Top 5 Hummingbird Fish Finders

The Best Hummingbird Fish Finders

Are you looking for a quality fish finder? In that case, you’ve come to the right place. In here, I will present the top 5 Hummingbird Fish Finders which will take your fishing experience to maximum! Using one of the top-quality, professional Hummingbird fish finders, you will get a hold of a wide range of fishfinding options. You will get crystal-clear imaging, laser-targeted tracking results, even in the murkiest waters, or where the bottom of the sea, lake or river has the most irregularities. With a super tracker like a Humminbird Fish Finder 1198c SI Combo or Humminbird Fish Finder 998c SI Combo, fish will literally have no place to hide! So, without wasting anymore of your time, here are the most effective Hummingbird Fish Finders out there.

Hummingbird Fish Finders - 698ci HD SI Combo

Humminbird 698ci HD SI Combo

A few brand new series of fish finders were released by Humminbird by the end of 2013, the Onix, ION and 600 series. And regarding the 600 series, it pretty much came to replace the 500 and 700 series which were discontinued.

These being said, one of the best (if not the best) Side Imaging fish finders from Humminbird at the moment, in terms of quality / price ratio, is the Humminbird 698ci HD SI Combo. What makes it so great? Let’s have a look at its features.

First of all, it has a big enough screen for both fish tracking and chartplotting, 5-inch in diagonal, with a pixel resolution of 480 x 640. Evidently, it has a brilliant 256 color TFT display, LCD backlit screen, making all the sonar returns much easier to interpret and understand.

The sonar capabilities of this unit are quite generous. As its name suggests, it has High-Definition Side Imaging and Down Imaging, the two options which take the sonar reading to a superior level, offering a crystal clear view of what’s directly under the boat, and side to side. The depth capability of the 698ci HD SI Combo is 100ft. for SI and DI, and up to 1500ft. for the down beam, traditional sonar view. The unit also features the Fish ID+ view.

This fish finder is equipped with Dual Beam Plus sonar, including SwitchFire. In other words, you will be able to scan the water under your boat in two modes: a 60° / 83 kHz view for a wider coverage, or a 20° / 200 kHz view, with a narrower, but more accurate coverage. Or, you can operate both views simultaneously, in split screen. The frequency of the sonar for SI and DI is 455 kHz with a total coverage of 180°. The power output of this unit is 500 Watts (RMS) and 4000 (PTP). The transducer of the 698ci HD SI Combo is the standard Transom XNT 9 SI 180 T.

Regarding the navigational capabilities of the Humminbird 698ci HD SI Combo, precision GPS, chartplotting and trackplotting are on the list, the unit being capable to store up to 2,500 waypoints, 45 routes and 50/20,000 tracks/points. It has built-in UniMap cartography package, and it’s also upgradable with an SD card for Navionics Gold / HotMaps, or Lakemaster. Unfortunately it does not support 360 Imaging.

In conclusion, the Humminbird 698ci HD SI Combo is number one in our top 5, because it basically has all the navigational and fish finding options required by any angler, recreational or pro, to take their fishing to a superior level, available for quite an excellent price, compared with other Hummingbird fish finders.

Hummingbird Fish Finders - Number 1 Recommended

Humminbird 998c SI Combo

Hummingbird Fish Finder 998c SI Combo

Out of all Hummingbird fish finders, the Humminbird 998c SI Combo  is also one of  the best, when it comes to the price-quality ratio. I’ll tell you exactly why.

First of all, it has an 8″ diagonal, 16:9 TFT color display, which will provide you with crystal-clear images. Its wide screen, 480v x 800H is the perfect fit for a professional or casual fisherman. In fact, even if you’re the average weekend fisherman, this device will bring you the same results as the pros’.

The Hummingbird Fish Finder 998c SI Combo has DualBeam PLUS Sonar, with an up to 8000 Watts PTP power output. This feature will make your unit reliable from shallow to up to 1500 ft waters. You can optionally equip it with a 200/50 kHz transducer and this way you will be able to use successfully even for 3000ft depths.

It has HD quality Side Imaging and Down Imaging, allowing you to adapt better to any given environment or fishing conditions. One of the Hummingbird fish finders with these options, will increase your effectiveness in a wider range of angling styles. It’s Side Imaging delivers snapshots of photo-like clarity in up to 150 ft deep waters,  covering a massive surface of 480 ft from the left to the right of your boat.

As far as it concerns me, I really prefer the Side Imaging because the Hummingbird depth finders with this feature provide a better overview of the bottom contour, structure and the orientation of cover, and because of the huge amounts of water I can scan. Anyway, if you’re a catfisherman, you’re after big Atlantic sturgeons or basically any species of bottom fish, the Down Imaging of this fish finder should work like a charm.

As for the GPS capabilities of this electronic fishing gadget, the Humminbird Fish Finder 998c SI Combo has its own, built-in ContourXD mapping, giving you access to a wide range of maps. Plus, it’s compatible with Navionics and LakeMaster. Its 50 channel GPS will provide you with accurate and quick positioning information. Like all the other Hummingbird Fish Finders within the 900 series, it has a memory that will allow you to store up to 3000 waypoints, 50 routes or 50 tracks with 20,000 points each.

Hummingbird Fish Finders - Number 4 Recommended

Humminbird 798ci HD SI Combo

(Discontinued by manufacturer)

Even though the 798ci HD SI Combo is one of the discontinued fish finders, along with the whole 700 series, Humminbird still provides technical support for them. Now, various dealers still have this model in stock, and due to the discontinuation, they offer  substantial discounts. Therefore, the 798ci HD SI Combo will still remain in our top, at least for a while, because it’s quite a decent fish finder, with a great quality / price ratio.

Regarding its capabilities and features, the Humminbird 798ci HD SI Combo is quite a nice fish finder for the price, an excellent choice for the weekend fisherman. Although it has a small color display, only 5-inch diagonal, 640V x 640H, with LED backlight, it will provide you with accurate and crystal-clear images.

Just like the Hummingbird fish finders above, it’s equipped with DualBeam PLUS, sonar with a 4000 Watts PTP power output and a reliability down to 1500 ft. Side Imaging (reliable for down to 100 ft), and Down Imaging, which makes it ideal for different fishing styles.

About its Side Imaging and Down Imaging, I want to add here that you should use them at a steady speed to get a maximum volume of information about what’s underneath. Other than that, these features work just fine.

As for the GPS features, the Humminbird Fish Finder 798ci HD SI Combo has a 50 Channel GPS, it’s also endowed with the ContourXD mapping system like its bigger brothers, and also has the Chartplotting and Trackplotting features. This fish finder is, of course, compatible with the Navionics and LakeMaster charts, having a dual SD card slot. Also has the same memory of 50 routes, and 3000 waypoints and 50 tracks with 20,000 points each.

Hummingbirds Fish Finders - ION 12

Humminbird ION 12

Hummingbird Fish Finder ION 12

At the moment the ION 12 is the most advanced navigational and fish finding tool provided by Humminbird. The only reason it’s not number one in this top 5, is that its price is quite a little bit high, and many of its features are optional, and you’ll have to pay extra for them. Anyway, let’s see what this fish finder can do.

Maybe the most important feature to be mentioned about the Humminbird ION 12 is the TouchScreen (Cross-Touch) technology, and can easily be operated like a tablet or smartphone, undrestanding commands like tapping or swiping the screen. Needless to say, this adds a lot of ease to its use. The unit comes with a huge, 12.1-inch diagonal screen, with a 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, brilliant color (TFT, 16.7 mm colors), with backlight.

When it comes to it’s sonar capabilities, it’s very important to know that the unit does not come with a sonar module and a transducer. But it can be equipped with an SM1000, SM2000, or SM3000 sonar module and various types of transducers. The ION 12 supports Side Imaging, Down Imaging and 360 Imaging, but they depend on the transducer you equip it with, along with other options such as CHIRP technology, 3D Chart View, Selective Fish ID+, SwitchFire, Real Time Sonar RTS Window. The unit has a power output of 2000 Watts (RMS) / 16000 Watts (PTP).

The ION 12 has a GPS receiver, but other GPS and navigational features, such as trackplotting, chartplotting, GPS speed and precision GPS are all optional as well. It supports all the cartography packages though, so you can equip it with a Lakemaster, Navionics Platinum+, Gold or HotMaps card, or TriFuel Cartography. Its memory can store up to 3,000 waypoints, 50 tracks (20,000 points each) and up to 200 routes, like the majority of the Hummingbird fish finders.

So, basically the Hummingbird ION 12 is just an advanced fish finder head unit, but in order to turn it into an advanced fish finding, radar and navigational tool, you will have to make quite some additions to it.

Hummingbird Fish Finders - Number 5 Recommended

Humminbird 597ci HD DI Combo

(Discontinued by manufacturer)

Last but not least of the superior Hummingbird depth finders has to be the Humminbird 597ci HD DI Combo. Also, discontinued in 2013 along with the whole series, this unit is still available on Amazon and other dealers, with substantial discounts. You’ll still benefit from software update and tech support if you get one, even if they don’t make it anymore.

The 597ci HD DI Combo is a small unit, yet very handy. Has has a small color 5″ display, 640V x 640H with LED backlight.

Although it has only Down Imaging, it still comes with the DualBeam PLUS sonar and the SwitchFire Sonar so you can see separate sonar returns in Split Screen Zoom, for a better interpretation of the bottom. Images are pretty clear since it’s HD, and once you’re used to the DI type of display, this Humminbird will become an indispensable tool for finding fish.

This Humminbird Fish Finder also has the built-in cartography system as the 900 series of Hummingbird fishfinders have. Its included UniMap reflects the US coastline, inland waters and rivers. Also includes an over 3,000 US lake maps database, powered by Navionics. Therefore, you will be able to enhance your fishing and get better fishing results in the lakes or waters near your home, or basically wherever your fishing destination will be, in the U.S.

Last but not least, it has a memory of 3000 waypoints, 50 routes or 50 tracks w/ 20,000 points each.

The Hummingbird Fish Finders presented here are the most complete of each series. They are all indeed elite fish finding tools. They all come with various System Network options like CannonLink, but only the 800,900, 1100, ONIX and ION series are Ethernet compatible.

Ethernet is a connectivity solution to other Humminbird units, allowing your to share waypoints, routes, tracks, GPS position and even Sonar information. However, you won’t be able to get SI Sonar information on a Humminbird unit that’s not compatible with SI.

All in all these are all top-shelf Hummingbird fish finders and which will maximize your fishing experience. They all have 1 year warranty. As far as it concerns me, I don’t think you’ll ever regret of purchasing any of the Hummingbird Fish Finders reviewed here.

Hummingbird Fish Finder 386ci DI Combo Review

Humminbird 386ci DI Combo

The Humminbird 386ci DI Combo is one of the cheapest units with Down Imaging available at the moment. Although it’s a small unit, it does provide quite an assortment of features. It’s equipped with a LED backlight, brilliant color screen, 256 TFT, 3.5-inch, 320×240 pixel resolution, with a quick-disconnect, in-dash, mounting system for the head unit.

Has Dual Beam Plus sonar, with a coverage of 200 kHz / 25° or 455 kHz / 16° in SwitchFire, and 455 kHz / 75° or 800 kHz / 45° in Down Imaging, slightly different from its predecessor, the 385ci DI Combo. The power output of the 386ci DI Combo is 500 Watts (RMS) / 4000 Watts (PTP), making this unit viable for depths up to 600 feet, in SwitchFire mode, or 350 feet in Down Imaging mode.

Among the features useful for finding fish can also be enumerated the temperature indicator, the Selective Fish ID+ option which replaces the normal view, giving each fish an icon indicating its depth, and depth measuring function.

This unit can also be used as a navigational tool. It has Precision GPS, trackplotting and chartplotting properties. It can store up to 2,500 waypoints, 50 tracks (20,000 pts. each), and 50 routes. It comes with the built in UniMap package, which covers the U.S. in-land lakes and rivers, as well as the continental U.S. coastline. It features an SD card slot, and can be upgraded with a Navionics Gold, LakeMaster or HotMaps SD card.

Has one year warranty, like all the other fish finders from Humminbird.

Hummingbird Fish Finder 688ci HD DI Combo

Hummingbird Fish Finders - 688ci HD DI Combo

Humminbird 688ci HD DI Combo

The Humminbird 688ci HD DI Combo is one of the new 600 series fish finders. It shares many similarities with the 788ci HD DI Combo, but it’s considerably cheaper.

This unit has a 5-inch vertical layout screen, 480 x 640 pixel resolution, with a backlit, 256 color display (TFT). As its name suggests, its a High Definition fish finder, even though it’s a smaller unit, and does provide crystal clear images.

In terms of sonar capabilities, the 688ci HD DI Combo is equipped with the standard Dual Beam Plus sonar which has two operating modes: 20° / 200 kHz, 60° / 83 kHz. This fishfinder also features Down Imaging technology, and to provide crystal clear images in Down Imaging, a beam of 455 kHz frequency is used. This makes it capable of scanning waters up to 350 ft. deep in Down Imaging, and up to 600 ft. with the regular sonar.

The wattage of this unit is 500 Watts RMS / 4000 Watts PTP, and the unit’s transducer is the standard XNT 9 DI T.

Regarding the unit’s GPS and navigational capabilities, the 688ci HD DI Combo includes a built-in Precision GPS, trackplotting and chartplotting, with the UniMap cartography package. It’s also compatible with the Lakemaster and Navionics Gold / HotMaps, but these are optional. It does not support Navionics Platinum+, C-Map or 360 Imaging. This unit is capable of storing up to 2,750 waypoints, 45 routes, and 50 / 20,000 tracks / points.

Other functions and features that this fish finder comes with are the Fish ID+, SwitchFire Sonar, Sonar Recording and ScreenShot functions, PC Connection, Temperature and Temperature Alarm, X-Press Menu System, MMC Compartment and 1 MMC slot.


How To Catch Lingcod – Tackle for Lingcod

lingcod-on-eggs-by-ratha-grimesLingcod is one of the most prized fish, native to the North American coast, for the thrill of the game, but also for its taste.

Although it’s not closely related to ling, nor cod, lingcod has earned its name due to quite a resemblance to both these fish.

Lingcod fishing has its specifics. So, if you want to put this fish on your trophy list, here are a few things to know about it.

Lingcod – Habitat and Habits

Lingcod are popular in the North American west coast waters, widespread from Shumagin Islands of the Alaskan Gulf, and down to Baja California, with a peak concentration just off the coast of British Columbia. They are benthic fish, and are often a bycatch for anglers who target other bottom feeding fish, such as halibut.

They prefer rocky bottoms, however, depending on the stage of their life, lingcod can be found in different habitats, and at different depths. For example, the juvenile lingcod are usually found in eel grass beds or kelp beds, and as they grow, they move to areas with sandy bottoms. Adult lingcod prefer reef and rocky areas with structure, and tend to live a territorial life. Also, strong tidal currents seem to be one of the habitat preferences of lingcod.

Although most anglers who target lingcod look for them in places offshore, with depths up to 350 ft., decent ones can still be caught in relatively shallow waters, between 25-30 ft.

Fishing Methods for Lingcod

Lingcod are aggressive feeders and that’s one of the main reasons jigging, of fishing with various lures can produce excellent results. Still fishing and down-dropping with cut or live bait are however, the most used fishing methods for this particular fish.

In case you choose to drift while fishing for lingcod, it’s best to find a place where the current will take you from shallow to deeper water and not the other way around. Also, since lingcod seem to prefer certain structure types in an area, it’s a very good idea to mark a waypoint on your chartplotter wherever you catch one. Each spot where you catch one, has a good chance to be a lingcod lair, and provide you with one, two or more fish in the future.

Bait and Lures for Lingcod

Lingcod are aggressive predators and don’t shy away from big prey. In fact, due to their territorial nature, they sometimes attack fish just as big as they are, so you may be surprised that you may catch one not much bigger than the lure itself. Therefore don’t be afraid to use bigger lures. In terms of lures, large, shiny, silver jigs are always a good call. They don’t need to be extra fancy, and they don’t require a lot of action, just bounce them near the bottom. Diamond jigs or Norwegian Cod jigs (between 12-20oz) are great choices, but you can also go with some squid or octopus imitation jigs.

When it comes to natural baits, large live mackerel is one of the best choices an angler can make. Sardines, sand dabs, shrimp and squid are also great baits to use.

Tackle for Lingcod

Rods. Depending on the size of the fish you’re targeting, and the weight of the lure (or sinker), different rods may be required. For example, if you’re going for deep, offshore waters, it’s best to choose a “beefy” rod, between 5’6″ – 6’6″. A Penn MH Bluewater Carnage Jigging Rod or a Daiwa CFE661MHFS Medium Heavy Crossfire Rod are two good choices.

If you’re going for shallower waters, and targeting smaller fish, a medium or medium-rod can also do.

Reels. Although spinning reels can do just fine, while fishing for lingcod, it’s best to opt for a conventional reel, because they typically offer a better line capacity. An Okuma Classic Levelwind Reel, or Penn General Purpose Level Wind Reel are excellent choices.

Line. Braided is hands-down, the best choice in terms of line, for lingcod. That’s because it doesn’t stretch and you have a great feel of the bait / lure when fishing. Since for any bottom-feeding fish, it’s best to start from 30lb. pound test, that should also be the minimum limit for lingcod.

Leader and rigs. Lingcod do have teeth, therefore wire leader is never a bad choice. However, 40-60 lb. test mono also works just fine. When it comes to rigs, there’s a wide variety to choose from, depending on the bait used. Live bait rigs, herring rigs, monster rigs, Carolina rig versions or spider rigs. No matter what rig you use, make sure your bait remains live and fresh for as long as possible.

Hooks. Even though many lures come with treble hooks attached, these are not a necessity for lingcod. In fact, by using treble hooks, you increase the chances of your lure or bait to snag on something, which may result in the loss of terminal tackle or lure. 5/0 – 7/0 J-hooks for live mackerel, or other fish should do. However, other baits such as shrimp call for circle hooks.

Photo courtesy to Ratha Grimes / source: flickr.

Humminbird Fish Finder Ice 45 Review

Humminbird Ice 45

Humminbird Ice 45

The Humminbird Ice 45 is one of the best tools for locating fish when ice fishing. It basically has the same features as the Ice 55, but with two differences.

First of all, the Ice 45 has a LED backlit display featuring 526 segments just like the 55 model, but it only has a 3-color fiber optic LCD center, as opposed to the Ice 55, which has a 6-color LCD center. Its sonar technology involves selectable dual frequency, 240 kHz / 19° @ -3dB / 455 kHz / 9° @ -3dB, providing accurate fish and lure detection in waters up to 200 feet deep, and with a 2,5″ target separation. It has an excellent power output for an ice flasher, 225 Wats RMS / 1800 Watts PTP. The standard transducer type of this unit is an Ice XI 9 19.

Also, as opposed to the Humminbird Ice 55, the Ice 45 does not come with a case. It does feature though a carrying handle, and depending on the weather conditions you’re fishing at, it may not require a case at all. This unit comes with its own charger and battery (10-20 VDC and 12V 7 amp hours battery).

>Read more reviews for the Humminbird Ice 45.

A Few Things To Know About Humminbird Ice Flashers

Humminbird ice flashers are fish finders designed for stationary use, for fishing on ice. They are nothing more than portable sonar units, and allow the angler “to see” the bottom, their jig or bait, and see if there are any fish directly under the sonar, or if any fish follow the jig.

Ice flashers cannot be used on a moving boat, and also their transducer cannot be used with a Humminbird unit designed for boats, such as one from the 300, 600, or 900 series. However, when it comes to this, if you would like to use an ice transducer for your regular Humminbird fish finder, the XI 9 20 ice transducer is the one designed for such purpose. The transducer that comes with an ice flasher is XI 9 19.

The transducer of an ice flasher comes with two cables: one is the signal cable and the other one is the support cable. If the transducer of the regular fish finders (i.e. the ones in the 300, 500, 600 series etc) must be attached to the hull of your boat, the transducer of an ice flasher unit does not need to be attached on anything. It is simply to be dropped down into the ice hole, and once the unit is on, it will begin to send readings to the display unit.

The depth coverage of the ice flashers is 1/6 depth for the 455kHz beam, and 1/3 for 240kHz beam. In other words, at 30 feet depth, the 455kHz beam will read 5 feet bottom coverage, while the 240kHz beam will read 10 feed bottom coverage. The target separation in normal mode, is 2.5 inches and 2 inches in zoom mode. All Humminbird ice flashers, have a 200 ft. depth capability, except the Ice 597ci HD Combo, which has a depth capability of 1000 ft.

Each type of Humminbird ice flasher comes with a specific battery charger. The Humminbird Ice 35 and 45 have 7 amp hour battery/charger while the Humminbird Ice 55 has a 9 amp hour battery/charger.

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