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Top 6 Best Handheld GPS for Fishing Review - Anglers Recommend

Handheld GPS for fishing helps find the way on the water, mark the fishing spot, locate and benefit more. Refer to this review and get the best one.

By Thea | @Thea

Updated on Oct 16, 2019

A handheld GPS for fishing is an essential fishing gear that you should take when you plan to go new spots or take a boat to remote water, which is a great helper to fish effectively and eliminate the worries of getting lost. As its name shows, it is handheld that is designed small, lightweight, and easy to carry, being effective for anglers and kayaks to locate where they are, mark the fishing spot, and find the directions. Well, how to choose a handheld GPS for fishing?

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This article has gone ahead and compiled the following review of the best handheld GPS according to experienced anglers’ recommendation. It’s an exclusive list that you should not miss out on especially if you want to make an informed verdict and get one that meets all your needs.

What is a Handheld GPS?

Before talking about the best handheld GPS for fishing, let’s learn more about what is a handheld GPS. A handheld GPS is a device, or a kind of tool, which uses the Global Positioning System, combining modern geographic technology with a portable, user-friendly device for everyday use. It is designed for outdoor enthusiasts like hikers, hunters, campers, anglers and other to pinpoint the coordinates of a certain location for future reference, or, helping to find ways to the campsite, hunting spot, right way on expansive water bodies or other location.

Handheld GPS was introduced in the late 1990s, which has many functions including navigation assistance and land-survey data. Features on some models may also provide information on geographic locations like national and historic landmarks.

The handheld GPS has grown in popularity since its release, and thanks to developing technology make it more affordable, therefore, it continues to grow in popularity. Aside from its common usage, some of these devices even have a built-in beacon or SOS button which is a lifesaver if you find yourself getting lost on the water. Moreover, as its name shows, it’s a handheld device so they are easy to carry and portable, convenient, and on top of that, it’s accurate.

Why Do You Need a Handheld GPS for Fishing?

Different people buy a fishing GPS for a different purpose, some may want to use it to mark fishing spots, some may use it to keep in touch with companions, some may want to buy a GPS navigation for his boat, and some may just want to have one in case of an accident, whatever. So, why you want to buy a handheld GPS for fishing? Check out the reasons listed below to see if they are the same for you, or, if you have other purchase considerations.

  1. Basically, helps locate your position.

  2. Handy in helping you find the way in the water.

  3. Bookmark the preferred fishing spot.

  4. Explore larger fishing fields without worrying about directions.

  5. No worry to get lost during the fishing adventure.

  6. Be helpful in emergencies like sending distress signal.

While a smartphone GPS with built-in navigation function would be used by most fisherman, it would be of little utilize off remote or bad-signal areas, since specialized GPS definitely perform better in terms of positioning technology, locate accuracy, and additional functionality, etc.

Criteria to Judge the Best Handheld Fishing GPS

When comes to choosing the best fishing tracker for yourself, what criteria should be taken into account? No doubt that determining which fishing GPS device to buy is important since you spend money to get a GPS capable of doing everything, guaranteeing water safety and right navigation. Before buying, you need to make sure what is your specific purpose from a GPS, as long as it’s determined; it will be simple to find the most ideal one for yourself. Here are 6 considerable points suggested by experienced anglers:

1. Durability

A durable device not only can be used for a long time when fishing but also can be used when to go hiking or camping. Waterproof is necessary for dealing with the rainy or snowy day. Plus, a good durable handheld GPS should greatly cope with changing temperature and various geographical circumstances.

2. Satellite Access

General speaking, the more satellites a handheld GPS can access, the most accurate GPS signal will be. If a handheld GPS tracking device features with both GPS (US) and GLONASS (Russia) receiver then it will get superior satellite reception and can ensure better tracking accuracy.

3. Maps

Usually, a handheld GPS tracker will preload a base map, however, which may not meet your needs. So, it is necessary to consider if this device includes full-fledged Topo map options, or allows you to add other custom or downloadable maps as well.

4. Barometric Altimeter & Electronic Compass

It should comprise a barometric altimeter and an electronic compass. A barometric altimeter is capable of zeroing in on your exact altitude, and an electronic compass shows the exact directions without moving around.

5. Battery Type & Life

Battery life is definitely another important factor that you should consider when choosing the best handheld GPS for fishing. Most handheld GPS devices for fishing are equipped with AA batteries by default, while more and more producers have already turned to rechargeable Li-polymer batteries.

6. Track Navigation

Track navigation loads a formerly taken route so that anglers can follow it and create it to their destination. This is especially vital in the onset of fog or bad weather.

7. Display and Screen Size

Screen size, color, brightness adjustments, and LCD displays are the important features you need to take into account when selecting a GPS unit for fishing. 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. And the display should be adjustable so that you can still see clearly even under the sun.

8. Storage

For the sake of fishing effectively, a GPS system that can save information like waypoints, maps and checkpoints is the optimal choice. 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. So you’re suggested to pick up a GPS unit with large storage or come with an SD card so that you can save as much information you want to.

Top 6 Recommended Handheld GPS

1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st Handheld GPS

Price: $249.5 | Screen Size: 2.6 inches | Weight: 8.16 ounces | Item Dimensions: 2.4”W x 6.3”H x 1.4”D

Garmin GPSMAP 64st Handheld GPS is the one that people choose most due to its outstanding features and relatively reasonable price. It is rugged, waterproof, and preloaded with 100K topo mapping covering the US, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. 8GB of internal memory and an SD card slot.

Garmin GPSMAP 64st Handheld GPS.jpg

Key Features:

  • 2.6” Sunlight Viewable Display

  • High sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver with quad helix antenna

  • 3 axis compass and barometric altimeter

  • Pre-loaded 100K Topo for US

  • iPhone 4s or higher compatible to receive emails, texts, etc.

2. Garmin Rino 755T Handheld GPS with GMRS Radio and Topo Maps

Price: $589.95 | Screen Size: 3 inches | Weight: 1.49 ounces | Item Dimensions: 2.6"W x 7.9"H x 1.6"D

The Rino 755t be regarded as the most complete GPS unit for the outdoorsman who needs to stay in touch while he or she is in the field. The accuracy of the GPS in the Rino 755t is the best and the hi-sensitivity receiver is the best as well. And besides, Rino 750 features 5W GMRS two-way radio that ensures up to 20 miles extended range, making it’s possible to communicate with other Rino users by texts or voice.

Garmin Rino 755T Handheld GPS.jpg

Key Features:

  • Electronic compass and barometric altimeter

  • Large 3” touchscreen display

  • Built-In 8mp camera

  • Supports active weather

  • Two-way communication with 5W power

3. Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS

Price: $239.99| Screen Size: 2.6 inches | Weight: 8 ounces | Item Dimensions: 6.0"H x 2.6"W x 1.2"D

For anglers, who like to take a boat to fishing on broader water, the rugged GPSMAP 78sc includes preloaded U.S. coastal charts & features a three-axis compass, novel molded rubber side grips, crisp color mapping, barometric altimeter, a high-sensitivity handset, plus a micro SD card slot for loading extra maps, etc., is an ideal fishing boat tracker!

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Key Features:

  • Marine-friendly handheld with high-sensitivity GPS handset

  • Floats in water

  • Barometric altimeter for heading/altitude/weather

  • Waterproof to IPX7 Standards & FLOATS!

  • Accepts BirdsEye Satellite Imagery.

  • Ability to Wirelessly Share Information.

4. Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS

Price: $199.99 | Screen Size: 2.2 inches | Item Dimensions: 2.1"W x 4.0"H x 1.3"D

Garmin eTrex 20x is another popular handheld GPS for fishing with upgraded screen resolution and internal memory, compared with the previous version (eTrex 20). It is equipped with a 2.2-inch screen with color display, which has high readability even in full sunlight condition. It offers 3.7GB of memory (microSD card enabled) to hold more maps.

Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS.jpg

Key Features:

  • Improved display

  • Larger memory

  • Rugged and Waterproof design

  • GPX files are supported for Geocaching

  • Quickly switch between profiles

5. Garmin Oregon 750T Handheld GPS

Price: $449.95 | Screen Size: 1.5 inches | Weight: 8 ounces | Item Dimensions: 2.4"W x 4.5"H x 1.3"D

The Oregon 750T is a rugged, waterproof handheld GPS designed for the avid outdoorsman. Super rugged housing with a dual-orientation color touchscreen display is sunlight readable and is easy to maneuver through different screens for an extremely easy to operate user interface. No worry about inclement weather thanks to the barometric altimeter uses changes in air pressure through short term trends so you will see what’s coming your way ahead of time. The 750t has 4GB of internal memory and is water rated to IPX 7.

Garmin Oregon 750T Handheld GPS.jpg

Key Features:

  • GPS and GLONASS Receivers

  • Touchscreen Display

  • Electronic Compass and Barometric Altimeter

  • Preloaded with 100K Topo Mapping and 1 Year BirdsEye Subscription

  • Dual-Battery System – Operates off Rechargeable NiMH or 2 AA Batteries

6. Garmin GPSMAP 64s Handheld Mapping GPS

Price: $189.95 | Screen Size: 2.6 inches | Weight: 9.2 ounces | Item Dimensions: 6.3"H x 2.4"W x 1.4"D

It is built with the outdoorsman in mind, rugged, and waterproof to IPX7 standards – can withstand being submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes without damage to the unit. The bright display is sunlight readable. Has 4GB available internal memory, as well as supports adding a preloaded SD card to the expandable memory.

Garmin GPSMAP 64s Handheld Mapping GPS.jpg

Key Features:

  • Garmin custom map compatible

  • Waterproof to IPX7 standards

  • Electronic compass and barometric altimeter

  • Preloaded with 250,000 paperless geocaches

  • Built-In high sensitivity GPS receiver

Try Off-Grid GPS Tracker for Outdoors

After talking about what is handheld GPS, how to choose one and top recommended GPS unit, this part we’re going to introduce you a practical Off-grid GPS tracker. As you see from above, most handheld GPS is not cheap, and your smartphone GPS will get useless when you’re in the wild or bad-signal areas. In this case, an Off-grid GPS tracker is the best solution because it is cheaper than a handheld GPS unit and more useful than your smartphone GPS.

Off-Grid GPS Tracker - GoFindMe.jpg

Here, we recommend you GoFindMe, a reliable off-grid GPS tracker for outdoors. Based on the long-range radio technology, GoFindMe GPS Tracker gathers you and other users in a private network so that you can directly send text or voice messages in a group within the App, without relying on Wi-Fi or cellular data. On top of that, it’s cheaper and with no monthly fee. Also, you can use it when fishing as well.

Don’t Miss: Best Personal GPS Trackers with No Monthly Fee >

The Bottom Line

That’s all about everything you may want to know about handheld GPS for fishing. One thing you need to remember is iron out what you really need from a fishing GPS tracker before buying one. Utilizing the handheld GPS to navigate crosswise the water and back to shore, bookmarking fishing spots along the way, locating where you are is one of the most important tips for fishing. No matter what your purpose is, choose the one that fits most. We'll keep updating this post to try to find more good GPS devices for your reference.

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