If you have made the wise decision and bought a new fish finder, all you need to do is mount it onto your boat and rip its benefits. I must warn you, though, it is a challenging task.
Take it from me, choosing a fish finder mount can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it is your first time doing it. When I was looking for a pedestal mount base for my first fish finder, I went into the store feeling confident and left empty-handed and confused – there were just too many options!
To help you find the one that ticks all your boxes, I have put together a list of all the fish finder mounting ideas based on my own experience, the experience of my fisherman friends, and my thorough research. Go through it, and I am sure you’ll find the best way to mount your fish finder too!
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- The 11 Best Fish Finder Mounting Ideas
- Everything You Need To Know About Mounting Fish Finders
- Final Thoughts
The 11 Best Fish Finder Mounting Ideas
According to FishFinders, an authoritative publication covering the marine electronics marketplace, a flush mount or in-dash mounting is an excellent option for people who like to have their fish finder monitor in the line of sight while navigating their vessel. Many modern boats even come with an incorporated small fish-finding unit on their console.
This mounting method guarantees a clean look and increases the value of your boat. It enables you to easily switch between your main console and fish finder whenever you feel like it.
A flush mount is very practical if you want your unit to be permanently fixed. If, on the other hand, you want to be able to quickly remove your fish finder from time to time, you should best resort to some other fish finder mounting option.
Flush mounting in-dash is also limited by the size of your boat’s console. If you have a smaller boat, such as a contemporary bass boat, you will probably be limited to small fish finders too (with a display of up to 8 inches). If you want a bigger unit, opt for some other mounting idea.
If you plan to buy a flush mount, you should know that each comes with its own mount kit. That means you will receive everything you need to secure your fish finder onto your dash (all the hardware. gaskets, and brackets). The installation is rather complicated, though.
Extra Advice: When securing your fish finder, ensure you stay far enough from the steering wheel, or it might block your view.
- A great option to fix your unit permanently
- Looks great and adds value to your boat
- The choice of fish finder unit is limited by the size of your boat’s console
- You will probably need to have someone install it for you
The following video is an excellent example of how to install your fish finder in the dash:
Anglers often receive a gimbal mounting base with their fish finder and choose not to use it. I don’t see why, though. After all, this gimbal has been designed for that unit and comes with everything needed to hold it securely.
The design of the gimbal mount is highly practical, too. You can tilt the screen to adjust the viewing angle; some models even allow you to raise or lower the unit depending on whether you are standing or sitting.
The greatest advantage of gimbal mounting is its versatility. Namely, there are various options to position your gimbal. It can be attached to the bow, transom, or either side of the boat.
- Often comes in a box with your fish finder
- A plethora of possible mounting locations
- The mounting surface must be completely flat
To learn how to install a Gimbal mount on a Jon boat, watch the video below:
RAM Swing Arm Mount
There are two types of RAM mounts, RAM swing arm mounts and RAM ball and socket mounts. The former consists of a square base and an ultra-practical rotating arm attached to it. It is a versatile option, suitable for limited space. You can install it on your boat’s hull or transom, or next to your console.
Most RAM swing mounts come with tilt and swivel features allowing you to adjust the viewing angle to your liking. Some enable you to raise the fish finder off the deck a bit, too. Typically, all the hardware you need for installation comes pre-drilled, so you don’t have to rig anything.
- Great for limited space and small boats
- Sturdier than its close relative RAM ball and socket mount
- Versatile in terms of mounting location
- High degree of adjustability
- A bit bulky
The video below shows one versatile RAM swing arm mount:
RAM Ball & Socket Mount
When I first saw a RAM ball and socket mount made by the company that has a 4.8 score on TrustPilot, I thought it is an improved version of the RAM swing arm mount I had installed on my boat. I was wrong. Even though a RAM ball and socket mount takes up less space and allows you to raise your fish finder much higher, it is not nearly as sturdy or durable as a swing arm mount.
There is a significant risk that if something hits the arm, it will break it, especially if you have opted for a lower-quality brand. On a brighter note, ball and socket mounts are ultra-flexible – you can turn, flex, twist, and swivel them as you like. There are tons of mounting options, too.
- Quick and easy installation
- Plenty of mounting location options
- Allows you to turn, twist, and swivel your unit
- Ideal solution for limited space and small boats and kayaks
- Lack of sturdiness
- Tend to lose grip on the rubber balls over time
The following video explains the RAM ball and socket system in great detail:
Bridge Mount For The Bow
A bridge mount for the bow is one of my favorite options, and I currently use one on my small boat. It gives me an unobstructed view of the screen and feels very safe and sturdy. My friend has combined his gimbal and bridge, and the results are amazing. He now enjoys
the swivel and tilt capabilities and a much more durable and sturdier setup.
Unfortunately, finding a bridge mount that fits your boat can be a difficult task, as there is no universal size from what I have seen. Be careful that the bridge you choose does not take up too much space or hinder your movement. Also, brace yourself for a lot of drilling!
- One of the sturdiest mounting options
- Lifts the screen up and allows for easy viewing
- It is challenging to find a model of a bridge mount to fit your boat
- You’ll have to do a lot of drilling to install it
Learn more about installing bow and console mounts by watching the video below:
Bridge Mount For The Console
If you want to avoid complicated dash flush mounting, or your fish finder screen is too big, purchase a dash bridge mount for the console (dek-it dash mounts). I asked my fellow fisherman about this type of mount and their suggestion was to always check if your console has a large enough flat area to install a bridge first.
Mounting fish finder via a dash bridge mount might not deliver the same sleek look as in-dash mounting, but you will be compensated by tilting capability and a more pronounced look at the screen while standing.
- Easy installation
- Suitable for large screens
- Solid and durable
- Requires quite a lot of space on your dash to be installed
If you need help installing the dek-it mount on your bass boat, watch the video below:
If you have free flat space above your steering wheel (as many small boats I have been on do), a swivel mount is an excellent option for you. This type of mount base is extremely sturdy and durable. My friend has had a Johnny Ray swivel mount for years, and it’s still as good as new.
On the downside, it does not offer a tilt feature.
Swivel mounts typically feature a strong metal base and a push-button mounting plate that can swivel 360 degrees. As a result, you can look at your fish finder display from any angle. It is a great option for anglers who want to be able to quickly remove their unit when needed.
- 360 degrees rotation
- Easy to install
- The lever release allows you to quickly remove your unit
- No tilt feature
- Fish finder can be mounted only on flat surfaces
Swivel mounts are very practical. Here is how to install a swivel mount plate and boat seat:
Railblaza Kayak Mounts
According to their manufacturer that boasts a 3.7 TrustScore, Railblaza mounts are a great non-permanent option for anglers who own small fishing boats or kayaks. Their main predrilled mounting plate attaches directly to the boat. Once that is done, you can affix the arm and fish finder mount, too. When you are done fishing for the day, simply remove the arm.
Even though practical for occasional fishermen, these mounts are not durable. Luckily, they are rather cheap and thus easily replaceable.
- Easy to install and remove
- Great for Jon boats, kayaks, and inflatables
- Not durable at all
Learn more about Railbaza mounts from the following video:
According to The YAKWORKS Blog, track mounts are very similar to Railblaza mounts, which makes them suitable for smaller boats and kayaks. However, in my experience, they are even less sturdy since they lack the pre-drilled base to hold the fish finder in place and have ratcheting arms.
They are made to match a specific fish finder device. Keep that in mind when shopping for your mount base. If you buy a mount incompatible with your fish finder, the holes won’t line up properly.
- Quick and easy installation
- Low price
- Limited to a specific finder
- Not sturdy at all
To learn more about boat track accessory brackets, watch the video that follows:
If you want your mount base to last for ages, invest in an ultra-durable Kong fish finder mount. According to T-H Marine, Kong mounts are typically made from galvanized steel and can thus withstand even the toughest conditions in the surf or out on the sea. These mounts come with pre-drilled holes, and you can position them almost anywhere. They turn, twist, and swivel as you like, too.
The only potential problem is their high price. If you do not need such a strong mount base, you should better choose another option and save a few bucks.
- The strongest and most durable mount on the list
- Easy to install
- Suitable for extra-large fish finders
- Very expensive
The following video shows how to install the Kong mount:
Pedestal fish finder mounts are extra tall. You can usually adjust their height to anywhere from 1 to 4 feet and fold them down to the deck when you are finished using them. According to the professional bass anglers on the Mercury Pro Team, they are best suited for anglers who use live sonar technology such as MEGA Live, Livescope, or Active Target, and want to watch what is happening under the water constantly. They bring the fish finder display up to eye level and eliminate muscle strain.
A pedestal fish finder mount typically consists of a base screwed to the deck and a long adjustable pole. It might not be as durable as some other mounts, though, from what I have seen inspecting the boats of other fishermen.
- The best choice for anglers using live imaging marine electronics
- Eliminates neck and back muscle strain
- Not as durable as some other mounts
- Unless you purchase a foldable model, you will have to often take it up and down more
If you like DIY projects, watch the video and try to build your own pedestal mount:
Everything You Need To Know About Mounting Fish Finders
As stated by Encyclopaedia Britannica, vessels come in different shapes and designs. So one of the main problems my fisherman friends face when deciding how to mount their fish finders is that they have to incorporate it into their boat’s specific design. Besides, everybody I asked wants their fish finder to be always at hand, right where they want it to be. That is why there are so many different types of fish finder mount bases – to make everyone happy!
Before you go shopping for your fish finder mount base, consider where you plan to mount it.
Do you want your unit to be on the bow, at the side of your boat, or at the console? Or, do you want to use your fish finder on a kayak or a small fishing boat? Once you reach your decision, it will be easier to choose the best fish finder mounting position.
Here is a bit about every option.
Where Can You Mount Your Fish Finder?
The choice of locations is vast. Just make sure you do not violate the federal requirements for recreational boats as outlined by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division (CG-BSX-2).
On The Console
The console or dash is where your steering wheel and instrument table are. Mounting your fish finder onto your console is highly practical, as you can actively look for fish while navigating the water.
However, it is the most difficult mounting method too since you work so close to the boat’s command board and steering wheel. For this reason, you should resort to this mounting option only if you want your unit permanently fixed.
On The Bow
The bow is the front part of a vessel. From what I have observed, anglers who choose to mount their fish finder in this area frequently buy a so-called bridge mount base that goes over the boat’s deck and connects to its sides.
The main benefit of bow-mounted fish finders is convenience. If you fish alone, like I do most of the time, you don’t have to turn around or stand up and walk to the back of your boat all the time to check your fish finder.
To Either Side Of Your Boat
If you like to fish from the side of your boat, you should consider purchasing a gimbal mount that features a sort of arm and a plate to secure your fish finder on. In this way, the screen will be easily seen from where you fish.
At The Back Of Your Boat
The back wall of the boat or transom is where your trolling motor usually sits. A transom mount is not the most popular choice among anglers.
An experienced boater shared with me that mounting a fish finder near the trolling motor significantly improved their fishing experience. She mentioned that this setup allowed her to actively search for fish while trolling, leading to more successful catches.
So if you want to be able to actively search for fish while trolling an area, you might want to consider this idea.
What About Small Boats Or Kayaks?
If you are fishing from a small boat or a kayak, your space is rather limited, which makes mounting your fish finder even more challenging. According to an experienced kayak angler Liam Faisey, a little head scratching is required to fit one into a kayak. You have to consider the size of your unit and choose a suitable location so that your fish finder’s display is always visible, yet does not get in your way when fishing.
You can take a lot of stress out of mounting your new fish finder by planning ahead. Look at your vessel, and consider its size and design, as well as your fishing style. When you pinpoint the best mounting locations, check out the following list of mounting ideas to determine what type of mount would be best in your case.
Extra Advice: Consider whether you want to mount your fish finder permanently or you want to be able to quickly remove it when needed.
Where do you mount a fish finder?
You can mount a fish finder almost anywhere on the boat. It mostly depends on the shape, size, and design of your vessel, and your fishing style. The most popular options for mounting fish finders on a boat are in-dash mount, transom mount, bow mount, and side mount.
How far apart should transducers be mounted?
Transducers should be mounted at least 12 inches apart. In fact, there should be nothing in front, behind, or next to transducers if it is not at least 12 inches away. It is not recommended for two transducers to run simultaneously unless they transmit the signal at different frequencies.
Should transducer be flush with bottom of boat?
The transducer should be flush with bottom of boat. It can also be slightly below the bottom. The transducer’s leading edge should be approximately 1/8” below the transom. If it is mounted too low, the water flows over its top and creates air bubbles that interfere with the signal.
Does transducer need to be level?
The transducer needs to be level or a bit below the lower end of the transom. If it is positioned too low, the bubbles it creates will interfere with the signal.
Fish finders have great features such as GPS and down imaging or side imaging. Yet they won’t help you much unless you position them well and know how to use them. This article has hopefully given you some useful mounting ideas. Please share it to help others mount their fish finders too!
I am always available for any questions. We can also discuss new fish finder mounting ideas if you have them.