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[Is This Even LEGAL?] Best Portable Fish Finder For Bank Fishing

Portable Fish Finder For Bank Fishing - Review Guide

You may have seen portable fishing finders (or ‘fish sonar’) on market recently and without a doubt they absolutely changed bank fishing forever.  To get the best result out from your time on the water, you need a fish sonar that can tell you exactly where the fish are hiding and what the surrounding underwater structure looks like

Having access to a portable fish finder can change the way you fish a location and can make the difference between catching nothing to filling up your stringer.

However, in order to increase your chances of catching a fish the sonar unit you choose has to actually work as advertised, easy to use and last a full day of fishing.

Finding The Best Portable Fish Finder For The Money

In the early days portable fish finders were bulky, displayed unreliable data, and would burn out of battery power in a matter of an hour or two. 

Luckily, recent advances in technology has allowed some of these systems rival sonar units that can cast a thousand dollars or more!

WARNING:  There’s a lot of information about this subject you’ll probably want to come back to. No one expects you to remember all these tips. We know your time is precious, so we really tried to over-deliver in value for you. Additionally, we frequently update reports like this, so you’ll want to stay up to date with any changes or additional tips we include for you. 

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In A Hurry?

The winner is...

Deeper CHIRP+

Sparing no expense, Deeper debuts their top-of-the-line portable fish finder series the Deeper CHIRP series.

Deeper blends technology and functionality into one seamless product…

The Comparison Chart

Best Overall Portable Fish Finder
Deeper Chirp Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder for Kayaks and Boats and on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder
Best Budget
ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder for iOS and Android devices,Classic,Small
Editor's Choice
Deeper PRO+ Castable and Portable Fish Finder for Kayaks Boats on Shore Ice Fishing GPS Wireless Fishfinder Wi-Fi Smart Sonar Depth Finder in a Limited Edition Box
Best 3D Sonar & Mapper
Lowrance FishHunter 3D - Portable Fish Finder Connects via WiFi to iOS and Android Devices
Product
Deeper CHIRP+
iBobber
Deeper Pro+
Lowrance FishHunter 3D
Weight
3.5-ounces
4.3-ounces
3.5-ounces
6.3-ounces
Size (Diameter)
2.5-inches
3.5-inches
2.5-inches
3.5-inches
Compatibility
From iOS 12.0 and Android 5.0 to the latest iOS and Android devices​
iOS and Android devices​
From iOS 12.0 and Android 5.0 to the latest iOS and Android devices​
iOS and Android devices​
Sonar Type
Dual Beam CHIRP
Single Beam
Dual Beam
Triple Beam
Frequency
290 kHz, 15° and 90 kHz, 55°
Data not available
290 kHz, 15° and 90 kHz, 55°
381kHz, 475kHz and 675kHz
Scanning sensitivity/ separation accuracy
0.4 in / 1 cm. Narrow Chirp, 0.94 in / 2.4 cm. Medium Chirp, 0.94 in / 2.4 cm Wide Chirp
Data not available
Narrow Beam 0.4 in / 1 cm. Wide beam 0.94 in / 2.4 cm
Data not available
Scanning depth
Max 260ft / 80 m, Min 2ft / 0.5m
135ft
Max/Min Max 260ft (80 m) / Min 2ft (0.5 m)
160ft
Sonar Scan Rate
Up to 15 scans per second
Data not available
Up to 15 scans per second
Data not available
Battery
Internal: Lithium Polymer, 3.7V Rechargeable, 850mAh
Internal: Lithium 3.7V Rechargeable
Internal: Lithium Polymer, 3.7V Rechargeable, 850mAh
Internal: Lithium Rechargeable
Battery life
Up to 6 hours
10 hours
Up to 6 hours
Up to 10 hours
Battery recharge time
Fast charge, 80% in 45 min., 100% in 75 min
2-hours
100% in 2 hours. Fast charge not available.​
Data not available
Connection Type & Range
Wi-Fi (up to 330ft)
Wi-Fi (up to 200ft)
Wi-Fi (up to 330ft)
Wi-Fi (up to 200ft)
Warranty
5-year limited warranty​
1-year warranty
2-year limited warranty​
30-Day Amazon warranty
Angler Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐⭐⭐
Prime Status
-
-
-
Best Overall Portable Fish Finder
Deeper Chirp Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder for Kayaks and Boats and on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder
Product
Deeper CHIRP+
Weight
3.5-ounces
Size (Diameter)
2.5-inches
Compatibility
From iOS 12.0 and Android 5.0 to the latest iOS and Android devices​
Sonar Type
Dual Beam CHIRP
Frequency
290 kHz, 15° and 90 kHz, 55°
Scanning sensitivity/ separation accuracy
0.4 in / 1 cm. Narrow Chirp, 0.94 in / 2.4 cm. Medium Chirp, 0.94 in / 2.4 cm Wide Chirp
Scanning depth
Max 260ft / 80 m, Min 2ft / 0.5m
Sonar Scan Rate
Up to 15 scans per second
Battery
Internal: Lithium Polymer, 3.7V Rechargeable, 850mAh
Battery life
Up to 6 hours
Battery recharge time
Fast charge, 80% in 45 min., 100% in 75 min
Connection Type & Range
Wi-Fi (up to 330ft)
Warranty
5-year limited warranty​
Angler Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Prime Status
-
Learn Monre
Best Budget
ReelSonar CGG-MY-IBOBBER iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder for iOS and Android devices,Classic,Small
Product
iBobber
Weight
4.3-ounces
Size (Diameter)
3.5-inches
Compatibility
iOS and Android devices​
Sonar Type
Single Beam
Frequency
Data not available
Scanning sensitivity/ separation accuracy
Data not available
Scanning depth
135ft
Sonar Scan Rate
Data not available
Battery
Internal: Lithium 3.7V Rechargeable
Battery life
10 hours
Battery recharge time
2-hours
Connection Type & Range
Wi-Fi (up to 200ft)
Warranty
1-year warranty
Angler Rating
⭐⭐⭐
Prime Status
Learn Monre
Editor's Choice
Deeper PRO+ Castable and Portable Fish Finder for Kayaks Boats on Shore Ice Fishing GPS Wireless Fishfinder Wi-Fi Smart Sonar Depth Finder in a Limited Edition Box
Product
Deeper Pro+
Weight
3.5-ounces
Size (Diameter)
2.5-inches
Compatibility
From iOS 12.0 and Android 5.0 to the latest iOS and Android devices​
Sonar Type
Dual Beam
Frequency
290 kHz, 15° and 90 kHz, 55°
Scanning sensitivity/ separation accuracy
Narrow Beam 0.4 in / 1 cm. Wide beam 0.94 in / 2.4 cm
Scanning depth
Max/Min Max 260ft (80 m) / Min 2ft (0.5 m)
Sonar Scan Rate
Up to 15 scans per second
Battery
Internal: Lithium Polymer, 3.7V Rechargeable, 850mAh
Battery life
Up to 6 hours
Battery recharge time
100% in 2 hours. Fast charge not available.​
Connection Type & Range
Wi-Fi (up to 330ft)
Warranty
2-year limited warranty​
Angler Rating
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Prime Status
-
Learn Monre
Best 3D Sonar & Mapper
Lowrance FishHunter 3D - Portable Fish Finder Connects via WiFi to iOS and Android Devices
Product
Lowrance FishHunter 3D
Weight
6.3-ounces
Size (Diameter)
3.5-inches
Compatibility
iOS and Android devices​
Sonar Type
Triple Beam
Frequency
381kHz, 475kHz and 675kHz
Scanning sensitivity/ separation accuracy
Data not available
Scanning depth
160ft
Sonar Scan Rate
Data not available
Battery
Internal: Lithium Rechargeable
Battery life
Up to 10 hours
Battery recharge time
Data not available
Connection Type & Range
Wi-Fi (up to 200ft)
Warranty
30-Day Amazon warranty
Angler Rating
⭐⭐⭐
Prime Status
-
Learn Monre

#ad / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Over All Features

Best Budget

Runner Up

Best 3D Mapping Unit

Best Corded Unit With Separate Display

Why You Should Trust Us

We used our experiences with the products and looked over hundreds of customer reviews, watched tons of video reviews, and analyzed what the professionals and experts had to say from popular sources like BassMaster Magazine.

We scrutinized the data from the product catalog pages of nearly a dozen manufacturers, and we even tried to interview some of the company representatives to talk shop and get their take.

Together we developed seven key metrics to base our final decision of that the best portable fish finder for bank fisherman is.  Here are the metrics we evaluated: scanning sensitivity/accuracy, scanning depth, battery life, battery recharge time, warranty, user experience, accessories

What type of portable fish finder is best for bank fishing?

There are many factors that go into determining what a great portable fish finder should look and feel like.  All of the fish finders tested and reviewed were able to be cast out in order to be used.  Some of those factors include scanning sensitivity, scanning depth, battery life, re-charge time, sensitivity, warranty, user experience, accessories which we’ll explore individually. 

Scanning sensitivity/accuracy – It is very important the angler to be able to get an accurate difference between predator fish or baitfish. A great sonar unit should tell if the fish are hugging the bottom or suspended.

The best fish finders should also be able to tell you the difference between different structures on the bottom, and show you precise contour changes.  

Scanning depth – Fish can be found on at any depth.  A great fish finder should give you the same detailed information if you are fishing in 6-inches or 160-feet!

Battery life – Quality portable fish finders should have a battery life should last all day.  You can’t afford to lose out on catching fish if your sonar quits on you only after two hours!

Battery recharge time – Having a battery that can charge in a matter of a couple of hours rather than days is key if you are going to hit the lake that same day.  Keeping a charge is also just as important.

Warranty – Nothing gives you’re a better peace of mind that knowing your quality unit has a rock solid warranty should anything happen to it.

User experience – It’s one thing to have the best fish finder on the market, but it’s another thing to have a fish finder that is hard to work or doesn’t pair with the type of phone or tablet you’re using.

Accessories – Having additional accessory parts for your new fish finder is a must especially if you’re going to use it at night or if you take it out on a small boat or kayak.

We took this opportunity to review and test several of the top portable fish finders on the market

Best Fish Finder For Bank Fishing - Deeper CHIRP+

Photo cred: @deepersonar_uk 

But, why is the Deeper CHIRP fish finder the best for bank fishing?

Sparing no expense, Deeper debuts their top-of-the-line portable fish finder series the Deeper CHIRP series.

Deeper blends technology and functionality into one seamless product…

CHIRP is an acronym for Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse. It’s one of the newest sonar types and it gives the angler improved object definition and removes the clutter from the graph.  Overall, it’s just a better way to process the returning sonar information 

Deeper combines their own proprietary techniques of blending state-of-the-art technology and functionality into one seamless product…  to give you a gorilla strong sonar unit, and unparalleled durability, and class-leading sensitivity.

How to use Deeper CHIRP+

"...[the] system has helped me a lot to get back in fishing. I used to fish as a kid and then I got away from it. I started fishing again and in a completely new place than I grew up in, the Deeper system helps me find great spots fast!"

– Will Mouser (professional angler).

The Deeper CHIRP fish finder provides insane target separation. Which means you can easily pinpoint a target species even if they are mixed in a school of bait fish!  How cool is that?!

But that’s not all! Deeper also partnered with some of the best professional kayak anglers to give you helpful add-on accessories for you can quickly install and use the Deeper CHIRP sonar on your boat, kayak or stand-up paddle board. 

This gives you unmatched versatility and longevity to your fish finder, so you can use it for years to come.

Backed by their first-rate 5-year warranty, Deeper gives each customer their Superstar Service.

Tech Specs:

Best Budget - iBobber

Click on the picture to learn more

About iBobber

According to the iBobber website, it states they are a small American company and unfortunately there is very little additional information about the company behind the iBobber and what additional innovations they offer.

However, I did call the number listed on the website and was able to contact a representative.

I was able to test out the iBobber and its saftware is much more basic than Deeper. I was also told it was super easy to install the app on your phone.

If you’re looking for an entry level wireless sonar that is easy to set up this would be the one.

Tech Specs:

Editor's Choice - Deeper Pro+

Photo cred: @deepersonar_uk 

Why did the Deeper Pro+ win the Editor's Choice Award?

The Deeper Pro+ easily takes my Editor’s Choice spot.  This castable sonar unit has a Wi-Fi connection up to 330-feet.  Like a set of wireless headphones your phone or tablet will automatically pair with the sonar. Best of all, no internet connection is needed!  

The Deeper Pro+ also gives the angler amazing scanning depth, up to 260-feet.  

The sensitivity is good, however the feature that really shines is its ability to enable GPS and make contour lake maps for you!  These lake maps (called bathymetric maps in the sonar biz) give you a window to find all the hiding and ambush spots.  It’s like having your own custom topographic map service at your disposal!

For me, this worked amazing in some backwater river ponds where there are no recorded lake maps of the area.

Simple Guide To The Deeper Pro+

A really cool feature is the Pro+ software will allow the angler the option for wide or narrow scanning, plus it has a sensitivity setting to completely bypass murky water.

Since it displays a live broadcast, you also get to see fish arcs, depth, underwater structure, vegetation lines, and bottom hardness.

The Deeper Pro+ is also super versatile and can be easily fitted be used in a small boat, float tube, canoe, or kayak. 

The Like the Deeper Chirp+, the Deeper Pro+ is pretty heavy (like the most of the castable sonars). Its weight comes in at 3.5-ounces. So you’ll have to use a stiff rod spooled with high-strength test line.  We recommend a 65-pound braided line because it floats, it’s very strong, and it’s small diameter makes it easy to cast.

The factors that separate it from the CHIRP+ is that it does not feature the CHIRP sonar and it does not have fast recharge. 

Personally, I feel the Deeper Pro+ is still insanely sensitive and when I’m only on the water for 8-hours at a time anyway, so I really don’t need the fast recharge.  The scanning depth and connection range is also the same as the CHIRP+

Another hiccup I encountered was completely my fault.  Like a kid on Christmas, I quickly opened the box to my sonar unit and tried to connect my sonar out of the water.  It wouldn’t connect to my phone! So I tried my tablet… nothing. I was frustrated, I thought the sonar is broken…

But then I remembered to read the directions. Duh.  The connection will establish once the Deeper Pro+ touches the water!  So I filled a bucket and placed the Deeper Pro+ in and… voila!  It connected!  Sometimes I’m too much of in a hurry to read the directions… don’t judge.  😄

Tech Specs:

Best Sonar With 3D Mapping Software - FishHunter 3D

Click on the picture to learn more

One of the newest editions to the Lowrance brands the FishHunter 3D offers any angler a unique experience of getting a 3D image underneath the water line.

The first thing you’ll notice is the five directional transducers. Using five transducers allows the software to create its class-leading 3D images.

It also has an interesting buoy-like design.  The folks a Lowrance claim it will give the angler a more reliable WiFi connection with FishHunter 3D sonar. They also say it’s difficult to submerge, preventing lapses in real-time viewing.

Like many of the other sonar units no data connection is required.

The FishHunter app also gives the angler to track catches, waypoints and make a basic fishing log.

Weighing in at 6.3 ounces it’s one of th heaviest castable sonar units. And like the Deeper series castable fish finders, you’ll have to use a stiff rod spooled with high-strength test line.  We recommend a 65-pound braided line because it floats, it’s very strong, and it’s small diameter makes it easy to cast.

Flaws but not deal breakers...

Some of the common problems is the GPS is inaccurate, often “tracking” the sonars position extremely off target.  While other complained of spotty service connection with Android devices.  Others have noticed their sonar leaked and took on water and when asked for assistance they received poor customer services.

While I did not have that problem, I did reach out the folks at Lowrance on their customer service line (1-800-628-4487. “Monday through Friday 7am to 7pm central time”) on a Thursday afternoon at 12:30pm Pacific time and waited approximately 25 minutes, then an automated message was offered for one of the techs to call me stating I would not lose my place in line.  So… about an hour later a technical assistant did call me back to help me answer some of the Tech Spec questions.

Tech Specs:

Best International Newcomer - LUCKY Wired & Wireless Portable Fishing Sonar

Click on the picture to learn more

What caught the attention of thousands of anglers is this unit has dual functions as a wired and wireless unit. Meaning, you can use the WiFi and tether it to your phone, or if you don’t want to drain you phone’s battery use the LCD screen unit.

Either way that’s some ingenuity!

In the products description LUCKY mentions that have been in the fishing business for over 10 years.

At a price point less than a couple hundred bucks, that’s a heck of a deal!

Note: The package don’t include power adapter and car charger. It comes with USB cable. so you can charge it with that USB via computer or other electrical device. or you need buy a power adapter US Plugs being available for wall outlets.

Tech Specs

– Featured Article Of The Month –

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FAQ

Does the wireless device have a power on-off switch or do I have to remove battery when not in use?

If you have a wireless floating sonar I will self-detect when in water and only transmits when in water. However, if you don’t trust fish finder’s sensors, you can always remove the battery just to be safe.  If it has a control box (w screen) like the LUCKY fish finger it will come with a power on/off switch.

Is the battery in the base unit transducer replaceable?

It depends on the actual unit.  However if your transducer is the wireless kind,  most are not replaceable.

Does this work with Amazon Kindle?

Some have gotten their units to work on 2018 Kindles, but it really depends on the brand of your portable fish finder.

Can I use the fish finder while trolling?

It is not recommended for trolling more than 1-2 miles per hour and the water must be calm.

Does the wireless device have a power on-off switch or do I have to remove battery when not in use?

Does the castable fish finder tell you the water temperature, or have water temperature readings?

Does the wireless fish finders require a 4g service to work?

All of the wireless fish finders come with an app that is downloaded to your phone.  Then the fish finder links to your phone via Bluetooth. Therefore, it does not need any cell reception to work.

Title picture credit: @deepersonar_uk 

My name is George and I'm been fishing my entire life and love all things outdoors. My passion is helping anyone catch more fish. The newest things I've been doing lately is learning how to break down and clean all my reels, teaching my boy how to kayak fish, and bushcraft wilderness survival.