How To Install A Fish Finder? Complete Guide & Tips

How To Install A Fish Finder

Whether you’re a professional angler or someone who does fishing casually, or you love to cruise on weekends. Then it’s obvious that you would love to have a fish finder with you. So no matter how long you ignore it or delay, sooner or later you will need this. That’s why you need to learn about how to install a fish finder OR how to replace it?

If you have bought a new boat or you may be considering updating your old fish finder, installing a fish finder is a job every fisherman or angler will come along at some time or the other. No matter how easy the task may look, it can be a tiresome one if you don’t know how to do it properly. For example particularly when it comes to drilling down a hole in the hull or helm. That is why it is essential to do the proper installation of your fish finder for its efficient working.

Is it easy to install a fish finder or not? Well, majorly it depends on the location where you are thinking to mount your fish finder. If you have recently bought a new boat and you are considering having a fish finder with a flush-mounted display, then it’s time for you to get comfortable with the drill and a jigsaw. 

How To Install A Fish Finder

Similarly, if you want the sounder to be displayed as binnacle-mounted then you will only need the drill for its installation. If you have opted for a more technical and high-tech fish finder that comprises a through-hull transducer, then it is wiser to let a professional do the job than do it on your own. On the other hand, fish finders with a transom-mounted display can be easily installed on your own with the right motivation and guidance.

How To Install A Fish Finder?

Even if you are using the most basic fish finder, it will take at least two steps:

  • Installation of the finder
  • Installation of the transducer

In addition to this, you will also need to learn how to install a depth finder on your boat, which is also easy to understand and you can do that on your own.

Step:1 Prepare All The Installation Tools:

For an effective installation, you have to make sure that you have got at the right tools and equipments. If you do this step properly, then you don’t have to chase your nearest hardware store every other minute.

You’ll be needing these tools to install your fish finder:

  • Screw gun
  • Masking tape
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Sealant (waterproof, and watertight)
  • Something to draw e.g. Pencil

Apart from the things above, you can also see what would you be needing else. Make sure you have everything before you begin.

Step:2 Install The Display Unit:

After acquiring all the right tools, you have to figure out where to mount the display unit where you can have the best results.

Mounting Fish Finder Display:

For the display screen there are several multiple options for fish finder installation. Either way the installation is based on your decision, if you want it flush-mounted or either you have the console. For the smaller boats that do not have enough space flush-mounting is not an option. For such boats, you may need a third party mounting. The third party mount may not necessarily come up with a fish finder.


If you are comfortable with cutting off your boat, the dashboard will need to go away. For this, the initial thing is that you have to look out if the fish finder can fit and where it is best to fit.

In case the console is missing, the small boats also have a suitable wedge-shaped panel at the crossbow. You will drop the fish finder into that crossbow. You have to make sure that for the unit there is enough depth, and while cutting you have to be vigilant that you are not cutting any wires.

If your boat is small or you do not have enough space then flush mounting is not for you, then you have to go for the binnacle mounting.

Binnacle- Mounting:

As compared to a flush mounting, binnacle mounting display offers a better viewing position to the anglers as well as they also occupy less space. What’s more to this? They are way easier to install as well.

What do you have to do? You have to sit back in your usual position in your trolling or fishing seat, then you have to look around generously to figure where you have to install the mount. Obviously a good position will be the one where you can easily view everything. Keep in mind the mount should get in the way of your gear. 

In some of the binnacle mounts you get the option to move around the screen in your boat so that you can have a diverse view from your boat at different locations. You should also know about How Does a Sonar Work?

How To Install A Fish Finder Transducer?

After installing the display unit, the next most important thing in your fish finder is the transducer. You must know where and how to install it. For the installation of a transducer, it is extremely essential to install the transducer at the right location so that you can have the best view out of your fish finder, and the best image possible.

Using a mounting template, mark a spot where you want to install your transducer. You must have to locate the ideal location for the transom bracket. Before you begin the installation of the transducer, you have to connect the wires to your boat.

Now go get your drill and start making holes for the screws in the template. Before bolting the bracket, make sure to cover the whole area with a sealant to avoid any mess.

It is vital to keep this in mind that when you are doing your job below the waterline, it is a must to use a sealant. If you don’t have the sealant you can also take the help of a transom saver block. You can stick this block to your transom using a professional or strong adhesive. Then the transducer bracket is connected to the block.

Once you are done with mounting your bracket, the only thing remaining is to connect your transducer to this bracket. After that, you just have to connect all the wires. If your wires are big, don’t try to cut them to fit the size as it can greatly affect the performance of the transducer.

Instead of cutting the wires, you have to collect all the extra wire and put that behind your unit (display) OR you can coil the additional wire with your other electrical wires, wrapping or tying them uniformly in one place.

Read: How Do Fish Finders Work?

How To Install A Fish Finder On A Fiberglass Boat?

One of the major problems with a fiberglass boat is that the owners face a tiresome situation while locating the foundation for the fish finder. Binnacle mount is the most suitable mounting for a fiberglass boat, that’s why before installation you must have to take these vital steps:

  1. Location: You have to opt for the best location for your fishfinder, that is easy for you to see from the cockpit. Also, make sure that the location where you are considering installing the fish finder must have enough space for the installation. Install the finder near the power bus and terminals so that you can connect additional electronics.
  2. Start drilling: Do the measurements twice for the holes and begin the drilling. While drilling one may want to be slow and steady but with full speed, you will get a nice and even hole in one go.
  3. Wires: Make sure that there are enough gateways for the wires to access the finder. First, see if there are any holes available. If not, then you have to drill additional holes after the mount.

Installing The Transducer:

After mounting your display unit, and powering it up you can now install your transducer. After the identification of the ideal location for the transducer bracket, hold it against the transom. You can also use a balance to keep it in the right horizontal position. Where the holes of the bracket wind up you need to mark that place. 

Now run the wiring of your transducer to the dashboard. By pulling the wires, coil or wrap up any additional wiring. Note that it is not recommended to cut any additional wiring because it can cause a hindrance in the performance.  Make sure you do not mix the transducer’s wires with the engine wires as well as the VHF cables. 

Now you can begin drilling the holes for the transducer. Drill holes where you did the markings before. You can use an adhesive or sealing coat to cover the clean screws and holes. Now you can connect the transducer. 

After all, the wiring is done properly, and the mount is placed properly, you can now connect all wires to complete the connection, and place your fish finder into the spot.

How To Install A Fish Finder On The Bow?

There are several methods by which you can mount your fish finder to the bow. For example, the flush mount, for most of the boats come up with a panel (wedge-shaped) at the tip of the bow. You can install your fish finder there. 

Apart from this, there is another type of mount called Gimbal mount. It is better than the previous one as it is easy to view because it heightens up the unit from a few inches. On the other hand, the bridge mount involves a bracket. This bracket is installed over the top of the trolling motor near the recess pedal. The unit is mounted at the top of this bracket. 

See! It’s easy to install a fish finder on the bow, and you can do it on your own. The most important thing is to consider the wiring. Always make sure that you run two wires with the power cord. Then run these wires straight into the battery. 

Fishfinder Installation Tools

How To Install A Fish Finder On A Kayak?

While installing the fish finder on a kayak you have to know where to mount the head unit, the transducer, and where you can store the power source needed for the unit. 

Some of the kayaks come with reliable fish finders or sounder pods that offer a complete and easy solution for mounting the unit, the transducer, and the power source. 

You can now find fish finders for the kayak anglers readily in the market and they are quite easy to use as well. With a little practice, and a few accessories one can easily mount the fish finder on a Kayak. Having a fish finder on a kayak must prove beneficial while fishing and when you see it through a fish finder beneath your kayak it will increase your catch rate substantially. 

How To Install A Fish Finder On An Aluminum Boat?

With aluminum boats, installing the fish finders is a very easy task. One can efficiently attach a hull transducer to the mounting hole. Apart from this transom bracket is always a safe option to connect the transducer with the lid.

To Install A Fish Finder Follow These Steps:

  • Get the mounting angle correct: it’s a general rule of thumb to place the transducer on the starboard side. Why? Because that side has the least turbulence and it gives the transducer a chance to perform efficiently. The standard mounting angle for any transducer is eighteen degrees. However, it can vary depending on the mounting kits, because some of them may have shims. You have to simply make sure that the transducer is placed in a tilted position.
  • To mount the transducer, use brackets: While mounting the bracket, be prepared for any kind of adjustments. Keep the gap of ⅛ inch within the primary edge of the transducer and the transom. Mark the holes on the transom’s bottom. Adjust the bracket’s opening so that you can easily move it. Now begin the drilling of the holes. You will see an arrow on the bracket that will align with the bottom part of the transom. Use marine salient on each of the mounting holes.
  • Connect transducer with the bracket:  Connect the pivot posts of the transducer on the bracket’s top. Make sure they are in the right place. Run the cables and then connect it to the fish finder. 

How To Install A Fish Finder On The Center Console?

In the case of a center console, you can mount the gimbal on the top of your dashboard, Or you can also put it inside the windshield at the V-hull. A gimbal-mounted fish finder on a center console is very great because it is very sturdy and strong. The only drawback with such kind of mounting is that you cannot move it because it is fixed.

Installing a fish finder in a center console is very much similar to the installation of a fish finder on a Jon boat. The easiest option of installation would be to connect the transom with a transducer and just run the wires and cables over the stem.

As long as imaging is concerned in a center console, angles usually prefer the installation of a through-hull transducer. Keep in mind that such transducers work from under the boat and provide consistent signal coverage without any turbulence of the motor. However, they do require a big hole in the boat’s hull. That is why it is crucial that a professional does this job.


Installing a fish finder is an easy task. With the right knowledge and equipment, one can do it easily on his own. However, you must be aware of the basics like types of mounting, wiring, etc. That is why I have covered the maximum information from flash mounting to the binnacle mounting so that you guys have no ambiguity while installing your fish finder. Keep in mind that different fish finders vary from each other and so does their installation. Therefore, always read the specifics and instructions mentioned by the manufacturers to avoid any misadventure or wrong installation.

Ricki Cooper

I have been fishing for 11 years. I believe in the famous saying "If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business".

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