Last Updated on June 23, 2022
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The best castable fish finder can help you scout water that may otherwise be unreachable. They’re also a great (and sometimes the only) option for shore fishermen.
I sold my boat a few years ago and fish from a kayak most of the time but I’ll tell you what, there’s something really nice and comforting about shoreline fishing.
If you don’t have a boat or kayak and think that fish-finding technology is out of the question, you’re in for a treat.
In this guide, you’ll find the best castable fish finders for all types of anglers.
These are the seven most popular and well-recommended options out there!
Comparison Table – Best Castable Fish Finders on the Market
|Deeper Smart Sonar CHIRP|
|Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable Fish Finder|
Best Battery Life
|Garmin STRIKER Cast |
Best Bluetooth Fish Finder
|ReelSonar iBobber Bluetooth Castable Fish Finder|
Best For Beginners
|Deeper START Smart Fish Finder|
|Venterior Portable Fish Finder|
|LUCKY Portable Depth Finder |
- Comparison Table – Best Castable Fish Finders on the Market
- Reviews of Our Favorite Castable Fish Finders
- Choosing the Best Castable Fish Finder: Here’s What You Need To Know
- You’ll Also Need
- Castable Fish Finder FAQs
- Final Thoughts
Reviews of Our Favorite Castable Fish Finders
Deeper Smart Sonar CHIRP
- Size: 3” /3.2oz
- Range: 330’
- Battery Life: 6-hours
- 3-beam CHIRP sonar
- 330’ range
- Fully charged in 75 minutes
- GPS and mapping
- Range can be slightly exaggerated
Why We Chose It
When choosing the best castable fish finder, we’re looking for a few things. First, we want something that operates properly and is easy to use. Casting fish finders are notoriously known for bending the truth and describing one-percent situations that won’t exist for most anglers.
For example, the Deeper Smart fish finder claims to have a range of 330-feet but I think we all know that very few of us will ever experience that range. It’ll be more like 250-feet when all is said and done.
This is because they’re describing absolutely perfect situations where you’re fishing right in the middle of the city, have a perfect connection on your phone, and the water is totally still with no chop at all.
These conditions are less than common so expect to dumb it all down a little.
That said, these factors do not mean that this is a bad fish finder. I chose it as the top choice because of the three frequency chirp, mapping, GPS, and impressive .4” target separation. These are the things that the Deeper fish finder does very well.
Another thing you look for is durability and functionality. Castable fish finders can take a beating when you’re clunking them off rocks and stumps all day. These are designed for this purpose and Deeper has enough experience in the industry to make a fish finder that will hold up.
Plus, you get six hours of runtime and a full charge in about an hour and a half so that’s not bad either.
All in all, if you’re in the market for a casting fish finder, this is the one you want. It’s the best of the best right now and most people would have a hard time arguing that.
Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar Castable Fish Finder
- Size: 5” / 3.5oz
- Range: 330’
- Battery Life: 6-hours
- Great GPS with wifi connectivity
- 330’ casting range
- Durable and simple design
- Cheaper than the Deeper Smart Chirp
- Less effective two-beam sonar
- Heavier and larger
Why We Chose It
No, you’re not having deja vu but you are right about these two fish finders being very similar. They have slight differences that can make a big difference on the water. Let’s talk about them.
The most notable difference is the change from 3-beam CHIRP sonar to dual-beam traditional sonar. What does this mean exactly? It means that you’ll end up with a less clear picture between structure and fish. The change is almost unnoticeable but those of you highly experienced with fish finders may notice it.
Another change is the size and weight of the castable device itself. It’s a little bit larger and bulkier than the Deeper CHIRP fish finder. Again, this difference is almost unnoticeable and in many cases, a bit larger of a unit may be a good thing because it’ll help with casting distance and precision.
You still get the great Deeper bathymetric mapping with contours and GPS though so you’re not sacrificing much between both castable sonar units.
I think the main deciding factor here will come down to price tag. You can get the PRO+ for a bit cheaper than the CHIRP one. Without extensive experience, you may barely notice the difference between the two so if you’re trying to save a few bucks, I give this one preference.
If you’d like to read more about the Deeper Pro Plus, I wrote a full review here!
Garmin STRIKER Cast
BEST BATTERY LIFE
- Size: 3” / 2.6oz
- Range: 200’
- Battery Life: 10-hrs
- Access to legendary Garmin technology
- Optional ice fishing flasher mode
- Fish ID technology
- Great battery life
- GPS model is an upcharge
- Shorter range than Deeper models
Why We Chose It
There are three main reasons to get this castable fish finder from Garmin. First, is the battery life. The Garmin STRIKER Cast has a 10-hour battery life which of course, may be a bit exaggerated but it’s still the best on the market right now. The reason it has a long battery life is because the unit only scans when it’s in the water.
As soon as you remove it from the water, the sonar stops running automatically.
The second standout feature of this unit is the access to incredible Garmin technology. While the Deeper brand may own a big share of the castable fish finder world, Garmin simply owns the fish finding world.
Since you’re deploying Garmin fish finding technology, you now get access to the Quickdraw community containing a ton of maps with 1-inch bottom contours as well as preloaded charts displaying the best fishing locations at any given lake or pond.
Lastly, this fish finder comes with a flasher as well that displays directly on your smartphone screen. You can use the flasher for ice fishing as a great way to scout the water to determine the best locations to set your tip ups and jigs.
The downsides of the Garmin STRIKER Cast aren’t overly significant. As I’ve said, the range of fish finders generally skews lower than they say but I think Garmin is being honest with this one. 200 feet is a safe bet and something you would expect.
Overall, it’s a great castable fish finder from a brand we all know and trust. The sonar is solid, accurate, and effective and the fish finder unit is durable and high-functioning.
ReelSonar iBobber Bluetooth Castable Fish Finder
BEST BLUETOOTH FISH FINDER
- Size: 3.2oz
- Range: 100’
- Battery Life: 10-hrs
- Loaded with tech
- Works with iPhone and android
- Highly affordable
- Limited scanning depth range
- Shorter range because of Bluetooth
Why We Chose It
Up until this point, they were all wifi capable fish finders. This means that they piggyback off the internet your phone is using which in most cases I imagine would be mobile data. The iBobber requires you to set up a Bluetooth connection with your phone. This has some pros and cons.
The main pro is that you’ll have a more reliable connection to your phone resulting in less choppiness. The downside is that you’ll have less range.
The iBobber also has a great battery life of up to 10-hours. It can sometimes last even longer depending on how much you’re pushing it.
One thing I like about this fish finder is all the added tech it comes with. In addition to simply scanning for fish you get waterbed mapping, weather info, trip logs, GPS tapping, water temperature gauges, fish alarms, and strike alarms.
I also like the fact that it looks like a regular bobber even though it is a little bigger than some of the other options here.
The cold hard truth about the iBobber is that it doesn’t meet some of the expectations set by the other best castable fish finder picks. It can be hard to connect to your phone, any chop in the water results in lost connections, and the range may be even less than advertised. The price is right though!
Deeper START Smart Fish Finder
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
- Size: 4” / 2.3oz
- Range: 165’
- Battery Life: 6-hours
- Simple and effective
- Connects via wifi
- Compact and lightweight
- Limited features
- Issues using it for shore fishing
Why We Chose It
If you’re interested in the Deeper castable fish finders but you want something a little simpler, this is the one you want. It doesn’t come with fancy GPS or an expensive price tag but it does what a fish finder does best, it finds fish.
The lightweight and simple design is easy to rig and cast while also reeling in effectively and shedding any debris along the way. The Deeper Smart Sonar Pro has a 165-foot range with 40 degree sonar scan. All scans are automatically saved to the app so you can check back and review them later.
The battery life on this guy isn’t as good as some of the other options. It only lasts for six hours and it takes two and a half hours to charge so once it dies, you’re likely done with it for the day.
One thing I found to be incredibly interesting about this casting fish finder is the issues that anglers are having casting it from the shore. It’s actually advertised as a shoreline fish finder but a lot of anglers complain that it won’t work in the shallow water of 10-feet or less. This is interesting.
I think it could simply be a user error in a lot of cases. According to the manufacturer, it should work in any water that is deeper than two feet which shouldn’t be an issue for most anglers unless you’re trying to fish in a puddle.
Either way, I think this is the best option for beginners because of its simplicity and overall ease of use. Don’t stress too much if you’re a shore angler, I’d say most people won’t have these issues.
Venterior Portable Fish Finder
- Size: 3”
- Range: 262’
- Battery Life: 3-6-hours
- Comes with a 2.6-inch monitor
- Simple and easy to use
- Lacking advanced technology
- Hard to read in the sun
Why We Chose It
The Venterior fish finder is a great example of, “you get what you pay for.” This fish finder won’t blow anyone away but it serves its purpose and they charge accordingly. The main thing that stands out about this one is the fact that it comes with its own unit for you to read on.
You don’t need a smartphone or anything to use this castable fish finder. Plus, there are no wires either even though you have an actual unit in your boat. Everything is handheld, lightweight, small, and portable.
So, the question is, why would someone choose this castable fish finder over some of the other options here? First, if you don’t have a smartphone you’ll have to choose this one because the rest require it. Second, if you’re fishing really shallow water you’ll want this one as well.
Perhaps you’re trolling the bottom of the shoreline for catfish or something. If that sounds like you, this fish finder will work well.
Besides that, it’s a budget unit. It doesn’t use CHIRP or any advanced sonar and don’t expect it to be fiercely accurate. If you’ve never used a fish finder before, this will improve your game. If you’re used to expensive units, you might want to pass on the Venterior.
LUCKY Portable Depth Finder
- Size: 2.68×1.18×4.8
- Range: 25’
- Battery Life: N/A
- Simple to use and read
- Great for beginners and kids
- Extremely limited
Why We Chose It
To round out our reviews, let’s take a look at the Lucky fish finder. This unit isn’t necessarily “castable” but it operates in a similar way. It comes with a transducer at the end of a 25-foot cord. You’ll toss that out in the water and it’ll read everything at a 45-degree cone angle down from wherever it’s sitting.
This unit serves as a depth finder and fish finder. It doesn’t offer anything besides that. The fish finding technology displays basic fish icons on the screen with limited images of structure as well. Keep in mind that fish finders like these are prone to error so you’re not going to receive a 100% accurate reading all the time.
I highly recommend this affordable fish finder for beginners and kids. Allow them to introduce themselves to the world of fish-finding technology without having to spend a ton of money or learn a million different things.
Choosing the Best Castable Fish Finder: Here’s What You Need To Know
As you made your way through the castable fish finder reviews, you may have realized a few things. These units are simple, easy to use, but effective when used in the right context. While they might not be as expensive as top of the line Garmin Echomap or Humminbird Helix 10 units, you still want to get the right unit for your needs.
In the following sections, I want to break down some of the factors I considered when choosing the best castable fish finders.
Performance and Accuracy
The most important factor to consider when choosing a fish finder is accuracy. Without an accurate reading, what’s the point, right?
The accuracy of the unit you choose will depend on the quality of manufacturing itself paired with the type of sonar and sonar cone. For example, if we compare the Deeper CHIRP sonar up against the iBobber, there’s no comparison.
CHIRP sonar will be more accurate, it will provide more readings, and you’ll get much more effective target separation. This means that the fish finder will have a less chance of confusing fish with vegetation, stumps, or whatever else is floating around.
Another consideration is overall performance. If the sales page says it has a total range of 300’, does it actually have that long of a range? I find that with a lot of castable fish finders, many things are exaggerated.
It’s like when you buy a “four-person” tent to realize that it barely fits two people comfortably. My goal for this guide was to choose the fish finders that I feel best represent accuracy, performance, and honesty in their descriptions.
Range and Scan Depth
Range refers to how far you can cast it and receive accurate readings. Scan depth is how far it will scan down into the water once you’ve casted it. These are important for a variety of reasons.
The longer the range, the more flexibility you’ll have in terms of where you can put it. If the casting fish finder you choose has a short-range, you’ll have to get closer to the fishing spot you want. The further you can stay away from the fish, the better.
Scan depth is an important consideration because it determines how deep the fish finder will read. The essential thing to remember here is accuracy. While the manufacturer may say the fish finder has a scan depth of 150’, will it be accurate at that depth or not?
In most cases, the max scan depth will yield a poor result so there’s no point in going that deep anyway.
All of the units chosen for this guide combine optimal range with depth and accuracy. You should have more than enough of both to make the fish finder highly functional.
While it’s not always possible to gauge the durability of something by looking at it online, it’s one of the most important features of a castable fish finder. These things can take a beating if you’re not an accurate caster. If you bang them around too much, they can become damaged and inaccurate.
Thankfully, most portable fish finders contain a hard shell covering all the internals. These shells are waterproof and well sealed to prevent anything from leaking through.
While this might be true, I still recommend being extra careful with where you cast. Try not to bang it off docks, stumps, or rocks. It will increase the overall lifespan of your fish finder while ensuring it stays accurate along the way.
Ease of Use
A fish finder is only as good as the angler using it. If you can’t figure out how to use it, you won’t have much luck catching anything. When it comes to ease of use we’re looking for simple operation, limited steps, and basic controls.
The best thing about castable fish finders is they work in familiar territory. Since you’re using your smartphone as a way of controlling and reading the unit, you’ll have a smaller learning curve.
Most of these fish finders are relatively simple too. They’re not loaded with complicated features, mapping, or GPS technology. Even the ones that have GPS and mapping are simple to use because the dashboard is on your smartphone.
One of the most important considerations is set up. A lot of anglers have a hard time getting fish finders set up properly and it’s what leads to bad reviews on a unit that works just fine when set up correctly. Thorough user manuals and instructions can help with this.
Overall, I think castable fish finders are some of the easiest to use. Just make sure you’re downloading the proper app to go along with the unit and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Charging Time and Battery Life
The battery life on your fish finder is important because it will determine how long you can fish before you need to recharge it or change the batteries. Most of the units reviewed in this guide will have enough battery life to last an average day of fishing.
That said, if you’re the kind of person that goes hard when you go fishing then you might want to put a little more thought into the battery life of your unit. Some options like the Garmin STRIKER Cast have a 10-hour lifespan while others are closer to three or four hours.
Keep in mind the “exaggeration factor” here as well. You’ll find that most fish finders that claim to last six hours will only last four. They’ll blame it on the backlight or the fact that you exceeded its range or something.
Don’t expect them to last as long as advertised. Having some type of charging station or backup batteries is always recommended on fishing trips.
Bonus Features (GPS, Mapping, etc)
Castable fish finders are relatively basic in their technology compared to GPS fish finders. That doesn’t mean that they don’t boast some cool features though. Both the Garmin and Deeper Pro fish finders have GPS, mapping, and chartplotting.
Having these features directly on your smartphone is great. You’ll have the ability to share data between various smartphones and even to other fish finders in some cases.
Besides technology, look for things such as charging cords, adapters, mounting hardware, replacement parts, and storage. All of these items are important and the premium manufacturers will include or at least offer many of these.
Lastly, you need to make sure that the wireless fish finder you choose is compatible with your Android devices or Apple iOS devices. Sometimes, the sonar technology only works with one or the other so you need to make sure that your sonar fish finder works with whatever smartphone you plan to use.
You’ll Also Need
If you’ve decided on the best castable fish finder, why stop there? Here are a few other items that I think you’ll like.
Premium Fish Finder
Have you gone through this guide and felt like, “man, I’m just not thrilled or excited about these fish finders.” I understand your pain. There are so many incredible fish finders on the market and sometimes you just feel like you deserve to splurge a little.
If you’re thinking that, check out our review of the best fish finders to find options from companies like Lowrance, Humminbird, and Garmin.
Navigating around the water with a paddle gets old doesn’t it? Since you’re saving so much money by getting a castable fish finder, why not invest in something else along the way. How about something like a trolling motor?
The best trolling motor will make your life a lot easier by allowing you to focus more on the fish and less on the rowing.
Castable Fish Finder FAQs
Garmin STRIKER Cast vs Deeper Smart Sonar: What’s the better choice?
This is a tough one because they’re both equally as great. I’d have to choose the Deeper Smart Sonar though because it has a longer range and also comes with all the great GPS and mapping at a more affordable price.
The main advantage of the STRIKER Cast is that you get access to the amazing Garmin maps.
What is a castable fish finder?
A castable fish finder is one that hooks up to your rod and allows you to cast it out into the water like you would a bobber. Doing so allows you to get a more accurate idea of what is happening where you plan on casting.
Since you don’t have to actually go over there to read the water, there’s less of a chance of you spooking the fish as well.
How do you use a castable fish finder?
You use a castable fish finder by first getting everything set up on your phone. Once you’ve done that you’ll rig it to your fishing line and cast it out. You should be able to see the current readings on your phone and it should adjust as you wait and move the fish finder around.
I hope this guide on the best castable fish finder has helped you identify one you might want to purchase. I recommend the Deeper Smart Sonar CHIRP as the best overall option. The Garmin STRIKER Cast is just a hair below it but it also comes at a more affordable price. The decision is all yours.
Keep in mind your own individual fishing techniques and plans. Perhaps you don’t want a castable fish finder at all. Maybe you’re just looking for a portable fish finder?
Regardless of what you decide on, a fish finder can have a dramatic impact on your game so be sure to settle on one.
Good luck out there!