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Kayak Fishing Using Side-Scanning Sonar

Kayak Fishing Using Side-Scanning Sonar

One of the most important pieces of equipment that a fisherman can have is a side-scanning sonar unit. A side-scanning sonar device helps detect fish and other objects on the ocean or lake floor.

The great thing about this tool is that it can be used from almost any fishing kayak without making any modifications.

This post will teach you how to kayak fishing using Side-Scanning Sonar Unit on your fishing kayak so you, too, can enjoy finding those big catches!

Kayak Fishing—Using Side-Scanning Sonar

Flat, smooth bottoms, such as beaches, make it simple to interpret the images. In certain spots, the fish are simple to spot and catch. There are times when reading images might be difficult because of the bright rocks and weeds that appear in the images and throw shadows.

You may use the side-scan in these places since the shadows from nearby buildings mingle with the fish markings. Side-scan sonar can locate fish in the rocks that you haven't been able to detect with your eyes alone.

Dial Down

You will need to dial down your transmit power before fishing through vegetation because of the resulting change in resolution. Otherwise, it will be difficult to distinguish between your bait marks and the vegetation.

Use Best Device

Be sure to ground balance for your unit before starting. You can either adjust it manually or use an external module such as a Humminbird HELIX 5, which will automatically set up four user-defined frequencies and zero out any noise around those frequencies.

The advantage of using this device is that you swivel between frequencies, and the GBS-1 will set them for you.

Rocks Can Be a Hurdle

When running over rocks, it is important to make sure your unit is in the mid or high-frequency (77 kHz) mode because lower frequencies (455 kHz) won't produce as good of a picture through the glint from the rocks. Make sure your unit is on the lowest gain setting possible and not in auto-tune.

Use the shadow mark option on your sounder or change it to a side-scan view, which will show a square around each fish mark rather than individual marks. This makes them easier to see.

The best way to differentiate between marks and structure is by turning through each area several times and looking at the pattern as you go. If your marks don't cross in front of or behind the structure, they are good fish marks.


Most side imaging units give the user an option between two to four selectable ranges: wide, medium, medium+, and narrow (or deep). Using the deepest range gives you the highest definition picture.

If your unit has only these four options, use the shallowest range possible to reduce clutter or see fish marks through vegetation. You can always increase the range settings later if you find clear water between rocks and weeds.

The lower the frequency of your unit, the deeper it will operate due to the bend. If you are imaging in shallow water, keep this in mind, so your unit doesn't bottom out on the structure.

Clear Water is Necessary

To get the best image, it is necessary to find some clear water between rocks and weeds. When you do this, turn around and look back across the area you just passed over at low speed to ensure no fish are hanging around down deep. If you do see fish, run back over them to get a good definition of the type and size of the fish.

You can get even better clarity by getting out on foot or by boat and fishing the area from a distance. This gives you a much better perspective on which areas to run over and not to waste time on.

Be sure to look at your screen in all directions because you can miss fish if you scan back and forth with the unit. Move it slowly across the bottom, frequently stopping to study your marks or take a break so that your eyes will refocus.

How Side Scanning Works

Side-scanning sonar provides the blueprints for what's below the water's surface. A technique that can provide details like elevation data, even on fish underwater.

A vessel operating side-scan sonar sends pulses of high-frequency sound waves from its hull towards the seafloor below.

The pulses bounce off the rocky bottom and return to the boat as echoes at distances varying with water depth. Together, these echoes form an image onscreen, showing any irregularities in the seafloor ahead, such as fish or other objects.

How Side-Scan Sonar Can Be Used in Fishing Industry?

Side-scan sonar is a technology used for marine archaeology, fisheries research, and environmental studies. It produces 3Dmaps that can be compared with seafloor samples to understand differences in material textures on the seabed.

Where Should Side-Scan Sonar Be Used?

Side-scan sonar is a type of underwater mapping equipment that can create images from large areas. Maps created with side scan systems are used to make nautical charts, detect objects on the seafloor and identify features such as ridges or coral gardens at various depths.

Side-scan sonar is a fascinating and innovative tool that can be used for many purposes, such as mapping the seabed. Maps created with side-scan systems would otherwise not be available without this type of oceanographic study!


For those who love to fish, kayak fishing may be an exciting way of catching fish. To do this, you need side-scanning sonar that can detect the underwater landscape and help track down any lurking near your boat or in front of it waiting for food!

To get the most out of the side-scanning sonar, it's important to learn how to interpret what you see on your screen. Anglers can find more schools of fish by understanding how fish and shadows appear in a different light when viewed below.

We hope this article on kayak fishing using side-scanning sonar could help you with the latest technology available for finding fish.

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