook 2-4x and Hook 2-5x, both of which represent great value for money and are highly suitable for most kayak fishing pursuits. They are relatively small and light which makes sense for most kayaks for obvious reasons and won't require a large and heavy battery to operate.
More ambitious kayak fishermen using later model Hobie's with Guardian Transducer scupper systems will be tempted by side scan functionality and of course we can install these as well. These can be fitted to earlier version Lowrance-Ready scupper systems using BerleyPro's Custom transducer cover plates
Finally, we should also mention here that many of our customers fit out their sounder units with BerleyPro Fish Finder sun visors, which help to prevent sun glare from obscuring the screen output as well as minimizing water splashing into the screen
Notes on Internal Transducer Installation
If you don't have a transducer scupper on your kayak then you're probably going to have to install the transducer internally. This is a fairly common approach and it does work out OK if done well. This typically involves glueing in a foam pad for the transducer (we recommend Marine Goop for this) and then glueing the transducer into the foam pad, also using Marine Goop (as opposed to silicon or Selley's All-Clear). Goop binds better than silicon but unlike Selley's All-clear, won't make it impossible to uninstall the transducer if you have to.
Cost of installing Fish Finders onto Kayaks
To be completely honest, installing a fish finder onto a kayak isn't usually terribly challenging to do (this is especially true of Hobie kayaks with transducer scuppers) and many people are happy to take it on themselves. If you've got the inclination to DIY, more power to you. Hopefully some of the information above can help take some of the guess work out of it for you, and consulting the Youtube oracles is likely to be helpful as well. But if you'd rather not try and figure it all out yourself SLH can get it done for you.
Because there are so many variables when it comes to fitting a fish finder into a kayak we really need to know what we are working with before providing an accurate quote for installing a fish finder. It all depends on the kayak in question and which sounder, power supply, mounts and install method is being employed. Complete installations of fish finders including the sounder unit, mounts, power supply and miscellaneous hardware used in the install process start at around $540 (Hook 2-4x & 7AH FPV Battery).