Looking For The Best Fishfinder For Pontoon Boat (Reviews)
There’s a lot of boats that are specifically designed for one purpose. Skiing, wakeboarding, fishing, cruising and so on. But pontoon boats don’t necessarily fall under one specific usage category. That’s because you can do all of the things I mentioned above on your pontoon boat.
And because pontoon boats are so versatile, you want to make sure you have a fishfinder that’s just as versatile as your pontoon boat.
Even though there’s nothing inherently different between a fishfinder that you would use on a boat specifically designed for fishing and a pontoon boat, there are definitely things you would want to take into consideration when looking for a good fishfinder for you pontoon boat.
So what are some of those things pontoon boat owners might want to think about when selecting a fishfinder?
- Screen Size
- Transducer Location
- Boat Size
More about these considerations at the end of the article. But first, let’s take a look at a closer look at the top fishfinders for pontoon boats that I think you’ll like.
Best Fishfinder For Pontoon Boat (Reviews)
1. Humminbird Helix 7 Fish Finder Chirp MSI GPS G3 (Top Pick)
The Helix 7 G3N presents MEGA Imaging and a low Q CHIRP 2D at a very affordable price, both of which are significant upgrades compared to older models. Overall cost is one of the major factors that I take into consideration when recommending fish finders. With that said, If overall cost has prevented you from selecting a quality fishfinder, now is a great opportunity to get MEGA technology onto your pontoon boat.
Here are the features and technology behind the Humminbird Helix 7 that makes me really like this fishfinder for pontoon boats.
If you looked at the amazing images being produced on the larger MEGA models but couldn’t afford the cost, the G3N is the affordable option to experience this technology. As of today, there are no other brands that can offer this level of imaging at such an affordable price.
Both fish finder manufacturers, Humminbird and Garmin, now feature “real CHIRP” Low Q transducers. Meanwhile, the other major player in the fishfinder market, Lowrance is still producing “fake CHIRPing”, which is their 2D sonar. The Dual Spectrum Sonar on the HELIX 7 is significantly improved over the traditional 83/200 kHz sonar images.
Networking and Non-Networking
As I mentioned, affordability is a major factor in my selection process, and Hummingbird cuts out the features many of us don’t need on our pontoon boats. This in turn brings the price down. With the Helix 7 G3, Hummingbird cuts out the ethernet which brings down the price for the rest of us.
The Fish Finder For Pontoon Boats
The HELIX 7 G3 is an excellent option for those of you with a pontoon boat. It features GPS mapping, true CHIRP sonar, MEGA imaging and a compact yet easily viewable 7” screen. With this size of screen, you won’t be struggling for room on the control panel to install it, yet it is large enough to be able to see from the other end of the boat.
Features Of The Humminbird Helix 7 Fish Finder Chirp MSI GPS G3
- Dual Spectrum CHIRP Sonar
- MEGA Side Imaging AND Down Imaging
- Bluetooth compatibilty
- SwitchFire Sonar
- 360 Imaging Compatible
- AutoChart Live
- LakeMaster/LakeMaster PLUS/ SmartStrike Compatible
Another affordable option from a manufacturer that is well known in the fish finder industry, the Lowrance HOOK2 7 is a fantastic option for pontoon boat owners.
With 4 different screen sizes to choose from, 5”, 7”, 9” and a whopping 12 inch screen, you won’t have any trouble finding the right size screen for you pontoon control panel.
The Hook2 7 is designed for ease of use and includes Lowrance’s latest and greatest Autotuning sonar, which reacts to changing conditions to provide the optimal underwater view.
While trying to choose the right transducer for fishfinder units has the potential to be a little confusing, Lowrance has made it as simple as possible. Lowrance has included the TripleShot transducer with this fishfinder. The TripleShot provides three different views: Chirp, DownScan imaging and SideScan imaging.
With twice the coverage of traditional fish finders, the Lowrance Hook2 7 Series Sonar allows anglers to cover more water in less time, making it easier to find fish and fish-holding structure.
This expanded coverage makes it easier to see fish and track lures and baits as they fall through the water.
Features Of The Lowrance HOOK2 7 Fish Finder
- 7-inch SolarMax Screen – Crisp, clear views of fish and fish holding structures with the excellent clarity and daylight visibility of a high resolution SolarMax display.
- Automated sonar settings – Spend more time fishing and less time dialing in your sonar with Hook2 Autotuning sonar. Just plug it in and fish.
- Double the sonar coverage – Easy to find fish with double the sonar coverage of traditional fish finders.
- Easy menu operation and dedicated keypad – Make the adjustments you want with fewer key presses via a simplified menu layout and dedicated keypad.
- Tripleshot 3-in-1 Sonar with High CHIRP, SideScan, and DownScan Imaging -TripleShot 3-in-1 sonar makes it easier stay on the fish, delivering the best traditional sonar views and lifelike images of fish-holding structure beneath and beside your boat.
- Built-in GPS Plotter – Save waypoint, follow trails, and navigate to your favorite fishing spot with a simple and accurate GPS Plotter.
- Preloaded With High Detail Maps – Preloaded US inland mapping that features 4,000 lakes with 1-foot contours. Narrow your search for productive water, easily locating fish-holding structure like ledges, drop offs and cover.
FishFinder Considerations for Pontoon Boat Owners
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, that pontoon boat owners have specific things to consider when selecting a fishfinder for their boat. I ran across this article from BetterBoat.com that explains these unique considerations pretty well. You can visit their website for more in depth information on fish finder installation. Here’s what they say about selecting a fish finder for you pontoon:
Because pontoon boats are so large, you want to make sure the fish finder will be easily visible from your primary fishing locations on the deck. Most of the fishing that I do is trolling for trout and salmon, so I really only need to worry about making the fish finder visible on the rear end of the boat.
I simply purchased a fish finder with a larger screen, 7″ (18cm) instead of the traditional 5″ so that the display would be large enough to see from the rear facing fishing seats up to the console where the fish finder is mounted.
Other pontoon boat owners who fish for bass, walleye, and panfish will spend less time trolling and more time anchored or moving to specific areas of structure. In this case, you may spend time on all different sides of the boat, and in that case you may want to purchase multiple screens for your fish finder so that you can see the electronics no matter where you are in the boat.
Also, pontoon boats larger than 22′ will almost always require an extension cable from the transducer to the fish finder because the large size of the boat is usually too much for the size of cord the companies include in the package.
Pontoon boats often have busy consoles and less area to mount a fish finder. When choosing a screen size for the fish finder, be sure to go out and check your boat. You may want a large screen, but only be able to fit a small screen on your console. If that’s an issue, check out my fish finder install guide for pontoon boats for some handy tips.
Pontoon boat owners generally place the transducer on the metal bracket on the aft side of one of the pontoons. This puts the transducer a long distance from the front of the boat, where many bass fishermen prefer to stand when fishing. Having your transducer about 22′ (depending on your pontoon boat size) away from you can cause problems when trying to spot specific fish. If this is the case for you, you may find that you need two fish finders to get accurate locations of fish on different areas of the boat. You may also choose a side imaging fish finder to get this type of information.
Pontoon boats are a special kind of boat that requires a special kind of fishfinder that can meet the unique requirements these boats have.
You can’t go wrong with either one of the the fishfinders I mentioned here, but without a doubt, if I were to recommend only one to you, it would be the Humminbird Helix 7. It has all the features you could want in a pontoon boat fishfinder. Combine this with it’s affordability, and you’ve got a great fishfinder that does everything you need (and more) and won’t break the bank.