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TheRodFather

Best value Side imaging unit with bottom contour ability.

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Hi all, there is a lot of information out there and a lot of different vernacular so I wanted to try to get some clarification.  For my river Smallmouth fishing, I am looking at a unit with side imaging, like the Humminbird Helix 5si gps.  This will be the majority of my fishing, maybe 60%, so traditional sonar type of features won't do me much good, since realistically most of my fishing will be in less than 10ft of water.

 

I also sometimes will fish in some of the local reservoirs, maybe 40% of the time.  When doing this I would like to be able to see bottom contours so I can start learning to fish deep.  

 

So the question is, what units will do this for me with the best value. It looks like some units can make their own contour maps, others use a chip.  As long as my home reservoirs are on the chip, that is the cheaper option from what I can tell?

 

Small home resevoirs are:

 

Lake Redman, Lake Williams, Lake Marburg, Lake Octoraro, Muddy run.

 

If those are on the chip, that would be great, if not then the chip wont do me much good.  I don't really know how to find the available bodies of water on the chips, like navionics, lakemaster, etc.  If I can only get them by "autocharting" them, then I guess the extra cost is going to be worth it.

 

Thanks for any help you can offer.

 

TRF 

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I think hummingbird  SI graphics may be the best

The Garmin 93 gave me the best overall package...

Also, they will be going on sale soon for prices around 600

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You'll need a unit capable of SI and Mapping. For using SI, trust me when I saw get the biggest screen you can afford. All your SI units will have mapping capabilities. I'm a big fan of lowrance and sonar chart live but lakemaster and it's depth/contour shading is pretty awesome. 

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You can go on the navionics website and see the maps for free.  That would be the best way to see if they have the lakes you want.  I have a Helix 7SI with navionics that I bought this spring.  I'm pretty disappointed in the accuracy of navionics on the lakes I fish.  I'll be looking to get something with autochart or quickdraw in the near future.  Also I would recommend the largest screen you can afford if you want to be able to see any level of detail from side Imaging.  7in is ok but i will be going bigger.  

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8 hours ago, IndianaOutdoors said:

You can go on the navionics website and see the maps for free.  That would be the best way to see if they have the lakes you want.  I have a Helix 7SI with navionics that I bought this spring.  I'm pretty disappointed in the accuracy of navionics on the lakes I fish.  I'll be looking to get something with autochart or quickdraw in the near future.  Also I would recommend the largest screen you can afford if you want to be able to see any level of detail from side Imaging.  7in is ok but i will be going bigger.  

 

Thanks for the advice guys, @IndianaOutdoors, The Helix series is compatible with Autochart, correct?  It looks like it is, if so the helix series might be a good fit for me.  I'll have to check out the Garmin, thanks again guys.

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3 hours ago, TheRodFather said:

 

Thanks for the advice guys, @IndianaOutdoors, The Helix series is compatible with Autochart, correct?  It looks like it is, if so the helix series might be a good fit for me.  I'll have to check out the Garmin, thanks again guys.

Autochart is Hummingbirds. Like @iabass8 said get the biggest screen you can afford. If you haven't seen a 5" in person it's basically like taking a pop can turning it sideways, that's the approximate size (pretty small). 

 

Like others have said go to Garmin's website, LakeMaster, Navionics, and check and see if your lakes are available. Garmin's Echomap units have around 17,000 lakes already preloaded which will save you around $150 if you were to go with Lowrance or Humminbird.

 

Humminbird you have the option to upgrade transducers to get better imagery.

 

With Black Friday coming up look for some awesome deals. You really can't go wrong with any of the units. Just do your research and decide which one best suits you.

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As a PS with Garmin...  They just bought Lowrance/Navionics, so you might be seeing a combination of their charts being offered in the future.  That helps push me (If I were in your shoes) towards Garmin.  Garmin's map making capabilities are really easy to use.  I'd go EchoMap 73 sv or 93 sv

 

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8 hours ago, TheRodFather said:

 

Thanks for the advice guys, @IndianaOutdoors, The Helix series is compatible with Autochart, correct?  It looks like it is, if so the helix series might be a good fit for me.  I'll have to check out the Garmin, thanks again guys.

I believe some of the second generation Helix units have autochart capabilities.  Mine is a first gen and does not.  I would buy a echomap 9sv with quickdraw but I might opt for another hummingbird just for ipilot link capabilities.

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Just fyi, "All GPS-equipped G2/G2N HELIX models give you AutoChart Live". My Helix 5 on my kayak has AutoChart. So I paddle around and map my lakes, pretty cool feature!

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4 hours ago, webertime said:

As a PS with Garmin...  They just bought Lowrance/Navionics, so you might be seeing a combination of their charts being offered in the future.  That helps push me (If I were in your shoes) towards Garmin.  Garmin's map making capabilities are really easy to use.  I'd go EchoMap 73 sv or 93 sv

 

Garmin bought Navionics not Lowrance. 

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5 hours ago, Turtle135 said:

Just fyi, "All GPS-equipped G2/G2N HELIX models give you AutoChart Live". My Helix 5 on my kayak has AutoChart. So I paddle around and map my lakes, pretty cool feature!

Wow, that feature might push me over the edge into buying one.  Most of the puddles I want to fish don't seem to have charts available.  

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6 minutes ago, fishwizzard said:

Wow, that feature might push me over the edge into buying one.  Most of the puddles I want to fish don't seem to have charts available.  

With Garmin units you can record a million acres I believe without a card. Humminbird you need to buy a zero line card.

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I fish a lot of the same waters you do ,Susquehanna being my primary but I fish the lakes during the closed season.I bought a Garmin chirp series si last year.all the chirp series have quick draw which is garmins version of auto chart.also on the garmins Marburg and muddy run are included on the built in maps. I've made some maps of octoraro pinchot and some other local lakes with the quickdraw. It takes a while with electric motors but it gives you something to o when the fish aren't biting.

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They are correct regarding the Humminbird needing the Zero Line Card ($ 99.99) as the unit will only record 8 hours of AutoChart Live Data. From the Humminbird site: "The Zero Lines Map card will give you years of record time as well as the ability to share maps with your friends".

 

As an interesting side note, the first thing I did was chart some of my "A" spots on my two local reservoirs. One map made it clear by the bottom contour why it was such a productive spot almost year round. On another spot, I have no idea from examining the contour why this area holds quality bass. Go figure! :D

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One of the things I like about the Garmin,it will record of of data on the internal memory but I bought a simple sd card for $20 so I can view my maps on my computer

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The Garmin echomap 73sv CHIRP is going to be on sale for less than $500 at BPS for Black Friday sales.  That's a deal that's hard to beat.

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5 hours ago, moguy1973 said:

The Garmin echomap 73sv CHIRP is going to be on sale for less than $500 at BPS for Black Friday sales.  That's a deal that's hard to beat.

 

That does look like a slammin deal, and it has the features I want, and a bigger screen than I was looking at.  A google search shows it for 450 at BP right now, but when you go to BP webside it says it encountered a problem.  

 

I call Shenanigans.

 

TRF

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Garmin 73sv or 93sv. For 6 hours on Black Friday that 9" will be on sale for $599. I paid $800 for mine a month ago and thought that was a steal. Great unit and a much better transducer than the Lowrance Elite Tis.

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garmin is coming out with the striker plus which is the striker plus quick draw which may potentially go on sale for a certain day 

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1 hour ago, TheRodFather said:

 

That does look like a slammin deal, and it has the features I want, and a bigger screen than I was looking at.  A google search shows it for 450 at BP right now, but when you go to BP webside it says it encountered a problem.  

 

I call Shenanigans.

 

TRF

It’s in the BPS Black Friday ad

1 hour ago, bugbee77 said:

Garmin 73sv or 93sv. For 6 hours on Black Friday that 9" will be on sale for $599. I paid $800 for mine a month ago and thought that was a steal. Great unit and a much better transducer than the Lowrance Elite Tis.

Yep. Didn’t see the 93sv was on sale too.  

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I  that ad is in store only which I'm not fighting that mess but if they 're available online I will buy one.that's the same unit I have and I'd like another fortune bow.

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The Garmin's have also been on sale at Cabela's online for some time now.

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13 hours ago, padon said:

I  that ad is in store only which I'm not fighting that mess but if they 're available online I will buy one.that's the same unit I have and I'd like another fortune bow.

BPS will accept phone orders as long as you pay........will hold for a cpl days

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