Would You Mount This Big-Screen Display To Your Kayak? (Video)

No fish will go unseen with the combo of forward-facing sonar and a 16-inch viewing area

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The deck of many a fishing kayak has transformed from simply holding our bait and tackle to mounted electronics including display screens for sonar, especially with the explosion of forward-facing sonar. With this, the waterfront view in front of us is starting to look more like an airline pilot’s cockpit. For kayak anglers, those displays usually come in around the five-inch range, pushing up to 12 inches for those feeling super techy.

But at what size do we say enough is enough? Apparently, we’ve yet to reach the edge of the screen. While having her kayak rigged out at Dugout Bait and Tackle, Kristine Fischer walked us through her loaner boat, which included a 16-inch Garmin display. And an argument as to why this big screen will likely provide a better fishing experience than its smaller counterparts.

16-inch screen on the Garmin 8616 display for Livescope on a kayak.
Garmin 8616 display mounted in a Hobie Pro Angler. Feature Image: Kristine Fischer / YouTube

Who Mounts A 16-inch Display To Their Kayak?

Fischer needed a rig for an upcoming event at Guntersville while the team at Dugout built out her Hobie kayak. In return, the pro received none other than Dugout owner Jamie Koza’s tricked-out Pro Angler.

Koza knows more than a thing or two about the evolving needs of anglers and rigging kayaks. His shop has stood 20 minutes north of Atlanta near the banks of Lake Allatoona and the gateway to the South’s bass hotspots for over two decades. The shop has continually recognized the evolution of kayak fishing, bringing us to today, where Koza’s team is constructing some of the most elaborate custom kayak builds to be found anywhere in the U.S.

Koza’s personal boat features Garmin Livescope, and rather than the smaller displays popular with kayak fishing, Fischer points out the Garmin GPSMAP 8616 mounted to the deck of the kayak.

Viewing Real Estate Versus Resolution

“I know what a lot of you guys are thinking already: it’s a kayak. This is getting a little ridiculous. You can watch TV on this,” Fischer says, addressing the not subtle at all sonar display. She continues, though, to explain why Koza decided to mount a 16-inch display for his Livescope rather than screens more commonly used for kayak anglers.

“Even though the 8610 or 8612 have higher pixel counts on paper, this has way more screen,” Fischer shares. “Our eyes are going to be able to see what’s going so much easier. And maybe make out the detail better—even though the pixels technically aren’t as high as the other models in this family.”

The Garmin 8616 is no slouch when it comes to resolution, offering a 1920 x 1080 display. But the smaller 8610 has more definition at 1920 x 1200. But it turns out a larger viewing area isn’t the only reason Koza chose the 16-inch sonar display. The other, perhaps surprisingly, is less clutter on the deck of the kayak.

When More Is Less

“The first thing I asked him was, ‘Well Jamie, I really like running two displays because I love having my maps and everything separate,'” Fischer shares of her usual dual display setup, then pulls us closer to the Garmin 8616 screen to show us what it can do.

“Take a look at this. We’re going to go into the home screen. We are going to go to combos. We’re going to add a combo layout. We’re going to go ahead and add our forward-facing sonar here. We’re going to add our charts here,” Fischer explains while walking through the viewing options on the 16-inch display.

“The only time I would ever split the screen is when I want to see where my waypoints are on my chart, and I can customize the size of that, so still, the majority of what I see here is my Livescope screen. I don’t know how cumbersome that’s going to be, but that’s why for the entire next week, pre-fishing and fishing this tournament on Guntersville, we’re going to try it out.”

Is the big screen for you? Maybe, maybe not. But if you plan on fishing in major tournaments, expect to see increasing gadgetry to accompany the advantages of forward-facing sonar.


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