It is undeniable that fish-finding gadgets are developing to include additional features and detailed imaging capabilities.
Nowadays, anglers and kayak fishing enthusiasts are looking for a fish finder that can help them cover and scan an extensive region. Nothing beats a good side imaging fish finder in this situation.
Fish finders with side image scanning besides a down scan fish finder improve the angle of view and make it easier for the device to cover both sides of the boat for a better fishing experience.
Fish finders with side imaging deliver a thorough picture of the underwater world, including information on kinks, crevices, bottom contours, vegetation, and the water bed to where you will cast to the side of your vessel.
Their navigation systems have been upgraded to include the ability to create custom waypoints for locating fish hotspots.
Choosing the best side scan fish finder can be tough, so we have comparison reviews to help you find the best side imaging fish finder for the money and meet all your requirements.
- Why You Need a Good Side Imaging Fish Finder
- Top Side Imaging Fish Finder Reviews
- 1. Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer, 010-01870-00
- 2. HOOK2 Fish Finder with TripleShot Transducer and GPS Plotter
- 3. Garmin Striker Plus 9SV with CV52HW-TM transducer, 010-01875-00
- 4. Humminbird 409820-1 Helix 7 Fishfinder/GPS with Dual Beam Plus Sonar
- 5. Humminbird HELIX 10 G3N Fish Finder with CHIRP, MEGA SI+, GPS, and 10.1-Inch-Display
- Best Side Imaging Fish Finder Buying guide
- Final Verdict
Why You Need a Good Side Imaging Fish Finder
While a 2D transducer may handle most of the work, Side Imaging improves your fishing experience.
Using side imaging, CHIRP sonar and 2D sonar together provide a complete description of what’s going on underwater to find fish.
A sideways view tells you things that down imaging can’t, and you’ll find this handy when in split-screen on your fish finder.
Side Imaging delivers a larger field of view than down imaging and using angles up to 180 degrees outward. With this, you can spot more fish that are spread out rather than just below you.
Faster area coverage and identification means more fish, as you don’t need to manually trace the sonar readings as side imaging does it quickly for you.
Side Imaging fish finders also deliver a clear picture of where fish are in relation to your boat.
Seeing the fish underwater is a good start yet knowing where the fish are hiding can make a significant difference. Side imaging on the ideal fish finder can give you a clear picture of underwater structures and fish location and is often better than any underwater camera could do. (Learn about the Best Fishing Shows on Netflix)
When using the best side view fish finder, you can see where you need to go for catching fish before you get there, besides what is happening underwater.
Top Side Imaging Fish Finder Reviews
1. Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer, 010-01870-00
The Striker Plus 4 is the most affordable side imaging fish finder, yet it doesn’t lack features or compromise compared to others.
The device is perfect for rookie anglers or those experienced who find it a challenge to find fish.
The fish finder comes in a small portable body, so it is well-suited to small boats, or kayaks are the best options. The Striker Plus 4 from Garmin is a built-in GPS device that allows you to track your location and mark waypoints for future fishing or find your way home.
The display is small, yet the 4.3-inch color screen is readable in bright light.
The fish finder comes with a dual-beam transducer and can simultaneously cover both sides of your vessel to deliver depth readings and find fish on shallow lakes.
The Quickdraw contour mapping system lets you store maps with 1′ contours and covers around 2 million acres across the country, which betters many top fish finders.
- Compact and portable body
- The dual-beam transducer offers enhanced scanning
- Provides detailed GPS capabilities
- It can easily locate fish clusters
- Not best suited to larger boats
- Mount can break if hit when casting
With a guide price of just under $140, you get what many would call a budget portable side imaging fish finder, yet it is more budget-friendly than all dual imaging sonars.
You miss out on some features, yet it covers the basics and the best side imaging sonar fish finder for a lot more money. The Garmin is perfect for spotting fish arches in shallow water and can cover your fishing style with ease as it’s never in the way.
2. HOOK2 Fish Finder with TripleShot Transducer and GPS Plotter
You won’t find a fish finder that offers the same ease of use in this price bracket as the Lowrance Hook2 9.
Besides this, you get an enormous 9-inch screen that delivers a clear image of the underwater world in your area.
The Triple Shot transducer using traditional Chirp sonar, which provides wider coverage than many fish finders; you also get an accurate down scan and up to 300′ ft side scan on both sides of you. Details can pick out baits, fish arches, and structural outlines.
One standout feature is the auto-tuning sonar technology, which presents you with the clearest image possible, as it can adjust its sonar settings to drop-offs and changing water conditions.
With the GPS plotter and simple navigation system, you can add waypoints, follow trails, and easily navigate to your destination.
- Large 9-inch screen with a high-resolution display
- Wide sonar coverage
- Autotuning sonar and Tripleshot transducer offers better image clarity
- Built-in GPS plotter with simple navigation system
- No networking capabilities
- Not suitable for sea use
With a guide price of just under $800, the Lowrance Hook is a fish finder that delivers a blend of simplicity and modernism. The buttons and user interface are there, yet once you have the auto-tuning, you can fish more without constantly making changes.
3. Garmin Striker Plus 9SV with CV52HW-TM transducer, 010-01875-00
The Garmin Striker Plus 9Sv is among the greatest side imaging fish finder because of high quality, advanced features, and ease of use.
It delivers a 9-inch backlit LCD screen with automatic adjustment for vivid visuals and is easy to read day or night or when ice fishing. The screen is waterproof and can deliver near-photographic images.
The Garmin features built-in wi-fi connectivity, so it’s easy to link to the ActiveCaptain App and Quickdraw Contours Community, where you can find pre-made maps or share your own maps and waypoints.
GPs lets you set routes and waypoints for later visits and informs you of your boat’s speed.
The unit includes a transducer for built-in CHIRP traditional sonar plus CHIRP ClearVü and CHIRP SideVü scanning sonars, which is the standout feature. Using Chirp conventional sonar technology lets you select between high, medium, or both frequency ranges to reduce noise on your images.
Using these, it is now easier than ever to distinguish between fish bait, underwater obstacles, and more. You’ll discover the ClearVu and SideVu scan a 180-degree image which presents you with a 360-degree view of both sides of your vessel up to 240ft.
- Built-in Wi-Fi for access to ActiveCaptain app
- 9-inch display for detailed side imaging view
- Dual-beam SideVU and ClearVU CHIRP
- Water temperature sensor
- No microSD card
- Maps won’t remain stationary
Coming in with a guide price of just under $600, you get the best fish finder device to cover all your fishing needs. With all manner of CHIRP sonar, it covers all angles and directions, and thus nearly impossible to miss any fish on the down and side imaging fish finder display.
It is a great kayak fish finder, so long as you have somewhere to keep it out of the way of your rods and line.
4. Humminbird 409820-1 Helix 7 Fishfinder/GPS with Dual Beam Plus Sonar
The Humminbird Helix 7” is a compact model with many features and tops many side-scan sonar reviews. The landscape screen allows you to fit in an expansive area to cover where the sonar waves reach the sides.
The display is fantastic and easy to read under direct sunlight, yet you can adjust the brightness if needed. Images are crisp on the 7-inch screen size and 480 x 800-pixel display.
The GPS feature ensures accurate navigation, and waypoints are easily saved.
Considering the Helix 7’s power, it only consumes a small amount of energy from your power source. Once again, fantastic for the smaller, less-equipped vessel.
- Delivers an excellent image
- Robust and hard-wearing
- Compact yet powerful
- Ease of mounting and stowing
- No networking ability
- Lack of instructions
With a guide price of just under $1000, the Humminbird 409820-1 Helix 7 Fishfinder/GPS with Dual Beam Plus Sonar is expensive yet jam-packed with useful features.
It offers two mounting options and different viewing modes on the split-screen. You can save screenshots and record your sonar using the micro SD card slot. You can also find a target separation of 2.5-inches up to a depth of 1500ft from the CHIRP digital sonar.
5. Humminbird HELIX 10 G3N Fish Finder with CHIRP, MEGA SI+, GPS, and 10.1-Inch-Display
At the pinnacle of Humminbird fish, finders sits the HELIX 10 G3N, which means more fish in your boat.
It comes with a 10-inch backlit color LCD screen on the smartphone that shows you sharp contours and images above any castable fish finders to lesser models. The screen is waterproof, so it works when splashed or you get caught in the rain.
You can cover a wide range with the dual-beam sonar using 2D sonar technology.
Also, the Chirp-in MEGA Side Imaging and MEGA Down Imaging and the SwitchFire sonar provide side imaging up to 250 feet and detailed images from the effective sonar beam up to 125 feet of water depth. Regular side imaging helps extend your side reach.
The Mega imaging fish finder isn’t short on the GPS system, as it delivers 10 updates per second. You can monitor your boat’s speed and view error-free coordinates. (Read Best Freshwater Fish To Eat)
The imaging Mega also has the Basemap chart to cover over 10,000 lakes across the country. It is simple to create your own maps with depth contours on the AutoChart function.
- Effective side imaging of 250 ft on both sides and deeper water
- Waterproof 10” backlit LCD screen
- Basemap charts pre-loaded
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Issues for depth scanning at faster-trolling speeds
- Very expensive
The Humminbird has a rough guide price of just under $1,200, which is a costly option. It takes many features and builds on this to offer a fishing experience that can’t be rivaled.
If you ask, what is the best side-scan sonar for fishing, this model stands a chance if money is no object.
Best Side Imaging Fish Finder Buying guide
Fishing may be peaceful and fun if you know where to look, and here, the best fish finders can help. They help find fish in lakes, ponds, and for some, the ocean.
The best fish finders include side imaging technology compared to standard sonar, as this technology detects more fish outward rather than just down.
To buy your first fish finder, here are the features to look for:
Type of Vessel
The best side imaging fish finders come with mounts that may be used on the dash or hull. If you utilize a kayak, a portable, battery-operated fish finder is best. Also, a smaller fish finder is easier to carry on a kayak.
The fish finder can be mounted on your trolling motor transom or hull. However, it would help if you were sure your fish finder doesn’t pick up interference.
If your boat moves quicker than the map speed, it will produce distortion and erroneous readings.
Ease of Use
Because these gadgets have so many uses, it is best to find one with a simple and easy interface. So you don’t have to struggle to understand and use new technologies.
Also, the setup should be simple and quick. The device should come with mounting brackets and hardware. Having an easy-to-follow instruction booklet will help you get your fish finder up and running quickly.
An important component of your fish finder that relays sonar signals to the display. Make sure the transducer offers side-scanning, down-scanning, and CHIRP sonar frequencies so you can see everything around your boat. Also, check the solid fish finder transducer’s cable for strength as this is a regular weak area among anglers.
Most fish finders use 15 kHz to 200 kHz signals. But not all fish finders have this wide range of frequencies. So, if you want the best side imaging fish finder, find out what frequencies it has and educate yourself on how to use them. This will improve the device’s performance.
Deep water and wide cones benefit from lower frequencies. If you want to know what’s going on below your boat, go for high frequency. Be aware that visuals and readings from higher frequencies will be less clear than those from lower frequencies.
The screen resolution is important since you want to see the visuals clearly and precisely. Remember that side imaging is useless unless you can identify what you see on the screen. Also, make sure you can read and see the screen in bright sunlight.
A colored screen can help you identify fish arches, structures, and flora. Clear vision allows you to identify objects and avoid mistaking them for fish. A colored screen also prevents boredom. (Find the Best Down Imaging Fish Finder)
Because your fish finder may become wet when fishing, make sure it has a high IPX rating. The higher the rating, the more water-resistant. The fish finder should also be durable enough to take rough use without visible indications of wear.
Fish finders are pricey, and you don’t want to break them on the first use. So, find a tough device that can withstand a beating. This device will give you years of trouble-free service.
If you intend to mount the fish finder, portability isn’t an issue. If you want to take it on a
trip or use it on another boat, acquire a portable side imaging fish finder.
There are several ways to mount side imaging fish finders. If the transducer is mounted on the transom, it is mounted on the flat piece of the stern. The most frequent mounting type is the transom. The transducer can also be mounted on the hull.
Some of the best side imaging fish finders come with built-in mounts, making them easy to use while fishing or when dropping the anchor. This type of mounting allows the transducer to scan the water more thoroughly and gather more data.
Do I need side imaging fish finder?
Side imaging sonar is better for shallow water or scanning for shallow diving fish, whereas down imaging sonar is better for deeper water or fishing vertically. So, the type of sonar you need depends on your application.
How important is side imaging on a fish finder?
Using a side imaging fish finder allows you to scan more water. Compared to down imaging units, side imaging finders provide a greater view of the water environment. They work well in shallow bays and creeks.
How do you read a side imaging fish finder?
Finding shadows is one of the easiest side imaging structures. Most items at the bottom quickly convert into sonar shadows. This shadow often reveals more about the subject’s height and shape than the first sonar reflection.
Side imaging shows baitfish swimming in a school as a cloud of small white dots. Most manufacturers have side sonar imaging that shows larger fish as small white lines or streaks on the screen.
Water structures and fish are easily distinguished. The dullness of a limb stick or something else under your boat makes it easy to identify. It’s dull. After all, it doesn’t create a bright beam because it’s hitting a soft object. A fish, however, has a hard return to the imaging transducer and appears bright.
Many fish finders here offer lots of features such as CHIRP sonar, down imaging, and more, yet it is often an oversight of how you will use the device. It was quickly clear the Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual-Beam transducer, 010-01870-00, was a shining star for several reasons.
Price to performance was off the charts, as it is considerably more affordable than other options. Feature-wise, it lacked in some areas, yet where it matters, you get all the CHIRP sonar you need, detailed imaging, and an effective waypoints display.
The Garmin is the best side fish finder for portability, small boats and helps every angler who’s desperate to catch more fish.