When I bought my Ocean Kayak Trident 15, it came with an older Lowrance Hook 3x with a scupper mount transducer. Honestly, there was nothing wrong with this setup except the 3″ screen is very small and I really wanted a unit that has ClearVu/Downscan depending on your manufacturer.
My other consideration was I have two kayaks that I use depending on the circumstances, and I don’t want to spend the money on TWO fish finders to outfit them both. So my install needed to be modular so I can move my new unit between kayaks.
This is the old fish finder completely removed from the kayak. It was still fully functional so I sold it for $20 since I had no intention of using it anymore.
After a long search for the right fish finder, I decided on the Garmin Striker 7CV. It has a 7″ display, which is a huge step up from my previous 3″, and the ClearVu function provides a high-resolution image of the bottom structure beneath you. Below you can see an example of traditional versus ClearVu images and you can see the difference.
You can see in the image on the left, it is unclear what the returns are close to the bottom. They don’t look like the classic fish arches, but aren’t clear structure either. The image on the right is the same area but in ClearVu. There you can clearly see the brush and underwater structure that could he holding fish.
If money was not an issue, I would love to have a SideVu model but they are considerably more expensive. Below is an example of traditional sonar, ClearVu and SideVu together. Traditional Sonar and ClearVu only provide an image of directly below your transducer, and the area included in the return is directly related to the frequency you are using and the depth of the water. In less than 10 feet of water you are essentially looking at only an area as wide as your kayak which means if it isn’t below you, you can’t see it. SideVu allows you to see a wide swath of bottom terrain on both sides of your kayak. This allows you to target structure that could hold fish and you don’t need to be over top of it in order to see it.
Having decided on my fish finder model, my next challenge was how to mount the transducer. The Trident series comes with a transducer compatible scupper hole, so you can mount the entire assembly without drilling. However, the recess in the bottom of the kayak is only big enough to fit a small traditional sonar tranducer. The ClearVu and SideVu transducers are considerably larger and would provide significant drag and be exposed to damage when launching and recovering.
RAM Mounts manufacturers a kayak-specific transducer arm that allows a modular mounting platform that can conform to a number of applications. The transducer arm mounts to the top of your kayak deck and is a bendable aluminum arm you can conform to your kayak and choose how far you want the transducer to sit in the water. As you can see below, it conforms to the hull of my kayak and allows the transducer to sit just below the hull for the best image.
I used Scotty low-profile mounting tracks on either side of the decking next to my sonar pod. A 1″ RAM mounting ball with a t-bolt attachment provides the base to attach the transducer arm. Because the mounting point is a round ball, it allows the transducer arm to rotate up and out of the water if I want. When transiting from one location to another, I typically pull my transducer out of the water and let it sit on the top deck to eliminate the drag. Once I get to the location I plan to fish I can rotate the arm down and in the water to begin scanning the bottom. Most importantly, the entire arm assembly is removable so I can transfer it from one kayak to another. Any kayak with a track system will allow this setup to be used without drilling or modifying it.
Sticking with the RAM mounting system, the base for my display is a 1.5″ ball mount attached to the bottom of my sonar pod with 3 pop rivets and sealed with silicone.
This RAM mounting arm and plate is designed specifically for use with fish finders and uses an AMPS mounting hole pattern that can be used with a variety of manufacturers.
Another big advantage to the RAM mounting ball as a base, it allows for almost unlimited range of motion to customize the height and angle of your screen depending on your application. Again, when I move my unit from one kayak to the other, the same mount can be used on either one because it is adjustable.
The power cord is run from the battery inside my hull through the existing hole inside the rod pod and to my display unit. The extra transducer cord can be bunched up and tucked behind the RAM ball, again hidden under the rod pod when on the water.
Completely installed, the cover to my rod pod provides protection from water and being struck by objects as well as a sun shade so the screen is more easily seen.
Below is the system completely installed on my Trident 15 and ready for the water. I have been using it for a few months so far, and I don’t have any complaints about how the system functions. It does take a few minutes to get set up once I am at the ramp, but the ability to take it with me to either kayak without drilling or modifying is worth the extra setup time.
This last picture is the same fish finder setup in my Native Slayer 14. A 2nd 1.5″ ball mount was the only additional purchase necessary to move the entire system over. Because the display mount is adjustable, I can position the screen how I can best see it from the taller frame. The integrated rails on the Slayer make mounting the transducer even easier, and the flexible arm can be re-positioned to conform to the different hull.
Every application will be different and it is doubtful your setup would be identical to mine. However, I put a lot of research into modular mounting options and hopefully it can give you some ideas on how to install your own fish finder.
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