Choosing a fish finder for your kayak almost always involves some tradeoffs. The most common is less power in a smaller size. After all, the space a sonar takes up in a kayak is a much higher percentage than what it would take up in a boat. You want to get the most features in the smallest size.
Humminbird is one of the top names in the fish finder world, and with good reason. They have a great lineup of products offering strong features and great value. The Humminbird Helix G2 is no exception.
The Helix 5 G2 is an ultra-capable sonar that is an excellent choice for your kayak. The Gen 2 series improves on some already great features making this one of our top choices of the best fish finders for kayaks.
CHIRP Sonar and Imaging: The Helix 5 G2 offers both 2D sonar and improved CHIRP technology giving you an accurate picture of the structure, and fish, beneath you. The transducer also works up to 1500ft down and even provides water temperature readings.
Fish Alarm When you’re out on the water, you already have a lot to deal with. Taking away focus to stare at your fish finder isn’t doing you any favors. Humminbird’s Fish ID+ mode offers 3 different settings allowing you to detect small, medium, or large fish
IPX7 Waterproof Rating: With a somewhat high waterproof rating, the unit can be fully submerged up to one meter for a maximum of 30 minutes.
Charts and Mapping: Humminbird’s UniMap technology has been improved in the G2 and offers more detail out of the box. You also have the option of adding a Navionics Chart or Lakemaster with the Auto-Chart Live feature recording up to 7 hours of mapping data.
Portability: Coming in at a size of 4.28” x 7.55” x 1.13” you won’t have to sacrifice a lot of space to get a lot of power
Screen: Its 5-inch WVGA Display makes for a bright and readable screen, even on those sunny days out on the water. The Helix 5 G2 also offers split-screen zoom to get more information at a glance.
Humminbird SmartStrike: Like having your own fishing guide in the boat with you! By entering in some info like season, time of day, temperature, and fish species, you’ll get a custom chart highlighting areas of the map where the specific fish species are most likely to be biting.
SwitchFire Sonar: A hallmark of the Humminbird fish finders is their SwitchFire Sonar technology. Offering a Clear Mode and Max Mode you can adjust on the fly with ease. It allows you to add or remove detail, account for water depth, turbulence, and temperature.
Vegetation Mapping - New to the Helix 5 G2 is a vegetation layer. This is an extremely useful feature if you’re targeting fish that like to hang out in weed beds. Offering enough detail to see gaps and bunches in the weed beds, you’ll have better info to target your fish accurately
The Helix 5 G2 offers a serious punch in a small footprint making it an excellent choice for your kayak. All this power does come at a higher price than other units but offers features usually only seen on larger units typically used for larger boats. The Helix 5 blazed a new path in the fish finder world when it offered side and down imaging for under $500. That was previously unheard of.
The split-screen feature is an absolutely amazing addition as well. When you’re on the water trying to manage oars, rods, tackle, and nets you don’t want to have to use a hand to change the view on your fish finder. The Helix 5 puts your information front and center with a great screen that’s readable even in the harsh sunlight on the water.
When you do have to use a hand, their improved keypad user interface makes it a breeze. A long hold on the mark button saves a screenshot and a short hold sets a waypoint marker.
The transducer is top quality as you would expect from Humminbird. It’s also a bit larger than other units of similar size but mounting is still a breeze. It has the ability to go down to as deep as 1500 ft and also offers water temperature readings. Knowing the water temperature is one of the most important elements to dialing in where the fish are, and what they might be feeding on. This is one of the best features for putting more fish in the net.
If the Helix 5 is a little out of your price range, or if you’re not sure what features are really important to you yet, there are a couple of less expensive options available that will get you on the water tracking fish.
One option is the LUCKY handheld portable fish finder. This is a great unit to get introduced to the world of fish finders. Its portability also makes it easier to use in other situations like shore fishing or ice fishing.
Another great option if the Helix is a little out of your price range is the Garmin Striker 4. Check out our detailed review for more information.
If you need a little more power and have the room on your kayak the Lowrance Elite-7Ti would be a strong contender to consider.
The Humminbird Helix 5 G2 offers a great set of features in a size that fits your kayak. Easily mounted and overflowing with features, this is a great fish finder for those who are looking to upgrade from their first unit, or already know what features are important to them. With Humminbird’s Fish ID you’ll be able to selectively target that trophy cruising beneath you.
If you only get one chance at a fish of a lifetime, you’ll be glad you have the Helix 5 G2 in your arsenal!