Are you looking to increase your efficiency while you fish from the bank? Are you tired of looking for natural cues just to get an idea of where the fish are? Well, we have a solution for you.
Castable fish finders are relatively new additions to the fishing world, and they make it really easy for you to find out where the fish are. However, not all of them are worth buying.
We’ve found the best castable fish finder products for your tackle box, and we’ve reviewed all six of them to help you pick the right one for your specific needs. We’ve even included a few useful tips to help you choose one.
How To Pick The Right Sonar Ball For Your Needs
Buying the right fish finder for bank fishing isn’t as easy as simply picking the cheapest one available. Different fishermen will need different features.
Here’s a list of things that you should look out for.
Believe it or not, scanning depth isn’t as important as you probably believe it is. How many times do you actually fish at spots that are deeper than 100-feet? Our guess is that you probably don’t do that very often unless you’re a saltwater fisherman. Most lakes simply aren’t that deep.
Most fish finders can scan depths that are far deeper than 100-feet. So, just about any fish finder will suffice for the average fisherman in terms of scanning depth. The only time it’s really important is when you know that a fishing hole is exceptionally deep. If you like to fish in saltwater environments, you should get something that has a bit more range, too.
These fish finders don’t just sit on your boat. You cast them into the water from the banks. Anytime you cast one of these fish finders, you risk hitting a rock or something else. So, durability is important.
The material of the transducer pod and its general shape are important factors. Ball-shaped transducers are easy to cast across long distances, and they don’t have any small parts that can break off. You just have to worry about hitting something hard enough to split the transducer.
However, some other models have wings and other parts that help them cast out farther or remain stable. Those are great features, but the extra parts can snap off if they’re bashed against a hard surface after a long cast.
Beginners should definitely start with more rounded designs. They’re easy to keep intact, and they perform wonderfully. If you’re an advanced fisherman, try to get a shaped transducer pod that gives itself a few beneficial characteristics.
Some fish finders can work with your phone, and others come with their own receivers. Both types have their own pros and cons.
The fish finders that work with your phone are easy to use, and they decrease the amount of items that you have to carry around. Also, your phone has an awesome display as long as it’s a recent model. In fact, your phone probably has a better display than any dedicated receiver on the market.
However, you rely on your phone for a lot of things. Do you want your fish finder to drain its battery? If not, you want to buy a fish finder that has its own receiver. This type of receiver usually looks like a Walkie-Talkie, and it usually displays limited amounts of information. However, it won’t require you to use your phone, and it works well enough that you probably won’t regret buying it.
Most sonar balls don’t function as bobbers, but some do. iBobber is the perfect example of this.
A bobber-style fish finder allows you to do something rather unique. Instead of casting the fish finder out, looking for fish, and then casting out a normal rig, you can simply attach the fish finder to your rig, and then use it as a bobber. It’ll constantly update its scan records, and that gives you up to date information on the condition of the water throughout your entire fishing trip.
However, bobber-style fish finders are often weaker than standard models. They require multiple attachment points, and their shells have to be made from regular plastic to allow them to function like a normal bobber. Manufacturers also have to cut corners in some areas to add those extra features. So, they usually don’t have as much range as traditional fish finders.
Budget VS Usage
There are very few reasons for casual fishermen to purchase really expensive fish finders. If you’re not fishing at least a few times a week, you just won’t get your money’s worth from a premium fish finder.
However, if you’re an avid fisherman, the extra features and flexibility of a premium unit will serve you really well, and you’ll get more use out of your expensive gizmo.
Freshwater fishermen can also get away with most of the cheaper fish finders. Freshwater fishing holes usually aren’t that deep, and a fish finder’s range is one of the biggest factors that determine its price. However, saltwater fishermen will almost have to buy premium fish finders to get solid readings of the deeper waters that they fish in.
Best Castable Fish Finder: Product Reviews
#1 Deeper PRO+
The Deeper PRO+ is a wireless sonar ball that connects to your phone. It’s one of the most advanced options on this list, and it’s definitely a piece of equipment that avid fishermen will love.
First, Deeper PRO+ gives you some of the best sonar returns possible. You can see the details on fish in the murkiest water, and that helps you identify the species that you’re targeting a lot faster than other fish finders. It also grants you the ability to see detailed images of any structures that are within its range. You can see any holes or crevices in underwater logs, and you can see where weeds start to part. That gives you the perfect idea of where you should cast.
Second, it generates maps as you cast it. Every time you use the Deeper PRO+, it uses GPS to determine its location, and it creates detailed maps that keep track of structures and other necessary bits of information.
You can access those maps while your fishing by using the Deeper PRO+’s companion app, or you can access them from any device when you’re at home. Planning out fishing trips has never been easier for bank fishermen.
Finally, this has one of the longest ranges out of all of the sonar balls that we’ve reviewed. It can scan downward for more than 260-feet, and it doesn’t experience any drops in its sonar quality as long as you stay within that range. It’s a pretty consistent tool.
Deeper also has a model that’s similar to this one, but it doesn’t balance its features against its price as well as the PRO+. If you’re interested in checking it out, here’s the link.
- It has a long range
- Its mapping technology is more advanced than what you get with other products.
- It performs consistently over the entirety of its range.
- It has to be in more than three-feet of water to work. That makes it a bad option for fishing in shallow creeks or ponds. However, sonar isn’t really necessary in such shallow depths. So, it’s not a very big drawback.
#2 Deeper Start
The Deeper Start is another Deeper product, but it’s aimed at more casual fishermen, and it has a price tag to match its more basic features. That doesn’t mean that it skimps on quality, though. You might be surprised by how good this entry-level fish finder really is.
First, it doesn’t have as long of a range as the PRO+, but it can scan downward for more than 165-feet, and its performance is just as consistent as the Deeper PRO+.
Like the PRO+, it doesn’t sink. This fish finder functions like a standard bobber, and it relies entirely on its sonar beam to capture images of fish and structures. The image quality isn’t as clear as what you’ll see on the PRO+, but it’s more than clear enough to get the job done.
One great thing about the Start is that it doesn’t require any mobile data or WiFi to work. It has its own WiFi system built into it, and it can send information to your phone as it reads the underwater environment. Sadly, it doesn’t have the ability to make the same maps as the PRO+. It does record information such as where the fish were, where structures were, the temperature of the water, and other things, but it doesn’t give you detailed maps like the PRO+.
- It’s an affordable alternative to the PRO+
- Its bobber-like design makes it easy to use.
- Its consistent performance is reliable.
- It records statistics that you can view later, but it doesn’t create maps of your favorite fishing spots.
ReelSonar’s iBobber tool is one of the most flexible sonar tools you’ll ever use, and it’s not an expensive piece of kit.
The iBobber is so flexible due to its design and multiple attachment points. It’s a floating unit, and it can be used in two different ways. You can toss it like a normal sonar ball, and you can retrieve it before attaching your normal rig, or you can simply use it as a normal bobber, and it’ll continuously feed sonar readings to your cellphone. Don’t worry about having cellular service, though. Like most sonar balls, it has its own WiFi system.
It looks similar to a normal bobber, too. It has the classic red and white color scheme of a bobber, and it has an LED light that allows you to see it floating around at night.
Finally, all of that wouldn’t be very important if it couldn’t scan the water very well. Luckily, it can produce accurate readings for more than 135-feet of water depth. That’s not as impressive as some other sonar units, but it’s plenty of range to make most fishermen happy. When is the last time you fished in more than 135-feet of water from the bank?
- It’s very flexible.
- It can be used as a bobber on live bait rigs.
- It has a built-in light for visibility while night fishing.
- It’s not as durable as the PRO+, and it doesn’t have as much range. However, it is more than enough for the average fisherman.
This is the best castable fish finder if you want to fish in extremely deep waters. It’s a bit unique when compared to other models that we’ve reviewed, though.
First, the LUCKY’s most impressive feature is its range. It can scan more than 328-feet under the water, and it consistently sends back accurate readings across that entire range.
However, it doesn’t have the advanced display that models like the PRO+ have. It displays thermal signals that simply tell you the size of a fish, the temperature, and the contour of the water’s floor. It doesn’t provide nearly as much detailed information as the other sonar balls that we’ve reviewed.
It also doesn’t connect to your phone. It has its own receiver. That means that you’ll have to carry another device around on top of all of your other gear, but it also means that you won’t have to drain your phone battery to access your sonar readings.
The transducer itself is also quite different than other models. It’s shaped like a little submarine, and its aerodynamic shape allows it to cast much further than ball-shaped models.
- It has an extreme amount of range.
- It has its own receiver. So, it doesn’t drain your phone battery.
- It has a unique transducer that casts very far.
- The display is not nearly as advanced as what you get with other models.
#5 LUCKY FF1106
This LUCKY model is a great budget option if you liked the previous LUCKY that we reviewed. It’s quite a bit cheaper, and it has most of the features that the other LUCKY model has. However, it sacrifices a bit of range in exchange for its lower price.
First, this LUCKY has about half the range of the first LUCKY. It can accurately read the water in depths up to 147-feet. That’s more range than what most fishermen need, but if you like to fish in the ocean, you might want the first LUCKY.
The rest of it is basically the same. It has its own receiver, and the receiver displays the same basic information as the first LUCKY. However, it’s a little easier to see in poor lighting conditions due to its larger screen, and it has a light built into it.
The transducer is also a bit different. Instead of a submarine-shaped transducer, it comes with a yellow ball. That reduces its casting range, but it’s a little easier to keep on target since it’s less likely to wobble around in the area. It can also absorb shock a lot better. It has fewer small parts that can get knocked off due to its design.
If you like this unit, you might also want to check out this LUCKY product. It has the same features for the most part. Only a few things are slightly different.
- It has a traditional ball transducer.
- It has the same design as the more expensive LUCKY.
- Its receiver is easy to read at night.
- Like the other LUCKY, it doesn’t display as much information. It outperforms other models in most areas, but it just doesn’t provide as much information.
This transducer pod is a lot like the other ones that we reviewed, but it’s a bit clunky, and it’s known to have a shorter range than described. However, it’s one of the best budget items available.
The SP100 is shaped similarly to a bobber, but it has two wings coming off of it to stabilize it in rough waters. However, a lot of users have complained about it remaining unstable despite the wings. It’s not a big deal, but it can be annoying.
Also, while it can scan depths of more than 147-feet, it can only interact with your phone from about 60-feet away. So, you don’t want to cast it in the direction of a current. It will get pulled out of its effective range rather quickly.
It does produce quality images, though. It doesn’t use the same outdated display as the LUCKY models that we reviewed. This is a short range option that is affordable for casual fishermen. However, more dedicated fishermen will want to invest a little more to get a PRO+ or a higher quality LUCKY.
- It’s inexpensive.
- It’s a great short-range tool.
- It has stabilization wings to help keep it afloat.
- It has trouble interacting with devices over distances that exceed 60-feet. If you like to cast very far, you should buy another model.
Those are the best castable fish finders on the market. They’re versatile, durable, and reliable in most environments. We’ve been rather impressed by their features and design elements, and we think that you will be, too.
If you’re looking to have a better experience when you’re fishing from the bank, you should definitely look into buying one of the six fish finders that we reviewed. There’s something for everyone on our list, and each fish finder has its own pros and cons that will suit some fishermen more than others.