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New Sonar Unit

10/17/21 @ 10:23 PM
Nick Schumacher
Nick Schumacher
USER SINCE 1/10/05

Hey guys. I'm looking to buy a new sonar unit for musky fishing, but also for whatever, as I also bass and perch fish. Side imaging and auto-charting are features I want to have, along with a large screen. The big thing for me is getting a much more thorough look at what's going on under the water. I also fish lakes that have no known maps. My current unit only has down imaging and a basic chart/map.

What specific unit do you have, and how has it been for you? Is touchscreen worth it? How about 360 imaging? Share your experiences please.

Regarding my budget, I'm willing to go up to $2,500 - $3,000. No more than this, though. I'll consider lower-priced units, too, as I'm open to a discussion about value. From what I've gathered while shopping around, the screen size ramps up the cost.


12/1/21 @ 12:21 PM

Adding my 1/2 cent. I decided to go with what I call” business in the front and party in the back.”  

On the dash a helix 10 GEN 3 mega plus imaging, real clear images, kept my Lakemaster chip,for navigating LOTW and an easy interface to interact with.

Up front Garmin 93sv UHD, a Livescope system and the Force trolling motor. Easy to use, touch screen and very good images. Very happy with the Garmin products. 

10/27/21 @ 9:15 AM

I admit I viewed but I don't have insight on anything that could be useful. I bought year end models when they went on sale at $500 bucks. Elite 9 Ti was my purchase. 

I will say the mapping feature is awesome. Used it on structure on Eagle Lake in Canada because the Navionics map is 10 ft contours. Helped up break down some larger walleye structures. The side imaging is nice to locate fish but I only have it on my console so I only look at it when slowly driving shorelines or offshore structure.

I have seen Mega Imaging in action and it is way more clear than my Elite 9 but I haven't seen the Low. HDS or even the new models so I can't comment on the compare. 

At your price point I think you will be happy with whatever you choose. I'd go with a Bird if you are going to link it a Kota and a Lowrance if you have Motorguide.

10/27/21 @ 9:09 AM

There really isn't a ton to say on this that guys haven't already said.  You can go on virtually every fishing forum and read for days about what you're asking.  Wording may be different, but most guys are saying the same thing.  One interesting note I have is that in talking with a very popular and possibly the best musky guide in Wisconsin/United States, he is connecting the very poor live bait bite this year with fish becoming conditioned to frequencies coming from electronics and relating them to the boat/danger or negative experiences.  He definitely could be on to something.  

10/25/21 @ 11:19 AM
Nick Schumacher
Nick Schumacher
USER SINCE 1/10/05

I appreciate the feedback so far, even though it's only from a few anglers. This topic has 2,192 views but only five posts. It never ceases to amaze me how many forum and report lurkers are on this site.

10/18/21 @ 11:31 AM
USER SINCE 5/30/04

So with your question.  

I will have to ask if you want to hook your locator into your trolling motor?  

If this is a feature you want then you have to buy the locator that links to your trolling motor.  So this would be Humminbird to Minn Kota or Lowrance to Motor Guide or Garmin to Garmin Force.  I want this feature so I can run my trolling motor so it follows the contours of the lake map.  

After this feature, if you are not interested then in my opionion this becomes chevy/ford/dodge debate.  All of these models are great and each does something unique.  Like the garmin has the livescope, but now Lowrance and humminbird have their own technology that is similar.  

Personally, I have a Helix 12 GEN 4 Mega(SI,DI) hooked into a Minn Kota Terrova.  I love my unit and its great for what I need.

Also my only recommendation if you do a lot of side imaging is to buy the largest screen possible.  Don't hesitate if you are between a 9 vs 10 go to the 10 or go to the 12.  When side imaging more screen is better for spotting stuff.  

Finally, I feel the Solix units are overkill.  They take a lot of power and cost more to purchase.  So I like the helix.  


10/18/21 @ 10:40 AM
USER SINCE 5/21/03

I wasn't a big fan of 360 imaging.  I used it once with a friend.  It was informative for sure, but kind of overkill.

I think if you want to see what is out there, you are better off getting a Garmin Livescope or something like that.

10/18/21 @ 10:39 AM
USER SINCE 5/21/03

I'd look at a Humminbird Helix.  At least 3GN.  10 inch screen or 12 inch screen.

I've been around enough Solix units to know that they drain power really fast.  The touchscreen portion can be finicky as well.  Especially in the cold or wet conditions.

But, find your bird, get MEGA Side Imaging.  Then look at you tube as to how to set it up and learn what you are seeing down there.  It is a gamechanger when used correctly.

And, you will see more features in the sand than you will weeds.  

The thing I like about it when musky fishing is that you will always know where your weed line is when looking at the unit.  It helps position the boat.

The bonus is when you see a fish on side imaging.  Cast to it, and get it to follow or hit.  It's a blast.  

I love mine for smallmouth and walleye fishing as well.

Also, look around at local musky chapters to see if they are going to be running and seminars around technology.  A lot of our guys learn a lot at our seminars (Muskies Inc.).

One of the keys concerning a new unit is cable/wire size.  If you are getting a Helix/Solix, have it professionally installed, with the larger wire and it'll function better.  Installing the side imaging transducer is a little tricky, too, so I'd have the dealer or a professional installer do that as well.

I think most 'Birds have that feature where you can map your own lakes.  I forget the name of it.  But it is an interesting feature.  Auto chart live could be the name.

10/18/21 @ 6:37 AM
USER SINCE 3/26/19

Bird..  Solix 12

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