DIY Portable Fish Finder


Last updated on August 25th, 2018 at 04:49 pm

As a follow up post to our recent article about how portable sonar fish finders are being used on Lake Michigan, we thought it would be nice to share with you how to make your own DIY portable fish finder. To do this, you must begin with the best portable fish finder for sale online.

portable fish finderRecently, several of our readers have asked us to show them how we turned our Lowrance DS-12 Gen3 fishfinder into a portable fish finder. It’s rather simple, actually. Through the years we get a few ideas from our readers, and ultimately we devised this solution. However, we have seen quite a few other, very unique versions used by other anglers.

The way that our portable fish finder is set-up, the LCD display can be
utilized in the bag or it can be removed and attached onto the gunnel of a canoe or small boat. The depth finder transducer is affixed onto a little shelf bracket, with a spring loaded clamp bolted on it so that it too can be easily and quickly released or attached. We picked up this idea from a fisherman named “Hoss” who used to deliver salmon trolling seminars some years back. The idea worked so well, that we have been using the same old bracket for 15 years now! Now only is it cheap, it also takes only a second or two to attach onto the stern of your boat.

Do It Yourself Portable Fish Finder

To start, the transducer needs to be bolted on to the 25″ shelf track, and then the 8″ Spring clamp needs to be bolted onto the opposing side of the shelf track. These items can both be bought from any local hardware store. It is important that you use stainless steel bolts and nuts to connect them. Additionally, you will need an electric drill, and a few cable ties.

When it comes to the fish finder bracket, you should use a Rite-Lok “Grunnel Clamp” on to which you then will be mounting a small piece of Starboard or wood. We simply went with a small piece of a bamboo cutting board that we bought for only $5. To this piece of bamboo we mounted the portable fish finder bracket. Depending on which type of bag that you buy, you will need to make adjustments to the mounting position and the size of the wood in order to get everything to fit properly. After you have that situated, you can begin to bolt everything together. Do yourself a favor and be sure to fit the whole thing in your bag first.

For the portable fish finder bag, we like to use soft lunch box coolers. We found a couple at the Walmart, but we really prefer the “Gusty” brand of lunch cooler that you can find at Lowes or on Amazon. It’s super strong and costs only about $18. The bag is padded to help protect your portable fish finder, and it also features pockets for your fishing tackle.

Once you have your bag selected, you need to install a 12 volt sealed battery inside of the bag. 12 volt batteries come in a variety of sizes, but a battery between 6 amps and 13 amps should suffice. We used to use a 6 amp battery with our older black & white depth finder. However, now for our newer color portable fish finder, we had to use something more a bit more powerful, so we now use a 12 amp battery. A battery this size should easily last you all day while fishing, but you could also dim the LCD display as a way to conserve power. Perhaps because our Lowrance has GPS and Sidescan technology, it probably consume a lot more power than our old B&W portable fish finder, in conjuction with the backlit display. Suitable batteries can be found online for around $20. You want to be certain to also buy a decent charger.

You may be able to see that we made our transducer able to disconnected. In order to do this, we purchased a transducer extension cable from Lowrance and simply spliced it in. This should be simply if you are comfortable with soldering and splicing small wires. This is optional, however, as you don’t have to make the transducer detachable. Instead, you would simply hardwire the depth finder transducer to the back of your portable fish finder. Either way will work and is totally up to you.

We have included a video below which helps to better illustrate how this setup works. We wrote this post not necessarily as an instructional guide, but more so to simply give you some an idea of what is possible if you wanted to make your own portable fishfinder. If you would instead like to pick up a true portable fish finder for sale, check out for more information on portable fish finders.

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