Do Portable Fish Finders Really Work?

As we advance in technology, everything advances, even fishing! Anyone fishing off a kayak or the shore will always have some bit of jealousy when it comes to people in bass boats. The reason for this of course is because they have a fish finder, and we don’t, but…. That is all about to change. They have now come out with portable fish finders that you can cast out into the water and it will give you the same information, that a normal boat fish finder would.

You will get to see things like water temperature, depth at the current location, and fish. All this sounds really awesome for us shore anglers, but do these things actually work, and are they worth the money? Well, we are going to take a more in depth look and see if these things can really help us catch some fish. I chose the Deeper PRO PLUS Smart Sonar that can be found HERE, and am very happy with my purchase!

Do Portable Fish Finders Work?

Yes, in fact they do work, and rather well from my experiences with them. They will give you accurate readings on the depth at the location of the sonar, the fish that are swimming around, and also the temperature of the water where you are at. Here are a few features of the portable fish finders that may entice you even more:

  • Wi-Fi connected wireless.
  • No Internet or Cellular data required for most.
  • Compatible with iOS and Android.
  • Great for all styles of fishing: shore-, ice-, bank-, boat-, kayak-, river-, float tube fishing;
  • Works on Fresh water and Salt water
  • Great ranges, up to 330ft.
  • Depth mapping anything up to 0.5in to depth of 260ft.

As you can see, there are some great features to these portable devices, but do not be fooled, there are a few quirks to get over, and some draw backs, but all in all, this device is going to change shore fishing in a big way. AS an added benefit these sonar devices work for any type of fishing, Fresh water, Salt Water, and even Ice Fishing.

Setup And Things You Need

The setup on these is quite painless, but there are things that you will need. When you buy the device, it comes with everything you need to set it up and start using it, but you will need some extras to get it working. The first thing that you will need extra, is a smart phone device because that is how you will get the screen to see the actual fish finder. Even though this is not included, most people have an Apple, or Android phone, so this should be somewhat painless.

Deeper PRO PLUS Smart Sonar

If you do not have one of those style phones, you may want to re-think getting one. The next item that you should probably get is a plastic smart phone case, and the reason for this is because if you drop your phone in the water while looking at the sonar, you could potentially be out a very expensive phone, and that is just going to ruin your day.

The final most important thing that you will need is an extra fishing rod, and reel so you can actually cast your sonar out, and retrieve it back when you want it. Most people have an extra rod laying around, but if you don’t, it might be a good time to go get one. One extra thing that you will probably want to get, is a heavy duty clip to attach to your line, and the sonar device that will not break easily.


There are some quirks to the portable sonar that people might find to be a pain, but for me, these little annoyances were hardly a drawback from the benefits of the device. The first quirk was that the water temperature was not super accurate, and was not always giving me a good reading. It was not extremely off, but a few degrees can make a small difference depending on what fish you are trying to catch.

The second quirk is that when you cast the sonar out and it hits the water, the connection can get interrupted causing you to have to close and re-open the program to view the finder window. Again, this is an annoyance, but having to close down the application and re-launch it only takes a few seconds, so it is not a deal breaker for me.

Anything hitting the water after we cast is going to be a harder impact, so they may come up with better insulation in the future. All in all, for these two things to be the biggest quirks in using the device, it is well worth the money to compete with boaters.

Benefits And Draw Backs

Now it’s time for the Good, the Bad, and The Ugly with these little devices. Like all great things, there is some bad to these little devices, and there is one really bad thing about using these items on the shore. Here is a breakdown of what I found to be the good, the bad, and the really ugly when fishing with a portable sonar device:

  • The Good: You actually get a fish finder on shore. This is just awesome, and it actually works, it really does. If you have always wanted to know what the depth is, or if there was fish in a certain area, this thing does the trick. You will now be able to tell if you are fishing an empty area, or if the fish just are not biting your bait and you need to change up. This is a real game changer for every angler.
Deeper PRO PLUS Smart Sonar
  • The Bad: The cost of one of these devices is around $200 for the one I got, and they can go up from there. There are is also the two little quirks of having to close the application down, and possible temperature variance. Other than that, the only other thing is that you have to charge it after every use, and usually gets about 10 to 12 hours of batter life.
  • The Ugly: Okay, so there are a couple of things that can really be bad about this portable device. First, if you have a bad cast, and you end up snapping your line and it goes sailing out into the lake, you are either out of luck, or you are swimming. The other issue that could arise is that you get it snagged in a tree or bush, and you have to climb into poison oak to retrieve it. You have to keep in mind that this is actually like casting bait, so you really need to watch your cast, and your surroundings, or you could snap that little thing off.

How Does A Fish Finder Work

How does a fish finder really work. Fish finders work almost exactly how sonar works in the military, so in operation, an electrical impulse from a transmitter is converted into a sound wave by an underwater transducer, named a hydrophone, and sent into the water.

When the sound wave hits something solid in the water like a fish, rock, tree, or bottom, the sound wave bounces back to the surface and is picked up by the fish finder, and displayed on the LCD as whatever it hit. Depending on the size of the object, depends on what gets displayed on the screen. Sound travels faster under water, so the images are displayed extremely fast on the fish finder screen. This is how you can see the fish moving, or the bottom going by while you are trolling.

Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder with Gps for Kayaks and Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Fish Finder
2,044 Reviews
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder with Gps for Kayaks and Boats on Shore Ice Fishing Fish Finder
  • HIGH SPECS AND ROCK SOLID CONNECTIVITY: Casts out up to 330ft and scans down to 260ft. Precise 0.5in target separation....
  • BUILT-IN GPS: Create bathymetric maps from the bank, boat, canoe, kayak. Access all your scans, maps, points of...
  • REAL-TIME DATA: Two beam frequencies with 15 scans per second. View depth, see bottom structure and consistency,...

Final Thoughts About It

When I first heard about these portable devices, I waited a few years to see if the technology would get better, and it absolutely has. On top of that, the price has come down quite a bit as well, so that is another great thing. When I bought the Deeper PRO PLUS Smart Sonar, I paid around $200 dollars for it, and it was well worth it.

I highly suggest this product to anyone that does shore fishing only and really wants to see what is out there in the water. One suggestion I would make to everyone is use the BRAIDED line when connecting it. If you use braided line, the chances of you snapping your sonar off when casting is going to be almost none, so that with a heavy-duty clip should serve you just fine, and you will not have to go swimming for it. All in all, these things are worth the money, and I highly suggest them.

Leave a Comment