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.


A Few Useful Bits of Advice For Night Fishing

Night Fishing AnglerNight fishing can be productive and a lot of fun, but it comes with its own specifics. And overlooking some of the aspects of a night fishing trip can lead to a completely disagreeable experience. Therefore, here are a few bits of advice regarding night fishing.

Headlights, flashlights, spotlights. Evidently, if you’re going to be fishing in the dark, light will be one of the most important things that you’ll need. When it comes to this, you’re going to need a pair of headlights, and not the ones that come with a car, but an illuminating device to attach to your hat, glasses, or simply strap onto your head. Such a lighting device is extremely useful for unhooking, changing bait, tying hooks etc. However, even if you will be using your headlights most of the time, it’s a good idea to bring a flashlight with fully charged batteries, just in case. Also, even if you fish from a boat, which should have it’s own lighting system, a portable spotlight can be very useful when handling bigger fish, navigating or simply to have a better overview of your fishing spot.

Memorize the surroundings while the sun is still up. If you’re going to be fishing from a riverbank, shore of a lake, or beach, before the dark sets in, it’s a good idea to throw several good looks around your fishing spot, and memorize it well. Knowing where certain stumps or rocks are situated, you can easily avoid tripping over them and injuring yourself.

Install your tent / shelter while the sun is still up. It goes without saying that your tent or shelter should be put up while it’s still day. In fact, if you’re fishing from the shore or river bank, it’s best to actually prepare your whole fishing spot, before the night sets in. In other words, you should remove any objects that you won’t need for the night fishing session. That’s because the more stuff you have in a fishing spot, the higher the chance to trip over on something.

First aid kit and bug sprays. Whether you’re fishing at night or not, a first aid kit is absolutely necessary. On top of that, if insects can become a nuisance, a bug spray or lotion can come in very handy. But take note that it has been proven that insect repellents can be very effective fish repellents as well. So, avoid spraying or applying such substances on your bait.

Tackle and bait. Most anglers have quite a collection of rods, and like to bring along more than a few on each fishing trip. But during a night fishing session, it’s best to use only 1-2 rods if you’re actively fishing with jigs or other artificial baits, and 3-4 tops, if still fishing for catfish, carp, burbot or other fish.

Have a smaller box that can easily fit into your pocket, to keep only the lures you’re going to use. This also stands for hooks, sinkers, swivels or other tackle elements that you may need. Leave the rest in your main tackle box, or in the car. To put it differently, carry tackle only for the fish you are after.

It’s better to use heavier line than you normally would, for a certain fish, when night fishing. They won’t be able to see it, and heavier line is less prone to become tangled up than lighter line.

If you know you’re going to use only lures, it’s pointless to bring along a whole bucket of live bait, or basically any other bait. As opposed to that, if you won’t be using artificials, make sure you keep bait organized and in one place.

When using lures, retrieving slowly and steadily is the way to go. It allows you to feel the lure better, and help avoid missing a strike. On top of that, fish can pinpoint better a steady-moving vibration source.

Sit down to fish. Especially if you’re fishing from a boat, you can easily lose balance and fall. So, even if during daytime you would normally stand to fish, avoid this during night time fishing, and use a chair of at least a butt seat.

Weather. Bad weather with heavy rain and wind can result in a non-pleasant fishing trip. Adding night to such bad weather, can result in a horrible experience, and evidently increase the chances of an accident or injury. Therefore, be informed about the weather.

Clothing. Even if you’re fishing during summer, and the weather is pretty much hot, you should always bring warmer clothes. At times, it can get quite chilly it night. Cotton clothes are comfortable, however cotton dries slowly compared to other fabrics. That’s why it’s best to wear mostly polyester. Always have a rain coat or at least a tarpaulin.

HumminbirdPC – About

HumminbirdPC is a software made for managing and organizing data such as tracks, routes and waypoints from your Humminbird unit. It can also be used for upgrading the software of your unit in lack of a card reader.

Via HumminbirdPC you can also organize your .gpx files, you can import waypoints from Lowrance or Garmin, add icons to your waypoints and also view waypoints, tracks and routes in Google Earth. However, it’s not possible to load waypoints found in Google Earth, directly into your unit. Humminbird PC, only uses Google Earth to view tracks, routes and waypoints, in other words to open .gpx files, but so far, there isn’t the possibility to save waypoints as .gpx files and import them into HumminbirdPC. To save certain waypoints that you have found in Google Earth, you must manually write them.

One of the common problems with the installation of Humminbird PC is its interference with the Curse Client, a downloader program for World of Warcraft addons. In case you have the Curse Client installed, it’s recommended to uninstall it, install HumminbirdPC, then re-install your Curse Client. In case you have the paid version of the Curse Client, installing HumminbirdPC may require to create a new user on your PC, with admin rights, and install HumminbirdPC under this new user.

The requirements for downloading and installing HumminbirdPC are a PC with Windows as operating system, at least one USB port and Java 6, updated up to at least 26. Before downloading Humminbird PC, make sure your Windows is up to date, then simply download it and follow the installation instructions.

Before downloading any new software on your Humminbird unit, it’s important to restore all the defaults in your unit, and only then download and install the new software, otherwise certain complication can appear.

Channel CatfishFishing for channel catfish is quite popular in several states. It’s actually the official fish for Kansas, Tennessee, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.

Along with bluegill and crappie, channel cats are not very difficult to catch, which makes them a great choice for anyone who wants to introduce their children to fishing. On top of that, fishing for channel catfish does not require expensive tackle and lures. You can actually catch specimens up to 10 pounds with ease, using the most inexpensive tackle.

Now, if you haven’t had the chance to catch channel cats before, here are a few things to know regarding their fishing, tackle and baits.

Channel Catfish – Habitat and Habits

Southern Canada, and nothern / eastern United States, as well as certain rivers and lakes in northern Mexico, comprise the highest concentration of channel catfish in North America. They’ve been also introduced in certain waters in Europe, and can also be found in Malaysia and Indonesia. They prefer a variety of habitats, and can be found in both large and small rivers, natural lakes and ponds, and water reservoires. They’re bottom feeders, and prefer bottoms with muddy composition, but also seek places with structure, weeds, snags and log jams, where they can hide and rest.

Although channel catfish can be caught during daytime, they’re actually nocturnal. In other words, if you’re looking for big ones, it will be more difficult to catch them during day, as they won’t bother coming out of their hideouts, no matter how smelly and appetizing your bait is. On the other hand, smaller catfish (and the ones that are also better choices for the frying pan), up to 6-8 pounds, can easily be caught during daytime, as they spend more energy and time looking for food. So, if they pick up a scent that seems appealing, they will seek for the source, and honor you with their bite.

One of the most important things to know about channel catfish is that they have keen senses of taste and smell. Their nostrils are endowed with a much higher concentration of olfactory receptors than other fish, and when it comes to taste buds, they have many distributed over the whole surface of their body, with higher concentrations on their barbels. They are extremely receptive to certain amino acids released by their food, that’s why it’s best to fish for them with cut bait, and stink baits.

When it comes to their feeding habits, there are also a few important aspects to know about channel cats. In early spring and up to April, their main diet consist of dead fish and other aquatic life forms that haven’t made it through the winter. Sometimes you can actually catch channel fish with their bellies stuffed with decomposing shads and fish parts. Once life re-takes its course, from spring to late autumn, their diet diversifies and they will take basically anything from worms and larvae, to live fish.

Fishing Methods for Channel Catfish

The most used and most effective fishing method for catfish, is still fishing with rod-and-reel, from the shore or boat, using medium or medium-heavy tackle, depending on the size of the targetted fish. Wade fishing or fishing with a bobber and smaller weight can also be very entertaining.

Trotlines and bank lines are also popular methods for catching channel cats. Other methods consist of various traps, such as “slat traps”, and even catching them with bare hands. “Noodling” is actually a method quite popular in the southern part of the U.S.

Baits for Channel Catfish

Channel catfish are omnivorous, and can be caught with many different baits. But the most used and most effective bait is cut bait, which can include strips of various fish, small fish cut in half, strips of meat or bacon, pieces of liver and other animal organs. Enriching your cut bait with some dip stink bait can considerably increase its effectiveness. Also, you can use various ready-made for the hook stink baits available in bait and tackle shops, or you can prepare your own at home. Many catfish anglers have their own recipes for stink baits, but most of them use canned cheese, meat or fish, decomposing meat of any kind, blood, chicken livers or intestines etc.

Of course, channel cats can be caught with other baits, such as maggots, worms, nightcrawlers, leeches, eels, crickets etc.

Tackle for Channel Catfish

Rods. Best choice in terms of rods for channel cats, are medium, or medium-heavy action rods, within 6-8′ range. If you’re targetting smaller cats, a medium-light rod will also do just fine. Some of the best quality / price ratio rods to go with are Shakespeare Ugly Stiks, such as a Shakespeare Two-Piece Medium Heavy Action Ugly Stik Catfish Spinning Rod, Shakespeare Two-Piece Medium Action Ugly Stik Lite Spinning Rod, or an Eagle Claw Catclaw Casting Rod.

Reels. Some of the best baitcasters to pair with a cat rod similar to the ones mentioned above, would be an Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 6500 or Penn Senator of similar size.

If you prefer spinning reels, you can’t go wrong with a Pflueger President 6940B or Trion 140 for smaller or medium fish, or a Shimano Baitrunner OC 8000 for heavier fish.

Line. If you don’t target prize size catfish, the best line to go with is monofilament between 20-30lb. pound test. In case you choose a spot with snaggy bottom and plenty of submerged logs, braided line may be more indicated. Evidently, heavier catfish require heavier line, 60 or even 80 mono. In this case though, make sure you choose a heavier reel, with a bigger spool, and of course, a medium-heavy rod, with decent backbone.

Rigs. The Carolina Rig, the 3-Way Swivel Rig, the Bait-Walker Rig or the Santee Rig, are some of the most used rigs for channel catfish. Use 40-50lb. test mono for your terminal tackle.

Hooks. For smaller cats, No 2 or No. 1 hooks are the most appropriate choice. If going for bigger catfish, requiring bigger baits such as bluegills, you might have 5/0 – 6/0 hooks. Anyway, depending on the baits you’re going to use, it’s a good idea to have various types of hooks in your tacklebox, including, O’Shaugnessy, Round Bend, Kahle and Circle hooks.

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