Side Imaging is one of the most advanced sonar technologies a fish finder can wish for.That is because having a feature like this, you can get a much better picture of the bottom of the water and locate more fishes than the traditional sonars. Fishermen, as always are gadget freaks.Every winter, at the boating and fishing shows, fishers inspect and study the newest reels, rods, lures, sonars and other boating accessories. Some of the latest and upgraded gears end up functioning better than they could ever have imagined.Some turn out to be extremely efficient based on the cost they need.Side imaging is such type of technology.
How it works:
- A Side Imaging enabled fish finder comes with a special type of transducer, which is normally mounted on the outside of transom of the boat.One on each side of the boat, it has two sonar beams.These two sonar beams are aimed at a right angle from the path of the boat.Depending on the unit, typically they can cover up to 300 feet area on each side of the water.Most Side Imaging sonars can be operated at 800 kHz and 455 kHz frequencies.
- After getting data from its sonar beams, the Side Imaging displays a view of the bottom of the above on the screen having a bright white line in the middle with two darker bands on each side of it.Each dark band represents the bottom of the water.
- Fishes will appear as elliptical shapes or white dots on the screen.Bait fishes usually appear as cloud shapes. It will be seen that some of them are casting shadows, which means they are surely above the bottom.Hence, the longer the shadow is cast means the higher in the water column the fish is.
- Ditches or drops will appear like lines or dark shapes.Trees, grass, rocks or any other structure can be immediately distinguished by looking at the monitor.This is one of the main advantages of side imaging sonar technology.
Features of side imaging fish finders:
Point out more fishes:
Firstly, a side imaging sonar will detect more fishes than a traditional sonar.If a scan of a certain place is conducted with a fish finder with having a split-screen function, after observing both regular and side view sonar in split-screen, it will be seen that most of the fishes detected by the side imaging were not shown by the standard sonar.
Baiting made easier:
Secondly, it allows you to determine very quickly where exactly a fish is in relation to your boat since it scans the water from side to side of the boat.Thus, side imaging sonar makes it much easier for you to place the bait.
Another notable advantage of side imaging is coverage.Side imaging covers a wider surface of water other than just the bottom portion of water which comes under the boat. In other words, with a regular sonar, you may likely miss some large fishes just because they were staying outside the sonar sensor radius.Whereas Side Imaging adds more sonar coverage on the two sides and detects those missed fishes for you.
Lastly, a huge plus is the Side Imaging technology helps you to easily distinguish between fish and objects or structures.For example, the leaves or branches of any sunken tree might appear like fish and delude you, but in Side Imaging, you will be able to observe clearly where the branches and leaves of the tree are and whether there are fishes hidden among them.
Factors that should be kept in mind before purchasing side imaging fishfinder:
You have to consider the depth capability of side imaging fish finder.Side imaging is the type of sonar to be used for mainly shallow water fishing. Most Side Imaging sonars can work with a depth capability of 150 feet radius.So, if you plan on fishing in waters deeper than that, this feature can be useless to you.
You also have to consider about your boat’s capability.The type of boat you own might not offer the possibility to install the side imaging sonar beams.Then you may have to perform some modifications on your boat and these modifications might cost a lot and who says your unit may not operate properly after all.
It is necessary to ensure that the unit you purchase comes with a transducer.Otherwise, you have to go through the hassle of ordering a transducer, wait for it to be delivered to you and maybe even pay more than it actually cost.
It is recommended to buy a wider screen for Side Imaging scan readings. That is because if the screen is wider, you can detect smaller fish easily with a bigger output.
Review of 5 top side imaging fish finders
It comes with a noticeable amount of useful features and currently is said to be the most affordable fishfinder which comes with Side Imaging.Although it is a small unit, its side view technology has added a lot of effectiveness to it.
- Very cost-efficient, the SI and DI sonar technology at the lowest possible price.
- Features like GPS, temperature built-in maps, waypoint saving, and depth measuring etc. are available.
- It has DualBeam PLUS transducer with SwitchFire sonar.
- Its Down Imaging provides very clear images of underwater structure.
- The screen is smaller, finding fish sometimes become difficult.
- There is no Ethernet.
This model offers the best sonar technologies available in the market but only with minimal navigation features.The best sonar possible including CHIRP SideVü is present in this model without paying extra for plotter functions.
- It has temperature graph function with adjustable backlight.
- High-sensitivity GPS with a speed sensor.
- It can save up to 5 thousand waypoints with suggestive icons.
- Via data cable it can share waypoints with echoMAP units.
- Tilt mount is also included.
- IPX7 waterproof technology used with protective cover and power cable included;
- It is very easy to use and install.
- It lacks NMEA connectivity;
- No SD card reader is present;
- There is sonar recording facility.
With one of the best quality per price ratios, you can find in the market, the Humminbird 899ci HD SI Combo can be an excellent fish finder and chart plotter too.Its Side Imaging is able to detect any fish within its reach with pinpoint accuracy.By this way, you will understand exactly where to place your lure or bait.Additionally, it is also a great navigational tool providing you an awesome GPS technology and detailed maps for more than 3 thousand U.S. lakes.
- It’s a fish finder with cutting edge sonar technology.
- 360 Imaging can be added.
- The map can be upgraded to Navionics+.
- Radar 2 and NMEA 2000 options are also available.
- The given transducer is not in HD mode.
- It does not come with a hard copy manual.
The HDS-9 Gen2 Touch Insight is one of the best fish finders available with Side Imaging technology if your budget is $1500-$2000 range.It offers you the best touchscreen fish finder and chart plotter also.It really maintains an excellent price-quality ratio.It contains a complete set of fish finding and navigational features, but it also leaves more room for upgrading, especially when it comes to GPS, radar, and maps.
- StructureScan, broadband sonar, and many exclusive features are available.
- Superior view from a fairly wide screen which gives a great touchscreen experience.
- Maps, GPS, radar, weather receiver, satellite radio etc. can be upgraded.
- It has a wireless feature by which it can be connected to a camera and the camera source can also be viewed on the unit’s screen.
- The learning curve is very steep.
- Some functions may become difficult to understand to beginners.
When it comes to both navigation and sonar features, the Humminbird HELIX 10 SI GPS comes as a complete unit.In brief, it provides some of the best sonar technologies available such as Side Imaging and Down Imaging, fast, reliable and accurate GPS with the ContourXD map support and much more. It also offers AutoChart Live and wireless control.
- It has bright and glare-free display.
- Wireless control with dual-frequency standard sonar available.
- It offers various sonar functions like Bottom Lock, RTS, SwitchFire, Fish ID+ etc.
- There are screen Snapshot and sonar recording functions.
- AutoChart Live included with built-in ContourXD charts.
- It has multiple connectivity options like Ethernet, NMEA0183, NMEA2000 with Dual SD card reader.
- This model is 360 Imaging compatible.
- AIS,RADAR,iPilot Link,Navionics and LakeMaster compatible.
- Gimbal mount and cover are also included.
- Depth capability of SI and DI is only 150 feet.
- These sonar technologies do not work well except fresh waters.
|Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS||5″ 800×480||1500′(standard) 100′(SI/DI)||DualBeam Plus, SI / DI||UniMap||Check Price|
|Garmin Striker 7sv||7″ 800×480||800′(2D),500′(SV),500′(DV)||2D CHIRP,CHIRP DownVü CHIRP SideVü||Not available||$499|
|Humminbird 899ci HD SI Combo||7″ 800×480||1500′(standard),150′(SI/DI)||DualBeam Plus.SI / DI||ContourXD||$918|
|Lowrance HDS-9 Gen2 Touch Insight||9” 800 x 480||750′(standard),300′(StructureScan)||Dual Frequency,StructureScan||Insight US||$2174|
|Humminbird HELIX 10 SI GPS||10.1″ 1024×600||500′(standard),150′(SI/DI)||SI/DI, DualBeam Plus||ContourXD||$1451|
Side Imaging fish finders can fulfill a fisher’s dream of catching fish with all possible technologies.This really can help you not to miss any fish or waste any bait.It can be said to be an indispensable part of a fishing boat.Side Imaging sonars offer you a complete set of all the facilities required for fishing.So, Happy Fishing with Side Imaging!