Once, I cleared my entire schedule for a day of fishing. I had dreams of catching several big ones, but the fish wouldn’t bite. The Garmin Striker 4 might have been able to salvage my trip. In this Garmin Striker 4 review, let’s check out the benefits of this fish finder.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Fish Finder
If you’ve ever spent a fruitless day on the water as I did, then you’ve probably wished you could have peered into the water to find where the fish were hiding. For future trips, a fish finder, also known as a sounder, can help you determine the best spot to cast your line.
Here’s what to consider when shopping for a fish finder.
Some sounders are designed to be portable, but others mount permanently to your boat. For most people, the portable option will be better. You can move your device from one boat to another, which is great if you own both a kayak and a motorboat. You can also carry it onto a friend’s boat or a rental. However, if you own a large fishing boat, you may decide that a mounted finder makes more sense.
Fishfinders rely on sonar to identify where fish and other underwater objects are located. The frequency used is measured in kilohertz (kHz). Devices with higher frequency ratings are recommended for fishing in shallow waters, but you’ll want a low frequency if you’re heading into deeper bodies. For the best overview of what’s in the water, buy a unit with CHIRP technology; those devices rely on multiple frequencies.
The bigger the screen, the more details you can clearly view. However, bigger screens can compromise a unit’s portability. Of course, if you don’t have great eyesight, it may be worth it to size up.
Fish finders are useful for both serious and casual fishermen, and many are available for around a hundred dollars. If you’re planning for a one-time fishing trip, it may not be worth purchasing a fancy electronic gadget. It only takes a few uses, though, for the investment to be worthwhile.
Presenting the Garmin Striker 4
If you’re looking for a small fish finder that will pack easily among your fishing gear, the Garmin Striker 4 may be the instrument for you. Of Garmin’s many Striker models, this is the smallest; its screen measures just 3.5 inches across the diagonal.
Although the screen is small, you’ll get a lot of data from this unit. It uses CHIRP sonar for a thorough picture of what’s going on underwater. The color screen displays GPS information and water depth. Plus, you can mark great fishing spots for future reference.
- Extremely portable
- CHIRP technology
- Incorporates GPS
- Measures depth
- Small screen
- Low pixel count
- Sometimes hard to read in bright sunlight
Features and Benefits
What will you get when you purchase a Garmin Striker 4? This fish finder packs a number of features into its small size. To learn what this instrument has to offer you, check out the following Garmin Striker 4 review.
CHIRP Sonar Technology
Some fish finders rely on just one sonar frequency to ascertain where fish and other underwater objects are. The transducer on this Garmin Striker 4, however, uses CHIRP technology. It puts out both low and high frequencies.
The low frequencies are useful for scanning at greater depths. Plus, they don’t produce excessive noise, so they’re the best frequencies for locating fish without disturbing them. On the other hand, high frequencies achieve good detail, especially in shallow water.
A CHIRP sounder, such as the Garmin Striker 4, continually rotates through a range of frequencies. The device compiles the accumulated data to provide a well-rounded picture that offers both clarity and the ability to take deep-water readings.
Do you need a device that is easy to hold or tucks nicely into a tackle box? If so, the very portable Garmin Striker 4 may fit the bill.
The unit weighs just over 8 ounces. The screen measures a compact 1.9 inches by 2.9 inches. Across the diagonal, it’s 3.5 inches.
In other words, this Garmin unit will provide essential fishing data without taking up precious space in your kayak.
Where have you been, and where are you going? The built-in GPS system on this fish finder can help you figure that out.
As you move across the water, you can mark waypoints on the map, such as your starting location and successful fishing spots. The GPS system will show your location in relation to those waypoints. The marks will prove invaluable the next time you fish in the same area. You can also mark spots with stumps, thick vegetation or other debris.
The unit doesn’t come preloaded with maps. Rather, the GPS helps you build your own records of your fishing trips. If you realize midway through your trip that you forgot to mark an important waypoint, just rewind the sonar display to find that point and mark it.
The GPS system provides data on how quickly you’re moving. The display also shows what time you’ll arrive at your planned destination.
The unit offers the option of a split-screen display so your GPS map is on one side and the sonar readings are on the other. Just remember that the screen is small to begin with, and splitting the display in half will reduce the size of each readout even further.
When dropping your line, it can be really handy to know how deep the water is. To help you with that, the Garmin Striker 4 has a depth sensor. The information is clearly marked on the display so that you’ll always have details about water depth at your fingertips.
The unit works in freshwater at depths up to 1,600 feet. In saltwater, you can use it until you reach water that’s 750 feet deep.
Thanks to the system’s Smooth Scaling technology, you won’t experience lag or distortion when you move from one depth-scale to another.
Water temperature affects how likely various species are to bite. This sounder has a temperature gauge so you can seek out areas where your preferred species may be active.
The Garmin Striker 4 has a multi-button keypad under the display screen. These keys allow you to toggle through features, mark waypoints and control other aspects of your device.
Because there are dedicated buttons, the Garmin Striker 4’s small display doesn’t have to do double duty as a touchscreen. Instead, it can focus on showing your GPS or sonar readouts, and you can use the keypad to operate the controls.
When you’re on a boat, there’s water everywhere. There’s a good chance that your fish finder will get splashed now and then. Even worse, there’s always a chance that an accident could end up tossing your device overboard. Therefore, it’s essential that your sounder has a decent waterproof rating.
The Garmin Striker 4 has a rating of IPX7. That means that it can handle sprays and splashes just fine. It can also survive a trip into water that’s up to 1 meter deep. If your device goes overboard close to shore, you may be able to fish it back out and keep using it.
When shopping for a Garmin Striker 4, you’ll have a few different options available to you. You could buy just the unit, or you could upgrade your purchase.
The Garmin Striker 4 Portable Kit adds a handy carrying case for your fish finder. If you’re in a small boat, such as a kayak or a canoe, the extra protection provided by the case can be invaluable. Not only that, but the kit also includes a rechargeable battery, mounts for the unit and a system for keeping the cables organized.
Whether you buy the full kit or the individual unit, your Garmin Striker 4 will come with a 77/200 kHz CHIRP transducer. You can upgrade the transducer to achieve high-performance CHIRP instead. This device is compatible with GT8 or GT15 transducers from Garmin. You can purchase one at the same time that you get your fish finder, or you can wait and upgrade later.
Garmin Striker 4 Review: Social Proof
In my view, the Garmin Striker 4 is packed with great features, but do other users agree that it lives up to the hype? To find out, I combed the internet to figure out what others had to say.
Some of the most common praises for this unit relate to its handy map-marking features and its accurate CHIRP sonar. Kayak owners appreciate its small size, and ice fishers find the flasher mode invaluable. Although some people have said that the screen is hard to read in bright sunlight, the more common observation is how well the color display holds up on sunny days.
Alternatives to the Garmin Striker 4
Although many users like the Garmin Striker 4, it’s not the right unit for everyone. Before clicking the “buy” button, you may want to explore these alternative options.
Garmin Striker Plus 4cv
Although the Plus 4cv might seem a lot like the Garmin Striker 4, additional features mean that it costs more than the base model. At 4.3 inches, the screen’s diagonal measurement is almost an inch larger than the Striker 4’s display. Also, this upgraded sounder has ClearVu, a Garmin technology that produces clearer scans.
Features on the Striker Plus 4cv include:
- 300-watt transmit power
- Quickdraw Contours mapping
- Storage space for 2 million acres of maps
Learn more about the Garmin Striker Plus 4cv here.
Garmin Striker Plus 7cv
If you’re concerned about missing details on a small screen, Garmin offers the Striker Plus 7cv. It weighs twice as much as the Striker 4, but it also has a 7-inch display. The unit features Garmin’s impressive ClearVu technology. It is Wi-Fi enabled, so you can access the compatible app and get notifications on your screen.
Upgrades with the Striker Plus 7cv include:
- 500-watt transmit power
- Connection to the mapping community
- Ability to store 2 million acres of maps
Follow this link to check out the Garmin Striker Plus 7cv.
Lowrance Hook2 5
Lowrance is a Garmin competitor that offers its own line of fish finders. The Hook2 series uses CHIRP technology like the Garmin Striker 4, but it also gives you the options of both down scanning and side scanning. These features may help you spot more fish. In addition, the Hook2 5 comes preloaded with lake maps, and it has an SD card slot for additional storage.
The Hook2 5 also gives you:
- Solarmax display for sunny days
- Keypad controls
- Option to add upgraded maps
Click here to explore the Lowrance Hook2 5’s features.
Is the Garmin Striker 4 Right for You?
Fishing is a much more satisfying experience when the fish are biting. To increase your chances of a great catch, take a fish finder along on your next outing.
The Garmin Striker 4 offers multiple features that may help you locate great biters. With this device, you can search for fish under the water, measure the depth and temperature of the water, and mark your favorite spots on the GPS-enabled map.
To learn more about whether the Garmin Striker 4 fish finder is the tool for your fishing adventures, click here to check out the product.