The best fish finder for shallow water

The Right Fishfinder Can Be Your Best Friend When Fishing in Shallow Water

Many fishermen are not convinced that a fishfinder will help them out all that much when they are out on the water for a day. I for one totally disagree with them. My experience with them is that they can at least point you in the right direction and give you a better chance to catch some fish on any given day. Do they guarantee success? The answer to that is no; but neither does the best boat, the best lure or the best rod and reel setup. That is just the way fishing goes and what makes it a fun challenge. One thing I do know for sure is that fishfinders work very well in shallow water.

If you have the right fishfinder on board in shallow water I have the utmost confidence that it will greatly increase your chances at catching fish. So what is the best fishfinder for shallow water? I really like this model below:

HUMMINBIRD 409640-1 HELIX 5 SI FISH FINDER WITH SIDE-IMAGING AND GPS

Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 – image credit humminbird.com

This model has such great features as a built in GPS, a memory storage slot, 2 CHIRP sonar channels and a 5 inch color WVGA display.

Compare it below to some other really good shallow water fishfinders:

Model Price Sonar
Type
Display Bonus
Features
HUMMINBIRD 409640-1  $$ 200kHz
CHIRP
800 x 480 5″ Inch
256 color
Added GPS Navigation
Garmin
010-01550-00 Striker 4
 $ 200kHz
CHIRP
3.5 Inch
Color
480 x 320
Added GPS Navigation
Lowrance
000-12635-001
 $ 200kHz
XDCR
3.5 inch color
320 x 240
 Mounting Hardware Kit

The Key Characteristics A Shalow Water Fishfinder MUST Have

You will find many different features on fishfinders. Some of them really help in your quest to find fish and others are mostly just bells and whistles that are nice to have. With that being said, there are two very important features that any fishfinder for shallow water MUST have.

  1. High frequency sonar

A fishfinder that will work well in shallow water should have a sonar frequency in the 200kHz range. The higher the frequency the higher the resolution that fishfinder will show you. This frequency range will also better enable you to position your boat over the fish.

  1. Good display screen resolution

We have already told you that sonar on your boat that works in the 200kHz range will help you find fish easier. You can take that one step further with a display on your fishfinder that has good resolution. The higher your resolution the more you can assume about the fish you find and the more accurately you can get right over them with your boat.

With a higher screen resolution on your display you have a chance to do such things as distinguish the size of the fish you are over and in some cases you can even take an educated guess as to what species those fish are most likely to be. This is a huge advantage for you and your companions when fishing in shallow water. It will help keep you from wasting time going after a different species of fish than the ones you were hoping to catch.

Any fishfinder that has these two key characteristics will give you a better chance at finding where the right fish are in shallow water.

Excellent Model Shallow Water Fishfinders

I have already told you about one fishfinder that I really like using when shallow water fishing. Let’s take a little more in depth look at that model and two other model fishfinders that work well in shallow water too.

Here are the three fishfinder models that we recommend for shallow water fishing:

HUMMINBIRD 409640-1 HELIX 5 SI WITH SIDE-IMAGING AND GPS

Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder
Humminbird HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 – image credit humminbird.com

Pros:

  • 5 inch 800H x 480V high resolution display
  • Dual channel ‘CHIRP’ sonar
  • Built in GPS navigation system

Cons:

  • Transducer cable is a little short
  • Owner’s manual could use some improvement

You already are aware that I am a big fan of this excellent shallow water fishfinder. With that being sad, my reviews are always based on information and not emotional inclinations. This is one of Humminbird’s best-selling fishfinders for a reason. That means many other people share the same opinion as me.

It all starts with the excellent sonar that this model has. Its dual channel CHIRP sonar will easily help you locate large schools of fish and then position yourself directly over them.

One of the better features on this model fishfinder is the high resolution display. Even the best sonar does you no good unless you have a quality display to show the information it gives you. This display is also nicely backlit for easy daytime viewing.

The GPS navigational aid is a nice bonus with this unit also. It can help you safely navigate your boat around in unfamiliar areas and you can even waypoint where your favorite fishing spots are.

>>Click here to read buyers’ reviews<<


Lowrance 000-12635-001 Hook-3X Sonar, W/ 83/200 XDCR

Lowrance Hook-3X Fish Finder
Lowrance Hook-3X Fish Finder – image credit lowrance.com

Pros:

  • 3 inch 320H x 240V display
  • Dual frequency sonar operates at 83kHz or 200kHz
  • Quick release bracket for safe storage

Cons:

  • Display colors are very generic
  • Daytime display reading is hard to see sometimes

Lawrence is a very popular name among fishermen because of the quality fishfinders they produce and this model is no exception. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s not a quality fishfinder because you can buy it for an affordable price. It will do the trick nicely for you and this is an extremely small boat friendly model.

It has sonar frequencies of 83kHz to help you find where the fish are and 200kHz to help place you over and identify those fish. It is a very simple but effective system to get you to a fishing spot that increases your chances for success.

Not only will this unit help you find your next fish dinner but it’s very easy to install too. It even comes with all the mounting hardware you need to do that. You can literally have it set up and running in less than one hour. This is true even if you are not mechanical like me.

>>Click here to read buyers’ reviews<<


Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 Built-in GPS 

Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder
Garmin Striker 4 Built-in GPS Fish Finder – image credit garmin.com

There is a reason why Garmin is a leader when it comes to fish finding products. They are known for building products with many nice features and then selling them at a very fair price. This compact model fishfinder is an excellent example of that. You don’t often see fishfinders in its price range that have all the features this model has and a built in GPS navigational system too.

It features an excellent CHIRP sonar system that operates at both 77kHz and 200kHz. This is the perfect combination to help you get to where the fish are and bring in a boat full of them. With this type sonar setup there is no reason you should ever get shutout again on any fishing trip.

The display on this model fishfinder is not fancy but will still easily get the job done. Its 3.5 inch display will give you a good view of where the fish are and also help keep you safe by showing you the bottom terrain where you are.

The included GPS navigational system is an excellent bonus feature. It will help you safely navigate your way around unfamiliar shallow areas and you can also mark your favorite fishing spots with waypoints.

>>Click here to read buyers’ reviews<<


Give Yourself A Better Chance For Success When Fishing In Shallow Water

I was one of those fishermen that were skeptical at first about spending the money on a fishfinder. Now I will never leave my dock without one on board. Having a fishfinder is the only sure way of knowing that there are even fish in the area where your boat is.

All three of these model fishfinders reviewed here will do the trick nicely for you and are not considered expensive as far as fishfinders go. Once you add a fishfinder to your boat it will significantly add to your confidence that you will catch fish every time you are out on the water.

C. Alan Smith became a freelance writer after spending 26 years in the Swimming Pool and Spa Industry. He is an avid hunter and fisherman who loves to spend his time in the outdoors and seeing the beautiful world that God made.

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