Top 5 Fish Finders For Your Pontoon Boat: Choose The Perfect Tool For Your Fishing Success

John Malcolm
John MalcolmPublished: July 27, 2023
Top 5 Fish Finders For Your Pontoon Boat: Choose The Perfect Tool For Your Fishing Success

Now, we've all had those moments where we've cast our lines into the water, only to wait for an eternity with no nibbles. It can be frustrating. But you can take your fishing game to a new level with a fish finder. This nifty device uses sonar technology to locate fish, giving you valuable insight into their whereabouts and increasing your chances of success. Even if you don't have a high-end bass boat and you're simply casting from a pontoon boat, you can still use a fish finder.

Brand/ModelWhy We Love ItBuy Now
Lowrance ELITE-4 HDICustomizable and tweakable platform, dual functionalityBuy Now at West Marine
Humminbird Helix SeriesUser-friendly interface, excellent imaging capabilitiesBuy Now at SportsmansGuide
Garmin Striker Vivid SeriesHigh-quality imaging with vivid color display, affordabilityBuy Now at Tackle Warehouse
Deeper Start Smart FishfinderPortability, ease of use, phone app displayBuy Now on Amazon
Garmin Striker Plus 5CV5" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional and ClearVu Scanning Sonar Transducer, built-in mapping featuresBuy Now at SportsmansGuide
This table brakes down everything we love about the five best fish finders for your pontoon.

But with so many options, how do you choose the right fish finder for your pontoon boat? Fortunately, we have some experience in this area.

We'll walk you through the key features to consider when selecting a fish finder and provide a comprehensive review of the top 5 fish finders for pontoon boats.

Understanding the importance of a fish finder for your pontoon boat.

A fish finder is an essential tool for any pontoon boat angler. It uses sonar technology to locate fish, giving you a clear view of what's happening beneath the water's surface.

With a fish finder on board, you can save precious time by targeting your efforts where the fish are biting.

Let's consider a scenario: You're out on the lake, hopeful for a successful day of fishing. Without a fish finder, you would be left to rely solely on your instincts and experience to find the fish. You could spend hours cruising aimlessly, casting your line in random spots without guaranteeing success.

But with a fish finder, you can locate fish schools, underwater structures and even see the depth of the water. This valuable information lets you strategically position yourself in the right spot and increase your chances of catching a prized fish.

Not only does a fish finder help you find fish, but it also enhances your overall fishing experience. You can see the underwater terrain, identify potential hazards, and even track your movements on the water.

Knowing that you have a powerful tool at your fingertips gives you a sense of control and confidence.

A fish finder is a game-changer for any pontoon boat angler. It improves your chances of success, saves time and effort, and enhances your fishing experience.

So, if you want to take your fishing game to the next level, investing in a fish finder for your pontoon boat is a no-brainer.

Key features to consider when choosing a fish finder for your pontoon boat.

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When it comes to choosing the perfect fish finder for your pontoon boat, there are a few key features that you should consider.

Detailed display.

You'll want to look for a fish finder that offers a clear and detailed display. After all, using a fish finder is to see what's lurking beneath the water's surface. So, having a device that can provide you with crystal-clear images of fish and underwater structures is essential. Look for a fish finder with a high-resolution screen and a color display to ensure that you can easily distinguish between different objects and fish.

Sonar capabilities.

Another important feature to consider is the sonar capabilities of the fish finder. Most fish finders today use either traditional sonar or CHIRP sonar technology. Traditional sonar emits a single frequency, which can limit its ability to accurately distinguish between objects. On the other hand, CHIRP sonar uses a range of frequencies to provide more detailed and comprehensive information about what's underwater. If you want the best imaging and target separation, a fish finder with CHIRP sonar technology would be the way to go.

Power and range.

You'll want to consider the power and range of the fish finder. Higher power means deeper penetration into the water, which is particularly important if you enjoy deep-water fishing. A fish finder with a greater range will allow you to locate fish effectively, even in vast bodies of water or areas with steep drop-offs. However, if you're fishing shallow lakes and rivers, maybe power isn't something that matters to you.

Portability.

Don't forget to think about the size and portability of the fish finder. You'll want a device that is easy to install and can be conveniently mounted on your pontoon boat. Consider the overall dimensions and weight of the fish finder to ensure that it doesn't take up too much space and won't be a hassle to transport or store. After all, pontoons aren't known for their massive consoles.

Top 5 fish finders for pontoon boats: a comprehensive review.

When finding the perfect fish finder for your pontoon boat, it's important to research and find a tool that suits your fishing style and needs. To simplify your decision-making process, we have comprehensively reviewed the top 5 fish finders for pontoon boats.

  1. Lowrance ELITE-4 HDI Combo Plotter/Fishfinder. This model from Lowrance stands out for its customizable and tweakable platform, making it a great choice for those who prefer personalizing their settings. Its dual functionality as a plotter and a fishfinder makes it a versatile tool for any pontoon boat.
  2. Humminbird Helix series. Humminbird's Helix series is recommended for its user-friendly interface. These models are known for their excellent imaging capabilities, providing clear and detailed underwater views.
  3. Garmin Striker Vivid Series. The Garmin Striker Vivid series offers high-quality imaging with a vivid color display, making distinguishing between different underwater structures and fish easier. It is also praised for its affordability, offering premium features under the $500 mark.
  4. Deeper Start Smart Fishfinder. Perfect for casual anglers, the Deeper Smart Fishfinder offers portability and ease of use. It uses a phone app to display data, eliminating the need for a separate screen.
  5. Garmin Striker Plus 5CV. This fish finder model boasts a 5" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional and ClearVu Scanning Sonar Transducer and Built-in Quickdraw Contours Mapping. It provides a clear view of what is beneath your boat and is especially useful for mapping fishing spots.

Lowrance ELITE-4 HDI.

Lowrance ELITE-4 HDI
  • Customizable and versatile for pontoon boat owners.
  • Dual functionality as a fish finder and plotter.
  • Compact size with a bright display for easy visibility.

The Lowrance ELITE-4 HDI is a standout choice for pontoon boat owners who value customization and versatility.

This model features a highly tweakable platform, allowing you to personalize settings according to your preferences.

Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner, you'll appreciate the flexibility this offers, enabling you to set up the device to best support your fishing style.

One key feature that makes the Lowrance ELITE-4 HDI so well-suited to pontoons is its dual functionality. It serves not only as a high-quality fish finder but also as a plotter.

The built-in GPS antenna and preloaded map with over 3,000 U.S. lakes and rivers make navigation a breeze. This means you can find fish and navigate the waters simultaneously, saving precious time and enhancing your fishing experience.

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The ELITE-4 HDI sports a brilliant LED-backlit display, making it visible even in bright sunlight, a common scenario when out on a pontoon. Plus, the compact 4.3-inch screen does not take up much space, which is often at a premium on a pontoon boat.

The Lowrance ELITE-4 HDI offers a great blend of functionality, customization, and compact size, making it a top choice for any pontoon boat owner. It's a reliable companion that promises to enhance your fishing adventures.

Humminbird Helix Series.

Humminbird Helix Series
  • User-friendly interface for both experienced anglers and beginners.
  • Exceptional imaging capabilities for clear and detailed underwater views.
  • Large displays with ample room-to-view options for easy visibility and enhanced fishing experience.

Humminbird's Helix Series has earned a top spot in our list of fish finders for pontoon boats, and for a good reason. This series is lauded for its user-friendly interface, making it an ideal choice for seasoned anglers and those new to the game. It's intuitive to use, so you can spend less time fiddling with settings and more time casting your line.

But its superb imaging capabilities truly sets the Humminbird Helix Series apart. These models provide clear and detailed underwater views, ensuring you never miss a potential catch. Whether you're using Down Imaging, Side Imaging, or traditional sonar, you'll be treated to high-resolution images that make identifying fish and underwater structures a breeze.

Upgrade your fishing game with the Humminbird Helix Series fish finder!

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The Helix Series also offers large displays that are easy to see from nearly any position on the boat, a feature that comes in handy when you're on a pontoon with multiple people.

Models like the HELIX 7 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G3 offer ample room-to-view preloaded split-screen view options, enhancing your fishing experience and increasing your chances of a successful day on the water.

Garmin Striker Vivid Series.

Garmin Striker Vivid Series
  • High-quality imaging and vivid color display for clear underwater views.
  • Affordable price range without compromising on premium features.
  • Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity for marking hot spots and sharing waypoints.

The Garmin Striker Vivid Series has quickly become one of our favorites in the realm of fish finders, and it's easy to see why. The series shines with its high-quality imaging capabilities and a vivid color display that brings the underwater world to life right before your eyes.

This feature makes it incredibly easy to distinguish between various underwater structures and fish, enhancing your ability to locate prime fishing spots.

What we particularly like about the Garmin Striker Vivid is its affordability. Despite offering premium features typically found in higher-end models, it stays under the $500 mark.

This balance of quality and cost-effectiveness makes it an excellent choice for anglers seeking value for their money.

The Striker Vivid series also features built-in GPS, allowing you to mark and return to hot spots, docks, and ramps. Wi-Fi connectivity lets you receive software updates and share waypoints with the ActiveCaptain app. These features are especially useful for pontoons, which often cover larger water areas.

Get ready to reel in more fish with the help of the feature-packed Garmin Striker Vivid!

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The Garmin Striker Vivid Series is a fantastic choice for pontoon boat owners.

Its vivid color display, high-quality imaging, affordability, and GPS capabilities make it a reliable and valuable tool for any fishing expedition.

Deeper Start Smart Fishfinder.

Deeper Start Smart Fishfinder
  • Lightweight and portable design for easy transportation and use.
  • Phone app integration for convenient display of fishfinder data.
  • Excellent reading capabilities for still or mild-movement waters, expanding fishing options.

The Deeper Start Smart Fishfinder has carved out a unique niche in the market, and it's quickly becoming one of our top picks for pontoon boat fishing. This device is perfect for casual anglers who value portability and ease of use. It's lightweight, easy to carry, and incredibly user-friendly, allowing you to jump into your fishing adventure without fussing over complex settings.

What sets the Deeper Start Smart apart is its innovative use of a phone app to display data. Gone are the days of squinting at a separate screen under the glaring sun. With this device, all the information you need is conveniently displayed on your phone, making it easier than ever to identify prime fishing spots. Plus, this feature saves valuable space on your pontoon boat console, which is always a bonus.

The device offers excellent reading capabilities for still or mild-movement waters, making it a great fit for pontoon boats that often venture into such environments.

Experience crystal-clear imaging and accurate readings with the Deeper Start Smart fish finder!

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Users have praised its ability to effectively read the floor, providing valuable insight into potential fishing hotspots. Moreover, it can scan waters in hard-to-reach places, offering a broader range of fishing options.

The Deeper Start Smart Fishfinder is an excellent choice for pontoon boat owners, particularly those who appreciate simplicity, portability, and modern tech integrations.

Garmin Striker Plus 5CV.

Garmin Striker Plus 5CV
  • 5" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional and ClearVu Scanning Sonar Transducer for clear and detailed underwater images.
  • Built-in Quickdraw Contours Mapping feature for marking fishing spots and creating detailed maps of up to 2 million acres.
  • Easy setup, clear structure definition, and user-friendly design for a hassle-free fishing experience.

The Garmin Striker Plus 5CV is a highly recommended fish finder for pontoon boats, and it's not hard to see why. This model boasts a 5" GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional and ClearVu Scanning Sonar Transducer, delivering clear and detailed images of what lies beneath your boat. If you're after great Down Imaging and sonar capabilities coupled with a quality display, the Striker Plus 5CV is a strong contender.

What sets this model apart is its Built-in Quickdraw Contours Mapping feature. This tool is incredibly useful for marking out your favorite fishing spots and creating maps with 1' contours for up to 2 million acres. This is a fantastic feature for pontoon boats that often venture into large bodies of water, allowing you to keep track of your most successful fishing locations.

Find your perfect fishing spot with the precision of the Garmin Striker Plus 5CV fish finder!

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Users have also praised the Striker Plus 5CV for its easy setup and clear structure definition, especially when paired with an upgraded transducer. While it may not come with pre-loaded maps, it makes up for this with its excellent imaging capabilities and user-friendly design.

The Garmin Striker Plus 5CV is a great choice for pontoon boat owners. Its high-quality imaging, built-in mapping features, and user-friendly interface make it a reliable and valuable tool for any fishing expedition.

Tips for making the most out of your fish finder.

We've got some insider tricks up our sleeve that can help you make the most of your fishfinder. It doesn't matter if you're just starting out or you're an expert on the water, these tips will make you a better angler.

  1. Understand sonar frequencies. Different frequencies are ideal for different scenarios. Higher frequencies (like 200 kHz) are great for detailed imaging in shallow water, while lower frequencies (50 kHz) provide less detail but penetrate deeper waters better. Understanding this can drastically improve your fish finding game.
  2. Proper transducer installation. The transducer is your fishfinder's eye beneath the water. Ensure it's installed correctly - not too high, not too low, and angled straight down. Improper installation can result in poor readings or even damage. Sometimes it's worth paying a boating shop to install it properly.
  3. Learn to read the display. Interpreting what's on the screen is crucial. Learn to distinguish between fish symbols, underwater structures, and vegetation. Remember, not every blip or arch is a fish.
  4. Use split frequency/split screen. Most fishfinders offer split-screen modes showing both high and low frequency views simultaneously. This gives you a more complete picture of what's happening under your boat. All of the fish finders we listed have a split screen functionality.
  5. Adjust sensitivity. Don't be afraid to play with the sensitivity settings. Higher sensitivity will show more detail but can clutter the screen in murky waters. Lower sensitivity may miss smaller fish but provides a cleaner image in certain conditions.
  6. Mark your spots. Use your fishfinder's GPS capabilities to mark successful fishing spots. These waypoints can guide you back to high-activity areas in the future, increasing your chances of a good catch.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Spend time getting to know your fishfinder, and don't be afraid to experiment with different settings.

You don't need a bass boat when you have a pontoon!

Choosing the right fish finder for your pontoon boat can make a difference in your fishing experience. With the right tool, you can confidently navigate the waters, pinpoint the best fishing spots, and increase your chances of reeling in a big catch. So don't underestimate the power of a good fish finder!

Remember to consider key features such as GPS capabilities, sonar technology, screen size, and ease of use when deciding. And be sure to check out our top 5 recommendations

John Malcolm

John Malcolm

Expert Angler

John is a highly skilled angler with over two decades of experience and a passion that has led him to participate in numerous tournaments, including reeling in a remarkable 9lb bass on Lake Okeechobee. His dedication to fishing and willingness to share his expertise make him a respected ambassador for the angling community, inspiring others to appreciate the sport.

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