How To Install A Fish Finder For Top Performance In 2021

Understanding how to install a fish finder is essential to getting the most out of it. I’ve dealt with many fish finders and lots of boats, and let me tell you, there’s no reason to make it difficult. There are many ways to mount the unit and transducer, and you can connect them in a variety of ways.

The most important thing you can do is take the first step. If you want to fish at your best, you should have a fish finder on your to-do list. With this guide, you can get started!


The best new fish finder on the market is useless if you don’t have the right tools and accessories to install it. Before you compile your product list, there are a few important things you should look at first.

Check if you already have auxiliary power cables, check the mirror to see what it looks like, do you have a connection plate? And so on and so forth.

This pre-check will help you determine what to purchase, how to install the fish finder and how long the installation will take. The last thing you want to do is run to the hardware store several times when you may be on the water.

Once you have a clear idea of what you need, dive into this checklist and choose what you want.

Fish Strips

Fishing tape is a useful tool for several reasons, and if you fish a lot, you should have it anyway. You use it to route electrical cables from your equipment to your scroll battery power source. It’s a flat, malleable steel that is pliable enough that you can slide it under the barrel and pull it out. Also, wear gloves so you don’t cut yourself on the fiberglass.

cordless drill with drills

Don’t skimp on the equipment. You need a good, clean mounting hole. So make sure you have fresh, sharp drills and a good quality drill bit for the installation. This will make it easier to install the fish finder.

Masking Tape

Using tape to prevent chipping and cracking of the gelcoat is a good trick I’ve learned from many people. When you drill into the fiberglass, the tape keeps the coating from cracking when the drill bit into the hull.

Fasteners and cables

If you take pride in the appearance of your boat, you should have enough fasteners and wiring bundles to get the job done properly. That way, you can make sure you don’t have a lot of loose wires.

Shrink tubing or insulating tape

You want to prevent moisture from getting into the wire connections, and the best way to do this is to use heat shrink tubing or electrical tape. Shrink tubing is the recommended method, both for safety and aesthetics, but if you don’t have that and don’t feel like traveling again, electrical tape can also be used. You can also use pipe fittings, but they offer the least protection from the elements.

Heat gun

If you are using heat shrink tubing, you will need a heat gun to push it over the connectors. When doing this, be very careful not to point the gun near the gelcoat as it will melt and discolor.

Holder for power fuses

They protect your equipment by ensuring that the spikes do not damage it. There are many different products available, so consult your fishmonger’s instruction manual for recommended products.

Wire Crimping

Crimping pliers or wire strippers are simple tools for stripping and crimping connections. It is an essential piece of the puzzle that everyone needs.

Stainless steel screws

Once you have a clear idea of how you want to install your fish finder, you need the right equipment. Stainless steel is the ideal solution, as you will need protection from all the elements. Bring along your fasteners to make sure you have the right size bolts, washers and nuts. They should be long enough to reach under the boat or console. Sealant is also important to keep the hardware in place.

Individual arrangements

If you are installing a fish finder strobe, the manufacturer of the device will probably sell you an accessory kit that you will want to use here. If you are used to tinkering, you can build it yourself.

RAM is the most popular editing method (we’ll come back to this later), but there are some other methods. Kong and BallzOut are other methods. Just make sure the mount you choose can support the weight of your device without it falling off.

Dashboard saving block

This is a smart strategy if you anticipate that the sensor will need to be moved at some point. Instead of mounting the sensor directly on the hull of the boat, mount the unit and then attach the sensor to the unit. You can now move the unit around the boat without having to remove the sensor each time.

Types of cantilever supports

Screen of fish finder

When you install the Fishfinder software in your boat console, you have three basic strategies. The choice depends on the size of the fishfinder, the space on the console, and the size of your boat.


This is what we call a “flush” to find fish. This is the most coveted species of sea bass. It gives you a professional feel, and it creates a permanent home for the unit. Note that this method will not work for most fish-finding sites.

Cardanic suspension

The gimbal is an adjustable mount that comes with the fish finder. It is easy to mount if you have limited space; you can mount the unit higher so you can see it on the handlebars. Again, this will not work for everyone, and many consoles on newer boats tend to be plastic, so you will need to add an aluminum plate to mount the unit stably and securely.

strange mountain

If you want a little more flexibility and need to move your unit from time to time, third-party mounts are the way to go. If you are trying to figure out how to mount a fishfinder and need more control over placement, RAM and Kong mounts will take you almost anywhere, but they are not durable or strong, especially with heavier units.

Attaching a fish detector to the front of a boat

Three fishing rods with fish finder

Some of you may have a fish finder installed on the bow. If so, you need to make sure you have enough space. You will also need to choose an installation method based on how much space you have and how much you want to spend on accessories.

If you use a kayak with a fish finder at the bow, this method may also work for you. Just make sure you know if you have a fish finder on the side or on the bottom. Anglers of all types will want to look at these mounting options to determine if mounting their fish finder in the bow of the boat is the right choice for them.


I don’t think this method is that common because it requires a fairly precise boat shape, but it can work on some boats with the right plate and design. The problem is that it’s a bit remote and you can only place it at a fixed angle. If you end up with a reflection on the screen, forget it.

Cardanic suspension

If you are mounting the unit on the bow, I personally recommend a gimballed mount. This allows you to lift the sounder slightly so you can adjust the viewing angle. This gives you the flexibility you need to position yourself. The only problem is that once you install the mount, you are stuck with what you have, so make sure you get it right. This method can also take up extra storage space for the pole.

Third parties

The RAM and Kong holders are perfect if you need something that you can move around and move from one position to another. The problem is that you can’t use it if your boat has a built-in foot pedal. Be sure to choose without the rubber ball joints, as they won’t shift or fall off as easily if you find yourself in choppy water.


Deck brackets are great, they fit perfectly where you want them, they provide the right height and position for the unit, and there are many great brands. Companies like Wave Tamer and Deck-It sell deck brackets, which are essentially metal brackets that extend above the outboard motor pedal recess; just behind the pedal at the front of the boat.

To install a fish detection transducer

To understand how to properly install a fishfinder, you must install the transducer on the housing. If you don’t install it properly, you will get poor sonar performance, which you will probably blame on the manufacturer.

Remember that the information you learn in this section does not replace the information in the manufacturer’s manual. It is only general information, but you should refer to the manual to determine where and how to install the transducer.


If you have a fiberglass hull, you must mount the sensor on the transom or in the port. In general, small units are mounted on the transom and large units are mounted on the port plate. Make sure there are no obstructions near the sensor, including temperature and speed sensors. Sensor covers are great for protecting the sensor from hooks and rocks, and although they are a bit expensive for a piece of plastic, they are worth the money you spent on your fish finder.


The most important thing to remember when using aluminum boats is that you don’t want to mount the sensor near rivets or welds, as this causes air bubbles that affect image quality. Most people will probably have to use a sensor through the wall, as they cannot read this material well.

Engine falters

If you don’t know how to install a fish finder, you can buy a kit to help you install it on your trolling motor. These kits are usually of fairly poor quality, but they are easy to use and ideal for beginners.

Sonar cable

The fish finder wiring is probably the most difficult part of installing a fish finder. Not all boats are the same, but many “how-to” guides will give you a similar feel. There are a few key points everyone should keep in mind when wiring their fish finder.

Use a wire rope to pull the wires instead of removing the trim from the boat. Remember that you can also use existing wires to pull new ones. Sometimes there are wires that are never used, you can use them to help pull or push all the new wires.

One piece of good advice I’ve learned is to add a few extra wires when you do that. If you’re already involved in the project, it’s easy to add a few extra wires and you’ll be happy to do it when you want to do something else, like put lights in the street.

When routing the cables from your trolling motor to the bow unit, make sure they don’t get tangled up in the motor. Careful and thoughtful installation is important here. Be careful when installing and temporarily attach the wires to the shaft of the trolling motor and check the motor in various positions to make sure they don’t get caught in the motor.

Wiring diagrams can be found on the sonar manufacturer’s website. For example, if you have purchased a Humminbird fishfinder, you will find all the information you need here.

Here Garmin provides instructions for sensor placement, mounting and wiring.

Frequently asked questions

To connect the search unit to the fuse box.

It’s a lot easier than you think. Keep in mind that while most fish tracking systems use 1.5 amps, a more sophisticated GPS combo fuse requires more than 3-4 amps. You connect the fuse box to the reel battery using a marine grade fuse holder and a built-in fuse that runs from the battery to the box.

This is the most common method of wiring fish detectors because it is less messy and makes troubleshooting easier. The only problem many people have is that it interferes with measurements.

To install a depth gauge on a kayak

The method you use to install your fish finder in a kayak depends on many different factors. The type of fish finder, the type of kayak you want to install it in, and more. The most important thing to remember is that the portability of your kayak will be a factor, so it’s best not to put a permanent mount on it.

Final considerations

Installing a do-it-yourself fish finder is much less complicated than many people claim. Just follow the instructions the manufacturer gives you with guides like this one. I will help you determine the installation method and strategy, but usually the manufacturer is the only one who can tell you exactly how to install a particular device step by step. Be careful, be cautious and check everything. Good luck!

Frequently asked questions

Where can I get my fish finder?

Some professionals and beginners prefer to mount their fish detectors with a hull mount. This mounting involves carefully cutting a hole in the bottom of the boat and placing the transducer in the hole so that it is in direct contact with the water.

How far should the sensor reach into the water?

The transducer should be level on the bottom of the boat or just below it. The leading edge (the edge closest to the back of the boat). Click too high: the transducer is tilted out of the water and cannot hold the sonar signal.

How much does it cost to install a fish detector?

Installing a fish finder is a simple job, certainly not worth the $300. Study the instructions and do it yourself. The only tricky part is installing the transducer, but if you follow the instructions, it will work. Good luck, sir.