Fishing is a hobby that anglers are passionate about and take very seriously. To have a successful and comfortable fishing experience, it is understood that anglers must be equipped with the right tools.
Fish finders, in particular, are very important in order to have a fruitful fishing trip. To help you choose the best offshore fish finder, we have shortlisted the top 7 options for you to choose from to make your fishing trip worthwhile.
It’s not always easy to choose the right fish finder since each angler has a different skillset and requirements. Manufacturers have designed fish finders keeping these different skill sets in mind.
Considering the overwhelming variety available, it can be confusing to select one that suits your needs. Read further to learn more about the best offshore fish finders and what you need to know before you decide which one to buy.
Quick Overview – Top 7 Best Offshore Fish Finders
- Lucky Portable Fish Finder – Versatile device with attachable sensor transducer
- Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C – An easy-to-use fish finder with dual-frequency sonar
- Humminbird HELIX 5 GPS G2 – A device that showcases GPS chart-plotting with built-in anima cartography
- Humminbird SOLIX 12 G2 – A fish finder with unprecedented underwater clarity and easy-to-use touch interface
- Lowrance HDS 12 – A device with fast redraws, quick response time, and a dual-core processor
- Simrad GO9 XSE – Fish finder featuring chart-plotter navigation display with Navionics+ and TotalScan Transducer
- Raymarine Axiom 7 – Great device with a blazing fast performance featuring a quad-core processor and CHIRP Sonar
Best Offshore Fish Finder Reviews in 2021
A fish finder is a great tool which allows an angler to see a visual representation of what is going on underwater. To buy the best offshore fish finder, keep your fishing requirements in mind, and check out our detailed reviews.
1. Lucky Portable Fish Finder – Best User-friendly Fish Finder
The Lucky Portable Fish Finder is one of the top choices for anglers. It has maintained a good reputation over time. It comes with an updated 2.4-inch TFT color LCD and detects underwater contour, depth, and fish size with amazing clarity.
Additionally, it has two user modes, ‘simulation’ and ‘transducer’. You can practice functions in the simulation mode and go fishing in the transducer mode.
Due to its lightweight, casting is easier and more convenient. It also has an eye-catching design which makes the unit all the more interesting.
The Lucky Portable Fish Finder has a wireless casting range of around 196 feet which is considered to be highly impressive. Moreover, it sends up to 3 scans per second from a depth of 147 feet.
The Lucky Fish Finder is a portable unit with 26 feet wired operating distance and 328 feet depth detection. It offers various featured settings like adjusting contour display, sensitivity, screen brightness, depth range, alarm, etc.
Not to mention, all these features can be worked with easily due to its user-friendly interface. The manufacturer has done a pretty impressive job in terms of the variety of features provided for a reasonable price.
Why We Like It
Anglers must have the best tools in order for their fishing experience to be fun and convenient. Keeping the features and specifications of the Lucky Portable Fish Finder in view, we believe it is a great choice for anglers interested in offshore fishing.
- Wireless connectivity ranging up to 196 feet
- Super lightweight
- Displays water depths and fish size
- Icons are visible on screen
- Small screen
- Low deepness sonar
Fish finder units that retail at a price as low as Lucky Portable Fish Finder are definitely worth trying out. It goes without saying that it is one of the best offshore fish finders.
It serves not just beginners but also passionate fishermen who are looking to enhance their fishing experience without spending a lot of money.
2. Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C – Best Fish Finder with Precision Sonar
Anglers have claimed Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C to be one of the best offshore fish finders due to its precision sonar.
Quite a few versions of the PiranhaMax series have been discontinued, however, the 197C has been a favorite amongst anglers since its launch. It is an improved model which has imaging technologies and gives great clarity.
The reason for Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C to be one of the best offshore fish finders is its 3.5” screen and the 256-color display.
It gives a clear and thorough image of the surroundings underneath your boat including any fish carrying bait. Along with that, it gives a peak output power of up to 1600 watts which is a great amount of power.
For its price, the Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C is a great finder for anglers to have. It is popular among its users due to its solid features including dual-beam sonar and moderate size display.
Also, the device can be considered portable as it weighs merely 2 pounds and is easy to carry.
Why We Like It
The easy-to-use interface is one of the reasons why we like the PiranhaMax 197C. It makes it convenient for anglers to focus more on their reeling than trying to figure out the unit.
Additionally, the dual-frequency sonar technology makes it stand out in comparison with other fish finders.
- Dual-beam sonar
- Great visibility in daylight
- Transducer included with hardware
- Easy adjustment
- Sensitive screen
- Prone to dents
While every fish finder has its set specifications and features, the PiranhaMax 197C by Humminbird is a reasonable option in our view.
This is because it is user-friendly and falls under an affordable price range. For anglers who want a basic sonar system with no added features, this unit can be a great choice.
3. Humminbird HELIX 5 GPS G2 – Best Choice to Find and Mark Your Way
The Humminbird Helix 5 offers a variety of features that can be found in high-end fish finders. As such, this unit can be considered as the best offshore fish finder for anglers who like added features.
It provides a sharper and brighter screen as compared to other devices in the market. Furthermore, with the provided applications and transducer, it makes up for a great fishing experience.
One of the greatest features of this unit is the 5-inch screen display which can be used in landscape orientation and drawback imaging.
Along with that, the ultra-bright screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels makes it easy to read. It has a 256-color display that allows you to monitor fish conveniently without wasting extra time.
The Helix 5 showcases the pre-loaded UniMap plotting and cartography feature. This gives you choices that cannot be found in other finders.
You can save fishing waypoints using UniMap applications. Additionally, the down-imaging that uses high-frequency sonar sound waves generate images of anything that is underneath your boat.
The manufacturer has done a great job with this apparatus as it provides good value for money.
Why We Like It
Fish finders with such unique features are not easy to find, especially in a reasonable price range.
This is why we think the Humminbird Helix 5 is one of the best offshore fish finders. According to anglers, it enhances your fishing experience a great deal.
- Beam Plus gives in-depth underwater detail
- Internal GPS receiver
- Runs frequency signals
- Picture acquisition has been reported
- No battery-saving option
Anglers personally recommend buying the Humminbird Helix 5 and we cannot disagree, considering the variety of features it offers and the experience it can give.
We think this can be a great investment for passionate anglers who are involved in offshore fishing.
4. Humminbird Solix12 G2 – Best Chart-plotter and Fish Finder Combo
The Humminbird Solix 12 G2 is one of the latest fish finder and chart-plotter combos to be released. In terms of a variety of features, it includes MSI+ transducer, dual-spectrum CHIRP sonar and better coverage for side imaging.
Anglers have rated this as one of the best offshore fish finders for the all-inclusive features that enhance the fishing experience and help reel in some great catch.
With a 12.1 inches, high-definition touch screen, the Solix 12 gives a great, detailed image. Along with that, it comes with a built-in, dual-spectrum CHIRP sonar which helps easily identify the size of fish.
It has an easy-to-use interface which allows you to control the fish finder with up to four independent viewing panes.
Considering the unique features of Solix 12, the manufacturer has done an impressive job. With a cross-touch interface, you can easily get control over the finder and navigate through as per your suitability.
Moreover, the 12-inch screen display makes sure you get a crystal-clear view of anything underneath your boat.
Why We Like It
We think the Solix 12 is easily one of the best options available as it works perfectly for a wide array of boats.
Although it is on the higher side in terms of pricing as compared to other finders, it is a one-time investment with numerous features that work to your advantage. These include the radar, i-Pilot link, external GPS, and more.
- Track-plotting, routes, and waypoints functions
- Cross-touch interface
- Precision internal/external GPS
- IPX7 waterproof
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Trolling mount not included
- Requires optional 50 kHz transducer to sound the depth
For anglers who are looking for an all-in-one fish finder, we believe Solix 12 can fit their criteria and fulfill their requirements.
While there are plenty other finders out there, none of them so far have matched the features that this apparatus is offering.
5. Lowrance HDS 12 – Technologically Advanced Fish Finder
Another one on our best offshore ship finder list is the Lowrance HDS-12. It is classified as a top-tier finder plus chart-plotter combo that cuts out any potential lag and is designed to fit the needs of professional anglers.
This unit is faster than any other finder in the market and provides crisp images.
It comes without a transducer and is a great choice for anglers who already have a transducer installed on their boats.
The Lowrance HDS-12 is claimed to have the most advanced fish finder technology as it allows simultaneous viewing between CHIRP sonar and StructureScan.
It has a quad-core processor that fastens redrawing and increases response time. Additionally, the new dynamic color range results in high-visibility contrast that no other fish finder has.
With the dual-channel CHIRP sonar, anglers get the advantage of missing no targets at all. Choose the CHIRP of your preference and increase target separation.
The Lowrance HDS-12 makes routing easy with automatic route planning that allows you to auto-plot the shortest and safest route depending on the vessel’s draft, beam, and height.
Why We Like It
Considering the features of Lowrance HDS-12 offers, it seems to be the kind of apparatus that is not only reliable but also extremely useful.
We think this can be a great investment, especially for professionals who understand the importance of the features.
- Integrated StructureScan functionality
- LED backlights
- Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity
- CHIRP/Broad Sonar
- Multi-touch user interface
- High in price
- All upgrades must be purchased
Fish finders are super helpful for anglers who are specifically concerned about their catch. With the Lowrance HDS-12, your fishing experience can be enhanced a great deal.
The price range may hold you back, but we believe such features cannot be found in other finders which makes it worth it.
6. Simrad GO9 XSE – Versatile and Budget-friendly Device
A fish finder and chart-plotter combination is a double win situation. The Simrad G09 offers this combo and features a Structure Scan, GPS, worldwide base maps, and more.
With its numerous features, it comes up as one of the best offshore fish finders for anglers to buy. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it also provides convenience and enhances your fishing experience.
Simrad GO9 XSE is equipped with a 9” display with an 800H x 480V pixel matrix of WVGA color and an adjustable LED backlight.
The power wattage of this apparatus goes up to 12 V DC and it has a precision internal GPS of 10 Hz. Moreover, this device has pre-downloaded worldwide base maps to guide you around the seas of the world.
As an angler, you would know where the good catch can be found. With a depth capability of 305m for CHIRP sonar and 91m for DownScan and SideScan, Simrad GO9 proves itself to be reliable.
While it is equipped with plenty of useful features, its price is reasonable.
Why We Like It
We believe the manufacturer has done quite an impressive job with putting together most of the requirements of anglers and that too for a relatively low price.
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- High precisions GPS
- 3G, 4G and Halo Radar compatible
- Simrad SonicHub 2 and Bluetooth audio integration
- Touch screen can be a downside for anglers
- Transom mount only for transducer
The Simrad GO9 is a great chart-plotter and fish finder combo which is equipped with 2D sonar, worldwide charts, and a powerful internal GPS.
All of this makes it a device worth investing in. Such features can be found in high-end brands, and Simrad GO9 provides them at a relatively low price.
7. Raymarine Axiom 7 – Best Beginner-friendly Fish Finder
Raymarine Axiom 7 is a well-recognized device which offers chart plotting functions. The name of this device speaks for itself – 7 is for the 7” LCD screen with a pixel matrix of 800 x 480.
It is a multi-touch display screen which is designed to be used as a tablet. This device features LightHouse 3 OS and is considered beginner-friendly.
With a weight of 3.35lb, the Raymarine Axiom 7 is equipped with down- and side-imaging along with a 2D CHIRP, Down and Side Vision.
Moreover, its depth capability is up to 900 feet for CHIRP, 600 feet for Down Vision, and 300 feet for Side Vision. Additionally, the power input is of 12V DC and it is IPX6 and IPX7 waterproof.
Axiom 7 features a wide variety of networking options including NMEA 2000, USB, and Ethernet ports.
It is also compatible with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and can connect to SeaTalking with an additional net adapter cable. Also, it can store up to 10,000 waypoints with 150 routes.
Why We Like It
As compared to more expensive fish finders, we find Axiom 7 as one of the best offshore fish finders for the unique features it offers.
These include the various connectivity options and the 3D vision. Personally, we would recommend this device as it serves perfectly especially to beginners.
- 10 Hz 72 channel GPD/GLONASS receiver
- Multi-touch port display
- Real 3D vision
- Numerous connectivity options
- Weak GPS
- No keypad
Coming across a device that is so well equipped is a great opportunity to dig more into its details.
After doing so, we believe it is a device that is worth investing in. If you are looking for a fish finder that is easy to use as a beginner and can last you for a long time, go for it.
How to Buy the Best Offshore Fish Finder
With numerous types of fish finders out there, if you are looking to buy one for yourself, there is a high chance that you may get confused between the technicalities.
We understand that the experience can be rather daunting which is why we have listed down a few main features for you to understand and learn from.
Do go through these if you are a first-time buyer or an angler who is looking for an upgrade. It will not only help you find the best offshore fish finder, but it will also save you from drilling a hole in your pocket as you would know exactly what is worth paying for.
The most important part of a fish finder is its transducer without which the fish finder is practically useless. Transducers send and receive sonar waves which are emitted into the water and bounce off of objects.
Once the transducer picks an object, it sends data to the central unit and displays the information on your screen. This information can help you reel in some great catch.
Also, depending on the type of vessel you are using, the transducer material holds a lot of importance as well.
Screen Display Resolution and Color
Whether you are a day-time fisher or you prefer going at night, having a high-resolution display can help you view your screen in any light.
Black and white screens only have up to 265 shades of gray while colored screens have a million. If you want to ensure that your data can be seen clearly, then opting for a colored screen is better.
Although there are plenty of devices still being manufactured with black and white screens if you can fit colored screens in your budget then go for them.
Every fish finder has a certain amount of wattage it functions at. If you want a fish finder that redraws fast and has a quick response rate, you should look for a device with high wattage.
Devices that have low power will not work as fast which, in turn, will delay your catch.
Fish finders convert sonar waves from transducers which is why devices that have low wattage will perform better in shallow water.
On the other hand, devices with a higher wattage will prove to be more reliable even in deeper water as the waves will be converted much faster.
For an avid fisher, finding the best fishing spot is a moment of joy. Having a fish finder that is equipped with adequate GPS functions helps you mark and share your routes, waypoints, and location.
Not only is the benefit in terms of finding hot spots but it also helps in finding the shortest route to the hotspot.
It avoids sloping edges and underwater hills and helps you reach back to your dock safely during times when the weather gets uncertain.
If you can afford a GPS and a nautical chart, it is suggested to invest money in getting it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we have discussed the necessary features of fish finders, let us address a few general questions that potential anglers have on a regular basis.
While it is important to know the features of fish finders, it is best that you clear basic confusions as well.
✅ How to choose the best fish finder?
There are countless brands manufacturing fish finders, each with its own set of unique features, specifications, and price range.
It is important that before you decide on buying a certain finder, you know your requirements and can check whether the one you are choosing will fulfill your needs and preferences.
✅ What is the purpose of Side Imaging?
Side Imaging helps you view side-to-side at a 180-degree angle. The image you get through this feature can help you determine the view of the ocean underneath your vessel.
You can zoom in for details or mark the spot through GPS if it looks like one where you would want to return later as well.
✅ Can I tell the width of an area through my sonar screen?
Most sonar systems come with a mode called A-scope which helps you know the diameter of the sonar’s beam on the bottom.
The information on the display keeps updating as the depth increases or decreases. Hence, yes, you can tell the width of an area by looking at your sonar screen.
After considering numerous devices, we have given a detailed description of our top 7 picks which are equipped with features for anglers of all levels.
Within these options, if we were to choose the best offshore fish finder, it would be the Lowrance HDS-12 for its high-profile design and features.
For a more budget-friendly device, we would recommend the Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C.
That being said, every angler has different requirements and preferences. You should keep these in mind and make a decision accordingly.
Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API