It used to be difficult to fish but with modern technology, fishing is made extremely simple. Since it is supposed to be a relaxing pastime, why not focus on the activity instead of spending all of your time looking for the fish?
A fish finder will help you with exactly that locating the fish. As such, you can spend your valuable time doing what you love: catching the fish. This article will help you find the best fish finder for catfish.
You can be a pro at reeling in a fish, but this is of no use unless you know where to fish in the first place. Catfish can hide in muddy water, deep water, and structures.
Fish finders help anglers eliminate the struggle of finding the right spot by taking care of this for them. Our top 7 choices will make sure that you pick the perfect fish finder for your needs.
Quick Overview – Top 7 Best Fish Finders for Catfish
- Humminbird Ice Helix 5 CHIRP GPS G2 – This device brags advanced sonar and mapping options.
- Lowrance HOOK² 5 with TripleShot Transducer – Advanced fish finder that is very user-friendly.
- Lucky Portable Fish Finder Sonar Transducer – This fish finder is affordable but high-quality.
- Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ with GPS – A sonar with dual-beam frequency and in-built GPS.
- RICANK Portable Fish Finder – A reliable fish finder that is also affordable.
- Humminbird PiranhaMAX 197c DI – An accurate fish finder with extreme precision.
- Garmin STRIKER™ 4 with Dual-beam Transducer – A high-quality and versatile fish finder.
Best Fish Finder for Catfish Reviews in 2021
The following are some of the best fish finders for catfish on the market today. From renowned brands like Garmin to affordable brands like Lucky, we have options for every budget.
This list narrows down the selection for you and discusses features, pros and cons, and more!
1. Humminbird Ice Helix 5 CHIRP GPS G2 – Best Luxury Fish Finder
This fish finder is from the renowned brand Humminbird and boasts of their latest technology. As an industry giant, Humminbird produces devices that are definitely high-quality and reliable.
One of the latest products in the Ice Helix series, the G2 boasts dual-spectrum CHIRP sonar, CHIRP Interface Rejection, and adjustable sonar zoom.
This fish finder has a large color screen with a high resolution and is made from high-quality materials. It is suitable for all seasons and allows anglers to have perfect visibility. Not to mention, it offers advanced mapping options.
Why We Like It
The fish finder’s large 5” screen is complemented by its high resolution at 800H x 480V and 256 color display. The user can be assured that they will be able to see minute details with this find finder.
The sonar technology in this advanced fish finder is excellent and claims to display details that other sonars cannot detect.
Humminbird includes their Dual-Spectrum CHIRP Sonar Technology for extreme clarity, depth, and range. The sonar zoom is also adjustable and can help the user target fish by zooming in on both the flasher screen and the 2D sonar view.
The CHIRP Interference Rejection System includes 6 settings for a clear view by blocking other sonar signals which work in both flasher and sonar modes.
It supports frequencies such as 50 kHz, 83 kHz, and 200 kHz, with CHIRP supporting many more. The sonar brags a depth of 400ft and allows for recordings and screenshots.
The GPS and mapping capabilities of this device are extremely advanced and include built-in base maps and customizable real-time mapping.
- Large HD color display
- Advanced sonar technology
- GPS, mapping capabilities
- Comes with transducer, cable, and other hardware
- 1-year limited warranty
- Extremely expensive
With an HD display, an advanced sonar system, and a multitude of mapping capabilities, this fish finder is perfect for those who can afford it.
2. Lowrance HOOK² 5 with TripleShot Transducer – Best User-Friendly Fish Finder
This fish finder is from fishing-equipment giant Lowrance and is loaded with advanced features that are easy to navigate.
The HOOK² 5 brags a SolarMAX Display, a TripleShot Transducer, and in-built detailed maps.
While other fish finders also brag about advanced sonar settings, the HOOK² 5 offers automated sonar settings for those who do not want to spend all their time adjusting details.
It also has GPS, built-in mapping, and a large, colorized screen with high resolution.
Why We Like It
The 5” color screen boasts 800 x 480 resolution and a Solarmax Display for extremely clear views even in sunlight.
The sonar makes sure to provide maximum coverage with a wide-angle CHIRP cone which boasts twice as much coverage as regular fish finders.
The TripleShot Transducer has both down scan (300 ft.) and side scan (300 ft.) options. This combined with CHIRP (500 ft.) makes for excellent depth coverage. Frequency is also versatile, ranging from 200 kHz to 800 kHz.
One great advantage of this fish finder is how user-friendly and intuitive it is. Although professional-level features are provided, these are made easy to use for beginners as well.
Set-up is very simple, and the transducer comes with a transom mount. The one-touch access makes it easy to both set up and customize, and even novice fishermen can navigate the system.
Additionally, if one does not want to deal with settings, the automated sonar settings can eliminate this hassle.
Detailed maps of US lakes are provided, and users can narrow down searches by looking for specific structures.
The GPS and navigation are straight-forward but also customizable since users can add waypoints and trails.
- 5” high-resolution display
- In-built GPS and mapping
- User-friendly and intuitive navigation
- Automated sonar settings
- IPx7 waterproof
- High scanning coverage with down and side scanning
- Extremely expensive
Although this option is expensive, it boasts advanced features that can be utilized by both novices and professionals. We believe it provides good value for money and you should go for it if your budget allows it.
3. Lucky Portable Fish Finder Sonar Transducer – Best Affordable Fish Finder
This device is affordable but does not lack quality. It is portable and suitable for all fisherman, from novices to professionals.
This fish finder brags adjustable sensitivity, fish alarms, backlighting, and a 100m depth range, all while being extremely affordable. It also claims to be suitable for all – from beginners to professionals.
This fish finder is versatile and works for several different types of fishing including kayak fishing, inshore fishing, and ice fishing.
Therefore, it has adjustable sensitivity as well as a backlight. It is also user-friendly and can be used by both amateurs and professionals. It boasts a great depth range as well as coverage and comes with an included cable.
Why We Like It
This fish finder is simple but has all the essentials needed for a successful fishing expedition. It is also much more affordable than other options and provides a lot for its price.
It has a 2” LCD display which is anti-UV for higher visibility during the day. This fish finder also features blue LED backlighting for readability in the dark. An included fish alarm makes sure that anglers do not miss their catch.
It has a depth range of 100m and boasts a 45-degree beam angle that offers 200 kHz frequency.
In case of long fishing trips, resulting in low battery, it has a battery saving mode to extend battery life.
Not to mention, it has a battery indicator so that users are not caught off guard if the battery is low.
- Lightweight and compact
- Simple and user-friendly
- Visibility aid in both light and dark environments
- Extremely affordable
- Accurate depth range
- No advanced features
- Low battery life
- Small screen
This affordable fish finder is basic and does not boast any advanced features. However, it is perfect for beginners and those who are just looking for the basics. It does cover all the essentials and provides value for its affordable price.
4. Deeper Smart Sonar PRO+ with GPS – Best Sonar Fish Finder
This lightweight castable sonar is versatile, powerful, and brags both excellent scanning as well as connectivity.
This device boasts versatility with its dual-beam frequency and speedy and accurate scanning.
The Deeper Pro+ can be used for shore fishing, boat fishing, and even ice fishing. It also boasts excellent connectivity and can be used in conjunction with an app to sync to both iOS and Android devices.
This device is lightweight and portable and has the advantage of excellent depth and frequency options. Moreover, it provides users with GPS and mapping capabilities.
Why We Like It
Because this sonar is so small and lightweight, it can be transported very easily. It is also powerful and boasts dual-beam technology.
Not only can it use a wide-scanning beam with 90 kHz frequency, but it can also use a narrow beam with 290 kHz.
This makes it suitable for shallow and deep-water fishing. It can scan down to 80m and has a casting range of 100m.
The Deeper Pro+ works in conjunction with an app to provide information. Users can use their own devices with the sonar’s hotspot capability and download the user-friendly app which can record all maps and scans.
Users can pin their locations as well and come back to popular fishing spots. Additionally, they can create maps from the shore.
Since it replaces Bluetooth with Wi-Fi, it is also speedy and sends 15 scans/second to the connected device. It also has a target separation of only 1”.
- Wi-Fi connection for a fast transfer rate
- GPS and mapping capabilities
- Suitable for shallow and deep-water fishing
- Dual-beam frequency
- Relatively expensive
- Does not include display
This sonar is excellent for those who want advanced features like real-time mapping and dual-beam frequency but do not mind using their own devices as displays.
This is not a suitable option for those who intend to rely on their fish finders alone.
5. RICANK Portable Fish Finder – Best Value Fish Finder
This fish finder from RICANK is affordable but does not compromise on accuracy.
The RICANK Portable Fish Finder boasts versatility, great depth range, and portability.
This is one of the most affordable items on this list and can be used by fishermen of all levels. Additionally, this device is versatile and can be used for river fishing, kayak fishing, shore fishing, and ice fishing.
It also has an automatic turn-off feature and a waterproof transmitter. It includes additions such as a removable transducer float with a rubber stopper, a side-scan adapter, a neck-strap, and other hardware.
Why We Like It
This product has a great depth range of 100m and has a 45-degree sensor beam angle with a 200 kHz frequency.
It can be used for different types of fishing and comes with the equipment to do so including a transducer, side-scan adapter, and a transducer float.
It has an LCD display with backlighting for easier readability and displays a wealth of information such as water depth, the presence of weeds and rocks, fish location, etc.
It has an included fish alarm to make sure that users act immediately. The sensitivity is adjustable. It also has options to differentiate between different sizes of fish, a fish depth scale, and a parameter-setting memory.
- Great depth range
- Includes features like depth scale, adjustable sensitivity, parameter-setting memory, etc.
- Includes a fish alarm and an automatic turn-off option
- The accurate and stable signal provided
- Affected by extremely cold weather, strong eaves, and muddy water
- Cannot detect motionless fish or those smaller than 10 cm
- Moving speed has to be lower than 5 mph
This affordable fish finder is targeted to those who are looking for a no-nonsense device. It is not suitable for those who prefer advanced features like in-built mapping technology.
6. Humminbird PiranhaMAX 197c DI – Best Precision Fish Finder
This fish finder is from Humminbird, an established and well-reputed brand. Claiming to be suitable for novices as well as professionals, this fish finder boasts dual-beam sonar and down imaging.
Noteworthy features include a large 3.5” color display with extreme clarity, down imaging, and a dual-beam sonar.
This high-quality fish finder boasts a large color display with high resolution. It covers a variety of different sonar frequencies and boasts a user-friendly interface that even beginners can navigate.
It also has down imaging and additional features like fish ID, depth alarms, zoom, and fish alarms.
Why We Like It
This fish finder provides extreme clarity with its 3.5” color display and 240H x 320V resolution. It includes both down imagining (320 ft.) and dual-beam sonar (600 ft.).
It also covers a variety of frequencies including 200 kHz and 455 kHz. Therefore, it is ideal for shallow water fishing but can also work in deep water.
The addition of down imagining increases clarity and lets the user differentiate between organisms and structures. The fish finder also features a temperature sensor.
Additionally, it is very user-friendly and has a keypad control interface for easy navigation. It is also compact and portable which makes it ideal for small boats and kayak fishing.
- Large backlit color display
- User-friendly with easy navigation
- Fish and depth alarm options
- Down imaging and dual-beam transducer
- Suitable for beginners and professionals
- No GPS
- No map features
With the exception of GPS and mapping capabilities, this is a great investment.
It is more expensive than some other items on this list but it provides some excellent features, such as down imagining, fish and depth alarms, and accurate readings, in that price.
However, this is not the fish finder for those who require navigational features.
7. Garmin STRIKER™ 4 with Dual-Beam Transducer – Best Rounded Fish Finder
With Garmin being one of the biggest names in the industry and this fish finder being part of the Striker series, it is sure to impress.
This fish finder boasts ClearVu Technology as well as CHIRP Technology which allows it to show minute details.
The Garmin ClearVu Technology makes the water around the vessel clear and results in extreme detail and clarity. This fish finder boasts a large color display for the optimal viewing experience and includes GPS and mapping capabilities.
Why We Like It
The Garmin Striker 4 prioritizes clarity and provides users with a 3.5” HGVA color display with 480 x 320px resolution. Features like split-screen zoom, fish symbol ID, and adjustable depth line are also included to optimize the display.
It boasts multiple frequencies such as the traditional 50 kHz, 77 kHz, and 200 kHz frequencies as well as mid and high CHIRP frequencies. This makes it suitable for both shallow and deep-water fishing.
It is said to be effective up to 1600 ft. in freshwater and 750 ft. in saltwater. Not to mention, it has a water rating of IPX7 which makes it water-resistant and thus more durable.
The in-built GPS is extremely sensitive, and the device boasts mapping capabilities. Users can even mark spots to return to them later, and it even lets you revisit marks you may have missed.
The fish finder also brags features such as a built-in flasher and a speed check on the display.
- GPS and mapping technology
- Large color screen
- CHIRP and multiple frequencies
- Suitable for freshwater and saltwater fishing
- Dual-beam transducer
- Relatively expensive
This fish finder is suitable for all kinds of fishermen because of the variety of features it offers. Being user-friendly, it is great for beginners, and it has the advanced features required for professionals.
If you don’t have the money to spend on Humminbird and Lowrance, this is a great alternative. However, it is still more expensive than some other options on this list.
How to Find the Best Fish Finder for Catfish
Sometimes, the overuse of technical jargon gets in the way of consumers making the best decisions for themselves.
This is especially true for someone looking to buy their first fish finder. Instead of going in blind, read this buyer’s guide to find out about features and specifications you should look into before spending your hard-earned money.
Standalone vs. Combo
Both standalone and GPS-combo fish finders have their advantages and disadvantages. Although a standalone fish finder is more affordable, it is not suitable for larger boats. Fish finders with GPS provide the user with more features including navigation.
Fixed vs. Portable
Those who change vessels often or rent boats would benefit from getting a portable fish finder. These fish finders are easier to transport and usually come with a mount.
GPS and Connectivity
While some claim that GPS is not necessary, the majority of fishermen agree that GPS can be extremely useful.
This is especially useful when navigating large bodies of water. Some advanced fish finders even come with in-built maps and customization options to create your own maps.
Connectivity options like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also found in advanced fish finders. Anglers can use these to connect to their phones or tablets.
Options like Wi-Fi even give users the ability to download data and look over it later. However, these tend to be more expensive and are not necessary for beginners.
These are broadband fish finders and provide users with more vibration energy and more detail.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the screen, the better. Of course, this does depend on budget, since larger screens cost much more than smaller screens.
Black and White vs. Color
Colored displays are preferred because of their clarity and detailed images. They are easy to read and can be deciphered even in direct sunlight.
Unlike black and white displays, cloudy weather and darkness do not result in less readability.
However, buyers should note that black and white displays are much more affordable than their colored counterparts.
Resolution is extremely important since this will allow you to see the display in more detail. Users should opt for high resolution with the minimum being 240 x 160px. However, higher resolution and crisp images also come with a higher price.
Your fish finder should obviously be water-resistant but water-resistance comes at different levels. It ranges from being resistant to small splashes of water to surviving actual submersion in water.
This should be looked into if you will be fishing on smaller boats such as kayaks. This can be checked by looking for the JIS/IPX ratings.
Frequency and Power
More power is required for fish finders that work in deep water and saltwater. Shallow water, on the other hand, does not require as much power.
Users should make sure that they have sufficient power for their needs. The right amount of power is essential for accurate readings.
Fish finders come with single, dual, and even multiple frequencies which range from 50 kHz to over 200 kHz with 83 kHz and 192 kHz being in between.
Shallow-water fishing requires higher frequencies, ranging from 200 kHz to 800 kHz. Deeper water requires narrow cones and thus lower frequencies. These are kept under 100 kHz and are usually 83 kHz and 50 kHz.
Beams and Cone Angles
An especially important feature, cone angles determine the width of the beam used. A wider cone, for example, will cover a larger area but will not be as sensitive when it comes to deeper water.
The average range found in most devices is 16-20 degrees, but some devices can go upwards of 60 degrees.
Other options include dual-beam, triple-beam, side-beam, etc. More beams cover a larger area of water and are especially useful when fishing at sea.
However, models with more beams come with a higher price tag. Users should note that when fishing in shallow waters, larger cone angles will be more useful.
However, when in deeper waters, a narrow cone would be ideal because of the higher sensitivity it provides. This is why most fishermen opt for dual-beam fish finders.
One of the most important parts of a fish finder, the transducer sends out and receives sonar waves. After bouncing off of surfaces, these waves are picked up by the transducer.
Materials for transducers include plastic, bronze, and stainless steel. Plastic is the most versatile choice and is compatible with different types of boats.
Plastic transom mounts are also suitable for casual fishermen and novices. Additionally, while plastic housings are suitable for fiberglass and metal hulls, steel and aluminum hulls require stainless steel housing.
Wood hulls, on the other hand, require bronze housings. Considering material is therefore essential when looking to buy a fish finder.
Catfish Fish Finder (FAQs):
Specifications and features can only cover so much. Here are answers to some common questions that may remove some of your confusion or just serve as guidance and general knowledge.
✅ What is a fish finder and how does it work?
A fish finder is a device that uses sonar to help anglers locate fish. The device sends and receives frequencies. These frequencies bounce off of surfaces and relay information.
✅ Why buy a fish finder?
Buying a fish finder will provide you with a number of benefits. Not only will it save you time but also it will increase your chances of catching fish.
It is also great for locating fish that are particularly hard to find as they hide under structures or in unclear water.
A fish finder can help you find a particular species of fish such as catfish. Additionally, fish finders provide other benefits such as having GPS and maps as well as knowing the temperature and depth of the water.
✅ What kind of mount is required?
The different types of mounts for transducers include thru-hull mounts and transom mounts. Transom mounts are easy to install and are the go-to choice for beginners and those with small boats.
However, anglers with large boats and professionals should opt for thru-hull mounts since these are more heavy-duty.
While all of these picks are great recommendations and deserve to be on this list, the Humminbird Ice Helix 5 CHIRP GPS G2 is a product that stands out for us. With its stunning advanced sonar capabilities, it is every angler’s dream.
However, since it is extremely expensive, we would like to provide users with another option – the Lucky Portable Fish Finder Sonar Transducer. Although this is a much more affordable option, it has all the basics that a fisherman needs.
It is an excellent option for beginners who are just venturing into fish finders. We hope this list and our buyer’s guide help you pick the best fish finder for catfish!
Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API