Need a new PWC fish finder to supercharge your next fishing expedition? We recommend some of the best models currently available.
A fish finder for a jet ski makes fishing less of a guessing game and more of an exact science.
It uses sonar technology to create a graphical display of the underwater world below you. This gives you the opportunity to get a glimpse of any fish or good fishing landscapes.
But, fish finders aren’t all equal. Choose the wrong one and you’ll be left frustrated and maybe even without fish!
We explain the important features you should be looking at and recommend some fish finders that are perfect for jet ski use.
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Our Jet Ski Depth Finder Recommendations
These are the 3 devices that we believe are worth your consideration.
Humminbird Helix 5 * Our Top Pick *
One of the more classic models available, the Hummingbird Helix has long proved itself as one of the top fish finder systems on the market.
There have been several iterations of this model made, and they continue to get better with each passing year.
The Helix 5 has a 5-inch color screen and an easy to navigate display. A big difference between these mounted models and the handheld devices is the size and quality of the display on offer.
Five inches is far superior to anything a handheld GPS device can offer, and the color and fidelity are of noticeably higher quality.
It comes with built-in CHIRP dual beam plus sonar. However, this dual functionality does make it more expensive than others on this list. This kind of technology gives you an amazing amount of control over what you choose to see on the screen.
You can choose to view extra detail that includes fish and the underwater landscape or just focus on what matters to you. Side and top imaging modes even allow you to see the lake or sea bottom with incredible detail.
It also comes equipped with Humminbird’s Basemap. This is an extensive map system based on information from LakeMaster and NOAA. It gives you a clear view of the terrain beneath you and also identifies things like hazards, marinas, and points of interest. It is labeled with depth markings, contours, and spot soundings.
The Autochart Live feature enables you to create detailed maps of your favorite fishing spots in real-time too. This is an excellent feature that just makes fishing way too easy!
Don’t be surprised if it takes a couple of trips to the water before mastering this model. There are a lot of features to get to grips with. But, there’s a big payoff in terms of performance if you’re willing to persevere.
The Helix 5 is without a doubt one of the top fish finders on the market. There are so many amazing features that perhaps it’s not best suited to those that aren’t willing to spend a bit of time “getting to know” it, but there’s a huge pay off for those that are.
Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder * Amazing Value *
The Garmin Striker 4 is a great option for someone who wants a solid PWC depth finder but doesn’t want to spend the world. It’s really easy to use with impressive location accuracy.
It makes great use of Garmin’s CHIRP sonar technology to give high fidelity images and a timely representation of exactly what is beneath you in the water. It shows a real-time display of fish passing through its transducer beam.
It uses a 3.5-inch display, which is small but it can pack in a good amount of detail. Having a smaller screen means that it’s incredibly portable and can easily be attached and removed via the mountable base. It actually only weighs 8.1 oz (230g) which is incredibly light in comparison to other PWC depth finders.
Although there isn’t a chart plotter, waypoints can be stored on it which is very convenient when it comes to revisiting excellent fishing spots. It works in water depths of 1,600 ft of freshwater and 750 ft of saltwater which should suffice for most people.
Ironically, despite being much cheaper than a lot of popular jet ski, Waverunner or Sea Doo depth finders on the market, most people find the Striker 4 easier to use than some of the more expensive models with tons of bells and whistles.
As far as bang for your buck goes, it doesn’t get much better than this!
Raymarine Dragonfly Pro Fishfinder
One of the leading jet ski fish finder/GPS/chart plotters is the Raymarine Dragonfly Pro. The Dragonfly Pro has plenty of features including a map, compass, and a fish finder.
Like most good PWC fish finder systems, a high sensitivity GPS is combined with detailed sonar technology to give accurate underwater mapping.
Its color screen is 7 inches in size, so even the smallest of details can be spotted easily. To top things off, the Dragonfly Pro is even waterproof.
The Dragonfly Pro is bulkier than some other options due to the large screen. However, it can be easily removed so if it’s taking up too much space it can simply be placed in storage.
It’s an awesome piece of kit that’s full of features but it’s also got a price tag that some may find off-putting.
Recommended: Don’t miss our guide to the top jet ski fishing cooler racks.
Here’s a quick run-through of some of the things to look for when buying a fish finder for a jet ski
We start with some more general advice, before going on to some more specific features.
A solid, dependable fish finder is going to cost a minimum of $100, with some costing a heck of a lot more. It really depends on what functions you’re looking for.
Just remember that expensive Sea Doo or Waverunner depth finders aren’t always the best, and affordable ones aren’t always the worst. Find the best fit for your needs.
The more expensive fish finders offer greater accuracy. What this means is they have improved technology that gives a more accurate picture of what lies below.
Besides the standard sonar and GPS combination, they might have nautical maps installed and allow you to add information of your own.
They offer a huge amount of options, which might be overwhelming for some.
Ease of use
Any fish finder for PWCs is going to be a little difficult to figure out at first.
It makes sense that a basic model with only one or two functions is going to be much more simple to use than a unit with 5 or 6 uses.
It’s important to look over the manual and give yourself some time to learn how to use the device. Just like with anything else, practice makes perfect.
Recommended: Check out our guide to the perfect PWC for fishing next!
This is one of the most important factors in choosing a fishfinder system. Some systems are overly complicated and difficult to use which renders them pretty ineffective to all but the most dedicated of users.
A good interface includes a large, well-defined screen and a menu navigation system that is intuitive and clear. A button system or touchscreen that is responsive and straightforward is a must too.
The Garmin models tend to have well-designed interfaces that make them among the easiest to use.
The handheld models obviously have smaller screens than the mounted models. A portable fish finder should also not be too large and be well enough designed that it can be used with just one hand if needed.
First and foremost you need a certain degree of waterproofing. A rating of at least IPX7 is a must. This gives enables a device to be submerged in water of up to 1 m depth for 30 minutes.
It should be able to take a certain amount of bumps and bashes to. The best handheld depth finders have rubberized edges that make them durable and long-lasting.
The last thing you need is your navigation failing you when you’re far out at sea. Battery life for the handheld models tends to average about 15 hours but can last as long as 25.
Ideally, you want a device where battery changes can be made easily. It’s always good to carry a back up just in case. Some devices use simple AA batteries, while others use more expensive lithium-ion types.
Related: Don’t miss our guide to fishing accessories for PWC.
Installing a fish finder on a jet ski isn’t the most straightforward of tasks and you’ll need to be pretty handy with a drill.
The first issue is mounting the transducer in the hull. Most guides are for boat installation and recommend drilling a hole in the hull. Besides being a really expensive option, this option isn’t advisable if you ever run your PWC on to beaches or cruise really low water.
Thankfully, there’s a much simpler choice available that’s much cheaper too!
PWC generally have really thin fiberglass hulls and you can simply attach the transducer to the inside of the hull with some good marine epoxy. Since the hull is so thin, the performance drop is barely noticeable and you’ll still be able to get high fidelity marine imagery.
The other tasks involved in the installation of a fish finder on a jet ski are the routing of the transducer and power cables and the mounting of the display.
We’ve found a really helpful guide to jet ski depth finder installation.
They go over the steps in detail and will be able to ease any worries you might have.
Choosing the Right Jet Ski Fish Finder
When trying to decide on the perfect fish finder for your needs, don’t be swayed by all the fancy features. Simply, only get what you need.
If you’re a casual user that values simplicity and value for money then the Garmin Striker 4 is a great choice.
If you need something a bit more powerful then the Humminbird model deserves a look at. It’s got some amazing features that make it a stand-out when it comes to finding the best fish finder for a jet ski.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the models we’ve listed here. They represent a wide range of what’s available with regards to features as well as budget range.
We’d love to hear from you if you have any experience with these models (good or bad). Likewise, if there’s a model that you recommend, let us know in the comments down below.
Had a old gps I used for year but it was complicated.. It doesnt make sense how complicated gps are to work! Just looking for something that will be easier to use..
I feel your frustration. Fortunately recent gps units are much easier to work than older models. If you’re having trouble figuring things out on your own, there’s no shame in reading the owners manual or looking up an online tutorial. Keep on trying, I know you’ll find a gps you like!
Thanks for the recommendations
No problem Shaw. Hopefully we helped you find a good GPS.
Why does it seem like the screen quality on gps units are always so bad?
You bring up a good point. It’s definitely odd seeing a lack of quality on GPS screens considering phone screens are so much better. Hopefully as technology advances more affordable GPS units will come with better screens.
Thanks for the comment.
Any recommendations for a depth finder on a jet ski?
Thanks for reaching out! The Garmin Striker has a built in depth finder, and it’s compact enough to carry on most jet skis. Hope that helps!
So weird to think that when I grew up we just used maps and a sense of direction. Gotta admit a gps is way better though!
Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. Great all around review.