Kayak Fish Finder Setup: How to Set Up a Fish Finder on Your Kayak

Fish Finder Guides

There are different ways to install the fish finder head unit and its transducer on the Kayak. The best setup for you depends on your kayak and your fishing style. There is no one size fits all setup option. We have detailed all these options in this guide and recommended who it suits.

Where to Mount Fish Finder Head Unit

kayak fish finder installed photo

When mounting a fish finder to your kayak, do you put it on the left, right, or middle of the kayak? This is a fairly common question anglers ask, and here is our recommendation.

Center of the Kayak:

The middle of my kayak should be the preference when you are paddling the kayak as the fish finder will obstruct the paddles if it is on the sides. However, if you are using a pedal drive, you may want to place it on the side to have a better view and keep it within your range.

Right vs Left Side of the Kayak:

It is best to place your fish finder on the side of your kayak opposite where you are landing your fish. This will help to keep your landing area clear and make it easier to reel in your catch. So, the right side is recommended If you hold the fishing rod in the right hand, reel with the left, and land the fish on the left side.  

You can use the standard mounting kit that comes with the fish finder to install the head unit. But, there are several custom mounting options that can make your fishing more productive.

Transducer Mounting Options on Kayak

You have several options for mounting the transducer on a fishing kayak. Some kayak models will include built-in possibilities, while others require you to perform some simple installation tasks. 

The popular transducer mounting options on kayaks include: 

  • Scupper mount
  • Kayak manufacturer’s specific mounts
  • Side arm mount
  • In-hull mount
  • Thru-hull mount

Scupper Mount

lowrance scupper mount kit

If you own a fishing kayak, you may have a built-in recess to use a scupper mount for your fish finder. Of course, not all kayaks will include this feature, but it is an option for some to explore, making your transducer mounting simple. 

A scupper mount is for attaching a transducer to the kayak’s hull. This mount style provides the best performance for kayak models with a flat hull.

lowrance scupper transducer installed

A scupper mount helps to keep the boat as clean as possible. This type of transducer mounting system is popular because it keeps the deck clear of wires and cables, which can be unsightly and dangerous on the water. Its cables run up through the scupper hole and to the head unit through the kayak’s hull. 

However, because it installs at the bottom of the kayak, there is a risk of damage in low water areas. In addition, scraping it along the sand or hitting it against rocks can harm your transducer. 

The scupper mount effectively plugs this recess hole when choosing the proper fish finder model for your kayak. 

Other benefits of using this type of transducer mount:

  • Simple installation by screwing it into place
  • Easy removal 
  • Mount is less likely to break during installation or removal like other options 
  • Eliminates any possible hull damage with screws or glue 

Kayak Manufacturers Specific Mounts

Naturally, if you choose a kayak designed for fishing, it should have a specific mounting option. Even so, many popular kayak brands will have options for mounting fish finders, which are versatile and beneficial for many consumers. 

Specific kayak manufacturers like Viking Kayaks and FeelFree Kayaks include options for a dedicated fish finder pod that is removable. They also provide easy mounting solutions for the transducer, head unit, and battery. 

For example, the Hobie kayak brand offers a pocket that will fit many Lowrance transducers, making installation simple. Native kayaks have a built-in mounting plate on the hull and a scupper hole for wiring connections to easily install many fish finder models. 

Additionally, some Wilderness Systems models offer an on-top Flex Pod containment system to mount your fish finder and secure the battery inside safely.

Before choosing a kayak fish finder, exploring your kayak model can help determine if the manufacturer includes a proprietary mount to make installation easy. This way, you can minimize the time and effort you spend correctly securing a fish finder for your kayak. 

Side Arm Mount

The second best option to mount a transducer on the Kayak is using a Scotty side arm transducer mount. The Scotty Transducer Mounting Arm is a deck-mounted transducer that can be used with a gear track.

scotty side arm mount

The Scotty Transducer Mounting Arm works by being mounted on a gear track on your kayak. This allows you to run other fishing accessories as well. The arm is also adjustable and can swing up and out of the way when needed.

There are many benefits to using the Scotty Transducer Mounting Arm. Some of these benefits include being able to deck-mount your transducer, use it with a gear track, and adjust the arm. This mount is also made of durable materials and has all the necessary installation kits.

In-Hull Mount

Using an in-hull mount for your transducer is possible if you do not have any other options or do not want to explore a side arm mount or drill through your kayak. Some fish finders can operate by using sonar through plastic or composite materials of kayaks. However, they do require a proper setup for optimal clarity. 

In-hull mounting is a popular option for kayaks, providing many benefits, such as:

  • No interference with the boat’s aesthetics
  • Ensures a safe and secure installation
  • It is more affordable than other mounting options

The best spot for an in-hull mount is on a clean, flat section, usually inside the kayak’s bow hatch. You will need high-grade marine contact adhesive and a piece of high-density foam to secure a transducer inside the hull. 

Cut out a small well inside the foam piece to fit the transducer and fill it with your choice of marine contact adhesive. There should be enough of it to cover the bottom of your transducer. 

You want to ensure that there are no air bubbles in the adhesive, or they will interfere with the sonar readings. Therefore, scrape any trapped air with a small sharp object before installing the fish finder transducer

If you notice black lines on your readings after installation, remove the transducer from the kayak and scrape all the glue from the device before reinstalling it. 

Then, press the transducer into the high-density foam and adhesive, leaving it to sit against the hull to dry. You should let it cure for 24 to 48 hours before taking it out for a spin. 

Some people like to mount their transducers with suction cups or magnets. However, these setups have drawbacks because they often fall off during use. Because of this, they are not as secure. Additionally, some suction cup models may not adhere to certain kayak materials, while other magnetic mounting styles can interfere with other electronics you have on board.  

Thru-Hull Mount

Installing a fish finder transducer using a thru-hull mount can make anyone uneasy. This method requires you to drill a hole through the bottom of your kayak. However, this mounting process can be a terrific option for your fish finder when done correctly. 

The transducer will sit under the kayak’s hull, and the wires will come up through the bottom and extend to the display. You will need a thru-hull wiring kit to direct the wires from the transducer up to the head mount. 

These kits will also help keep wires out of the way, prevent damage, and keep your boat clean from clutter. Some wiring kits, like the models from YakAttacks, are universal and are suitable for virtually any kayak model. Other brands, like Hobbie, offer wiring kits that will fit many popular kayak styles. 

When using a thru-hull mount, you want to ensure that the transducer will be constantly submerged and not in an area where you may dislodge it by accident. Be sure to use a marine-grade sealant when securing the mount and allow 24 to 48 hours for it to cure properly before taking your kayak out on the water. 

Fish Finder Battery Setup on Kayak

Many kayak models will include cargo areas that make it ideal for placing the battery. However, using a waterproof box or dry bag for your battery will ensure it remains safe from water. 

While the most popular and obvious place to store a battery is inside the hull of your kayak, water can still come in contact with the cables and the kayak’s interior, leaving your battery at risk. A waterproof cable gland for the cables that run up to the head unit is necessary for these situations. 

A waterproof bag or secure box will also provide added protection inside the kayak’s hull to keep your fish finder battery safe. So whether it starts raining or if you splash water around reeling in your catch, the fish finder battery will remain operational. 

However, it is more practical to mount it on the deck sometimes. There are deck mounts that are waterproof and perfect for storing a fish finder battery. The only consideration is that it should have a permanent mounting to the kayak to eliminate the chance of losing your battery if it capsizes.