Side imaging a game changer or gimic ?

  • isu22andy
    Participant
    Posts: 1197
    #2121630

    Trying to convince myself to buy a new Helix 10 Mega SI . However Im not 100 percent positive its worth it . Ill be fishing Lake Pepin and Pool 4 mainly coming up , but fish some shallow mud flat lakes back home where the max depth is 9 foot. Anyone have any input if SI changed the way they fish ? Is the Helix 10 that much better than the Helix 9 ? I understand screen side is a big thing for SI but man, 500 buck different for one inch seems crazy. Buddy keeps telling me to go Garmin 10 UHD but Im not convinced the pictures better than the birds. Thoughts on it ???

    Browndog
    Participant
    Omaha, NE
    Posts: 292
    #2121631

    Simple answer….yes. SI is a game changer for many reasons. It allows you to locate fish/structure that you never would have known was there otherwise and helps you maximize your efficiency on the water. Also, for SI the larger screen is always going to be better if you have the room.

    James Holst
    Keymaster
    SE Minnesota
    Posts: 18924
    #2121655

    Anyone have any input if SI changed the way they fish ?

    No single tool has had more of a positive impact on the way I fish and, as a result helped me consistently put more fish in the boat, than side imaging. That includes all rods, reels, line, lures, live bait… nothing even comes close. The amount of area you can cover in a single pass, at a fast trolling speed, and know exactly where all the structure is along with many / most of the fish is incredibly powerful.

    Fife
    Participant
    Ramsey, MN
    Posts: 3986
    #2121659

    Side-imaging is definitely a game changer in a river situation. I have and have had both Helix 9s and 10s. The bigger the screen the better, but I run my SI on a 9” screen and it is a good picture.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17480
    #2121661

    No single tool has had more of a positive impact on the way I fish and, as a result helped me consistently put more fish in the boat, than side imaging. That includes all rods, reels, line, lures, live bait… nothing even comes close. The amount of area you can cover in a single pass, at a fast trolling speed, and know exactly where all the structure is along with many / most of the fish is incredibly powerful.

    100%

    rjthehunter
    Participant
    Brainerd
    Posts: 1253
    #2121665

    If you had money to buy 1 unit, I would say spend it on a unit with side imaging. Side imaging is more important than any type of live imaging like active target/livescope/mega live.

    Side imaging is certainly a game changer.

    Mike W
    Participant
    MN/Anoka/Ham lake
    Posts: 13058
    #2121666

    No question it has changed how I fish. Biggest key is to use the side imaging. There are fish that you will not see very well with a simple down scan. Then with down scan you are only seeing under the boat compared say 100′ window to each side of the boat. Big game changer for trolling dunes on the river. Next step then is casting to those fish you are seeing off the side of the boat and catching them.

    Red Eye
    Participant
    Posts: 849
    #2121667

    As far as screen size goes. Figure out what is the biggest unit you can afford. Then go one size up.

    KPE
    Participant
    River Falls, WI
    Posts: 1449
    #2121668

    I just went with a Garmin 93SV UHD, and moved my Helix 7 to the front of the boat. SO I’m comparing a 7″ to a 9″, and a Gen2 Hbird to a more recent Garmin so not exactly apples to apples.

    Here’s what I’ll say anyway- the Garmin image is better in my situation. The Garmin software updates, connectivity, features, etc. are all miles above simply because i don’t have to pay an extra $250 every time I want to do something different with it. The user interface is much simpler, it’s actually difficult right now because I’m so used to Humminbird that I have to un-learn navigating 4 different menus to tweak setting each time I move to a new depth range or technique.

    Now, I will say the hbird has been pretty good. But I think if you’re looking for best value the Garmin wins in my opinion. Would love to see a Helix 9 vs an Echomap 93SV in side imaging, side by side comparison on the same boat. That would be the only way to truly compare the image quality.

    KPE
    Participant
    River Falls, WI
    Posts: 1449
    #2121669

    I will add the Garmin can read bottom and keep track of depth up to 40mph while my helix with the high speed ducer can’t keep track of the bottom anywhere over 15 mph. For me this is a game changer as I’m on the river about 85% of my fishing time.

    steveo
    Participant
    W Central Sconnie
    Posts: 4102
    #2121671

    I have the Garmin 10UHD unit with the upgraded transducer. I cannot speak to ‘birds side view as i have not seen one. the image on the Garmin is outstanding. i had the 9″ last year with the older transducer. it was fantastic but the 10 UHD is even better.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17480
    #2121699

    Do units even come WITHOUT side or downscan these days?

    dirtywater
    Participant
    Posts: 1019
    #2121711

    9 inches is plenty. I had a 5″ unit with SI that was pretty much pointless. I had the settings set to show only one side of the boat to increase the image size and it was still tough. 9 inches, no problem.

    gizmoguy
    Participant
    Crystal,MN
    Posts: 754
    #2121712

    No single tool has had more of a positive impact on the way I fish and, as a result helped me consistently put more fish in the boat, than side imaging. That includes all rods, reels, line, lures, live bait… nothing even comes close. The amount of area you can cover in a single pass, at a fast trolling speed, and know exactly where all the structure is along with many / most of the fish is incredibly powerful.

    I would say GPS mapping first with SI a close second.

    Deuces
    Participant
    Posts: 4712
    #2121744

    Only as effective as the angler being able to interpret what’s on the screen.

    Plenty of people out there who have all the tech but no idea in how to read it. One has to make a conscious effort in learning the tool, before, during and after using the tool to fully utilize it. You’re not going to go out one day and be like “hey I get I now”.

    Aboxy17
    Participant
    Posts: 415
    #2121747

    Was wondering about this too does anyone have a comparison between Garmin side Vu vs Humminbird side imaging? Was thinking of picking up the Garmin vivd 5cv

    Joe Jarl
    Participant
    SW Wright County
    Posts: 1497
    #2121762

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Andy Bruce wrote:</div>
    Anyone have any input if SI changed the way they fish ?

    No single tool has had more of a positive impact on the way I fish and, as a result helped me consistently put more fish in the boat, than side imaging. That includes all rods, reels, line, lures, live bait… nothing even comes close. The amount of area you can cover in a single pass, at a fast trolling speed, and know exactly where all the structure is along with many / most of the fish is incredibly powerful.

    This right here. I finally broke down and added mega SI last fall. Found a great deal on an unused Helix 9. Put it to work 3 times last fall and it absolutely changes the way I fished. In recent years, I’ve worked on migrating from just fishing good looking structure to trying to fish the fish. SI makes you much more effective at this. I may have lucked out and it may have just been the lake I was on, but right out of the box I was able to identify fish, rocks, weeds, etc. The 9″ screen works fine for me, but bigger is always better.

    KPE
    Participant
    River Falls, WI
    Posts: 1449
    #2121769

    Was wondering about this too does anyone have a comparison between Garmin side Vu vs Humminbird side imaging? Was thinking of picking up the Garmin vivd 5cv

    Unfortunately Side imaging on a 5″ screen will leave a lot to be desired. I think most here will agree side imaging becomes more and more effective as you move to larger screens, simply due to better resolution. However I am sure it’s still usable, probably not going to be what is pictured in all the ads. For example, my Helix 7 is fine, but the pics on the outside of the box are incredible. These pics come from larger units running the upgraded transducers.

    Michael Best
    Participant
    Posts: 778
    #2121776

    I have not ran Garmin units but my dad does.
    This summer I am going to try and get some comparison screen shots to see what is better.

    When it comes to mapping (GPS) I am a big fan of lake master mapping. Have to run birds to get that.

    Ripjiggen
    Participant
    Posts: 9843
    #2121789

    There is plenty on YouTube.

    mojogunter
    Participant
    Posts: 3094
    #2121792

    I have both garmin SI and humminbird mega SI in the same boat and can look at each next to each other. There is no question the humminbird has a clearer image than the garmin. You can see pretty much everything on the garmin that you see on the humminbird, but you have to look much closer. SI on a 5″ screen with my old eyes would be borderline worthless unless you were just looking at one side of the boat.

    Was wondering about this too does anyone have a comparison between Garmin side Vu vs Humminbird side imaging? Was thinking of picking up the Garmin vivd 5cv

    dirtywater
    Participant
    Posts: 1019
    #2121797

    I have both garmin SI and humminbird mega SI in the same boat and can look at each next to each other. There is no question the humminbird has a clearer image than the garmin. You can see pretty much everything on the garmin that you see on the humminbird, but you have to look much closer. SI on a 5″ screen with my old eyes would be borderline worthless unless you were just looking at one side of the boat.

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Austin Boxrud wrote:</div>
    Was wondering about this too does anyone have a comparison between Garmin side Vu vs Humminbird side imaging? Was thinking of picking up the Garmin vivd 5cv

    That’s what I did when I had my 5″ unit — and it still sucked. If I took screen shots and brought them home and viewed on my computer I could see things that I couldn’t see at all on the boat in the sunlight.

    Also, FWIW – Vivid 5CV doesn’t come with SI. You have to go to the 7″ screen to get that option.

    isu22andy
    Participant
    Posts: 1197
    #2121804

    Is the Garmin a UHD unit vs the Mega unit?

    John Rasmussen
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 4917
    #2121805

    Only as effective as the angler being able to interpret what’s on the screen.

    Plenty of people out there who have all the tech but no idea in how to read it. One has to make a conscious effort in learning the tool, before, during and after using the tool to fully utilize it. You’re not going to go out one day and be like “hey I get I now”.

    ^^^ This! I feel like I can see stuff on my side image but have yet to have that aha moment myself. I feel like with all technology in my life I only use it for a small fraction of it’s capability.

    isu22andy
    Participant
    Posts: 1197
    #2121809

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Mr.Beads wrote:</div>
    Only as effective as the angler being able to interpret what’s on the screen.

    Plenty of people out there who have all the tech but no idea in how to read it. One has to make a conscious effort in learning the tool, before, during and after using the tool to fully utilize it. You’re not going to go out one day and be like “hey I get I now”.

    ^^^ This! I feel like I can see stuff on my side image but have yet to have that aha moment myself. I feel like with all technology in my life I only use it for a small fraction of it’s capability.

    This is my fear spending 1500 bucks on a unit and guess if its a fish or a rock .

    Ripjiggen
    Participant
    Posts: 9843
    #2121812

    Still better than guessing if it is a fish or a rock right below your boat.
    Tons of videos and seminars out there to learn how to use.
    Definitely not a gimmick. It is a game changer for those that know how to use it.

    eyeguy507
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 4293
    #2121813

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>James Holst wrote:</div>
    No single tool has had more of a positive impact on the way I fish and, as a result helped me consistently put more fish in the boat, than side imaging. That includes all rods, reels, line, lures, live bait… nothing even comes close. The amount of area you can cover in a single pass, at a fast trolling speed, and know exactly where all the structure is along with many / most of the fish is incredibly powerful.

    I would say GPS mapping first with SI a close second.

    Don’t forget spot lock!

    For me spot lock, GPS, then SI. SI is a work in progress and I have a hard time just driving around looking for fish without a line in. On the river especially there are so many species of fish that I am not sure if I’m casting at eyes, bass, sheep, carp, or others.

    shockers
    Participant
    Rochester
    Posts: 1036
    #2121814

    I like SI, but wish I was better at ‘reading’ it. I’ve watched the YouTube videos etc, and it helps. But boy, with my old eyes, I still squint and try to guesstimate if it’s a rock or tree or giant walleye (or in my case, a giant sheepie).

    If could swing it and they made it, a 20″ screen….yeah….

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 13913
    #2121823

    GPS mapping has been more important to me than anything else in terms of technology. I’ve literally never fished without it. I’m not old enough to remember what it was like to fish before GPS and color sonar.

    I do think side scan is a nice feature though. Even the most basic units nowadays usually come with it. As others have mentioned, I am also not the greatest at utilizing it yet either.

    slough
    Participant
    Posts: 401
    #2121875

    It is definitely a nice tool. It depends how you fish I’d say. If you just like to go out and drop a line and fish most of the same structure throughout the year, SI probably isn’t going to be a life-changing addition. If you like to scout around and fish different bodies of water and hunt down fish, it’s pretty valuable. I would feel very handicapped without it on rivers for sure. I’m certainly no pro but on lakes I haven’t found it to be such a huge game changer but most of what I fish are weedlines. It is definitely nice for following weedlines as you can see the weeds off to your side and stay right outside of them. It’s also nice for finding structure but if you think tons of fish are always going to pop out on it you’ll probably be disappointed. For instance, the situation with rocks someone mentioned – you really can’t pick out fish within rocks, I think I’ve even heard Tom Boley say that. The OP mentioned fishing a shallow mudflat – this would be a great place to see fish with SI as the fish are hard and will give a bright return while the mud is soft and will give a dark return so the fish will really pop out. All in all, it’s a valuable tool that I would recommend if you can afford it but like anything it’s not magic. I’ll attach a couple good screenshots of walleyes on river sandbars.

    Attachments:
    1. SI-Good.jpg

    2. S00013.png

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