Tired of hitting the lake and fishing in unproductive fishing spots? I know the feeling and ever since I got myself one of the best side imaging fish finders on the market my fishing outings completely changed.
Unlike fish finders a side imaging fish finder gives you a complete sweep of the whole area you are currently situated. No more missed fish showing that a just out the reach of an original fish finder.
Our Top 3 Recommendation
A Side Imaging Fish Finder can take your fishing to a whole new level and cut down on the days you return empty-handed. We have found 9 excellent choices to fit most budgets and complied a buying guide below to help make that final call.
Humminbird 410230-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 Fish Finder
Some people like fishing the old fashioned way, on feel and instinct. The rest of us want to fish using the benefits of modern technology. The Humminbird 410230-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 Fish Finder is a powerful tool that is perfect for locating the highest concentration of fish in any given area. Using a large 5” LED display and strong sonar beams, this fish finder will scour the depths for your favorite fish so you don’t have to.
The Humminbird 410230-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 Fish Finder uses Dual Beam PLUS Sonar technology to give you the best sonar experience possible. This system combines two complementary beams which increase your coverage and detail. They have also added the CHIRP Side Imaging Filters which drastically decreases the noise and feedback that you get with powerful sonar beams. This means fewer ghosts and more fish appearing on your display.
This system is perfect for any small to midsized fishing vessel and comes with thousands of locations built into its base map. In fact, the Humminbird base map comes with nearly all of the US intercoastal waterways, much of its thousands of miles of coastline, and over 10,000 lakes and streams. That means if you fish on the Great Lakes, northern rivers, or subtropical intercoastal, this system has a map ready for you.
- Powerful dual beam tech
- Gorgeous display
Lowrance HDS-7 Live C-MAP Insight without Transducer
If you are going to invest money into a sonar system for your fishing boat, make sure that you are putting your money to good use. Don’t settle for low-quality “bargain” systems that won’t give you the detail and performance you need. Get yourself a Lowrance HDS-7 Live C-MAP Insight. This system is a powerful three-in-one fish finder that includes a side scan, bottom scan, and CHIRPS. That means you are getting everything you need out of a fish finder in one convenient console.
The Lowrance HDS-7 Live C-MAP Insight is a fish finder built for the modern age. It includes Fish Reveal technology which ensures that the fish you want show up in great detail live on screen. It includes thousands of built in detailed maps of lakes and streams around the United States, including bottom contour. Also, it also includes live mapping so you always know exactly where you are, no lag, no drift. It also features wireless and BlueTooth connectivity meaning you can hook up your phone to this powerful tool. It will even give you notifications right on your phone if the boat is facing certain conditions or if a large number of fish appear on the screen when you are not looking.
Put your money to good use and buy a quality product that will work for you over time. Get yourself a powerful Lowrance HDS-7 Live C-MAP Insight and take your fishing to the next level.
- Three-in-one fish finder
- Beautiful onboard display
- Seamless phone and network integration
Simrad Go-5 XSE Active Imaging 3-N-1 C-Map Pro
The Simrad Go-5 XSE Active Imaging 3-N-1 C-Map Pro is a sleek, modern, and powerful imager for your center console watercraft. It comes with a functional side scan, forward and aft scan, and bottom scan giving you full coverage around your boat at all times. Simrad knows that out on the water, safety and knowledge go hand in hand which is why they’ve designed their system to be friendly to all kinds of boaters and sailors. They have a fully functional chart plotter using the most detailed and up-to-date maps from the most reliable cartographers, they also have compatibility with dock-to-dock autorouter and other top-rate navigation programs. A fishing trip can quickly go sideways if you end up someplace you did not want to be, get lost, or get caught out in poor weather.
The beautiful widescreen touch display is snappy and responsive. It works great and comes with full smartphone integration so you always have the most important information about your boat at your fingertips when you need it. The CHIRP system shows you the fish pretty well too. Altogether, the Simrad Go-5 XSE Active Imaging 3-N-1 C-Map Pro is an amazing system for navigation, plotting, and fishing that should not be missed.
- Plotting support from the best maps
- Sharp imaging and sonar display
- Tons of options for avid boaters and sailors
Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish finder
Have you have ever stared at fancy fish finding equipment in envy and wished you could have your own but just can’t afford it? Well, we have some great news for you. Thanks to the innovators at Humminbird, fish finding technology is no longer completely out of reach for the average angler. The Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder is a great GPS system that comes in at an even better price. Anyone who has suffered from FFE (Fish Finder Envy) in the past needs to take a look at the Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder as a cure for your problem.
The Humminbird 410210-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP GPS G2 Fish Finder comes with dual beam sonar technology which increases your base coverage and detail right out of the box. It features a 5” full color display which gives you the best information possible at a glance. Also, it comes with a basic XNT 9 SI 180 T transducer giving you the beating heart of any fish finding device, standard. It is a simple transom mount which will be a good addition to your boat, especially for the price.
- Super affordable fish finder
- Transducer included
- Easy to install
HOOK2 5 – 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer
The HOOK2 5 – 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer was designed to be as user friendly as possible. Every feature included in this fish finder was specifically designed in order to ensure that you have the best time on the water fishing without worrying about your finicky console equipment. The HOOK2 5 – 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer comes with a wide 5” screen equipped with menus and buttons that emulate those of a smartphone meaning you will feel right at home.
Never installed a fish finder before? No problem. The HOOK2 5 – 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer is easily installed on various parts of your boat, with no professionals required. You can mount it on the transom, to the trolling motor, through a scupper hole, or on the side of the hull. The freedom of choice is yours and the installation is super simple and easy.
This system provides powerful wide CHIRPS scans as well as potent down scanning capability giving you a large area coverage. The coverage can be up to double that of similar fish finders giving you all of the information you need to make the best choices when out on the water.
Need more reasons to buy? The HOOK2 5 also comes equipped with C-MAP US Inland Lake Maps with 1-foot contours for over 3, 000 lakes plus standard coverage of an additional 9, 000 lakes standard. That means that you will have detailed navigation and terrain information for over 10,000 lakes making this the perfect fish finder for any lake angler out there.
- Wide sonar coverage area
- Easy setup and install
- 10,000+ lakes included in C-MAP
Humminbird 411070-1 Helix 7 Chirp MEGA DI GPS G3N Fishfinder
The Humminbird 411070-1 Helix 7 Chirp MEGA DI GPS G3N Fishfinder is a powerful enhanced version of the already popular Humminbird line of GPS fishfinder combos. This model takes everything you know and love about Humminbird products and makes them better. The 7” screen is larger and sharper. The sonar coverage is wider. The detail is sharper. But, the price is largely the same giving you the same quality that you love at a price that won’t break the budget.
This model comes equipped with MEGA Down Imaging. This new technology includes three times more output than standard down imaging systems giving you boosted underwater clarity with coverage down to 125ft below the boat. That means you no longer have to stick to shallow waters because your fish finder isn’t strong enough to scan the deeper parts of the channel. Combine that with the Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar and you get a system that is sure to wow even the saltiest of anglers. The Dual Spectrum CHIRP is powered by a proprietary Low Q CHIRP transducer that shows long, well-defined fish arches, and offers you a clear view of the fish-holding structure. Incredible!
- Upgrades abound
- Great sonar system
- Upgraded screen looks and feels great
Garmin STRIKER Plus 7sv with CV52HW-TM Transducer and Protective Cover
When investing the money needed to purchase a quality fish finder, go with a brand you trust. Garmin has been making quality GPS equipment for decades and they have continued their unique brand of excellence in the area of fishing. Don’t fall for foreign knockoffs or fish finders that sound too good to be true. Invest with confidence in the Garmin STRIKER Plus 7sv with CV52HW-TM Transducer. This is an all around great piece of equipment that features a full suite of GPS features, a transducer, and full CHIRP sonar. Best of all, even with the Garmin name and pedigree, the cost of this unit is not out of line with similar models. You get the comfort and expertise of Garmin without paying name brand prices.
The Garmin STRIKER Plus 7sv with CV52HW-TM Transducer combines all of the best features of Garmin into one system. You get Garmin’s award winning GPS technology that allows you to track your speed and location while plotting custom routes via geotagged waypoints. You also get Garmin’s mapping capabilities which allow you to create custom maps with contour details up to 1’. This system allows you to store 2 million acres of custom maps. Incredible! Lastly, it comes with a powerful and useful transducer for keeping track of the fish while you go. Taken together you get a powerful and reliable system for a great price.
- Awesome mapping capabilities
- Trusted brand
- Great price
Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter/Fishfinder w/TotalScan Transom Mount Transducer
Upgrade your boating and fishing experience with the Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter/Fishfinder. When it comes to modern fish finding equipment this system includes all of the most desirable features in one single console. This system features a large high resolution display, crisp imaging, and sonar as well as a transducer for locating all of your favorite fish.
One of the best parts about the Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter/Fishfinder is its large display. At a full seven inches, it gives you high resolution imaging that looks sharp and is responsive to the touch. The system is modeled off of modern phone apps so that all of the parts are familiar to the average user, even the complicated ones.
This touchscreen is your gateway to some of the best finder features on the market today. The Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter/Fishfinder comes with a full-featured chart plotter with the widest available cartography support including Insight, Navionics, and CMAP. This gives you access to the best maps and cartography available today. It also comes with a transom-mounted transducer that relays high-quality fish arc tracking CHIRP signals to your fabulous display. Installation is easy and you will not be disappointed with the results.
When you are in the market for your next fishfinder, make sure to consider the Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter/Fishfinder. With its large display and suite of modern upgrades, it is a system any angler can love.
- Gorgeous display
- Integrated cartography support
- TotalScan transducer included
Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5″ GPS Fishfinder
Let Garmin work for you with your next fishfinder purchase. The Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer is an excellent addition to any boat or fishing vessel due to its host of features, design quality, and ease of use. This is an extremely affordable fishfinder from the reliable makers at Garmin and the quality shows even at this price point. You do not need to shell out hundreds of dollars for a quality fish finder. If you are on a budget or just don’t want to spend a ton of money on a fishfinder the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer is for you.
It includes Clear Vu scanning, CHIRPS sonar, and Garmin’s waypoint mapping and plotting all on one affordable device. It has a water rating of IPX7 and works off of classic flasher technology giving you the best bang for your buck on the market. The imaging quality is great, even if the display isn’t. If you are looking to try out a new fishfinder or familiarize yourself with the technology the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer is a perfect entry point.
- Super affordable
- Made by Garmin
- Transducer, GPS and plotting features included
Guide To Buying The Best Side Imaging Fish Finder
Fishfinders are truly remarkable pieces of equipment. Combining all of the best parts of modern technology, these machines can boost your fishing and boating productivity tenfold. In fact, you would be remiss to venture out without a quality fish finding system to aid you along the way. Nowadays, you can get entire systems that feature GPS, plotting, sonar, and CHIPS all in one convenient package.
The problem is, there are so many options out on the market to choose from and many of them are very expensive. It can be daunting to think about investing in such an important piece of equipment without knowing exactly what you are getting into. There is no worse feeling than spending a bunch of money only to realize that the product you are getting is not what you expected.
Like anything on the market today, there are foreign knockoffs, shoddy advertising, and option overload. That is why we have crafted this guide in order to walk you through the most important features in any side imaging fishfinder. If you pay attention to these key features of any GPS fish finding system you will not be disappointed in the outcome.
Here are the most important parts of any fishfinder that you need to pay attention to in order to make sure you are getting a quality product.
The most important part of any fishfinder is the inclusion of a transducer. This is the piece of equipment that captures the fish for your display. No transducer, no fish finder. It is critical that you find a system that includes a transducer. Most of them do but not all of them. Without a transducer, you are simply buying a marine GPS and plotting device. Those are also super handy and needed for serious boaters but if you are in the market for a system that does all of that plus scans for fish while boating you absolutely need a transducer.
The good companies will tell you right off the bat in their descriptions or names when an item does not include a transducer. Others are not so kind and will put fishfinder in their product name but bury the key detail that it does not actually include a transducer deep in the bowels of their description. Make sure that every fishfinder you are looking at includes a transducer!
Many of these systems come with a variety of different ranges which are important for different kinds of anglers. Some have side scan ranges of 100 or more feet out. This is important if you are doing fishing that requires a lot of casting distance. If you are doing drop fishing you might want a system that has good range and resolution for the down scan, or the things directly below the boat. Keep an eye on this because not every system has a great range in all directions. Choose a system with a range and resolution that fits your style of boating and fishing.
A fishfinder system is only as good as its display. This is mostly true today. You can have the world’s most powerful CHIPS system and sonar scanning at all hours of the day but if the information is being piped into a substandard display the information is going to be extremely hard to read. The difference between telling one dot from another can be the difference of a few inches of screen size or screen resolution. Higher resolution screens are going to give you sharper image quality for the most important information.
Many fish finders come in five inch sizes but if you can upgrade to a seven inch or nine inch display, you won’t be disappointed. It all depends on how detailed your system is and how much you want to spend on an upgraded display.
For sensitive information like marine charts, depth contours, and fish spotting I like a screen with a 1080p display and a few extra inches but this all comes down to personal preference and budget.
Make sure you are getting a system from a company with a good reputation. There are a lot of cheap fish finders on the market which are made from substandard materials that are trying to lure in unsuspecting buyers. You need a system that will stand up to the rigors of boating and won’t fail after just a few trips.
If you are a saltwater boater make sure you look for systems that review well in salty environments. Some systems are geared more towards lake boaters than ocean goers. Salt can be hard on your system. Check and see if the system is geared towards freshwater or saltwater use. The difference could be huge.
Mounting and Installation
Lastly, make sure that the system you are buying has a mount or installation that you are comfortable with. Some systems need to be installed professionally within the innards of your console or hull. Others simply attach to the sides of your boat or on the trolling motor. Each come with their own pros and cons.
Fishfinders that need to be installed professionally will cost more money and take time to setup properly but the results can be truly amazing. Systems you install yourself will be easier to handle, require less setup time, and can be moved and changed as needed. The problem is you also increase the chance that you could lose or damage your transducer if you are attaching it to the side of your boat.
Make sure to double and triple check the mounting and installation instructions. You do not want to get a fancy new system only to learn you need to take your boat in or have someone come out to outfit it for you. Likewise, don’t buy a system that you think is being embedded in the hull only to discover it has a transom mount.
If you keep these important features in mind while searching for your next fishfinder system you will not be surprised or disappointed with your purchase. Knowledge is key, especially when buying complicated and expensive systems like these.