Installing Fishfinder in Wilderness Systems Kayak

Garmin fishfinder on kayak

I recently received the Garmin Echo 200 fishfinder from my lovely wife Kate, for my birthday.  I was a little apprehensive about drilling holes into my Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 kayak so I did a whole lot of research looking at youtube videos regarding all the various options to install.  One of the videos deals with the Tarpon 120 here and is a good starting point.  Very nice installation.

The Transducer mounting.    There is a way to hang it off the side, in fact a couple ways.  One is to buy this gizmo and attach it to the kayak via a magnet and hang it off the side.  Kinda cool, but costly.  Here is the video.  Most people do the in-hull installation.  Some use silicone to attach it inside the hull however, apparently there is a lot of potential for air bubbles which will cause noise in the reception.  Also its a mess to undo.  Another method is the water well.  This video compares these methods and definitely convinced me  to use Duct Seal (cheap $3.79 clay like stuff found in the electrical section of the hardware store) to make a little well in the hull to hold the tranducer and water underneath it completing the sonar connection.  When I go out, I simply put a couple tablespoons of water in the well and it works perfectly.  I mounted this thru the front portal as can be seen by the pics below.  I would like to point out the Garmin does provide an in-hull tranducer mount for $20 here, I just felt with there being a slight v at the bottom of my hull, i would be safer making my own well with the duct seal.

The battery.  I chose to use is a 12volt battery UB1250, found on amazon or newegg, with a cost of around $15.  Instead of the 8 AAs hooked up in parallel that he talks about in this video.  It lasts a whole lot longer without recharging.  I went to walmart and got a little plastic box you can see in the pictures.  A pretty tight fit, in fact I should eventually get a dry box a bit bigger to be just right.  I drilled a hole in it and ran the wires thru.  I put velcro tape on the bottom and on the bottom of the hull to keep it from sliding around.

Running the wires to the unit.  I chose to use the Seachoice thru hull cable fitting mounted as you can see in the photos.  You need to snap off the little piece that goes up the center so that both wires will fit in.  I didnt use any marine goop because hardly any water, if any, gets on this thing and it fits nice and tight.  You can get these at WestMarine or Amazon, which came in just a couple days.

Mounting the fishfinder.   You can see the place I chose to mount the Garmin.  I had to use a plastic spacer because the base was a little wider than the indention in the kayak.  I used no marine goop here either.

The Garmin Echo 200 is fantastic.  I tried it out last week at Loon Lake and couldnt be more happy.  It has an easy, intuitive menu and setup.  Very clear and easy to see in bright daylight.  The small, medium and large icons for fish plus the depth that each one was at, was fascinating.  It even shows the water temperature.  The mount that came with it was sweet too, in that the wires locked into the bracket, with rubber caps on them, so that the Echo 200 simply, easily snaps into place.

Author: Geoff

Quick rundown: Grew up in Lombard, Illinois, went to Arizona State University, worked as a CPA with Arthur Andersen & Co, then Laventhal and Horwath, then Rolling Stones, then Heron International, then Goodby Berlin and Silverstein in San Francisco. Moved to the foothills in 1990 and traded futures and designed websites. Married to Kate Stewart, now living in Colfax, CA. We have six grandchildren. I enjoy camping in our RV, hiking, kayaking, fishing, droning and cross country skiing Also conga drumming, photography and dogs.