Portable fish finders are great for kayak fishing, small boats, or simply “to have” in case you’re not going to use your own boat. Humminbird offers quite a few models of portable fish finders, but one of the most basic and affordable ones is the PiranhaMax 197c Portable.
It’s a standalone fish finder, and focuses only on basic sonar features, without any GPS, charts or any other navigational features. However, for a rather small unit, its depth capability is actually not bad. This unit is capable of scanning waters up to 600 ft. deep. It offers Dual Beam sonar, meaning that it can be operated at two frequencies: 200 kHz and 455 kHz, with a coverage of 28° and respectively 16°. Since it’s a small unit, it doesn’t offer any split screen functions.
Although it does not have a wide array of sonar functions like the units of the Humminbird 900 series for example, the 197c PiranhaMax portable does include the Selective FishID+ function. This is a great sonar function for anglers who aren’t very familiar with sonar returns. SelectiveFish ID+ interprets the sonar returns slightly differently. If a specific return is considered a fish, by meeting a set of paramaters, it will be marked on screen with a fish symbol, bigger or smaller, depending on its size. There’s also a fish alarm which notifies you when you pass over a fish.
The fish finder is not too big, a little smaller than your average smartphone actually, with a 3.5-inch diagonal display, 256 color TFT, backlit, with a pixel matrix of 320V X 240H. The box includes the transducer, which is actually an XPT 9 28 T model, portable type, with a suction cup as mounting system, which is actually quite convenient as you don’t have to drill any holes into the hull of your boat. The transducer has a temperature sensor built in, which enables the unit to also indicate water temperature.
Last but not least, the package also includes a 12v battery for the fish finder, a 110v -> 12V battery charger, and the soft portable case. All in all it’s a great, basic fish finder unit, that gets the job done, which comes for an excellent price.