10 Reasons Why Fish Finders Are Worth the Money

Fish finders can be an extremely effective fishing tool that anglers use to see habitat, fish and important structures. However, they can be costly which raises the question do you really need a fish finder and are they worth the investment?

Simply put, if you fish from a boat or kayak than buying a fish finder is well worth the money. A fish finder will keep you safe, allow you to view and mark important fishing habitat and make you a more effective and efficient angler.  

For more detailed information about why you should consider adding a fish finder to your boat or kayak please continue reading down below.

10 Reasons Fish Finders Are Worth the Money

Fish finders have been a popular tool for many boaters and kayak anglers. But they can be rather expensive making many ask are they worth it?

In my experience having the right fish finder on your boat or kayak is well worth the cost. I’ve fished in kayaks, boats with and without one and it definitely makes a big difference in your overall fishing experience.  

Here are the top 10 reasons why adding a fish finder to your kayak or boat will make you a better angler:

Safety First

Perhaps one of the most important reasons why you should consider adding a fish finder to your boat or kayak is the safety features that you’ll have access to.

Being able to have a digital map of the lake you are on and the potential hazards you’ll want to avoid are worth the cost alone for any fish finder.  

Not to mention if you are fishing a large body of water it can be easy to get lost at times which makes a fish finder with GPS capabilities a must.

You Can Mark Key Spots

Another reason why a fish finder is well worth the money is the ability you have to mark key fishing spots.

You may come across a tree, rock pile or some other type of key structure that holds a lot of fish. Sure you can remember the general area without one and come back.

But, having a fish finder gives you the ability to mark and save your fishing spots for future reference. So the next time you’re at the lake you’ll know exactly where to go and where to cast.

This gives you a huge advantage and will save you a ton of time by allowing you to be a more efficient and effective angler.

Lake Mapping

Can you imagine having a tool that will show you all of the key areas of a lake and the best fishing spots to target in real time? Fish finders can give you that ability.

Most fish finders come with basic lake maps, but adding detailed lake mapping chips like Navionics or LakeMaster is an absolute game changer.

You’ll be able to view contour lines, depths, a ton of details that will help you as you target your fish.

These maps will do wonders for your fishing game and are definitely one of the reasons why investing in a fish finder is well worth the cost.


A fundamental feature of any basic fish finder and perhaps one of the most important is they show you the water depth.

Whether you are fishing up shallow for bass and need to stay in areas that are less than 20 feet or if you are trolling for lake trout and out deep, understanding your depth is super important.

This knowledge will allow you to stay fishing at important depths, keeping your bait and lures in the strike zone longer which can result in more fishing success.

Water Temperature

Another important feature that all fish finders have is the ability to see the water temperature. This can give you a big advantage over other anglers and can make all the difference.

Different fish species have a specific range of water temperature they prefer and this can have a big impact on your fishing success.

For example, let’s say you are fishing in the heat of summer where the water temperatures are really high. Fish will generally move to the coolest water in the lake. This could be a creek or inlet or some random part of the lake.

Knowing what the water temperature is and understanding how the fish will respond through the year gives you a huge advantage. This knowledge will translate into more success out on the water.

A Fish Finder Shows You Habitat

Having a fish finder not only gives you the ability to see your depth and the water temperature but it also gives you the ability to see what kind of habitat and structure is below the surface.

I can’t tell you how many times I have stumbled upon key structures that hold a ton of fish only because I had a fish finder.

This is especially true in deep water. Once you get a feel for what to look for on your fish finder, you’ll start seeing a big improvement in your overall fishing success.

Helps You Find Bait

There is a saying in fish that goes something like find the bait find the fish. Having a fish finder will give you the ability to find bait and forage of your target species more easily and when they are suspended.

Being able to locate the bait can be extremely helpful and when you do find them you’ll usually be able to catch a ton of fish.

Helps You Develop a Pattern

I’ve spent plenty of fishing seasons catching bass without a fish finder and one of the biggest disadvantages I noticed was that I wasn’t ever able to pattern the fish I was targeting.  

A fish finder really gives you the details of what kind of area you are catching your fish in and how you can develop one bite into a pattern that you can run all day.

You’ll be able to see if they are holding to grass, rocks, docks, hard bottoms and so on. This information will help you dial in where they are located and how you can catch them.

Finding the Thermocline

Understanding what and where the thermocline is in your lake can be extremely beneficial. If you are not familiar with the thermocline, it’s basically a dead zone where fish can’t live due to oxygen levels.

Having a fish finder on your water craft gives you the ability to find and see where the thermocline is on your body of water.

This can help you immensely as you look for areas to fish and can prevent a lot of wasted time fishing at depths and areas where fish cannot simply live.  

Video Game Fishing

Fish finders also give you the ability to go “video game fishing”. In other words, you’ll be able to catch fish in real-time that are directly under your boat or kayak.

You’ll not only be able to see where the fish are located on your graph, but you’ll be able to drop your bait or lure vertically and watch them strike.

This type of fishing can be a lot of fun and it’s only possible if you have the right kind of fish finder, setup the right way. Having a fish finder that will allow you to fish this way will help you catch a lot more fish.

Is a Fish Finder Worth it on a Kayak?

Adding a fish finder on your kayak can give you a distinct advantage as an angler, but is having one on your kayak worth it?

Having a fish finder on your kayak is definitely worth it. Sure, you can have a great time catching fish on your kayak without one, but adding a fish finder can be a game changer.

You’ll be able to mark key fishing spots, important structure, view water temperature and take advantage of digital lake mapping and other features.

How Important Are Fish Finders?

There are a lot of boat and kayaks out there that are rigged with a variety of fish finders. People will often ask how important are fish finders and are they worth they expense?

So, how important are fish finders? In my opinion fish finders are a great investment and is one that will keep you safe and enhance your overall fishing experience.

Do you need one to catch fish? The simple answer is no. but it can give you some distinct advantages that will help you be more successful.

Final Thoughts

For years I thought it was a good idea to save some money and fish without a fish finder on my boat. This turned out to be a huge mistake and it wasn’t until I finally broke down and bought one that I realized how important they can be.

Trust me, fish finders are well worth initial investment. They may seem expensive at first, but the enjoyment and benefits you’ll receive from having one makes it well worth it.

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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