One of the most affordable fish finders of 2017 is the Striker 4 and one of the best portable fish finder, made by Garmin. It is also one of the most affordable small units around that has CHIRP technology. It's bound to attract many people, so we had to do a full review.
The striker 4 comes in two different versions, with different part numbers. One is 010-01550-01 and the other 010-01550-00. Concerning specifications, they are, more or less, the same. The difference is in the documentation that comes along with each device. If the last two numbers are "00", you will get the English Documentation. If the last two digits are "01", then your unit comes with World Wide documentation.
Capable of dual frequencies - 50/200 kHz or 77/200 kHz
2D sonar with CHIRP
Temperature capable, 77/200 kHz CHIRP transducer
GPS with high sensitivity
Ability to save up to 5,000 waypoints
Useful sonar features like A-Scope, Flasher, Ultrascroll
Fish Symbols, etc
No unit cover included
Lacks NMEA connectivity
2D Sonar: 200 kHz / 15° and 77 kHz / 45°
77/200 kHz CHIRP
200 W (RMS)
backlit, HVGA color
480H x 320V
Fishfinder and Transducer Functions
The Striker 4 from Garmin comes equipped from the factory with the 010-10249-20 transducer and uses a 4-pin connector. This transducer is 77/200 kHz capable and uses two cone shaped beams. One 45° beam for 77 kHz, and one 15° beam for 200 kHz. If you need to search through bigger depths, you can use the control unit with a 50/200 kHz transducer. That's because it is capable of 50/77/200 kHz. You should also know that the control unit is capable of only using High and Mid CHIRP.
This device will let you scan to a top depth of 750 feet or 228 meters in saltwater. In freshwater, its limited to 1,600 feet or 487 meters. But, this is possible only if you possess a transducer capable of 50 kHz. The transducer that comes out of the box has a top depth of about 800 feet or 244 meters.
A powerful CHIRP sonar provides the Garmin Striker 4 with quality images. In other words, a clearer picture means targets that are better defined. It also means a better view of the bottom, as well as less clutter on the screen. Besides that, CHIRP has incredible separation of targets. With CHIRP a firmly packed school of fish won't appear as a single, larger target. This can be a problem with conventional sonar units.
This device's 2D sonar offers a lot of useful functions. Among these, there are the A-Scope, UltraScroll, Flasher, Auto Gain, Fish Symbol ID, Split-Zoom, including different alarms. For people who aren't familiar with these functions, here's a quick explanation of some.
The Fish Symbol ID function processes the sonar returns in different ways and adds different fish icons to them. Besides that, it shows the depth of each target fish. It's easy to see how useful this can be to every owner of the Striker 4.
The Flasher mode is a depth scale in circular form. It also provides information on targets found by the sonar beams. The Flasher's inner rings show depth, and the flashing segments on the outer rings show different sonar returns measured in strength. This function comes in handy when ice fishing or fishing from a stationary position.
The A-Scope is also a flasher function. The difference is that it provides information in a vertical layout about the most recent returns from the sonar.
The Auto Gain function gives users the chance to let the unit filter out unwanted noise without manual adjustment.
With Ultrascroll, you can scan while moving at high speeds. It enables faster scrolling of the sonar data. But, if you're going over 40 Mph, image quality will suffer.
There're a couple of things left to mention in this section in regards with the transducer mounts. The Garmin Striker 4 comes with a trolling motor mount as well as a transom one. There's 20 feet or 6 meters of cable in the box. Also, there's a sensor for temperature integrated.
The Striker 4, just like many other portable devices in this series, doesn't come with a chart plotter. That's why the GPS system uses a blank sheet for support. But, the Striker 4 has an internal GPS module with high-precision. This module provides the coordinates to your current location with impressive accuracy. It is also used to track the speed of your boat.
If you want to mark waypoints, you can do so with this unit. You can use this function to keep track of your favorite spots for fishing. But also mark any point you find important enough for a re-visit. This fish finder can store up to five thousand waypoints which you can mark with different kinds of icons.
Control Unit Functions and Features
The Striker 4 is a small device, so it's no wonder that it comes with a 3.5-inch display. The screen comes in a 480V x 320H resolution pixel matrix. It also features a backlight and HVGA color display. All of this means you'll be able to view readings even when working in direct sunlight. With this fish finder, you can see at most two applications or panels on this display at the same time.
This unit is IPX7 waterproof which means water splashes or rain won't damage it. But, it can also work even after an immersion of 1 meter or 3 feet in freshwater. The Striker 4 doesn't come with NMEA connectors or an SD card reader. But, you can transfer waypoints with a data cable between any echoMAP device and this unit. It also comes with a power cord and a swivel/tilt mount.
Guide to Using the Striker 4 (Online User Manual)
The Garmin Striker series is designed with a user-friendly interface and robust physical features suitable for a variety of fishing environments. Below is a detailed overview of its physical aspects, including button functions and port locations.
Display and Buttons
Display Screen: A high-resolution screen displays sonar data, navigation maps, and device settings. Its clarity ensures visibility in various lighting conditions.
Power Button: Located typically at the top or side of the device. A long press turns the device on or off.
Zoom Buttons: Two buttons, usually labeled with a plus (+) and minus (-), are used for zooming in and out on the display. This feature is crucial for closely examining sonar readings and maps.
Arrow Keys: These keys are used for navigating through menus and panning on the map. They are typically arranged in a directional pad layout.
Enter/Select Button: This central button, often found in the middle of the arrow keys, is used for selecting menu options and acknowledging messages.
Home Button: Usually a distinct button that brings you back to the home screen from any other screen. Holding this button may also turn on or off the device.
Menu Button: Opens a context-specific menu, providing additional options related to the current screen or function.
Clear Button: Used to go back to the previous screen or close a menu.
Ports and Connectors
Power Connector: A dedicated port for connecting the device to the boat's power supply. It ensures the device remains operational throughout your fishing trip.
Transducer Port: A specialized port for connecting the transducer. The type of port can vary depending on the model and the transducer type.
NMEA Ports (if available): Some models may include NMEA ports for connecting to other marine electronics.
Durability and Mounting
Robust Casing: The device is encased in a durable material, capable of withstanding marine environments.
Mounting System: A flexible mounting system (often a swivel or tilt mount) allows for easy attachment to various parts of the boat. The mount ensures the device remains secure and stable, even in rough waters.
Initial Setup and Installation
Setting up your Garmin Striker device involves a few key steps, including mounting the hardware and configuring the initial software settings. Here’s a guide to help you get started:
Mounting the Hardware
Choose a Location: Select a location for the device that offers a clear view of the display and easy access to the controls. Avoid areas where it might be obstructed or where exposure to excessive moisture or direct sunlight is likely.
Mounting the Device:
Using the Swivel Mount: Attach the swivel mount to a flat surface using the provided screws. Ensure the surface is stable and secure. Attach the device to the mount, adjusting the angle for optimal visibility.
Using the Flush Mount: If you prefer a flush mount, position the mounting template at the desired location. Mark the hole locations, drill the holes, and secure the device using the provided hardware.
Connecting to Power:
Connect the power cable to the device's power port.
Connect the other end of the power cable to a constant power source on your boat and to a ground source. Ensure the connections are secure and waterproof.
The transducer should be mounted according to the type you have (transom mount, trolling motor mount, thru-hull mount).
Ensure the transducer is placed in an area with minimal turbulence and away from large obstructions for optimal performance.
Run the transducer cable to the device and connect it to the transducer port.
Initial Software Setup
Power On the Device: Press and hold the power button to turn on the device.
Language Selection: The first prompt will typically be to select your preferred language. Use the arrow keys to navigate and select your language.
Setting the Units: Choose the units of measurement that you prefer (imperial, metric, or nautical). This will set how depths, distances, and speeds are displayed.
The device will begin acquiring GPS signals. Ensure the device has a clear view of the sky to facilitate this.
Once the GPS fix is established, your location will be displayed.
Transducer Type: If your model requires it, select the type of transducer you are using. This setting ensures that the sonar data is accurately displayed.
Software Update (if applicable):
Check if there's a software update available for your device.
If available, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update.
Customize Home Screen (optional):
Customize your home screen to access your most-used features quickly.
Add or remove widgets and adjust the layout as per your preference.
Transducer Installation and Types
Installing a transducer correctly is critical for the optimal performance of your Garmin Striker device. Here’s a guide on how to install the transducer and an overview of the compatible transducer types:
Selecting the Mounting Location:
Transom Mounting: Ideal for smaller boats. The transducer should be mounted on the transom (back) of the boat, submerged in water at all times, avoiding locations with excessive turbulence or aeration.
Trolling Motor Mounting: For attaching to a trolling motor. Use a hose clamp or the provided mount to secure it to the body of the trolling motor.
Thru-Hull Mounting: Used for larger vessels, requiring drilling a hole in the hull. Professional installation is recommended for thru-hull mounts.
Mounting the Transducer:
Transom Mount: Attach the transducer mount at the selected spot on the transom. Adjust the angle so the transducer is parallel with the ground when in water.
Trolling Motor Mount: Secure the transducer to the trolling motor using the provided strap or clamp.
Thru-Hull Mount: Insert the transducer into the hole and secure it using the provided flange or fairing block.
Running the Cable:
Route the transducer cable to the Garmin Striker unit, avoiding areas that might crimp or damage the cable. Secure the cable using cable ties.
Connecting to the Device:
Plug the transducer cable into the transducer port on the back of the Striker unit.
Types of Transducers Compatible with Garmin Striker
Traditional Transducers: Ideal for general fishfinding and provide a detailed view beneath the boat.
Garmin ClearVü™ Transducers: Offer high-frequency sonar that gives a more detailed representation of structures beneath the boat.
SideVü Transducers (available on specific models): These transducers provide detailed images of the sides of the boat, useful for scanning large areas for fish and structures.
CHIRP Transducers: Use CHIRP technology for more accurate and detailed sonar readings.
Tips for Optimal Performance
Avoid areas where the transducer's view might be obstructed by the boat's hull or other structures.
Ensure the transducer is always submerged in water during operation.
Regularly check for and clear any debris or growth on the transducer.
GPS Functionality and Satellite Signal Acquisition
How the GPS Function Works
Acquiring Satellite Signals: When the Garmin Striker device is powered on, it automatically begins searching for GPS satellite signals. This is necessary to establish the current location of the device.
GPS Lock: A successful GPS lock is indicated on the screen, usually by a specific icon or message. This means the device has connected to the satellite and has a precise geographic location.
Losing Satellite Signals: The device may lose satellite signals if it is in an area with obstructions like tall buildings or heavy tree cover, or if it is indoors. This is indicated by a lost signal icon, often a flashing question mark.
Using Different Sonar Views
Accessing Full-Screen View: Select the sonar type (Traditional, ClearVü, or SideVü) from the home screen to view it in full screen.
Interpreting Data: This view provides a detailed graph of sonar readings. Look for shapes like arches (fish) or continuous lines (bottom contour).
Customizing Data Overlays: You can customize what data appears on the screen, such as depth, water temperature, and boat speed.
Activating Split-Screen: From the sonar view, select the menu, then choose "Split Screen." Select the sonar types you want to compare (e.g., Traditional and ClearVü).
Interpreting Side-by-Side Data: This view allows simultaneous comparison of different sonar data, useful for understanding the underwater environment from multiple perspectives.
Adjusting Views: You can resize the split views for better analysis of a particular sonar type.
Accessing Flasher View: Typically used for ice fishing, select the Flasher option from the sonar types.
Reading the Flasher: The flasher shows sonar information in a circular depth scale. Depth is indicated inside the ring, with sonar returns appearing as colored segments on the ring.
Interpreting Data: Different colors often represent the strength of the sonar return, useful for distinguishing between soft and hard bottoms or locating fish.
Manual Gain Setting: From any sonar view, select the menu, then "Gain." Adjust the gain manually to increase or decrease the sonar sensitivity. Increasing the gain shows more detail, while decreasing it reduces clutter.
Automatic Gain: For automatic adjustment, select "Enable Auto Gain" and choose between high, medium, or low sensitivity.
Adjusting Sonar Range
Setting Range: From the sonar view, select the menu, then "Range."
Manual Range Adjustment: Manually set the depth range to focus on a specific water column depth. Useful for tracking the bottom in varied terrain.
Auto Range: Select "Auto" to let the device adjust the range based on the current depth.
Choosing Frequency: Accessible from the sonar view, select the menu and then "Frequency."
Frequency Options: Choose a frequency based on your needs and water depth. Higher frequencies offer better detail in shallower water, while lower frequencies are better for deeper water.
Creating Frequency Presets: Some models allow saving specific frequency settings for quick access<.
By understanding and utilizing these sonar views and settings, anglers can significantly enhance their fishfinding capabilities with the Garmin Striker series. Adjusting the gain, range, and frequency settings helps in tailoring the sonar functionality to specific fishing conditions and environments.
Customizing Sonar Settings for Optimal Performance
To get the most out of your Garmin Striker's sonar capabilities, it's essential to understand and adjust various sonar settings. Here are some guidelines:
Purpose: Gain controls the sensitivity of the sonar. Higher gain can reveal more details, but too much gain may clutter the screen with noise.
Adjusting Gain: Access the Gain settings from the sonar view. Experiment with different levels to find the right balance. In waters with high clarity and less debris, a lower gain might be sufficient.
Auto Gain: For beginners or in varying conditions, use the Auto Gain feature which adjusts sensitivity automatically based on water depth and clarity.
Purpose: Range setting determines the depth scale shown on your screen.
Manual Adjustment: If you are targeting a specific depth, manually adjust the range to focus on that area. This is particularly useful in waters with dramatic depth changes.
Auto Range: In most fishing situations, Auto Range is beneficial as it dynamically adjusts the depth scale based on the depth of the water.
Choosing the Right Frequency: Higher frequencies (like 200 kHz) provide finer details and are best for shallow waters. Lower frequencies (like 50 kHz) penetrate deeper but offer less detail. Select based on your fishing environment.
Multi-Frequency Views: Some models allow viewing multiple frequencies simultaneously, which can be advantageous for a comprehensive understanding of underwater topography.
Interpreting Sonar Readings
Reading the Display
Understanding the Basics: The sonar display is a real-time representation of the underwater environment directly beneath or around your boat. Objects are displayed as shapes or lines against a water column background.
Bottom Contour: The bottom of the body of water will appear as a strong, continuous line. Its shape can indicate the type of bottom – flat, sloping, rocky, etc.
Fish Identification: Fish often appear as arches or blobs. The size and shape of the arch can give clues about the fish size and its movement.
Water Column Features: Structures like rocks, plants, or submerged objects will appear as protrusions or distinct shapes in the water column.
Tips for Better Interpretation
Zoom Feature: Use the zoom function to magnify a portion of the water column for a closer look at potential fish or structures.
Adjusting the View: Altering the range or changing to a split-screen view can provide different perspectives for better analysis.
Experience and Experimentation: Over time and with practice, you'll learn to interpret sonar readings more accurately. Don't hesitate to experiment with different settings to see how they affect the display.
Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks Management
The Garmin Striker series offers comprehensive functionality for managing waypoints, routes, and tracks. Here's a detailed guide on how to create, edit, navigate, and delete these essential navigational elements.
Marking Your Present Location: Simply press the waypoint key on any screen to save your current location as a waypoint.
Creating at a Different Location: Navigate to 'User Data > Waypoints > New Waypoint.' Choose 'Enter Coordinates' for manual entry, or 'Use Waypoint Map' to select a location on the map.
Access 'User Data > Waypoints.'
Select the waypoint to edit.
Choose 'Edit Waypoint' and make modifications such as changing the name, symbol, depth, or comment.
Navigating to Waypoints:
On the waypoint map, find and select the desired waypoint.
Choose 'Navigate Route > Go To' to start navigation towards the waypoint.
Select 'User Data > Waypoints.'
Choose the waypoint or Man Overboard (MOB) point to delete.
Confirm the deletion by selecting 'Delete' and then 'OK'.
Access 'User Data > Routes > New > Use Waypoint Map.'
Select the starting location and follow onscreen instructions to add turns and waypoints to the route.
Go to 'User Data > Routes' and select a route.
Choose 'Edit Route' and modify elements like the name or turns in the route.
From 'User Data > Routes,' select a route.
Choose 'Navigate To' and select either 'Forward' to start from the beginning or 'Backward' to start from the end.
In 'User Data > Routes,' select the route to delete.
Confirm deletion by choosing 'Delete'.
Viewing and Using Tracks:
A track is a record of your boat's path. Access this feature under 'User Data > Track.'
Setting Track Color:
Customize the track's appearance by selecting 'Track Options > Track Color' and choosing a color.
To clear the current track, navigate to 'User Data > Track > Clear Track' and confirm with 'OK'.
Managing Track Log Memory:
Under 'Track Options,' choose 'Record Mode.' Select between 'Fill' (record until full) and 'Wrap' (overwrite oldest data).
Configuring Recording Interval:
Adjust how often the track points are recorded under 'Record Intervals.' Choose between distance, time, or resolution-based intervals for recording the track log.
Deleting All Waypoints, Routes, and Tracks:
For a complete reset, go to 'User Data > Manage Data > Clear User Data > All > OK
Alarms and Notifications Settings
The Garmin Striker series comes equipped with a variety of alarms and notification settings to enhance your fishing and navigation experience. These alarms can be set for various purposes, including navigation, sonar, and system alerts. Here's how to set and customize these alarms:
Set an alarm to notify you when you are within a specified distance or time from a destination or turn. Access this via 'Settings > Alarms > Navigation > Arrival.'
Anchor Drag Alarm:
Useful for monitoring your boat's position while anchored. It sounds an alarm if your boat drifts beyond a preset distance. Navigate to 'Settings > Alarms > Navigation > Anchor Drag' to set this up.
Off Course Alarm:
Set this to alert you if your boat veers off the predetermined course. Accessible through 'Settings > Alarms > Navigation > Off Course.'
Shallow Water Alarm:
Triggers an alarm when the water depth is shallower than the preset limit. Set this under 'Settings > Alarms > Sonar > Shallow Water.'
Deep Water Alarm:
Opposite to the shallow water alarm, this sounds when the water depth is deeper than your specified setting. Find this option under 'Settings > Alarms > Sonar > Deep Water.'
Alerts when the device detects a suspended target (fish). You can customize it to alert for all sizes of fish or specific sizes. This can be set up in 'Settings > Alarms > Sonar > Fish'.
Water Temperature Alarm:
Notifies you when the water temperature varies more than a specified range from a set point. It's useful for finding specific water conditions that are ideal for certain fish species. Configure this in 'Settings > Alarms > Sonar > Water Temp.'
Use this feature to set a one-time alarm or a daily reminder. Set it through 'Settings > Alarms > System > Alarm Clock.'
Battery Voltage Alarm:
Set an alarm to sound when the device's battery reaches a specified low voltage level. This helps in maintaining the health of your boat's electrical system. Access this via 'Settings > Alarms > System > Device Voltage'.
GPS Accuracy Alarm:
Alerts you if the GPS location accuracy falls outside a predefined value, ensuring reliable navigation data. Set this in 'Settings > Alarms > System > GPS Accuracy.'
Tips for Effective Alarm Management
Customize Sensitivity: Adjust the sensitivity of each alarm according to your needs and environmental conditions.
Regular Checks: Regularly check and update alarm settings to ensure they remain relevant to your current fishing and boating conditions.
Balance Alerts: While alarms are helpful, setting too many can be distracting. Balance the number of active alarms to avoid unnecessary interruptions.
System and Vessel Settings
Configuring the system and vessel settings on your Garmin Striker device is crucial for accurate and customized operation. Here's a guide to help you navigate through these settings:
Adjusting the Backlight:
To modify the screen's brightness, go to 'Settings > System > Display > Backlight.' Adjust the backlight level to suit your visibility needs, especially important for different times of the day.
Change the color scheme of the display for better visibility under various lighting conditions. Access this setting at 'Settings > System > Display > Color Mode'.
Set the device's language by navigating to 'Settings > System.' Select 'Language' and choose from the available language options.
To view GPS settings and status, go to 'Settings > System > GPS.' Here, you can see satellite information and the current GPS accuracy.
If you're using a transducer that didn’t come with the chartplotter, you may need to set the type manually for accurate sonar readings. Go to 'Settings > My Vessel > Transducer Type' and select the type you are using.
Adjust the keel offset to account for the depth of the keel below the water line. This setting helps in measuring depth from the keel instead of the transducer. Navigate to 'Settings > My Vessel > Keel Offset' and enter the appropriate offset value.
Water Temperature Offset:
If your transducer measures temperature, you can adjust the reading to match a known accurate sensor. This is useful for precise water temperature readings. Adjust this under 'Settings > My Vessel > Temp. Offset'.
Additional System Settings
Access information about your device and software version under 'Settings > System > System Information.' This section also includes options for viewing the event log and connecting to other Garmin devices.
Enable or disable the feature that automatically turns on the device when power is applied. This can be found under 'Settings > System.'
To revert to factory default settings, navigate to 'Settings > System > System Information > Factory Settings.' Be cautious as this will erase all your custom settings and data.
By properly configuring these system and vessel settings, you can ensure that your Garmin Striker device operates efficiently and provides accurate data for your fishing trips. It's important to review and adjust these settings periodically, especially when changing fishing environments or vessels.
Maintenance and Care
Proper maintenance and care are essential to ensure the longevity and reliability of your Garmin Striker device. Here are some key tips:
Clean the screen with a soft, damp cloth. Avoid harsh cleaning agents or abrasive materials that could scratch the display.
Rinse the device with fresh water after each saltwater use to prevent corrosion.
Regularly inspect the transducer for any damage or debris accumulation. Clean it gently to ensure accurate sonar readings.
If mounted on the hull, periodically check for any damage or wear that could affect performance.
Cable and Connectors:
Ensure cables are securely connected and free from damage. Inspect for any signs of wear or corrosion, especially if used in saltwater environments.
Keep connectors dry and clean. Apply a corrosion inhibitor if recommended.
Regularly update the software to ensure you have the latest features and improvements. Updates can often be done via a Wi-Fi connection or by downloading from the Garmin website.
When not in use, store the device in a dry, cool place. Avoid extreme temperatures and direct sunlight exposure.
If storing for an extended period, remove it from the mount and store it separately.
Contact Information for Support
For further assistance and support, Garmin offers several contact options: