For anglers who own aluminum boats, having the right fish finder is essential for a successful day on the water.
However, choosing the right fish finder can be a daunting task with so many options on the market.
In this article, we will highlight the important factors to consider when purchasing a fish finder for an aluminum boat, including the type of aluminum boat you own, water depth, type of fishing, and budget.
The type of aluminum boat, such as a jon boat or bass boat, affects the best option for a fish finder, as does the water depth you plan to fish in, and the type of fishing you prefer.
Budget is also a consideration, with options ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
We’ve done the research for you and have selected the best fish finder for aluminum boats:
- Deeper PRO+ Portable Fish Finder With GPS – Best for Small Aluminum Boats
- Garmin Striker Vivid 4CV – Best For Aluminum Jon Boat
- Humminbird Helix 9 – Best for Aluminum Bass Boat
- Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Splitshot – Best Budget
- Humminbird Helix 7 Mega SI GPS G4
Factors to consider when purchasing a fish finder for aluminum boat
What type of Aluminum boat do you own
The type of aluminum boat you own can also play a role in determining the best fish finder for your needs. Different types of aluminum boats, such as jon boats, drift boats, and bass boats, may have different requirements for a fish finder.
For example, Jon boats are typically smaller and are often used for fishing in shallow water. For these kind of small aluminum boats, handheld or portable fish finders are a good option.
These units are compact and can be easily moved from one location to another, making them ideal for use on smaller boats. They are also relatively inexpensive, making them a good choice for anglers who are on a budget.
Drift boats, on the other hand, are often used for fishing in both shallow and deep water environments. For these boats, a high-end fish finder is the best option.
These units typically offer the most advanced features i.e side imaging, mapping and GPS, radar etc., making them ideal for anglers who demand the best. They are also larger and more expensive than other types of fish finders.
It’s important to consider the type of aluminum boat you own when choosing a fish finder in order to ensure that you select a fish finder that is well-suited for your specific needs.
Water depth is an important factor to consider when purchasing a fish finder for an aluminum boat as it affects the ability of the sonar to scan the water and detect fish. The sonar frequency used by a fish finder has a direct impact on how deep the fish finder can scan the water.
Low frequency sonar signals penetrate deeper into the water, making them ideal for use in deep water, while high frequency signals are better suited for shallow water.
For example, if you plan to fish in deep water, a fish finder with a lower frequency sonar signal, such as 50kHz or 83kHz, will provide you with the most accurate information about the underwater environment.
On the other hand, if you plan to fish in shallow water, a fish finder with a higher frequency sonar signal, such as 200kHz or 455kHz, will provide you with more information about the underwater structure.
When choosing a fish finder for your aluminum boat, it’s important to consider the depth of the water you will be fishing in and select a sonar frequency that is appropriate for that depth. This will ensure that you get the most accurate and reliable information from your fish finder and increase your chances of finding fish.
Type of Fishing
In addition to water depth, the type of fishing is an important factor to determine which frequency and beamwidths will be most useful.
High-frequency fish finders with Down Imaging and Side Imaging
High-frequency fish finders provide greater detail at shallower depths, making them useful for separating fish holding tight to the bottom or structure like a wreck or reef. This frequency range is ideal for shallow water fishing and provides excellent target resolution.
Low-frequency fish finders
Low-frequency fish finders, on the other hand, achieve greater depth and are useful for showing schools of small fish such as sand eels or squid. They do not provide the same target resolution as high-frequency fish finders, but they are better suited for deep water fishing.
Fish Finder with Low and High Frequency Combo Transducer
For offshore fishing, a fish finder with combo transducer might be a good option. A wide-beam chirp-ready transducer which offers a high frequency range of 150-250 kHz and a low frequency that chirps from 42 kHz to 65 kHz. This combo is perfect for searching the upper water column for pelagics and providing wide coverage for deeper depths.
Fish finders can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, so it’s important to determine what you can afford before making a purchase.
If you’re on a tight budget, a basic fish finder with limited features may be a good choice. These types of fish finders typically use a single frequency sonar and may not have as many advanced features as more expensive fish finders. However, they can still provide valuable information about the underwater environment and help you find fish.
If you have a larger budget, you can consider purchasing a more advanced fish finder with additional features. These types of fish finders may use CHIRP sonar, and have a variety of imaging options, such as down imaging and side imaging. They may also have a larger display screen and a user-friendly interface.
Best Fish Finder for Aluminum Boat
1. Deeper PRO+ Portable Fish Finder With GPS – Best for Small Aluminum Boats
The Deeper Pro+ Castable and Portable Wi-Fi Fish Finder with GPS is our top pick for the best fish finder for small aluminum boats. This device offers excellent connectivity, range, features, and ease of use for all types of fishing, whether onshore, offshore, or on ice.
One of the standout features of the Deeper Pro+ is its Wi-Fi connection, which provides 10 times faster data transfer compared to a Bluetooth fish finder. With a casting range of 330 feet, the Deeper Pro+ is capable of scanning hard-to-reach areas such as drop-offs and shelves.
The dual frequency sonar beam of the Deeper Pro+ can scan at both 290 kHz and 90 kHz, providing sharp images of the bottom in shallow water when using the 290 kHz frequency and deep water up to 260 feet with the 90 kHz frequency.
These sonar images can help identify bottom transitions, bait balls, weeds, and more.
The fishing hotspots can be saved as waypoints with the built-in GPS for later use.
Additionally, the Deeper Pro+ can create bathymetric maps, which are instantly downloaded to your mobile device and synced with the Deeper cloud server. With a long battery life of 6 hours, rechargeable batteries, and an auto power off feature to conserve battery life, the Deeper Pro+ is a reliable and convenient choice for fishing with an aluminum boat.
- Fast data transfer via Wi-Fi
- No installation required
- Built-in GPS with high accuracy
- Good casting range of 330 feet
- Displays water temperature, bottom layout, fish depth, structure, and more on the smartphone
- Long battery life of 6 hours
- Rechargeable batteries
- Auto power off feature to conserve battery life
- No down imaging or side imaging capabilities.
2. Garmin Striker Vivid 4CV – Best For Aluminum Jon Boat
The Striker Vivid 4CV is a Garmin fish finder that offers great features at a budget-friendly price.
One of the standout features of the Garmin Striker Vivid 4CV is its down imaging capability, which is achieved through its ClearVu technology. The device has a transducer that operates at 455/800 kHz and has a 300 W transmitting power, allowing it to produce clear and detailed images of the bottom structure and fish holding locations. This makes it easy to identify bottom transitions and to see fish near vegetation, weeds, and trees.
In addition to its imaging capabilities, the Garmin Striker Vivid 4CV is also small and lightweight, making it an ideal choice for anglers who prefer to travel light on their small aluminum boats.
The device has a low power consumption, which means that it can be powered by standard portable batteries, making it ideal for longer fishing trips.
One potential drawback of the Garmin Striker Vivid 4CV is its relatively small screen size. However, for occasional anglers, the quality of its down imaging capabilities is more than adequate, although it may not match the quality of high-end fish finders.
- Small and lightweight
- Low power consumption
- User-friendly interface with different color pallets to separate fish from structure, making it easy for beginners to use.
- Equipped with Down Imaging (ClearVu) and Dual CHIRP sonar
- Includes GPS and auto charting options for added convenience.
- Quick release mount allows for easy removal of the unit when not in use.
- The relatively smaller screen size may not be suitable for anglers who prefer larger displays.
- The quality of the Down Imaging may lack compared to high-end fish finders, but it still works well for occasional anglers.
3. Humminbird Helix 9 – Best for Aluminum Bass Boat
The Helix 9 Mega SI+ G4N is a top-of-the-line Humminbird fish finder ideal for aluminum bass boats.
With its larger 9-inch screen size and networkability, this fish finder is perfect for mounting on the dash or bow of your aluminum boat. It can also be networked with multiple units for a complete fishing experience.
The fish finder features MEGA Side Imaging+ and MEGA Down Imaging+, which provide clear and detailed views of underwater structures, contour lines, drop offs, and bait schools up to 200 feet below and on either side of the boat.
In addition, premium features such as Bluetooth, AutoChart Live, and built-in NMEA 2000 networking make this fish finder an excellent choice for serious anglers looking to find the best fishing spots.
- Large 9-inch screen size
- Networkable units
- MEGA Side Imaging+ and MEGA Down Imaging+
- AutoChart Live for real-time mapping
- Built-in GPS
- Charts covering 10,000 plus lakes in U.S
- Bluetooth and built-in NMEA 2000 networking for communication
- Price may be higher for some anglers
- More advanced features may require a learning curve for beginners.
4. Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Splitshot – Best Budget
The Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 Splitshot is the best budget option for anglers who want a fish finder for their aluminum boat.
The 5-inch screen is compact and can easily fit on the dash or bow of your aluminum boat.
The Hook Reveal 5 Splitshot is equipped with SplitShot 2-in-1 sonar featuring CHIRP sonar at 200 KHz and Downscan at 455/800 KHz.
It gives you a view of fish targets, underwater structure and the ability to see both traditional 2D sonar and Downscan imaging on one screen.
The Downscan provides clear images of the underwater environment up to 75 feet below your boat, allowing you to locate structure and fish.
This fish finder also includes a built-in GPS, allowing you to mark waypoints and see your boat’s speed and position.
- Affordable price
- Compact and easy to install
- SplitShot 2-in-1 CHIRP sonar and Downscan
- Built-in GPS with waypoint marking
- Limited features compared to higher end fish finders
- Smaller screen size may not be ideal for anglers who want a larger display.
5. Humminbird Helix 7 Mega SI GPS G4
The Humminbird Helix 7 Mega SI GPS G4 is one of the best 7-inch fish finders available in the market.
One of the key benefits of the Humminbird Helix 7 Mega SI GPS G4 for aluminum boat anglers is its exceptional imaging capabilities. The side imaging and down imaging details are excellent, allowing you to quickly see fish near structures or separate game fish from bait balls.
Additionally, the HD display of 1024×600 pixels is bright and easy to view under sunlight.
The transducer can be easily mounted on the transom of the boat or with the side arm mounting option. This makes it a versatile fish finder that can be used on different types of aluminum boats.
It also comes with a pre-loaded Humminbird basemap that covers more than 10,000 US lakes, and a Micro SD card slot to upgrade to premium charts like Navionics.
Another key feature of the Humminbird Helix 7 is its built-in GPS with auto charting option of uncharted lake. This makes it easier for anglers to navigate and find the best fishing spots.
However, the Humminbird Helix 7 Mega SI GPS G4 is an expensive fish finder, and it does not come with a touchscreen. Despite this, its exceptional imaging capabilities, versatility, and built-in GPS make it an excellent choice for aluminum boat anglers who are looking for a high-performance 7-inch fish finder.
- Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar
- Excellent side and down imaging
- HD display with 1024x600px
- Bright screen for sunlight viewing
- Easy transducer mounting
- Pre-loaded basemap of 10,000 US lakes
- Upgradeable to premium charts
- Built-in GPS with auto charting
- No touchscreen
Installing Fish Finder on Aluminum Boat
Before installing a fish finder on an aluminum boat, it is important to gather all the necessary tools and equipment for the job. This can include a drill, screws, mounting hardware, silicone sealant, and wire connectors.
It is also important to clean the area where the fish finder will be mounted. This will ensure a good bond and prevent any dirt or debris from getting between the fish finder and the boat.
Where to Install the Fish Finder Control Unit
When it comes to installing the control unit on an aluminum boat, the best location for it depends on the type of aluminum boat you have. The most common types of aluminum boats are jon boats, pontoon boats, and V-hull boats.
Jon Boats: In a jon boat, the control unit can be installed on the console or at the front of the boat. The console is the most common location for the control unit as it provides easy access and visibility.
Bass Boats: On a bass boat, the control unit can be installed on the dashboard, console, or at the front of the boat. The dashboard is the most common location for the control unit as it provides easy access and visibility while the boat is in operation.
V-hull Boats: In a V-hull boat, the control unit can be installed on the console or on the dashboard. The console is the most common location for the control unit as it provides easy access and visibility.
Get more ideas for mounting the fish finder control unit here: Fish Finder Mounting Ideas
Regardless of the type of aluminum boat, it is essential to ensure that the control unit is securely mounted and can withstand the harsh marine environment. The control unit should also be easily accessible and within reach of the operator. Before installing the control unit, make sure to clean the area and ensure a tight, secure installation.
Where to Mount the Transducer
The type of aluminum boat you have will dictate the best location to install the transducer.
For small aluminum boats such as jon boats, canoes, it is best to mount the transducer on the transom, which is the back of the boat. The transom provides a smooth surface for the transducer to make contact with the water, ensuring accurate readings.
For larger aluminum boats such as fishing boats or pontoon boats, the best location for the transducer is on the hull, near the centerline of the boat. This location provides an unobstructed view of the water beneath the boat and eliminates the risk of air bubbles or turbulence affecting the readings.
If your aluminum boat has a V-shaped hull, the transducer can be mounted on the centerline of the V, as this location provides a stable and clear view of the water.
It is important to make sure the transducer is mounted in a position that does not interfere with the movement of the boat or create drag. Make sure the transducer is securely mounted using the appropriate hardware and sealant to prevent any water from entering the boat.
In summary, the best location for mounting a transducer on an aluminum boat depends on the type of boat you have, with smaller boats being mounted on the transom and larger boats on the hull or centerline of the V-shaped hull.