Side imaging and down imaging are the two different kinds of imaging processes used in fish finders most anglers use. Both processes work differently and have equal importance for helping fishermen catch up with their fishing goals. But the fact is, most of the shallow water fishing hunts require to have the best side imaging fish finder.
Related Post: How to Choose a Fish Finder?
Here is a quick preview of our top 5:
#1. Humminbird 409150-1 899ci HD SI Internal GPS Side Imaging Combo
#2. Humminbird 409640-1 HELIX 5 SI Fish Finder with Side-Imaging and GPS
#3. Humminbird 409950-1 Helix 9 SI 480×800 Sonar with Dual Beam GPS, 9″
#4. Humminbird 409850-1 Helix 7 SI GPS/Fishfinder with Side Imaging Sonar
#5. Humminbird 999ci HD SI Combo Fish Finder System, Black
Video Credit: Harry
It is because side imaging fish finders are good at plotting the images in shallow waters. With the help of side imaging technology, you can easily get images from around your boat including fishes, the structures under the water on both sides of your boat.
The fact is if you are planning to use only SI or side imaging technology you need to have a few things in your mind to make the most out of the side imaging fish finders. They are a bit different from the down imaging fish finders. You can find this feature as Side Scan, SideVu and SI scanner in fish finders.
How To Find Fish With Side Imaging Sonar?
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Side Imaging Fish Finder
As we said earlier, side imaging fish finders are different and come up with a different set of features and capabilities as compared to the down imaging fish finders so we have to make sure we get the best one. To let you know about the most important things that you should consider before you choose to use a side imaging fish finder, here are some points to consider:
Determine the Water Area, the Depth and the Nature of Fishing Areas to be Covered
It is important to note that, when you are looking to buy a side imaging fish finder you have to make sure that you are not going to use it in deep water. This is an essential thing to consider because if you are fishing in shallow water the side imaging feature works fine and gives you depth range around 50 m or 150 ft. mostly. This is quite good in shallow water but not useful if you are planning to use it in deep water. So, they would work in water that is less deep and give you a complete look at the sidelines of your boat.
Make Sure to Have the Right Transducer
It is important to check if the fish finder offers an easy to mount transducer to give you the right kind of sonar waves and give better and clearer images on your fish finder screen.
Determine the Kind of Boat you are Using
The kind of boat you will be using is as important to note as it is the depth of water for using a side imaging transducer. It is important because of the fact that if you are using a kayak or canoe, the side imager would not be able to plot the sides with a certain accuracy by sending the waves in the directions you need. Whereas if you use the water boats or motor boats the side scan would be much better and clearer in that case.
Display Format and Size
The display size and the format are equally important as well. The wider the screen the more you will be able to catch up with around your boat. You can get a better understanding of the images retrieved on a wider screen and with higher resolutions as well. Though it is obvious that the side imaging gives the images in the form of arches and dots for fishes that you have to comprehend if you are familiar with the mages you get on the fish finder screens.
Image quality is also necessary to look at. Make sure to see if the fish finder provides images on a high resolutions screen for easier location.
Mapping and Location Finding
Most of the best sonar fish finder gadgets come up with the mapping feature so that you can store the information about the fishing location in shallow water and reach out to the spot easily.
The Power and Frequency Range of the Fish Finder
As most of the people have shared in their sonar fish finder reviews that power of the fish finder determines the quality and accuracy of the images you get. Also, when the fish finder is using high-frequency waves they give sharper images. You should look into the power and the kind of frequencies the fish finder would be used for imaging.
Benefits of Buying the Best Side Imaging Fish Finder
Side imaging has some great advantages over the down imaging fish finders which are explained below one by one:
- As a fact, side imaging fish finders work differently and give out the sound waves on both sides of the boat you are sitting on. This enables you to view a wide area around you and you can clearly see the areas and spots without any confusion which is not possible with down imaging. The cover greater areas and give a better location.
- Side imaging provides details location information so that you can reach out to your targets without getting distracted by the water.
- Side imagers provide all the details about contours and structures underwater within the range and work perfectly when used in shallow waters.
- This kind of imaging technology offers clearer and better scanning for fishes in bay areas.
Top 5 Best Side Imaging Fish Finder Gadgets for You to Buy
We have sorted a list of handpicked products that are best for side imaging and can be used confidently in shallow waters for crisper images.
Humminbird is probably the pioneer of the side imaging fish finder and this side imaging combo product is one of their best. The gadget is exceptionally well designed with a compact size having a 7-inch display and easy to use function buttons on 1 side of it. The internal GPS offers superb chart plotting along with the ContourXD Maps. The processor is innovatively designed and offers high-speed processing.
- It is a sophisticated unit, especially when networking two gadgets for any of your needs. The best part is it’s easy to use operations which is possible with its handy manual.
- It is powerful equipment offering 4000 Watts of PTP Power output. You would love its 360 imaging ability and on top of that, the innovative design of this particular model is awesome for both professionals and hobbyists.
- The vendor offers excellent customer service. If you got a transducer which you really don’t want then you could have it exchanged with another one, with no extra charge.
- Along with side imaging, the unit also offers the down imaging capability which comes with an internal GPS also.
- It does not come with a good transducer mount, which is found to be crappy with low quality and poorly designed plastic.
This is a powerhouse for anglers who love to have a side imaging fish finder that works with precision. The internal GPS chart-plotting ability is awesome which doubles the productivity along with its much needed UniMap cartography built-in feature.
- The unit comes with a highly useful Micro SD card slot. This means that you have the freedom to move your saved waypoint and maps in between the devices.
- The GPS functionality is great and you will have the freedom to create the GPS waypoints from the comfort of your home while making use of the scans taken.
- It is quite easy to use and install the unit. For any issue, you could approach their customer support who will happily help you go through any problem that you face.
- The color display brilliance is the main charm of this gadget. It offers a magnificent color display of 800 x 480 on a 5-inch screen with a resourceful backlight as well. This helps while fishing in the dark and a feature that you will not find in many of the other devices.
- The screen sometimes absorbs moisture which eventually wipes out but could be a problem in the morning time.
This gigantic display side imaging fish finder is the USA made and has all the features that you would like to have a modern fishing gadget. The GPS speed is part of the device and provides a whopping output of 4000 watts. Hummingbird is known for its innovation in every product they produce and this one is good with all its excellent design, technology and easy to use features.
- The side and down imaging products are loved by the hobbyists and professionals for its outstanding reflex interface, mapmaking power, and incredible sonar imaging for producing the desired results with precision.
- The screen is massive and quite easy to use in the sunlight conditions without requiring to have any shade. The colors are powerful which are backed by an equally powerful processor that makes a difference with a lot of other contemporary products.
- This product is very easy to use with no hassle at all. If you want to switch between views then this is just a matter of hitting one of the two buttons present over the device.
If not just the information but its quality and size of the view is of the essence, then this 409850-1 Helix model is one of the best options for the anglers to try. It comes with a stretched and eye-catching display where you could get the best of all the available information without making too much effort. The
- This product is all on its excellent wide display. It offers crisp results which are all because of its 400 x 800-pixel resolution which is a rare thing to see in other products.
- The experience of down and side imaging on 16:9 is an incredibly awesome experience along with its glass-bonded display.
- The product offers the flexibility to handle as many as 2500 waypoints and 45 routes on top of that.
- It comes with a micro SD card which is capable of supporting the Navionics, LakeMaster, AutoChart and AutoChart Pro mapping programs. Further, you can use this feature to move data from one device to the other.
- The buttons of this equipment are a kind of rigid and sometimes does not respond if you click them with a normal fingertip. This is especially a case noticed with the ‘View’ button of the device which does not work properly at times.
Colors and exceptional graphics are the unique selling point of this equipment and this one offers a huge 8-inch screen supporting full HD colors. The side imaging is its key feature which allows you to see 240 feet section on either side of the kayak or boat you are using. The objects beneath the boat could be seen crystal clear using its down imaging capability.
- This product offers a widescreen view with a 16:9 aspect ratio which makes split-screen viewing quite easy and meaningful on such a compact handheld device.
- The range of down and side imaging is quite an attractive feature. For side imaging, 240 feet could be covered on either side of the boat. On the other side, down imaging could cover a depth of 1500 feet beneath your boat.
- Have it installed/ mounted in your boat and you will not see it move even a millimeter even when the boat is in full motion. This is another reason that the gadget is capable of producing highly accurate results and easy viewing too for the anglers.
- Some users have experienced an unexpected shutdown of the device after a few minutes of use.
It is always better to move with times and this means you are best served if you embrace the latest technologies. The same is with the idea of purchasing the best side imaging fish finder. The frequently asked question as to which is the best side imaging fish finder is as given hereunder.
Q: Which is by far the best side imaging fish finder in the market?
A: There are a few very good side imaging fish finders in the market. As per the majority of independent reviews done on websites and opinions expressed by consumers, it is seen that Hummingbird Helix S CH 12 PSI and Garmin Striker 7 SV, as well as Echo MAP 7 SV, are pretty good if you are doing it for sports and even professional fishing.
Q: During rough weather which side imaging fish finder is better to locate fish in shallow or deep waters?
A: You may go for Helix 7 SI as it is well rated by consumers and you will be happy to see that it has both down and side imaging. It also possesses Switch Fire sonar with the Dual Beam plus. The instrument is perfect even if the weather is bad and you can continue fishing.
Q: Which is the better purchase in the event that one may need not just side vision but also top and bottom too?
A: You may easily go for Echo MAP 7 SV or Helix 7 SI. The former can give an excellent side view as well as a down view and that too with a good image. There is also high contrast color and you really have nothing to worry about practically with a 7-inch screen. This also comes with an automated back lightning facility. The latter is equally good and It also possesses Switch Fire sonar with the Dual Beam plus.
Q: Are these affordable or expensive?
A: The above side imaging fish finders are all affordable for those who wish to do fishing and locate a good catch.
Though we have shared the hummingbird side imaging fish finder which is most probably the best to use for side imaging, you can find other brands as well online. Here we have listed the best side imaging fish finder products so that you are better able to explore the lakes and shallow water areas with increased accuracy and enhanced images. You can also use them to locate fishing areas that are best suitable for you to fish around.