Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C Review: The Petite Fishfinder for Travelling Anglers

Larger, fancier fishfinders always get all the attention for their extra capabilities, leaving smaller ones out of the limelight. But people with smaller fishing vessels are always on the lookout for compact equipment that won’t take up much space.

Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C

The same applies to anglers who are always on the move, as they need their gear to be lightweight and easy to carry. At times like these, smaller fish finders are much preferred. 

While finding one that still works reliably well can be difficult, we’ve got the device that might just be perfect for you.

Our Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C review deals with a small, compact, and portable fishfinder. As it comes from a well-known brand, the unit has a solid design and quality construction, translating to a longer life. 

Sounds pretty great, right? Let’s take a better look at this fishfinder.

Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C Review: Major Features

The PiranhaMax 197C is a sturdy, yet small unit made by one of the best fish finder manufacturers. Because of its low price, it falls under the budget range. A small freshwater boat or kayak is the ideal use for this unit.

Humminbird 197C reviews will all tell you that it has a dual-beam sonar. The screen size and dual beam sonar help you see what’s going on underneath your boat and beneath the water level. It is best suited for anglers who want basic sonar functions without lots of extra features.

Sonar Technology:

This fish finder has technology that automatically calculates the depth you’re at. It adjusts itself so that the fish and the bottom are always visible on the screen. 

Using sonar technology, it produces sound waves from the transducer, transmitting them out into the water. The sonar returns and displays just a segment of time with detected objects while the boat is moving.

The Dual Beam sonar of the Humminbird 179C uses 200/455 kHz frequencies with a 28° conical area of coverage. A narrow 16-degree beam is best for showing the bottom topography and contours. However, for locating fish targets, it uses a wider 28-degree beam when the Fish ID+ feature is in use.

As your vessel moves across the water, this device shows the changes in-depth and creates a bottom contour profile. With the Sonar View option, you can view varying intensity for returns in a range of colors. Blue shows a weak return and yellow indicates a medium-strength return, while red points to a strong return.

If you want to select the sonar readings that will be on display, you can use the Beam Select option. As the unit is meant for basic use, you can’t get specialized sonar readings.

Display and Interface:

The Humminbird 179C fish finder has a 3.5-inch color TFT screen. The 240 x 320-pixel resolution is just clear enough to give you a sense of what is happening in the water. 

The screen is pretty small overall and doesn’t really have a high-quality image. However, it is still a pretty decent pick when considering the price.

This fish finder’s small screen and slender dimensions make it great for use on a smaller fishing vessel or kayak. Because you will need all the space for more important equipment, a smaller fishfinder is more convenient. If you are experiencing a shortage of space onboard, this will be the right device for you.

It has a LED-backlit screen especially built for conditions that might compromise visibility. Thus, it works well in direct sunlight as well as in a fog, and at night. 

If the screen needs adjusting, you can change the contrast settings. The contrast gives you a higher definition with accents to the light and dark areas of the sonar.

To view a certain section of the sonar return close up, you can use the zoom feature available in this model. Some structures and fish may not be clearly visible otherwise. This zoom option is available on the menu.

Extra Capabilities:

Although this unit doesn’t have much in the way of eye-catching features, it has some essential ones. As a result, you still have add-ons that come in handy when you’re out fishing

Fish ID+:

With Selective Fish ID+, the fish finder can understand sonar returns for you. When a particular group of requirements is met, the PiranhaMax displays a fish icon. That means you won’t have to squint and wonder whether what you are looking at is a target or not.

This function allocates fish icons to receive information from the transducer. It is very useful for beginners who aren’t quite sure what they are seeing on their fishfinder display. 

It can also save time for more experienced anglers. Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C fishfinder reviews usually consider this as the most useful extra feature on this device.

Fish Alarm:

Another added feature is the fish alarm. It doesn’t need much by the way of an explanation, but it makes a distinct sound when the sonar picks up a fish. 

The alarm goes off when sonar readings correspond to user-made settings. There is also a depth alarm function that works in the same way.

Swivel-and-Tilt Bracket:

The HumminBird unit also comes with a bracket made to swivel and tilt. As a result, you can move it around and adjust it to your preferences. 

Setting it up is easy and you can view the display even when you change positions on your boat. However, if you want the optional in-dash mount, you need to buy a separate kit from Humminbird.

Temperature Sensor:

The transducer on this device comes with a built-in sensor that lets you measure and keep track of water temperatures. This is important because different species of fish have different preferences when it comes to water temperature. 

For instance, lake trout live in waters between 48 and 52 F. On the other hand, species like largemouth bass prefer a temperature range from 68 to 78 F. Because of this, knowing the temperature of the water can help you fish more effectively.

Key Features:

  • Dimensions: 8 x 16 x 12.3 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Display Size: 3.5 inches
  • Display Resolution: 240 x 320 pixels
  • Brand: Humminbird


  • Has a dual-beam sonar
  • Transducer comes with a temperature sensor
  • IP-X7 waterproof rating
  • A good number of sonar functions
  • Compact size and easy to use
  • Budget-friendly and affordable


  • Very basic software with no upgrades

Why We Recommend It:

As this Humminbird 197C review demonstrates, this is a simple yet effective fish finder. PiranhaMax 197C is a rather basic fish finder, making it a great ideal for beginners. However, it is also a good choice for more experienced kayak or canoe anglers.

The unit also comes with a traditional dual-beam 2D sonar that handles both 200 and 455 kHz. Moreover, the XNT 9 28 T transducer can cover both frequencies. The maximum depth is 600ft, so the unit is suitable for off-shore fishing, as long as you stay close to the shore.

At the end of the day, this PiranhaMax 197C is a very compact and inexpensive fish finder, ideal for smaller vessels, inland fishing, and even moderate off-shore ventures. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, this is a good basic fish finder to have.

Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C Installation

After checking out the PiranhaMax 197C review, you might be curious about the installation of the unit works. For more information on installing the head mount or the transducer, check out the instruction manual for all the details.


Here we answer questions people might have about the Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C.

01. Can the Unit be Connected to a Boat Battery?

Yes, this works well when kayaking and is a pretty convenient option.

02. Does the Fishfinder Work in Both Saltwater and Freshwater?

The device can be used in all sorts of water conditions, without affecting the functionality of the unit.

03. Can the Transducer Be Mounted in the Hull?

The Humminbird transducer can be mounted to a solid hull by using an epoxy resin. Humminbird also has a service to exchange the transducer as long as they have not been used.

Wrapping Up

A good fish finder will always have its uses, no matter how simplistic the design. Our Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C review will show that it is a reliable unit for scoping out the depth, temperature, and location of fish when out on the water.

Although it doesn’t have many flashy features, it helps you fish and saves you both time and money in the long run. Furthermore, it can impress the fishers with the simple features that this finder contains. 

It works well and does so for a very good price. If you are looking for such a finder, this Humminbird PiranhaMax 197C is the device meant for you.

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