Fish Finder Review 2020 – Which sounder should I buy for my Kayak or boat. With kayak fishing and boating booming, this has become a very common question. The reality is this question is generally answered by your available budget, fishing style and features needed. This guide will walk you through those prices and features to help you decide.
Watch the video below of s roadtesting a Lowrance Elite ti2 7 sounder in a Hobie Pro Angler Kayak. You can also see more Kayak Fishing Videos.
If you have a Hobie Kayak than Lowrance is a preferred brand choice. That’s because most Hobie kayak models come out of the factory Lowrance ready. Lowrance ready mounting brackets underneath the kayak so you can easily attach the transducer that comes with your sounder to the mounting brackets. This means no drilling during installation simply unscrew, attach run the cables through and screw back on.
Fish Finder options based on tier
We generally separate sounder fish finders into 3 separate categories entry-level, mid-tier and high end. Which have a contrasting price point and set of features designed for different applications.
Entry-level fish finder recommendations generally priced between $400 and $1,000
- Lowrance Hook Reveal
- Garmin striker plus
- Garmin echoMAP Plus series
Mid-tier fish finder recommendations generally priced between $1,000 and $1,500
- Lowrance elite ti2
- Simrad Go series
- Garmin echoMAP UHD
High-end fish finder recommendations generally priced $1,500 and above
- Lowrance HDS live
- Simrad NSS evo series
- Garmin echoMAP Ultra
- Furuno FCV & GP series
Lowrance fish finder available options
So, let’s first look at the different Lowrance options available. The FishFinder Sounder Hobie Kayak guide. As the image below shows the Hook reveal would fit in the entry-level category, elite ti2 in the mid-level and HDS live into the high-end category.
Lowrance Hook Reveal Fish finder review 2020
These new fish finders just hit the market in Jan 2020 and are a successor the very popular Hook 2 range. ( The Hook 2’s will continue to be available for some time and can be seen below ). These sounders would be considered more to entry-level tier with a good starting price but nice set f features. These fish finders are marketed as the worlds easiest to use fishfinder with set and forget capabilities. The new HOOK Reveal is marketed to makes fishing easier. With powerful performance with fish-finding tools including, Autotuning Sonar, DownScan Imaging and now FishReveal technology. These makes fish easier to see by combining CHIRP sonar and DownScan Imaging on one screen. Navigating is simple with the GPS Plotter, which makes route, trail and waypoint navigation is easy.
The Lowrance Hook Reveal is available in the following options
- Hook Reveal 5 inch with GPS Plotter, Maps, DownScan and deep water performance
- Hook Reveal 7 inch with GPS Plotter, Maps, DownScan, SideScan and deep water performance
- Hook Reveal 9 inch with GPS Plotter, Maps, DownScan, SideScan and deep water performance
Lowrance Elite Ti2 Fish Finder Review 2020
The Elite Ti2 was released in mid-2018 and build upon the success on the existing Ti models but add even more features such as active Imaging, Fish Reveal and a range of connectivity options. These units are great value for money and Lowrance target this at Avid Weekend anglers. Providing a heap of functionality without the premium price tag.
The Elite Ti2 has CHIRP Sonar, Down Imaging, TotalScan, including StructureScan HD. As well as Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity for download software updates directly, custom maps and pairing to other units.
The Ti2 has touchscreen functionality, the ability to syn and connect with Trolling motors. These are a nice step up from the Hook 2 range providing more scanning, clearer screen and stronger readings.
The Lowrance Elite Ti2 come in the following options
- Elite 7 Ti2 + Active Image + 3-1 Transducer + CMAP
- Elite 9 Ti2 + Active Image + 3-1 Transducer + CMAP
They also come available in 12 inches would be unpractical for a kayak.
These start around the $1,000 price point and go all the way up to $3,000
Check out this image of a school of snapper we found using our elite ti2 sounder on a small boat on traditional sonar scanning.
You can see the video of this fishing session below.
Lowrance HDS Live Fish Finder review 2020
Released in 2019 the Lowrance HDS live range are high-end fish finders aimed at tournament anglers and boats. It’s Lowrance highest performing Fishfinder with Sonar and connectivity technology. Picking up where the previous series names HDS Carbon left off but adding a whole range of new and exciting features.
Including active imaging, which provides greater detail without sacrificing range or having to change frequencies. There’s also active Imaging 3D enhancement, FishReveal, LiveSight Forward & Down – giving you a much more comprehensive view of fish activity.
You can even integrate the sounder with other units, live radars, google maps, weather updates, music, and smartphones.
The Lowrance HDS lives come in the following options
- HDS-7 Live + Including Active Image + 3-1 Transducer + CMAP
HDS-9 Live + Including Active Image + 3-1 Transducer + CMAP
They also come available in 12 and 16 inches would be unpractical for a kayak.
These start at $1,500 and go all the way up to $5,000
Lowrance Hook 2 Fish Finder Review 2020 ( superseded by Fish Reveal in May 2020 )
Released towards the end of 2017 the Hook 2 range are your entry-level sounders. Lowrance suggests that these are targeted at casual anglers. They are the most affordable starting from as low as $100 and by far the easiest to use. They do still provide a good level of functionality without needing to change settings or complication. These are very good units for beginners. Everything is pre-setup and ready to use on the water.
These are very intuitive with the simple one-thumb operation, and the ability to switch between down scan, side scan and GPS quickly. The fish finders are available in SplitShot, and TripleShot providing CHIRP, DownScan and StructureScan. As with all products you get what you pay for. These compared to high-end fish finders are missing things such as touch screen, chart plotting, and have limited range, and not as accurate reading. They are however great value for money and will do an excellent job telling you the water depth, temperature, and will give basic readings of schools of fish, bait and structure.
The Lowrance Hook 2 come in the following options
- Lowrance Hook² 4x + Bullet Transducer
- Lowrance Hook² 4x + GPS + Bullet Transducer
- Lowrance Hook² 5x + SplitShot Transducer
- Lowrance Hook² 5x + GPS + SplitShot Transducer
- Lowrance Hook² 7x + GPS + TripleShot Transducer
- Lowrance Hook² 9x + GPS + TripleShot Transducer
They also come available in 12 inches would be unpractical for a kayak.
Downscan vs traditional 2D Sonar
Traditional 2D sonar shows a radius under your boat whilst Downscan gives a clearer view with more detail straight down of what is underneath you. Both can be very useful, but it’s great to have both.
Down imaging vs Side imaging
Fish Finder Review 2020. This image really represents this difference between side imaging, down imaging and traditional 2D sonar. Each view telling a different story. Down scan has a narrow beam pointing down giving you a clear view of what’s directly under you, Traditional gives a general view of a radius to the sides and underneath you and side imaging casts a beam out to each side of the boat giving you a lot more detail of fish and structure in the distances.
Installing a sounder or fish finder on your kayak or Hobie
If you’re like me you may need assistance having your sounder installed. There are some great local centres that will do this for you at a small fee. This would include AWS in Geelong and SL Hobie. Please call those centres directly to arrange a time to have your sounder fitted.
You can install different branded sounders but the installation of the transducer may be a little more complicated and require some custom parts and installation. A good example of what can be seen in the embedded video below.
Additions or corrections
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