Side-imaging depth finders allow anglers to see a full 180 degree range under the boats, of depths to 1,500 feet, depending on brand and model used. Modern side-imaging depth finders have large, interactive touch screens, allowing you to point and click to save waypoints and mark where there are schools of fish or underwater obstacles. Side-image depth finders provide a more accurate and better image of the underwater scene beneath the boat vs. traditional finders that give displays of only what is under the boat.
Users from independent fishing forums such as The Hull Truth website report having 180 degree range of view as beneficial when going for big catches. Users on waters with depths of as low as 20 feet to as far as 1,000 feet talk of positive results with a side-image depth finder.
Side-image depth finder technology comes at a cost. These depth-finding devices are more expensive than the traditional models, in some cases by more than $1,000. For example, the HDS-7 Multifunction Fishfinder/Chartplotter costs around $1,000. It provides high-definition viewing with a high sensitivity GPS antenna.
However, to get accurate imaging from many side-image depth finders, users need to learn the side-imaging display as well as the vertical up-and-down readings. Using this three-dimensional imaging has a steep learning curve, requiring dedication in getting to know the device, according to user reports from independent fishing forums such as The Hull Truth website.
Users at Crappie.com write having success with the Humminbird side-image fish finders Hit Mark function. Hitting the "Hit Mark" button drops an electronic breadcrumb via the depth finder's GPS capabilities, allowing you to return to the spot should you drift or move from prime fishing locations. Users say for the Hit Mark to be effective, you need to be moving at a speed of 3 to 5 miles per hour. After dropping a Hit Mark location, type in the name of what you call it to personalize your fishing locations and maps made with the side-image depth and fish finder.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.