The Garmin Striker 4 checks many boxes in a small, but easy to read and use unit. From portability to advanced sonar technology, screen clarity to GPS navigation, this little entry-level model offered by Garmin offers big time bang for your buck.
Wetting a line and exploring new or familiar waters is one of my absolute favorite activities. No matter if it happens to be in the early spring of the year chasing the spawn, during the dog days of summer in pursuit of top water bass, or vertical jigging for fall and winter crappie; angling is a fantastic way to invest time outdoors.
Getting into little hidden spots like duck marshes, rivers, creeks, fishing lakes, and ponds really changes things up from the typical big water boating experience, or shoreline fishing. Poking around these smaller waters in a kayak, or small fishing boat is the perfect way to find some new adventure that is well within reach of most budgets and time constraints. The chances are good there is a small body of water holding fish not far from your house.
Fishing with my two sons in the backwaters of Kansas reservoirs, paddling around smaller community lakes, and cruising around with our transom mounted electric trolling motor has always been high on our adventure list. Setting up the Garmin Striker 4 on my fishing kayak, and our little two-man Coleman Crawdad fishing boat has helped to get us into fish quicker, stay on the fish longer, and be much more versatile on the water.
Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder Specs
- 3.5-inch diagonally measured HVGA color display
- IPX7 Water resistance rating (splashes, rain, snow)
- Water temperature log and graph
- Bottom lock feature and depth reading up to 1,600’ (fresh water)
- Split screen zoom with auto gain
What Kind of Fish Finder is the Garmin Striker 4?
The Striker 4 is a small form factor fish finder designed with easy deployment in mind. This Garmin depth finder is ideal for the angler on the move, and making shifts between small fishing vessels. It makes an ideal fish finder for kayaks, and as a portable depth finder to shuffle between boats. And hardwater anglers will welcome the Garmin Striker 4 ice fishing mode. It can be had as a stand alone unit (as tested) perfect for a custom install, or an all-in-one model complete with battery, charger, and carrying case.
Offered at a budget price, the Garmin Striker 4 is an excellent entry level depth finder that doesn’t skimp on features. Despite the low price point, Garmin manages to include a lot of class leading technology in the Striker 4.
Garmin Striker 4 Technology
CHIRP is an acronym for Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse. Unlike traditional sonar units that transmit on single or dual frequencies, CHIRP technology emits multiple pulses. These cross a wide range of frequencies from low to high. The Striker 4’s 77/200 kHz transducer takes advantage of CHIRP capabilities, creating a much more detailed picture of the objects below. This multibeam frequency ranging provides more sonar returns, which results in clean and crisp fish arches on the display with greater target separation.
The Global Positioning System utility owned and operated by the U.S. government has changed the way we navigate every day. GPS mapping influences both our work and our play, including: daily commutes, road trips, backcountry travel, and maritime activities. Garmin really upped the game of entry level depth finders when they made GPS technology standard on the Garmin Striker 4.
For anglers, the GPS system provides the ability to mark all your favorite waypoints. Now you can keep a record of brush piles, underwater drop offs, rock bars, and any other underwater structure. Mark the boat ramp, your shoreside campsite, or a dock to make sure you can find your way back. The GPS technology allows the Striker 4 to accurately measure and display your boat speed and plot your path.
A fantastic “bonus” feature included in the Garmin Striker 4 is the flasher, or ice fishing mode. While ice fishing may not be top of mind while you’re out chasing largemouth or panfish during the long hot days of summer, your fish finder will be ready when the mercury heads south. When switched into flasher mode, the screen replicates the solid-state units of old, but with much more reliable returns.
How We Tested the Garmin Striker 4 Plus
I’ve used the Striker 4 in a variety of small watercraft for multiple years, in pursuit of everything from crappie on brush to finding sunken holes holding big catfish. It’s safe to say I’ve ran the Striker 4 through its paces, and it has not disappointed.
Both the Striker 4 and kayak fishing share a number of attributes that have made them both increasingly popular. Versatility, price point, and portability come to my mind when I think about both the Garmin Striker 4 and kayak fishing.
My personal sit-in fishing kayak is rigged with a transducer mount arm, attached to one of the kayak’s accessory rails. The Striker 4 transducer is easily secured to the arm utilizing a simple nylon tie wrap. The articulating arm makes adjusting the transducer in the water, and out of the way for transport a breeze.
A simple, small, nylon cutting board attached to the kayak’s accessory rail with stainless steel fasteners is a great option for attaching the Striker 4 mount in your kayak’s cockpit. Snap the Garmin unit into the mount, plug in the battery cable and transducer lead, and you’re ready to fish.
Small Boat Fishing
Fishing small creeks, rivers, ponds, no wake lakes, and any floatable access where you can launch a two-man boat from the back of a pickup or off a small trailer opens up a tremendous amount of fishing access and opportunity.
When fishing farm ponds, backwater creeks, duck marshes, and state fishing impoundments, the Garmin Striker 4 tags along on my trusty Coleman Crawdad two-man plastic boat. The Garmin fish finder is critical on these often-overlooked bodies of water. It helps find whatever fish I’m after, from bluegills to flatheads, and everything in between.
The Garmin dual beam transom mount transducer fits like a glove on the bottom side of most electric trolling motors, making it an ideal fit for small craft fishing. Pairing a portable transom mount, electric trolling motor with the Striker 4 transom mount transducer makes for a portable fishing setup limited only to your pickup’s four-wheel drive system and the grade of the water’s bank.
Fasten the Garmin Striker 4 mount bracket to a piece of plywood, a gunnel clamp, or even the top of a cooler and you’re all set.
On the Ice
I’ve had great success utilizing the Garmin Striker 4 flasher mode through the ice when the conditions are right. The graph is sensitive enough to pick up the lightest lead or tungsten jig, and the unit will last several days fishing on a good battery charge, even in frigid temps.
What the Garmin Striker 4 Does Best
The Garmin Striker 4 is priced right for an entry level fish finder. Through a variety of outings over multiple seasons, the Striker 4 has proven dependable. I have never had my unit not work in testing during 100+ degree temps and in temperatures well below zero. The Striker 4 is a workhorse.
The included standard features for an entry-level unit really make the Garmin Striker 4 stand out in its class. CHIRP technology provides crisp clean signals, making it a pleasure to pick off winter staged crappie holding in brush piles. This type of fishing can be some delicate work, but the Striker 4 does a great job identifying both the structure and the fish.
Garmin’s product lineup offers a variety of accessories, even for budget models including the Striker 4. A variety of transducers, transducer mounts, screen covers, and bags are available for anglers looking to accessorize their fish finder.
What the Striker 4 Does Worst
The 3.5-inch screen on the Garmin Striker 4 does leave something to be desired. Although space is at a premium on a small watercraft, a little bigger display would be nice. Thankfully Garmin has larger screen units available when you’re ready for an upgrade.
Unfortunately, I have experienced some slight issues with the cable transducer and power cable durability. My unit’s cable jacket seems to easily get pinched, and the insulation can become compromised. I will admit that I am hard on my gear, and I’m always looking for products that can take some abuse. A little heavier cable would be nice.
Does the Garmin Striker 4 Deliver on its Mission?
I would confidently give the Garmin Striker 4, four out of 5 stars. There’s always room for improvement with any product, but the Striker 4 checks so many boxes, including: durability, budget, clarity, and ease of use. It has found a place amongst my fishing accessories and become a part of my kayak fishing equipment. It may just be the best fish finder GPS for kayaks out there now.