Best Handheld GPS For Fishing: Top Picks for 2019

best handheld GPS

The best handheld GPS is one of the most important fishing gear purchases you need to have in order to fish effectively and not lose directions if you are going to new spots. Maybe you used to mark your direction taking trees, stones or any other natural element into consideration. 

Most professional anglers use a GPS device to locate and remember new fishing spots and never lose track. That is where the best handheld GPS become more effective for kayaks. They are small, lightweight, easy to carry and come with great mapping functionality which removes the need to scratch your head trying to remember what you marked to find directions. We’ve tested, analyzed and reviewed the best handheld GPS units that are surely going to provide you an amazing fishing experience.

Some of the top benefits of using this device include finding a proper location above and underneath the water and water resistance properties. In this article, we have prepared a list of the best handheld GPS devices for fishing.

What is a Handheld GPS?

This is a great device used by various types of outdoorsmen. While the use is simple, having a handheld unit is very helpful for finding your way back to your car, campsite, cabin, or other location. It is particularly helpful for nature enthusiasts. Add a location whenever you spot animal tracks or feeding areas. Utilize is to cross the water and get back to the shore and bookmark your preferred locations and specific details along the way. Some of these devices even have a built-in beacon. This is a lifesaver if you find yourself caught in a storm or some mishap happens on the water. 

Best Handheld GPS For Fishing 

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Why Do You Need the Best Handheld GPS?

​What if you were kayaking in a completely new spot and did not know how to get back? Or, maybe, that one tree you marked as your waypoint has been cut down and you lost your track. 

There are times when anglers move to different spots they’ve never been before to check if they can find another amazing fishing spot for themselves. They might miss marking their directions. 

Chances are you might as well be carried away by the high-speed stream and you might not know what direction to take in order to get back. You surely don’t want to get lost and this is where the handheld GPS comes in handy. They are easy to carry, lightweight and extremely good when it comes to storage of information like checkpoints and direction. These handheld GPS also ensure water safety and ease of navigation for anglers, both beginners and professionals.Some better and expensive models also come with a camera and other additional features of fish finders which make it essential gear for an amazing experience. Some additional benefits of having a handheld GPS are:

  • Get directions and locate co-ordinates.
  • Save checkpoints and tracks.
  • Find different fishing spots automatically. 

Things to Consider When Purchasing the Best Handheld GPS for Fishing

There are different brands and models of handheld GPS available. However, not all of them are designed especially for fishing. You need to keep track of the important features you require and pick a GPS that is inexpensive, yet fulfilling for your needs. The Handheld Global Positioning System units you pick when going kayak fishing should be able to withstand all weather conditions. Here are a few features you need to consider before you choose a handheld GPS.


In order to achieve proper navigation, your GPS unit needs to have at least 12 satellites. That is what most GPS devices are equipped with. However, the more satellite it’s connected to, the more accuracy it is going to provide. 

The best and the expensive units come with all 24 satellites in the GPS system and if you pick those, you never need to worry about losing track again. ​

Display and Screen Size

Screen size, color, brightness adjustments and LCD displays are the most important features you need to look for when you get a GPS unit for fishing. 

As you are going to fish outside, you should always be concerned about if the display adjusts even in the sun. LCD and TFT displays are the most common ones chosen by professional anglers.

Similarly, a good screen size will allow you to read the terrain layout of the water you are in and give you the exact picture of the rocky and shallow areas. Make sure it fits in your palm and has a great ability to incorporate different elements of the surrounding you are in.

Storage and Connection

In order to fish effectively, you need a GPS system that can save information like waypoints, maps and checkpoints.Sometimes, a GPS unit you buy might not have the information inbuilt, and that is when you need to download a map and save it. Pick up a unit that can be connected to a computer or comes with an SD card so that you can save as much information you want to.

Waterproof Design

​Your fishing gear needs to be water-resistant so that it can perform well and last long. Not all GPS units are waterproof and though they might be less expensive, they won’t last long. 

You need to get a unit that is waterproof and can float even when dropped in water. This ensures you never lose your device even when moving to strong water conditions.​

Mapping System

Some GPS units might not be able to plot different kinds of the map you want. A good unit generally comes with non-mapping, base mapping and advanced mapping system that allows you to record different data and information.For example, the non-mapping system will show longitudes, latitudes, distance and elevation.

The base mapping provides information about the position, routes and waypoints while the advanced mapping system shows a detailed map, weather patterns and other features. Some other important features to look for are:

  • Alarm clock
  • Calendar
  • Watch
  • Best fishing days
  • Tide information, etc.

Best Handheld GPS for Fishing

Considering all the basic requirements of a good GPS unit, we’ve tested, analyzed and reviewed some of the best GPS units currently available in the market.

All of the products we’ve listed are affordable and great to use for an amazing fishing experience.​

1. Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS

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Now here is a good pick for the best handheld GPS for fishing. The Garmin eTrex 20x handheld GPS is an upgraded version of the eTrex 20 that comes with better screen resolution and expanded internal memory.

​This unit comes in 2.2-in display and has 240 x 320 pixels with 65k color sunlight readable display, perfect for any light conditions. 

The 3.7 GB internal memory makes it possible to load more maps than any of its previous versions.

It can be easily connected to a computer to transfer the data stored or to load maps and other information required for any kind of outdoor fun.

On top of that, it also features a preloaded base map and includes different maps including City Navigation NT, HuntView, BirdsEye Satellite imagery among others. 

It also comes with an extremely sensitive receiver that makes geolocation and positioning accurate.

The HotFix satellite prediction and GLONASS support are what can be considered as one of its best features that precisely helps to maintain positioning even in deep canyons.

It is also lightweight and rugged making it easy to carry and portable. Similarly, the battery life it provides is far better than any other GPS unit for the same features. 

Features I like​

  • Upgraded screen resolution, perfect for any light conditions.
  • Powered by 2AA battery and very durable.
  • Can be easily connected to a computer to transfer and upload map information.
  • Extremely sensitive receiver for accurate geo-positioning.
  • Lightweight, inexpensive and long-lasting.

2. Garmin GPSMAP 64 WorldWide GPS

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If you are looking for a handheld GPS with a bigger screen, the Garmin GPSMAP 64 is what you need to have.

It features a 2.6-in screen that adjusts itself with the sunlight and had readable color perfect and easy to navigate and scroll.

With BirdsEye Satellite imagery, the GPSMAP 64 comes with a quad helix antenna which as a great reception than most other models out there making it precise and accurate for geo-positioning.

It also has a built-in worldwide base map and the photo navigation feature it comes with makes it easy to download geotagged images whenever required.

It’s perfect to use in any water conditions, deep in the woods or canyons as the GLONASS receiver it has is highly sensitive. A detailed marine and topographic road map are featured and stored in its 4 GB internal memory. 

On top of that, it also supports paperless geocaching and has 250,000 preloaded caches making it work efficiently. The battery life of this device is 16-hours when used regularly and it’s extremely durable as well.

Anglers can also get the 2D and 3D view of topographical maps that can be transferred and stored whenever required. ​

Features I like​

  • 2.6-in display with better performance.
  • Quad helix antenna that has great reception.
  • 250,000 pre-loaded caches. 
  • 2D and 3D viewing when connected to computer.
  • 16 hours of battery-life when fully charged.

3. Garmin Oregon 3-in Handheld GPS

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If you are looking for the best handheld GPS that is full-fledged when it comes to features and specifications, the Garmin Oregon-3 is what you need to take a look at.

​The 3-in display with double touch screen features is surely going to take you to a new world when it comes to positioning and accuracy. 

It has an extremely accurate satellite tracking feature with 100k preloaded maps. Not just that, the faster processor it has, adjusts to any challenging environment. 

The display is vivid even in bright sunlight or in shades while the zoom-in and zoom out features are fluid and smooth. The 8-megapixel camera makes it easy to capture images with a single touch.  

The features don’t stop there. The quality of photos from its camera is high quality with autofocus making it worth sharing with your friends, family and community. The 4GB SD card is where all the information can be stored.

Taking about its battery, it features a dual battery system and can operate with either traditional AA batteries or rechargeable NiMB pack, which is included in the GPS unit.

It is also preloaded with built-in topographical data for the entire US including several national parks, rivers, lakes and trails that you’d want to know and move to. ​

Features I like​

  • 3-in touch screen display with vivid color and appearance.
  • 8 megapixel camera with autofocus feature.
  • Extremely durable dual battery system.
  • 2D and 3D mapping of unlimited images from the satellite. 
  • Long-lasting, great features and a bang for the buck.

4. Garmin eTrex 10 Handheld GPS

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If you are a budget-savvy outdoor enthusiast looking for a fishing GPS, the Garmin eTrex 10 is what might love to have. It’s cheap, extremely durable and comes with a monochrome display that adjusts itself in any light conditions. 

It’s a rugged handheld navigator with a 2.2-in screen and features inbuilt worldwide base map. The HotFix and GLONASS support makes it as strong and accurate as any other Garmin GPS models making it super reliable.

It’s also waterproof against splashes and rain, which makes it an asset especially for beginners trying to learn kayak fishing outdoors.

Powered by 2AA batteries, it lasts for about 20 hours when used regularly making it super durable as well. Not just that, the paperless geocaching feature is what makes it one of the best and cheap fishing GPS.

The 3D satellite feature it has makes it really easy to plan and add routes and maps. You can also connect it to the computer and save or add any information you like.

Features I like​

  • 2.2-in monochrome display that adjusts perfectly in any light conditions.
  • Light weight, extremely easy to carry. 
  • Comes with preloaded worldwide base map. 
  • Waterproof against splashes and rain. 
  • Powered by 2AA batteries that can last 20 hours.

5. Garmin GPSMAP 64ST Handheld GPS

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The GPSMAP 64st by Garmin is an upgraded version of GPSMAP 64 and comes with rugged, full-features that the previous version did not have. 

​It has a 2.6-in sunlight-readable color screen that’s extremely fluid when it comes to zooming in and out. 

It’s a high sensitive fishing GPS with quad helix antenna just like in the previous version but with about 100,000 preloaded topographical maps that come with a year of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription. 

One features that makes this a top contender for the best handheld GPS is its wireless bluetooth connectivity. It makes sharing and transfer of information, maps, stored waypoints and other details easy. It can also be used to transfer message to any iOS device, a feature that makes it really unique. 

The 3-axis compass with barometric compass makes it pin-point accurate when it comes to recording altitude and geo-position. 

It is powered by 2AA batteries and lasts longer than its previous version when fully charged.

Features I like​

  • 2.6-in sunlight readable color screen.
  • Free subscription of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery for a year.
  • Wireless bluetooth for easy syncing with other devices.
  • 3-axis compass that is pin-point accurate.
  • Easy to use and extremely durable.

Best Handheld GPS for Fishing: Final Review

We hope you enjoyed reading our review on the best handheld GPS for fishing. Garmin handheld GPS are the most used units by anglers because they are inexpensive, come with several good features and are long-lasting and durable than products by other manufacturers. 

Among different handheld GPS models by Garmin, I particularly fell in love with the GPSMAP 64 because it’s inexpensive than most other models for the same features. I don’t need the Bluetooth connectivity feature that is in the 64th model which helps further to save battery life to some extent. Pick up the best handheld GPS model for fishing we’ve mentioned and let us know what features you love in particular in the comments below.

Last update on 2024-04-23 at 07:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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