Best Handheld GPS For Fishing – 2020 Ultimate Review

Fishing is a hobby for some people, whereas, for others, it’s an opportunity to bond with loved ones or even a tradition passed down the generations. Whichever it is, it has a profound meaning and is taken very seriously. Considering that, buying fishing paraphernalia requires great thought and extensive research. 

One such fishing equipment is a handheld GPS.

A handheld GPS makes it very easy to track your locations when in the waters, and it goes without saying how helpful it can be in emergency situations; it, in fact, is a necessity then. Thus, we have the ultimate review of the best handheld GPS for fishing. It includes all you need to know about these, along with some incredible product recommendations. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Handheld GPS For Fishing

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

  • Has reception even in tree cover or deep canyons
  • Equipped with unique feature to retrace user's path
  • Has electronic compass built-in
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Garmin GPSMAP 78S Marine GPS Navigator

  • Easy to read LCD display
  • Comes with an electronic compass
  • Is able to stay afloat in water
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WonVon Mini GPS Navigation

  • Best for the Money
  • Rust-resistant and durable body
  • Can store up to 16 different locations
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Garmin GPSMAP 62St

  • Equipped with BirdsEye Satellite Imagery
  • Able to correctly measure altitude
  • Waterproof, durable and rugged design
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Magellan eXplorist 310

  • Color screen can be read in bright sunlight
  • Offers up to 18 hours of battery life
  • Features an active suspend mode
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What Makes a Handheld GPS Great for Fishing?

You may wonder if you have been in search of a good handheld GPS for fishing as to what is it about a unit that makes it good for the purpose of fishing. Well, there are multiple aspects of a product which makes it convenient for fishing.

Construction

It is common sense for a product to be sturdy and waterproof if it’s going to be used alongside water bodies. So, if by mistake, it does come in contact with the water, it’s still good to work. 

Buoyancy

Many units now are buoyant, which allows them to float on water. This is another great addition to traditionally designed GPS devices. The reason behind this is if you do drop it in the water, it remains on the surface, so you can easily pick it up. 

Battery Life 

Moving along, another great feature to look into is long battery life. You do not want to be stuck with a failed GPS in the middle of nowhere; thus, opt for a unit that has a long battery life so it can last longer out there. 

Large LCD

Having a readable, large, colorful LCD screen helps you to view the display under the blazing sunlight as well as unfavorable conditions, which can be of great convenience. 

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

How to Choose a Handheld GPS

There are certain factors that one needs to look for when buying a handheld GPS for fishing. These will ensure that the product you are considering to buy is worthy of investment and proves to be useful for you in the long run. Have a look:

Accessibility

Invest in a unit which is capable of downloading and saving added information. GPS these days are software compatible to allow such a thing, which makes them more accessible to people. Furthermore, it would be great if a device allowed you to share the route and maps with compatible devices so you can guide people along with you. 

Garmin GPSMAP 78S Marine GPS Navigator

Durability

You won’t be keeping your GPS at home and safe as it is going to be used in situations where it may come in contact with water and extreme weather. Thus, it should be built to be protected against such a thing. Invest in a unit that is durable as well as sturdy so it can be a good investment in the long-run. 

Convenience

The unit should be easy to read. Thus, look for one which can be read easily under the blazing sun too. Invest in a product with a colorful, large screen so it can be easy for you to view. Furthermore, the unit should be convenient to travel with as well, so it should be constructed to be lightweight and portable. 

Quick Take | Best Handheld GPS For Fishing

Just looking for the top three best handheld GPS for fishing? Here they are:

  1. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
  2. Garmin GPSMAP 78S Marine GPS Navigator
  3. WonVon Mini GPS Navigation

Review of the Best Handheld GPS For Fishing

There are plenty of products out there in the market, which makes it hard for one to select a single unit. Having that in mind, we have some of the best handheld GPS devices for fishing. They are highly reliable and accurate and make a great investment. 

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

PROS

  • Comes with an impeccable 17h battery for longer performance
  • Highly sensitive receiver with Hotfix to improve reception and performance
  • Carries a feature called TracBack that can retrace the user’s path on an easy to read LCD
  • Has sunrise/sunset times, trip computer, electronic compass, hunting/fishing information, etc.
  • Features dual-position readout, allowing the user to view current location in different formats

CONS

  • User manual needs improvement
  • Some buyers find that the wristband isn’t as secure as they’d like

What Recent Buyers Report 

Buyers are very impressed with the performance of this product. Firstly, it is highly versatile in terms of features and applications. Furthermore, it is durable and can be of use for longer intervals due to its impeccable battery. Thus, overall, it proves to be a consumer favorite unit.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It features an impeccable 17h battery that allows it to be of greater usage as it lasts longer. Furthermore, it has multiple interesting features such as trip computer, sunrise/sunset times, hunting/fishing information, etc., which ensure that you’re in good hands when you’re out there.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is great if you want to go on camping or perhaps are considering to hunt or fish. It carries features like Tracback, which can trace your path and display it on a large screen. It is very trustable equipment and proves to be a great tool when navigating through the wild.

Bottom Line

In all, this product has successfully made it to our best overall position and for a good reason. This is perhaps one of the most accurate GPS systems in the market. It proves to be a great piece of equipment to travel with. Furthermore, it is solid as well as convenient to use.

Garmin GPSMAP 78S Marine GPS Navigator and World Wide Chartplotter (010-00864-01)

PROS

  • Has a buoyant nature which allows it to float
  • Features a 3-axis compass and a barometric altimeter
  • Highly convenient as it features 1.7 MB built-in memory
  • Comes with a large 2.6-inch TFT LCD display for ease of viewing
  • Includes a worldwide shaded base relief map and microSD card for optional mapping

CONS

  • Impossible to keep the backlight on
  • Some buyers find it to be unintuitive

What Recent Buyers Report 

The product seems to be very loved by consumers. The reason is the array of features it carries. It is highly accurate and carries a very innovative design, which makes operation easy. Even though some users did find that it is hard to keep the backlight on in the product, they have no regrets about the investment they made.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model caught our attention as it is highly reliable for its intended use. It carries a ton of features that ensure that the operation and performance are beneficial to the consumer. It features a 3-axis tilt electronic compass, which shows the right direction even if you’re standing still without holding it at a level.

Who Will Use This Most

We find that this unit is built for those of you who have a liking for adventures. It is built to deal with harsh conditions and adversities kept in mind. The product is waterproof and capable of displaying an altitude position with great accuracy. It even allows one to share waypoints and tracks wirelessly with compatible devices.

Bottom Line

To sum up, this model has rightfully made it the runner-up in this list. It features an extensive list of pros that largely outweigh its cons, making it a worthy investment. The unit is a great tool that proves to be handy when on an outdoor trip.

Best for the Money:
WonVon Mini GPS Navigation

Mini GPS Navigation,Portable Outdoor Location Finder Tracker Handheld with Kay Chain USB Rechargeable for Outdoor Hiking Traveling Hunting Wild Exploration(Green)

PROS

  • Highly portable as it’s lightweight and comes with a chain
  • Features an ergonomic 3-button shape and is easy to operate as well
  • Can offer real-time longitude and latitude and can store up to 16 locations
  • Made of high-quality aluminum alloy that is anti-rust, sturdy and durable
  • Has the coordinates to indicate and guide the global time zone, time, distance, speed, etc.

CONS

  • Some buyers complain of losing signals in the market
  • Product is a bit hard to figure out according to some buyers

What Recent Buyers Report

As a whole, this model greatly impressed consumers with its performance. They were pleased to see a product with such a practical and simple design capable of achieving so much. Even though some of them did have a hard time getting used to the product, the performance was worth it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The product is lightweight and portable as it comes with a keychain; thus, it’s convenient to handle. Furthermore, it has been constructed out of aluminum alloy that is highly durable, sturdy, and anti-rust. Thus, it proves to be a long-term investment.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a GPS beginner, then this unit is the perfect one for you. The design is simple yet carries all the features that are needed for its proper operation and is found in a valuable tool for survival. Furthermore, it doesn’t break the bank; thus it is accessible to more people.

Bottom Line

This product is of great value; therefore, it is considered to be the best overall for the money on our list. It features a highly reliable and simple design that is easy to figure out. Plus, the unit doesn’t break the bank; thus, it's a good investment to make.

PROS

  • Features a sun-light readable, 2-inch large display which is easy to read
  • 100k topographic data for the U.S and worldwide base map with shaded relief
  • Compatible with Custom Maps software that allows it to download paper and electronic maps
  • Has been constructed out of great quality materials which allows it to be sturdy and waterproof
  • Comes with electronic compass and barometer altimeter for precise bearings and altitude measurements

CONS

  • Batteries drain fast
  • User manual is not detailed enough

What Recent Buyers Report

This product has seemed to have taken the market by a storm. Buyers are very happy with this and find it to be a great investment. The design is incredibly ergonomic, and the unit is easy to work with. While buyers do find that the manual isn’t detailed enough about its working, they were willing to overlook it because of the unit’s functionality.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It has a 100k topographic data for the U.S and the worldwide base map as well with shaded relief. Furthermore, the LCD is easy to read as it can be read in sunlight as well. Furthermore, it is compatible with the Custom Maps software, which allows it to download paper and electronic maps.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is perfect for hiking, fishing, and hunting. It features a sunlight-readable display which is convenient to view for buyers. Furthermore, it has an electronic compass and barometer altimeter, which allows it to measure precise bearings and altitude measurements.

Bottom Line

In all, this product is slightly up there in price; however, the construction and the performance make it worthy of the investment. It is highly accurate and built to be great for fishing and hunting. Furthermore, its construction is sturdy and durable; thus, it is long-lasting.

Magellan eXplorist 310 Fishing Hot Spots Bundle

PROS

  • Carries an 18h battery lifetime for long-lasting guidance
  • Great for fishing as it offers information on the species caught
  • Has a rugged construction that allows it to be waterproof and sturdy
  • Features vibrant and transflective color screen for best readability under the sun
  • Highly sensitive as it is accurate up to 3-5 meters for an excellent navigation experience

CONS

  • Screen is small
  • Some buyers find that it isn’t as intuitive as they would like

What Recent Buyers Report 

Buyers are very happy with this unit. It features a design that is equipped with many features to make the most of it. It is highly advanced and functional. The durable construction and waterproof nature allow it to work perfectly for outdoors. Furthermore, it’s highly accurate, as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

They aren’t many products quite like this. It has been constructed to be highly durable as it is IPx7 waterproof. Furthermore, the overall construction is durable, as well as sturdy. Moreover, it is capable of being highly accurate up to 3 to 5 meters for a superior navigating experience

Who Will Use This Most

If you feel like your currently owned GPS device always runs out of battery, then this unit is worthy of switching to. The product features a great battery life of 18h. Furthermore, it is capable of handling harsh conditions well due to its sturdy and durable design which is waterproof as well.

Bottom Line

Last but certainly not least, this product proves to be one of the best out there. Furthermore, it features a phenomenal design that is highly reliable. its well-constructed and can be incredibly sturdy and handle harsh outdoor conditions well.

Handheld GPS vs. Phone For Fishing - Comparison Overview

People are often skeptical about investing in a separate GPS device as they feel like they have it on their phone, so why would they want to make another investment. 

If you are on the fence about making a purchase, perhaps you should look at the side by side similarities and differences between using a phone for fishing and a handheld GPS. 

Similarities

When it comes to using GPS on your phone as compared to a handheld device, the biggest similarity between the two is of portability. Both your smartphone and your handheld GPS device will prove to be portable to carry as they are lightweight and get the job done. 

Differences

When one talks about the differences between the two devices, there are quite a lot of them. 

Capability to Handle Different ​Conditions 

Smartphones aren’t as well equipped to handling harsh outdoor conditions, as well as GPS devices, are since they are more fragile and susceptible to damage.

Navigation

GPS devices prove to be better at navigation, as this is their sole purpose. They extract data from prominent mapping companies to enhance the experience, which can’t be said the same for smartphone apps. 

Plus, if one invests in a GPS device, they will have the advantage of having a maintained connection, whereas oftentimes, the cellular network isn’t available at places. 

Battery

If you engage your phone in using the maps app, it will drain batteries as it has background apps working, whereas a GPS device has greater battery life as its function is navigation only. You could also be missing updates and calls from family or friends if your phone is being utilized for navigation.

How to Use a Handheld GPS

Knowing how to use a handheld GPS is a life skill that could come handy in a lot of situations. Imagine being lost with a GPS device; you could simply find your way back to the campsite without any worries. Let’s take a look at the step by step guide on how to use a handheld GPS:

A GPS can be thought of as a map with a brain and memory. If you are just starting out with using a GPS, then it’s better to opt for a beginner level option, which is straightforward and practical. 

A GPS can show you where you are as well as in which direction you are heading. Some units don’t offer mapping but give you grid reference so you can locate it on the screen and then find it on an ordinary map. Advanced units offer mapping, which makes things even easier.

Moreover, you can download a route from software on your GPS and follow it to reach your destination. Afterward, you can upload the updated information on the computer to keep the perfect track of your walk. You can locate hidden treasures as well using the geocaching feature. 

Furthermore, a GPS uses a series of satellites to show you where your location is by grid reference or by bearing. It can even show the altitude or speed. All of these can be great features for hiking, hunting, or fishing. 

If you still feel like you don’t quite understand how to use a handheld GPS after reading the descriptions, head over to the video below to get a better understanding of how to operate a GPS device.  

Conclusion

Buying a good GPS device is highly beneficial. It has a very straightforward and simple use, but it makes a great impact on your life. And this is particularly important if you often go off wandering in the woods or like to explore nature as it would help you in making your way back to your campsite or cabin in no time. Be it fishing or surveying, a GPS is a must. 

Therefore, this post aimed to help you buy the perfect handheld GPS for you. It included all you needed to know on how to operate the device, what to look for in them, and also mentioned some incredible product options to consider. Hopefully, by the time you reach this section, you will have a good idea of which device to invest in. 

People Also Ask

People often tend to have a lot of queries when it comes to buying a handheld GPS for fishing. Thus, we took the ones you most frequently asked to help you clear off any confusion that you may have. This will help you understand the product better. Let’s take a look at them:

How Accurate is a Handheld GPS?

When it comes to a commercial-grade GPS, they can obtain coordinates that have a horizontal accuracy of 3 meters. This is, however, if the unit is capable of receiving a wide-area augmentation signal or WAAS. If that isn’t the case, then the accuracy is about 10 meters.  

Can You Survey With a GPS?

Yes, a GPS can be employed for land surveying. However, the devices which are used for the purpose of surveying are much more expensive and complex than those used in regular life. They are more accurate than regular GPS and are built for the job as they have a 1-centimeter horizontal accuracy and 2-centimeter vertical accuracy.