So you have a fantastic fishing kayak that you enjoy taking out on the water. It’s an incredible sensation – just you, your little bit of fiberglass or plastic boat, and the open ocean. You may have customized your kayak to make it your own, perhaps adding a trolling motor or other fishing rod storage options. Now all you need is a fish finder to complete the job. Installing a transducer in a kayak is simple because it’s easier than installing one on an actual boat! You’re in luck!
The most common places for a transducer to be mounted in a kayak are the hull, through the scupper hole, on the back near the rudder, or using a portable kit with a suction cup transducer. Some people like to “dangle” a regular transducer over the side of their boat, but this is not recommended because it will significantly decrease the life of your equipment.
The good news is that you don’t need a separate transducer. Even a basic “skimmer” transducer with a mounting bracket attached should be sufficient, and it will effortlessly penetrate the plastic to provide you with an accurate reading. The only thing that will be affected is the temperature indication.
Once you’ve decided on a way to install your fish finder, have a look through our favorite fish finders for kayaks.
1st Method – In the hull
This is the most common technique of installation. This approach is also demonstrated in many forums and YouTube videos.
1) Open the hatch of your kayak and select a good, flat location on your hull for your transducer. If your kayak doesn’t have any method of direct access to the hull, you should consider one of the alternate mounting options.
2) Rubbing alcohol should be used to clean the location. Make sure no dust, filth, or debris is present where you’ll install it.
3) The transducer has to be stuck now. Some people prefer to make a “housing” for the transducer in order to make it more secure. To do so, use a pool noodle (available at almost all Wal-marts and Targets). Using a sharpie, trace the form of the transducer on the center of a 2-3 inch thick slice of pool noodle. Cut out the shape of the transducer with a serrated knife and insert it into the hole until it sits firmly in place.
4) Put some marine goop (or silicone) on the transducer and housing, as well as where you cleaned with alcohol in the hull. Make sure there are no air bubbles trapped in the goop by applying it liberally and ensuring that there are NO AIR BUBBLES. On the top of the transducer and housing, use a piece of duct tape to keep it in place while the goop cures. Place the transducer on the goop and secure it with duct tape after it’s somewhat dry. You may also put a little amount of marine goop on top of the transducer. Allow at least 24 hours for drying after application.
5) To unplug the cable, run it up through a hole (you may also drill one, but keep it close to where you plan to mount the fish finder) and use a waterproof fitting to release it. Only enough should be extracted so that the wire can connect properly with the fish finder unit.
NOTE – This method will allow you to install a transducer without having to make any housing for it. This is only a matter of personal taste; having a housing provides an added sense of security, so if that’s more your style, that’s fine!
2nd Method – Through the scupper hole
This is a really creative approach. The only issue with this is that one of your scupper holes will be blocked, requiring you to find another method to empty your kayak!
If you don’t feel like making something yourself, Lowrance offers a scupper mount that you can simply attach a transducer to and stick through the scupper hole. Even though they claim it’s only meant for Lowrance sensors, you may also use it with Garmin or Humminbird transducers if you put some effort into it.
DIY Scupper hole transducer mount
1) Get a 3/4-inch PVC pipe that is the same size as your scupper hole (usually).
2) In a PVC pipe, insert the transducer mount and make a mark in line with the hole on the transducer mount.
3) Make a hole in the pipe by drilling through it.
4) Remove about 1/2 inch deep from the edges of the holes so that they are two holes facing each other and two cut-off parts facing each other.
5) Attach the transducer by first fitting it in the cut-off area, making sure the wire is out of the top and that it’s been run through the pipe. nScrew the transducer into place through the holes you created.
6) Place the transducer into the scupper hole, making sure it projects at least an inch below the bottom of the kayak.
7) Pipe insulation should be applied to the bottom of the pipe before it is sealed.
8) Use the cap to seal the top of the pipe, even if the wire is protruding from beneath the seal.
9) There you go!
3rd Method – On the back near the rudder
1) Choose a smooth surface on the back of your kayak and mount a metal or plastic plate about 3 inches wide and just a bit shorter than your boat.
2) You’ve created a makeshift transom! The transducer should be placed on the plate, however it should be higher than the rudder or kayak’s bottom. If you strike a rock, the bottom of your kayak will hit instead of the transducer.
3) It’s that simple! Run the cable across your kayak’s top to where you want to install the fish finder. Secure the wires with clamps or twist-ties if possible.
4th Method – Use a portable kit with a suction cup transducer
The most simple technique to install is attaching the transducer by hand. It’s certainly one of the most efficient ways to do it. The portable kits are somewhat more expensive than regular ones, so this method may be a little less cost-effective. A battery is included in each kit, and you can fasten them with the bungee chords on your boat. The transducer is held in place using the suction cup. After you’re finished, remove it from the water, replace it in its bag, and you’re done!