When it comes to fishing, you can double or even quadruple your fortunes by getting a good GPS. Why so? Because such a system enables you to map out your locality and easily find new spots.
However, there are no two or three systems that are built exactly alike. And that’s why today, we’d like to talk about the best handheld GPS for fishing. What features set them apart? Are they worth the hype?
Well, in summary, a good GPS for anglers is one that’s:
- Light in weight
- With good mapping functionality
Of course, a good GPS will also ensure that you won’t need to scratch your head trying to remember your fishing spots or your way back home.
Top-Rated 10 Angling GPS System: Comparison List
To start us off, here’s a list of good GPS systems. We’ve kept it short and precise enabling you to make an informed choice even if you don’t have much time for the detailed reviews.
|1||Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S.||1.4 x 2.4 x 6.3 inches||9.3 ounces|
|2||Garmin GPSMAP 62St GPS Navigator||6.3 x 1.4 x 2.4 inches||9.2 ounces|
|3||GarmineTrex 20 GPS Navigator||1.3 x 4 x 2.1 inches||5 ounces|
|4||Garmin inReach Explorer Satellite Communicator||1.5 x 2.7 x 6.5 inches||8 ounces|
|5||Garmin eTrex 30x, Handheld GPS Navigator||2.1 x 4 x 1.3 inches||5 ounces|
|6||Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx Handheld Navigator||1.5 x 2.2 x 2.6 inches||7.5 ounces|
|7||Garmin Oregon 450t Handheld Navigator||4.5 x 1.4 x 2.3 inches||6.8 ounces|
|8||Garmin inReach Mini GPS||4 x 4 x 3 inches||3.53 ounces|
|9||Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS||4.5 x 1.3 x 2.4 inches||7.4 ounces|
|10||Garmin 72H Waterproof GPS Navigator||1.2 x 2.7 x 6.2 inches||7.7 ounces|
1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st GPS and GLONASS Receiver
Do you wish to check out a new fishing area, but are afraid you may lose your direction? With Garmin 64st GPS receiver, you are likely to find your way to shore much easier since it has a GPS and GLONASS Reciever that are said to give precise locations.
You can adjust the display screen on this GPS receiver to suit different lighting conditions. In addition, the 2.6-inch screen is said to be readable even when the sun is so bright.
The quad-helix antenna is alleged to have good reception and you are likely to get accurate geo-positioning for easier navigation even in new fishing areas. However, the battery is said to run out fast leading to the receiver going off.
- In-built electronic compass
- Quad helix antenna
- Allows for wireless sharing
- 8GB memory capability
- Battery runs out fast
2. Garmin GPSMAP 62St GPS Navigator
You no longer need to worry about water causing damage to your GPS device since this Garmin 62St is said to be waterproof. Besides that, this navigator is said to be easy to use and carry around.
The screen on this navigator is a TFT display that is said to be readable even in the sun. In addition, the pixel resolution is 160 X 240 which is likely to provide you with a better view of the water surface and clearer split images.
According to the manufacturer, you can get precise measurements of the altitude and bearings given that this valuable fishing accessory has an electronic compass and a barometric altimeter. However, some customers have complained that the compass works poorly, with no accuracy in bearings.
- Waterproof navigator
- Easy to operate
- Sunlight-readable screen
- Supports custom maps
- Compass works poorly
3. GarmineTrex 20 GPS Navigator
When in deep canyons or heavy cover, this Garmin eTrex 20 navigator is said to be able to show your location accurately. As such, tracing your way back to shore or finding fish hot spots is likely to be faster and easier.
This navigator is alleged to support geocaching, which enables the downloading of GPX files to your device. With this, most information like your location and how the terrain appears is digitally available, eliminating the need for manual entry of coordinates.
The battery on this navigator is claimed to be reliable which is advantageous especially when you are out fishing. However, the navigator has no barometric altimeter hence poor altitude measurements and location accuracy.
- Long battery life
- Easy to use
- Transflective TFT colored display
- WAAS-enabled GPS receiver
- No barometric altimeter
Also read: 10 Best Pole Spears Reviewed
4. GarmininReach Explorer+ Satellite Communicator
Your safety when you are out fishing cannot be overemphasized since the weather out there can be unpredictable even beyond the weatherman’s forecast. This impulsive nature of the very large expanse of water may be why this satellite communicator is designed to trigger an interactive SOS with the rescue center to help you in case of danger any time of the day.
The satellite communicator is said to be pairable with your mobile devices via the free earthmate app. Once you have the app, you can download maps and other useful data that can help with your navigation.
This is a refurbished product that is supposed to work as new since the features have been improved. However, some customers have reported that they have been unable to use the communicator since it was still logged into the previous user’s account and they could not upgrade it.
- Supports mobile device pairing
- Global iridium satellite coverage
- TOPO maps features
- Easy to operate
5. GarmineTrex 30x Handheld GPS Navigator
Have you been experiencing difficulty whenever you try to load more maps to your device? Well, this Garmin eTrex 30x seems to have a solution since the internal memory is said to be larger and able to accommodate more maps.
Finding your way around any water body is likely to be faster because this GPS navigator has an in-built 3 axis tilt-compensated electronic compass. In addition, there is a barometric altimeter to help you with the altitude measurements and tracking changes in pressure.
This handheld eTrex 30x navigator is said to enable wireless data sharing with compatible devices. Unfortunately, some customers have reported that there are no pre-loaded maps as stated by the manufacturer and they had to load their own maps.
- In-built 3 axis compass
- Large internal memory
- Sunlight-readable display screen
- Wireless data sharing
- No pre-loaded maps
6. Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx Handheld Navigator
How about an automatic track log of 10,000 points, with tracks already saved? When you purchase the Garmin 60Cx navigator, which is said to enable you to trace your route in both directions, you also get 20 saved tracks.
As for features, the navigator is packed with many including an outdoor calendar, said to help in telling the fishing times and the moon’s location. As such, you can plan on how to be at the right location when the fish are there.
Even though the navigator seems like a good choice, it lacks a compass and altimeter. As a result, some customers have opted for navigators like the Garmin eTrex 30x with the electronic compass and altimeter, which are important tools for navigation.
- Four-position rocker pad
- Automatic track log
- Integrated outdoor calendar
- USB connectivity
- No compass and altimeter
7. Garmin Oregon 450t Handheld Navigator
The display on Oregon 450t navigator is said to be user-friendly; it is a touchscreen and sunlight-readable. Moreover, the colors are alleged to be clear since the image resolution is high, making your view better.
You can know your altitude using the barometric altimeter which can enable you to track pressure changes. Furthermore, the electronic compass is likely to show you the exact location and the changes in your elevation as you move in the water.
Some customers have reported that they were unable to use the navigator since it has no instructional manual. They experienced difficulty in figuring out how to load maps and set the device to operate as required.
- High-resolution images
- 3-D map views
- Barometric altimeter and electronic compass
- Sunlight-readable touchscreen display
- Lacks user instructions
8. GarmininReach Mini GPS (Black) Navigator
If you have been searching for a small easy to carry yet efficient navigator, this Garmin inReach Mini navigator seems like a good option for you. This navigator is said to be a palm-size and light in weight with basic GPS features.
You can pair the navigator with your smartphone and tablet for data transfer or to access topographical maps and other navigation information. As such, you are likely to locate fish faster or trace your way back to shore more easily.
Considering how unpredictable the fishing environment can be, this navigator is said to be able to trigger interactive SOS 24 hours of any day. You are likely to get assistance in case of emergencies which is important.
- Interactive SOS feature
- Easily portable
- Pairable with tablet or smartphone
- Supports global messaging
- Slow Bluetooth connection
9. Garmin Oregon 600 3-Inch Handheld GPS
Are you tired of using GPS navigators that keep losing power making you get stranded sometimes? Well, with Garmin Oregon 600 the battery problem may have been sorted as the device has a dual battery system with rechargeable NiMH and traditional AA batteries.
There are three sensor systems on this GPS navigator: an accelerometer, a barometric altimeter and a 3 axis compass. These sensors are vital in helping you to get your location right, to know where you are going and the speed at which you are moving.
This handheld GPS device is not water-resistant according to some customers who purchased it. They found moisture on the inside part of the screen after they had used it on their fishing activity, which they suspect caused the device to shut down.
- Bluetooth technology
- Three sensor system
- Multi-touch capability screen
- GPS and GLONASS satellite
- Not water resistant
You may read another post of fishingtik on: 10 Best Trolling Motors Reviewed & Ranked: Ultimate Guide
10. Garmin 72H Waterproof GPS Navigator
Talk of uniqueness and quality in route-finder, this 72H GPS navigator seems to fit the description. The navigator is said to be IPX7 waterproof and it also floats in water, making it an ideal choice for your fishing adventures.
The navigator is likely to acquire satellite signals fast since the GPS is claimed to be highly sensitive. Besides that, the navigator is said to be able to track your location even when the conditions are challenging like deep canyons and heavy tree covers.
An easy to use device with a large screen with 120 x 160-pixel image resolution, this navigator is said to be user-friendly, especially for those new to GPS devices. But the anchor alarm is reported to give a low beep that may not even alert you.
- Floats in water
- Sensitive GPS receiver
- In-built fishing calendar
- Supports USB data transfer
- Low beep anchor alarm
Why Get a Handheld GPS
If you’re still on the fence wondering whether this fish gear is worth getting or not, this is the section you need to read. You see, there are situations when you need to move to different spots.
When dealing with large masses of water, it’s nearly impossible to determine different directions by just looking.
GPS systems come in handy as you can use them to map your waypoints. And to make the deal even sweeter, these systems are typically designed to be light in weight so you can easily take them with you.
Besides that, you can also get other major benefits from using these systems including:
- The ability to locate coordinates
- Saving checkpoints
- Automated means to find good fishing spots
Now that you have an idea of some of the benefits given by handheld GPS, it’s time to know how to choose the right one.
How to Choose the Best Fishing GPS
When you need the best bang for your bucks, the ideal Global Positioning System to go for should be the one that ticks the following boxes.
Usually, the more the satellites a GPS has, the better. On average, a good unit is one that provides you with at least 12 satellites. However, if you can afford to cough out more for enhanced accuracy, it’s always advisable to go for 24 satellites.
One thing that sets a good system from a not-so-good one is storage capacity. The larger to storage capacity the better. Also, you want to only go for the kind of memory that’s easy to use.
For instance, it’s always ideal to settle for a unit that comes with SD-card storage. That way, you can easily remove the card and retrieve your data for further storage or sharing on your computer.
And of course, it’s important to ensure that you have a GPS whose storage space is enough to store multiple waypoints in. That way, you can have your crucial maps and checkpoints well stored for easy viewing when necessary.
Screen quality can be looked at from two dimensions i.e. screen size and display quality. As far as size is concerned, you want the screen to be just large enough to allow you to comfortably read the layout of the terrain easily.
When it comes to display-quality, always go for a backlit display so it’s easy to view even during the day. Also worth noting is that TFT and LCD displays are the most common ones out there currently.
The Antenna Port
It’s common to overlook this factor when making a choice especially since most systems nowadays come with built-in antennas. Well, we still believe in getting the good old systems that have external antennas.
Why so? Because, from experience, units with built-in antennas tend to have weak signals. So, as a general rule of the thumb, we’d suggest sticking to something that has an exposed antenna port for faster and accurate mapping.
As you know, when you head out for a fishing mission, safety should always come first. Cheap GPS systems might lack essential safety features that are meant to protect you from catastrophe. So don’t squirm. Some of those features are:
This is an important one especially when tracing crucial coordinates. A good system is one that alerts you when you reach your destination.
Low Battery Alarm
A must-have when you really need to keep track of your battery’s performance.
This is a really important feature as it can help you retrace your way back home in case of bad weather.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re here, chances are that you still have some unanswered questions about this all-important gear. And now, it’s time to respond to some of those.
How do you use a handheld GPS for fishing?
There are numerous ways you can put these systems to use. One of them is by creating routes, another one is as a tool to retrace your way home in case of bad weather. You can also use this tool to send safety signals, making it easier for rescuers to find and help you out.
What’s the best boating handheld GPS?
There’s nothing like a one-size-fits-all system. However, if we were to choose brands, we’d go for Garmin, Humminbird or Raymarine in that order.
How accurate are handheld GPS?
It all depends on the kind of technology used. Advanced ones that use wide-area augmentation system signals have an accuracy of +/-3 meters. Cheaper ones have an accuracy of +/-10 meters.
Best Overall Choice
Our best handheld GPS for fishing is Garmin GPSMAP 64st GPS and GLONASS Receiver which is user-friendly with large memory capacity. In addition, the receiver is said to be accurate in giving location details.
So, there you have it, a complete and comprehensive list of our leading fishing GPS devices. We’re glad that you’ve been patient enough and have read all the way to this end.
From our desk, we wish you nothing but the best in your quest for a top-grade global positioning system.