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Raymarine have been a long time supported of kayak anglers and kayak fishing events in the UK. The Dragonfly is probably the most commonly seen unit on kayaks here, and whilst I wasn’t a great fan of the Axiom when it was released, I was excited to try the new Element on the kayak.

There has been a tendency to larger and larger fish finders over the last few years, especially amongst freshwater anglers, often with multiple transducers making the rigging onto the yak extremely complicated.
On opening the box of the Element I was really happy to find it was an appropriate size for the yak. The single Hypervision Chirp transducer fits easily into the moulded recess on Jackson kayaks, and the 7inch screen can be mounted straight onto the centre hatch of a Kraken fitting perfectly. I actually managed to mount the unit and transducer without drilling any holes in the yak, which is a real bonus as you can play with positions until you find one you are completely happy with.

Now all I need to do was take it on the water…

One of the joys of Raymarine products is that you don’t need to mess about changing settings, simply take it out of the box, turn it on and you are ready. The Element comes with seven pre programmed screens ranging from single screen charts to a split 4 screen fishfinder option. You can programme your favourite variations into quick change options so pressing a single button takes you straight to the screen you want rather than navigating the whole menu.

The waypoint maker is also a single large button so the Fastcore processor allows you to immediately position a waypoint before the tide or wind moves you off the mark.

The biggest step up from previous models is undoubtedly the side imaging. The frequency has been increased to a massive 1.2 Megahertz which has made a massive difference to the clarity and definition you can see. This alone has made the upgrade worthwhile.

Before taking the unit, I was advised that I’d need to upgrade my batteries to cope with the power drain of a powerful unit, but even here I have been pleasantly surprised. I currently use a 13v lead acid battery and the voltmeter on the unit shows that an eight-hour session on the water is only draining 1v from the battery, so there is no need to upgrade at all.

One of the biggest problems I have found with fish finders is their waterproofing. Kayak fishing at sea means the units are constantly being hit with salt water, so any slight break in the seal results in damage to the units. The Dragonfly had well known issues with this and you had to make sure you looked after the unit at the end of each session, so I was intrigued to see how the Element fared. Fortunately, or unfortunately my first launch gave me the chance to find out. On landing back on the beach for lunch I turned around to find I hadn’t dragged the kayak far enough u the beach and watched as a wave dragged it back into the ocean, only for the next one to roll it in the surf. The Element spent several minutes underwater being battered by the sea so I wasn’t expecting it to survive too well. However, on examination, there was no evidence of water ingress, and two months later the unit is still working perfectly with no sign of water having passed any of the seals. This is a major plus for any unit used in the UK.

Obviously, its early days as I’ve only been using the unit for a few months, but so far, the Element is looking like the best unit I’ve used on my kayak and for its price bracket its looking like one of the best on the market. The ease with which it fits onto my Jackson kayak models suggests they have designed it very much with kayak anglers in mind, something backed up by the ability to change the icon on the screen to a kayak, certainly a nice touch. For anyone looking to upgrade to a mid priced fish finder in the near future, this is definitely one to consider.