Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. more info
It’s quite overwhelming looking for a new fishfinder, there are A LOT of different options there but sometimes too much choice is not a good thing.
Today we are focusing on helping you find the best fish finder for shallow saltwater, after a fair bit of research we have narrowed it down to 5 options (the Garmin Striker 4 is our top pick) which we will cover in more details during the article, but first quickly let’s look at the 4 essentials of a good fishfinder;
4 Essentials Of A Good Fishfinder
Before you go out and purchase a fish finder, these are the 4 essentials that you should pay close attention to;
1. The Sonar Frequency
Something to keep in mind that is that certain frequencies work best for specific things. Now, we could explain what each frequency is best for, but that would take forever. You are bets off going with a fishfinder that uses dual or multiple frequencies to find fish, as these tend to the most effective overall.
Different frequencies work better for finding various sizes of fish at varying depths. CHIRP sonar is always one of the best options to go with here.
2. The Cone
Another factor to pay attention to here is the angle of the sonar cone. For instance, a cone of 15 degrees is great for seeing directly under your boat, but it is quite narrow. If you want to see what is going on around and under your boat, you want to get a model that has a wider cone angle, such as 45 or 60 degrees.
It really depends on your own needs, but generally speaking, a wider angle sonar cone is best for shallow water. On the other hand, for deeper waters, you might want to go with a narrow cone that has a further reach.
3. Scanning Depth
The next important thing to look out for when purchasing a fish finder is how deep it can scan. Yes, today we are talking about models intended for shallow water saltwater fishing. So, one that can go down up to 500 or 600 feet will probably do just fine.
Some can go deeper and some can only go down a couple hundred feet. Just know where you will be fishing and how deep the water is, in order to find a fish finder with a scanning depth right for you.
4. The Display & Other Features
The other thing you want to look out for is that the fish finder has a decent sized display, one with good quality so it is easy to read. The fish finder should also have other basic features like depth alarms, fish alarms, contour mapping, and other such things.
Top 5 Fishfinders For Shallow Saltwater
After a lot of research, we narrowed it down to these particular 5 that we felt are the best for shallow saltwater, let’s take a detailed look at each of them;
1. Garmin Striker 4
The Garmin Striker 4 is a really reliable and portable little fish finder, one that is great for shallow saltwater. It works great in saltwater, it can display obstacles and contours, is great for locating all kinds of fish, and has a pretty decent display as well.
This fishfinder can easily find fish to depths of 750 feet in saltwater, which is actually quite deep, plus it can go twice that depth where there is freshwater. What is also nice about this thing is that you can mark waypoints, things such as brush, rocks, and other obstacles.
The Striker 4 uses CHIRP sonar, with a continuous sweep of various frequencies in order to find fish. It has the ability to locate both large and small fish with relative ease. It comes complete with a built in flasher which alerts you to the presence of fish. It is ideal for jigging, ice fishing, and other kinds of fishing too.
This fish finder comes in a variety of display sizes including 3.5, 5, and 7 inches. The larger the display, the easier it is to see. The display on this thing is a high quality display with good color and resolution, plus backlighting too. All in all, this thing provides near photographic images of the fish underneath you.
- Good display.
- Can go fairly deep.
- Has waypoints.
- Very accurate.
- Battery life could be better.
- Hooking it up is a bit of a pain.
2. Humminbird PIRANHAMAX
If you are on the hunt for a shallow saltwater fishfinder, the Hummingbird is a decent option. One of our favorite parts about it is that it has a sensational display, plus some other nifty features as well.
This fishfinder has a really nice display. The display here is fairly large and easy to read, plus it has backlighting and anti-glare features as well. The resolution, contrast, and color quality on this thing are absolutely great and will provide you with a near photographic image of the fish around and underneath you.
Something else you might like here is that this fishfinder comes with a dual frequency feature, so it can easily find both large and small fish. It also comes with a nifty down imaging feature as well. This thing has a pretty strong power output too, so reaching depths of 600 feet in saltwater is not a problem at all.
This thing also comes with other features such as Fish ID, fish alarms, depth alarms, and even a zoom feature too. This item does also have the ability to identify rocks, brush, and other such obstacles too. The easy to use interface is something we appreciate as well.
- Easy to use.
- Dual frequency sonar.
- Fish alarm and depth alarm + fish ID.
- Really nice display.
- Not the most accurate fishfinder.
- Needs calm water to work well.
3. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
This is definitely one of the cooler and more modern fish finders out there. It works great in saltwater, especially calm saltwater, and comes with a floating transducer that helps make life quite a bit easier. It does have a specific drawback, which we will talk about, one which can also be seen as an advantage.
Ok, so the Deeper PRO+ does not come with its own display. This is the big drawback we talked about above. However, this thing has the ability to use WIFI to sync to your smartphone or tablet, which then operates as your display.
It is convenient because you can choose whatever phone or tablet you want to use, and it does not even need internet. Most modern smartphones have great screens, so you should have a good display.
What we do like about the Deeper PRO+ is that you can just tie it to some fishing line and have it float in the water. It has a pretty far range in terms of connecting to your smartphone, so this should not be an issue. Just beware that it has been known to float away if not properly attached, so be careful.
Other than that, the Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar works just like any other fishfinder. For one, it has the ability to create bathymetric maps from the shore and to map contours, so you always know what the terrain looks like. This thing can also recognize vegetation, fish size, and fish depth. It used dual sonar frequencies for maximum effectiveness and can scan down to 260 feet in saltwater.
- Very easy to use.
- Uses your phone as a display.
- Very accurate.
- Lots of nifty little features.
- Cannot scan very deep.
- Transducer is not the most durable.
- Careful it does not float away.
4. HawkEye Fishtrax
This is a nifty, highly portable, and very easy to use fish finder. Although it is very small, the display is fairly nice and clear, plus it uses dual frequencies, and can even be mounted on your boat if you so choose. This thing is actually quite impressive, so don’t judge it based on its toy-like appearance.
Ok, so to be fair, the display on this thing is a bit small. There is just no getting around that. However, the display on the HawkEye Fishtrax is a VirtuView HD color display. In other words, the resolution and color quality here is very good, and it almost looks like a real picture.
Bigger is not always better. Besides that, the small size of this fishfinder does make it a good choice due to its high level of portability. Just don’t lose it, as it is known for getting lost.
The Fishtrax does have dual frequency intelligent sonar, which is important because it helps to make it accurate, and it helps to find different sizes of fish as well. Now, we did say that this thing is portable, but it can also be mounted on the boat with the right hardware. Although, mounting it is not that easy and does take some knowhow.
You might like how this fish finder comes with an adjustable sensitivity setting for maximum versatility. It also has a fish depth and fish scale indicator, as well as an audible fish alarm, plus a bottom composition indicator as well. What does need to be said here is that this fishfinder can only go to a depth of 240 feet at the very most, which is decidedly unimpressive.
- Great display.
- Dual frequencies.
- Highly portable and easy to use.
- Fish alarm and all standard features.
- Limited durability.
- Cannot go very deep.
- Easy to lose when not mounted.
5. LUCKY Handheld Portable Fish Finder
This one is very simple, portable, and does a pretty good job in the grand scheme of things. It’s no super professional fish finder, but it should get the job done for shallow saltwater.
For one, as you can probably tell by the name of it, this is a portable and handheld fish finder. Yes, it is convenient because you can hold it in your hand easily and just set it down somewhere. On the other hand, some people do not like it because it cannot be mounted anywhere, which can be a drawback depending on your needs.
This item comes with the transducer cable attached directly to it, which is OK, but the cable is not all that long, so the range here is a bit limited.
The LUCKY Fish Finder has a decent display, not the best, but decent. It has color, it shows you the fish and contours, and is fairly bright as well. The quality of the image is not top notch, and it does glare in the sunlight, but it works alright for basic needs. One thing to note here is that the battery life on this thing is only about 4 hours, so that could be better.
Other than that, this fish finder works just fine. It can read down to around 330 feet, which should be good enough for shallow saltwater fishing. It comes with 5 sensitivity options, has a 45 degree angle cone, and uses a 200Khz frequency.
It does alert you when fish are present, and it can see contours too. Like we said, it is a decent fish finder, one best for beginners, but it is by no means a super high tech model.
- Easy to use.
- Highly portable.
- Works well enough for shallow saltwater fishing.
- Battery life is not great.
- Screen could be a bit better.
While all of these will get the job done, the Garmin Striker 4 is our top pick for hallow saltwater fishing. Garmin tends to be one of the more reliable fishing gear brand names out there in our opinion but again all of these should get the job done, it just comes down to your preference.