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If you’re not familiar with fishing electronics and fish finders, mounting a transducer inside your kayak can be a daunting task. Yet, it’s easy and simple enough!
Mounting a transducer inside of your kayak is fine. Clean the area thoroughly with alcohol and use waterproof silicone to adhere the transducer to the hull without air bubbles. Transducers can “shoot” through the plastic as long as there isn’t an air space between the transducer and plastic.
Once you decide to mount your transducer inside the kayak, the next step is getting it done! Here are my simplified steps to gluing a transducer inside of your kayak’s hull!
Let’s get started!
How To Glue a Transducer Inside the Kayak Hull
The simplest way to mount your transducer is inside the kayak and have it shoot through the hull. One caveat is once it’s glued in place, you can’t move it from kayak to kayak as easily if you need or want to.
Be sure to remove the mounting base or plates before gluing the transducer to the inside of the kayak.
The materials needed are quite simple, and most homes either have them on hand already or are easily purchased at your local hardware or Home Depot, Menards, or Lowes.
Glue a Transducer Inside a Kayak in 9 Easy Steps
Materials Needed: You’ll want a small tube of waterproof silicone, a bottle of isopropyl alcohol or similar cleaner, clean paper towels, a magic marker, and an optional sponge for rigidness and support.
- Locate a spot for your transducer that is out of the way of your feet and gear.
- Dry fit your transducer cable to be sure they reach from the unit to the mounting spot.
- Thoroughly clean the mounting area with isopropyl alcohol or a similiar cleaner.
- Use a magic marker to outline your transducer where it will be mounted.
- Fill the area with a smooth layer of waterproof silicone going 1/4″ past the outline to ensure complete coverage.
- Place a smooth layer of silicone onto the bottom of the transducer’s surface.
- Firmly press transducer into place while slightly rotating to ensure solid adhesion.
- Be extra careful. Do not allow any air bubles in silcone or it will interfere with performance!
- Optional Step: Cut a hole in a sponge for the transducer to snugly fit in and silicone the sponge and transducer to the kayak hull for increased support and stability.
That’s the simple version of installing a transducer inside a kayak, and if you’re good to go, that should serve you well.
But there are more to transducers than just sticking them into your kayak or beneath the waterline. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?
Will a Transducer Work on a Kayak
Transducers come in many shapes and sizes. The size of the transducer will increase once you get into the side-imaging, or even Livescope models and mounting places may become more difficult.
Generally speaking, all transducers will work on a kayak. Some transducers perform better mounted below or to the side of the kayak. Small transducers are easier to mount inside of the kayak. Since transducers can shoot through plastic or be mounted elsewhere, all transducers will work on a kayak.
If you’re looking for a basic fish finder to show you the bottom contours of the water you’re fishing, a small puck-type transducer will most likely fit your needs well.
With it, you can determine depth, find channels and old roadbeds that will hold fish, and even mark fish right on your unit! Puck transducers can easily be mounted both inside and outside of the kayak.
The large side-imaging transducers can be cumbersome to mount inside your kayak. Since they need to shoot downward and to both sides of the kayak, and inside mount will not work as good as other mounts.
Larger-sized transducers are better served to be mounted outside of the kayak’s hull, or some kayaks even have larger designed holes to mount them through. My ATAK 120 has a separate scupper hole for very large transducers!
Learn more about scupper holes in my article: What Are Holes in a Kayak For? Should You Plug Them?
What Is a Kayak Transducer
Since most kayaks are slightly smaller than their big-brother fishing boats, there are fewer places to mount a transducer on a kayak than on a larger boat.
Companies have been quick, though, to develop specialized transducers and mounts for for kayaks.
A kayak transducer is the working part of a fish finder turning electrical impulses into sound waves and sending them through the water. Once these sound waves hit an object, they are reflected back to the transducer, turned into electrical impulses, and shown as objects beneath the water.
A kayak transducer is often smaller than other transducers designed for larger boats. Larger transducers generally have many more options than what a kayak fisherman needs or uses.
Today’s modern anglers are opting to use fish finders with side-imaging, the ability to accept mapping SD cards (chips), and also chart and map-making abilities.
More stuff costs more money, right? You can spend quite a bit more on higher-end units with all the bells and whistles, but a basic fish finder and transducer setup will do you fine!
Where Should a Kayak Transducer Be Placed – 5 Options!
There are places a transducer will perform better or need to be mounted to operate the way intended. Always mount them in a spot they won’t be limited in their function.
The five most popular places to mount a transducer in a kayak are the following: Through the hull, through the scupper holes, with an attached side-arm mount, with a portable suction cup mount, or a kayak specific mounting system. These mounts will provide excellent results and are easy to install.
I’ll give you a quick breakdown of each and let you decide which method fits your needs and the fish finder’s transducer the best!
Through the Hull Mount
A popular place to mount a transducer is through the hull. We reviewed gluing the transducer inside the kayak’s hull with the 9 steps above. But you can also place them through the hull as well!
To mount a transducer directly through the hull, you are going to have to DRILL A HOLE IN YOUR KAYAK! YIKES!
Drilling holes into your kayak can be terrifying for some, and it doesn’t seem like a good idea at first. If you’ve never done it before, it’s not that bad of a thing and can open many different modifications for you.
Check out my article on how to drill holes into your kayak! Can You Drill Into a Kayak? The Complete Guide!
When you mount your transducer to the outside of your kayak’s hull, you will need to run the transducer cable back through to your fish finder.
The best and easiest way to do this is to attach your bracket to the kayak and run the wires back into it. A through-hull wiring kit comes with the needed parts to do this.
Hobie makes a quality through the hull wiring kit that can be used on most any kayak. The YakAttacks hull wiring kit is universal and will allow you to run wires and cables where you need them as well.
Compare them both on Amazon and choose the one which fits your kayak best.
Through the Scupper Hole Mount
Transducers can also be mounted through a scupper hole in your kayak pretty easily. It’s actually a straightforward install.
Keep in mind when a scupper hole mount is used is used a transducer can drag along the rocks and sand if you get too shallow. It’s possible to damage the transducer this way.
The Lowrance Kayak Scupper Mount fits into standard scupper holes and does plug the hole.
The Lowrance Scupper mounting kit works best with picks and skimmer-type transducers.
If I had to choose the second-best way to mount a transducer to my kayak, it would be with the Scotty Transducer Mounting Arm!
This kit allows you to deck-mount the transducer on an arm that swings up and out of the way when needed. It can also be used with a gear track that mounts on your kayak so you can run other fishing accessories as well.
The kayak I currently fish out of has its own way to mount a fish finder and transducer which I prefer. But the side-arm mount is one of the most popular and easy ways to mount a system onto your yak!
Speaking of “systems”, Garmin and Scotty have a terrific kayak fish finder combo kit! Everything you’ll need to be out on the water checking depth, finding structure, and seeing fish!
For an inexpensive way to put a fish finder onto your kayak, complete with a mounting system, the Garmin 4 complete with the Scotty mount is really tough to beat!
The kit includes the Garmin Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5″ GPS Fishfinder, and the Chirp transducer. The Scotty kayak transducer mounting arm is included for a simple installation.
The Chad Hoover Side-arm Setup!
This would be the setup I use if I wasn’t using a self-contained system!
Portable Suction Cup Mount
I wouldn’t recommend the suction cup mount for a fishing kayak unless it’s the last resort for you.
Suction cups need to have a non-porous material to adhere to, and if you’re dragging your kayak anywhere, you’re going to have scratches.
These scratches will allow air beneath the suction cup, and you will lose all the suction power, and your transducer will be continually falling off.
Kayak Company Specific Mount
Many kayak companies have their own proprietary way of mounting electronics and accessories to customize your fishing experience and make their kayaks unique.
I fish from a Wilderness Sytems ATAK 120, and one of the options which stood out to me was their Flex Pod System. It’s basically a large container to mount your fish finder (or other accessories) on top, with the battery housed inside.
The Flex Pod System also held keep water away from the cable and power connections since the battery and cables are inside the Pod reducing the chances of electrical shorts.
More information on waterproofing fish finders can be found in my article: Are Kayak Fish Finders Waterproof? (You Better Do This!)
The whole container can be removed from the kayak’s hull by unclasping two cam attachments on either side and simply lifting the unit out when needed.
The transducer mounts on the bottom of the Flex Pod and is a totally self-contained system. When I travel, I can pull it from the kayak and store it behind my truck seat to eat or fuel the truck up when traveling!
Mounting a transducer is an easy task once you understand the options available to you.
Have fun and stay safe out there!