Help Me Pick a Fish Finder

Four22

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Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
470
Location
Ohio
I’m looking for a new fish finder. I really like the Humminbird Helix line and am considering the Helix 7 MEGA but not sure whether to go for a down image or side image.

It’ll be on a 14’ boat so I’m not looking for anything too big but want to be able to find fish a little easier.

I mainly fish for crappie and panfish but a few lakes around are known for walleye and saugeye so would be looking to learn to fish for those too.

What’s the benefits/pros/cons of down imaging or side imaging?

Other suggestions?

Looking to stay in the $600-$800 range also
 

Benjamins

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Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
94
Not sure where you are located but if you ice fish the helix is awesome. I have the helix 5 with down imaging for a combo unit for ice fishing and my small river boat. It takes some adjusting to get the color palette and settings just right but one you do it's great. If it's just on a boat I'd definitely recommend side imaging. I have the helix 9 SI for my big boat, it's little bit of a learning curve but once it clicks it's great.
 

cwitherow

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Oct 12, 2017
Messages
316
Location
MN
I have Garmin, friend has Hummingbird. Both have features we like and others we would trade for. IMO both are better than Lowrance.
 

targetpanic

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Aug 24, 2017
Messages
659
Location
Phillipston, MA
If you are already familiar with the Humminbird then I would stick with a Helix. IMO if you want to use SI or DI then you definitely need to have a 9" screen, otherwise when you split the screen to see map, sonar, DI and SI they are each too small. I have been running a Helix 7 with trad sonar and gps for 4-5 years now and I love it for trolling Salmon/lakers. I had DI on a previous unit but I did not care for it but for crappie fishing that might be the way to go. I plan on upgrading to Helix 9 w SI this year, should help find fish and bait balls while we are trolling.
 

BrentD

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Joined
Feb 3, 2018
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4,342
Location
In the middle
I'd recommend any one these three
1. A fresh leech
2. #3 squirrel tail Mepps
3. #14 Elkhair caddis with woodchuck tail

A 2.5" gold and black floating Rapala is a contender however.

Works for me, anyway.
 
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Wild Bill

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Dec 9, 2015
Messages
418
Location
SD
I'm partial to Lowrance products. You can often find used GEN3 HDS units online in great condition and good prices. I always hear a lot of guys really like the Humminbird SI and DI image, however I have no issues with my Lowrance images and I enjoy the user interface better, as well as the touch screen which isn't an option on Humminbird. Makes a big difference in ease of use.
 

ol_spark

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Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
320
Location
NW Pa
I have a Helix9 MegaSI which includes down image as well. I like mine a lot. I fish Lake Erie for walleyes as well as I inland lakes from NY to Florida. Side images is great for locating crappies under docks in marinas or around brushpiles away from the boat. You can even move cursor to image and enlarge it then drop a way point. I have a zero line card as well so I can make use of Humminbird’s autocart I would recommend one if it’s in the budget. Using the transom transducer though you’ll need to be going under 5mph for it to read properly. Go too fast and you get interference.
 

F250

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Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
1,351
Location
Vermont
I bought the Helix 7 with DI last summer. I fish Walleyes and yellow perch. Works great for me. Shopping for the kit to convert it for ice fishing.
 

Bulldog0156

Active member
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Messages
942
Location
Kalispell, MT
I'm partial to Humminbird. Rocking a Helix 9 & 10 on my boat. If you're serious about the sonar, buy the biggest screen you can afford. It makes seeing things on side imaging much easier.
 

Four22

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
470
Location
Ohio
Cabelas has the helix 9 mega side imaging g3 on sale 300 bucks off…. I’m wondering if the g4 has enough additional features to justify the extra 300 bucks
 

Bulldog0156

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Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Messages
942
Location
Kalispell, MT
Cabelas has the helix 9 mega side imaging g3 on sale 300 bucks off…. I’m wondering if the g4 has enough additional features to justify the extra 300 bucks
No it doesn't. Only differences are wifi capability (with no current uses) and NMEA 2000 direct connection. Get the g3.
 

Duck-Slayer

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Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
4,186
Location
great state of Idaho....
Just got a Helix 12 gen3 for my boat! It’s pretty freaking awesome, had a Helix 5 gen1 before. This is night and day difference. Also the big screen is awesome! Watch lots of YouTube stuff and you will get the hang of it!
Matt
 

brocksw

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
785
I run a helix 10 g4n on the bow and a helix 12 g4n at the dash, both have the mega+ side imaging. Also run a lowrance HDS 9 on the dash, lowrance has superior 2d sonar. The birds have the better side imaging and better maps. The i-link feature for humminbird and minnkota communication is a game changer, makes life so much easier, especially when fishing with the family. Follow the contour is amazing. HDS always stays on sonar and the bird is usually split between side imaging and my map.
 
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WapitiBob

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Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Messages
3,200
Location
Bend, Orygun
I bought a Helix 7 DI/SI, It's mediocre based on what I hear from friends. They spot crappie with side image and when just running up the lake, I haven't seen a single one. I think I see kokanee but nothing like a Garmin live scope will do. From what I've seen you need to spend $2000+ to get one that really works but, maybe I just haven't figured it out.
 

brocksw

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2018
Messages
785
I bought a Helix 7 DI/SI, It's mediocre based on what I hear from friends. They spot crappie with side image and when just running up the lake, I haven't seen a single one. I think I see kokanee but nothing like a Garmin live scope will do. From what I've seen you need to spend $2000+ to get one that really works but, maybe I just haven't figured it out.
You need the mega or mega+ to get the really good side imaging out of a bird. Could be wrong but I don't think that's an option until you get to the helix 9 msi.
 

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