I currentlyhave a Hummingbird Locator, model 598 GPS with Down Imaging and Side Imaging on a color five inch screen. I want to upgrade to a unit that has more current electronics and a bigger screen. I have not found Side Imaging to be that useful when fishing. My small screen does not do a good job of highlighting the sonar fish echoes. Has anyone found Side Imaging to be helpful in putting more fish in the boat? Is it worth the extra two or three hundred dollars on some of the higher end units?
Hummingbird Side Imaging-Is Is Worth the Extra Cost
Side imaging allows you to see something of interest, drop a waypoint on it, then circle around and investigate. That alone is priceless. I have the 9" screen. I have an older Bird I use for depth right next to it, so the Helix 9 is on SI full screen. It does seem to like to consume a lot of juice, sometimes I run out of juice, I have it in it's own battery.
My first thought is to say, yah, 5 inch is too small to really see much on side imaging. But....I have run 50/50 split screen on my 10 inch model and it clearly shows weedlines, rocks...etc. Fish are a little harder to see, but you can move the cursor over the marks and then zoom in to figure them out. So yah, it can probably work, but you need to be creative. And for the money, get a bigger screen if you really want to get into it.
And I now run an 80/20 split screen. 80% to side imaging. 20% to down imaging or regular sonar.
I find that my 7 inch screen is a bit small for the side imaging function. Should have gotten a 9 inch. My two cents.
A little late to the conversation, but I'm looking for a new unit in my range and am considering the Helix 5. Is getting SI for a small screen like a Helix 5 even worth it? Or is the image that small that it's really tough to distinguish anything? I'm lucky if I get out a dozen times over the course of a year, and it's mainly Winnebago or the Wolf.
It has a lot of functions. I use it on deeper, weedline based lakes to find the weedlines and make sure my casts are going up into them. It can also show you rock piles within those weeds, kind of spots on spots.
But, I've found it to be more useful the shallower you are, and the less weedy. It can really show you little contours and fish when you are scanning in sand/rock. Kind of nuts how that works.
So yah, for the money, get it then have someone who loves it show you how to use it correctly.
I use it all the time and yes, it helps me catch more fish. I am primarily a bass fisherman though and I'm usually using it to pick apart structure, not necessarily find fish. Open water, I don't usually even have it on the screen but say I find a stump field or a series of rock piles, then yep I'm watching closely. Whether its worth the extra money is pretty subjective and really depends on how, where and what you fish for.
Side imaging may,or may not be for you.
For me,side imaging is very important,as is sonar.
I fish Canadian shield lakes that have not been mapped out. So I find structure,I usually find fish.
I also use side Imaging to help find/keep on a break line,a transition or a weed edge.
You must understand what you are seeing.
so yes,I think it is worth it.
If your fishing structure or rivers than ok. Fishing open waters I find it a waste of time. I hardly u se mine but some guys swear by it. To each is own but if your on a budget I wouldn't