Best Humminbird Fish Finders in 2015

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 Humminbird 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 1199ci HD SI Combo or the Humminbird ONIX10ci SI Combo, fish will literally have no place to hide! So, without wasting anymore of your time, here are the most effective Humminbird Fish Finders out there.

Humminbird Helix 5 SI GPS

Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS


The Humminbird HELIX series brings a fresh line of fish finders at the beginning of 2015. They all feature a new layout, but the best part about these new units is their price. They all come for substantially lower prices than the HD ones in the 600 series.

This being said, the Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS, is the most affordable Side Imaging / Down Imaging fish finder that you can have. That’s why it currently occupies the 1st position in our classification. Although similar in features to the 698ci HD SI Combo, it has a different screen layout, with a pixel matrix of 480V x 800H, which gives much more space to the Side Imaging and Down Imaging views. This allows a better reading and interpretation of the underwater area you’re scanning. The screen is 256 Color TFT, 5-inch in diagonal, with backlight, for easy reading in the dark or in direct sunlight.

The HELIX 5 SI GPS fish finder comes with a standard Transom XNT 9 SI 180 T transducer. Its sonar technology is DualBeam Plus, with SwitchFire, Side Imaging and Down Imaging. It can be operated at 3 frequencies: 200 kHz / 20°, 83 kHz / 60° and 455 kHz for SI and DI. Its power output is 500 Watts (RMS) / 4000 Watts PTP, and has a depth capability of 1500 ft. for 2D views, and 100 ft. for Side Imaging. Does not support 360 Imaging, so if you would like the possibility of such an upgrade, you’ll have to opt for a 999ci HD SI Combo.

The navigational capabilities of this HELIX unit include Precision GPS, and the UniMap cartography pack, which covers the continental U.S. coastline, inland lakes and rivers at 30 meters per pixel resolution. It’s also Navionics Gold / HotMaps capable and Humminbird Mapping capable, so you can opt for one of these upgrades if you’d like. It can hold up to 2,500 waypoints, 45 routes and 50 tracks (20,000 points each).

Other features that you’ll get with this fish finder and chartplotter are: the Selective Fish ID+, Sonar Recording, Screen Snap Shot, Wide/Narrow Cone Split Screen, Upgradable Internal Software, Temperature Alarm, X-Press Menu System, 3D Chart View and many others.

Hummingbird Fish Finders - 698ci HD SI Combo

Humminbird 698ci HD SI Combo


A few 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 - 999ci High Definition Side Imaging Combo

Humminbird 999ci HD SI Combo

humminbird 999ci hd si combo fish finder

The 999ci HD SI Combo is one of the most complete fish finders from Humminbird, with an excellent price / quality ratio. However, it’s only on the 3rd place in this top 5 because it’s price still goes over $1,000. Other than that, it’s a great unit, and here’s what it can do.

The Humminbird 999ci HD SI Combo features an 8-inch diagonal screen, full color LCD, with backlight, and a pixel matrix of 800H x 480V. Its standard sonar covers HD Side Imaging, Down Imaging and Dual Beam Plus, having a standard coverage of 20° / 60° / 180°. Side Imaging and Down Imaging are reliable for depths up to 150 ft., while the standard 2D imaging, goes up to 1,500 ft. The Side Imaging covers a surface of 240 ft. on each side of the boat. Like most fish finders within the 900 series, it can support a QuadraBeam Plus sonar. Also, this unit is 360 Imaging capable.

The standard transducer of the 999ci HD SI Combo is a Transom XHS 9 HDSI 180 T. The standard power output of this unit is 500 Watts RMS / 4000 Watts PTP, but it has up to 1,000 Watts RMS / 8,000 Watts PTP capability, if equipped with a deep water transducer.

The navigational capabilities of this unit include Precision GPS antenna, and the ContourXD cartography pack, which covers over 3,000 U.S. lake maps, featuring depth contour lines of each one of them, so you’ll be able to know exactly how the bottom of your lake looks like. This unit can store up to 2,750 waypoints, 45 routes and 50 tracks (20,000 points each track). Regarding the optional upgrades and improvements that can be brought to this fishfinder, Navionics Platinum, Gold and HotMaps, as well as Lakemaster map package, NMEA2000, Radar2 and iPilotLink.

Other features that you will benefit from with the 999ci HD SI Combo are: Ethernet, Selective Fish ID+, Temperature Graph and Alarm, Sonar Recording, Split Screen Zoom and Snap Shot, Instant Image Update, Triplog, 3D Chart View and many others.

Hummingbird Fish Finders - ONIX10ci SI Combo

Humminbird ONIX10ci SI Combo

Humminbird ONIX10ci Side Imaging Combo Fish Finder


The Humminbird ONIX10ci SI Combo is one of the Humminbird models released last year. It features new TouchScreen Multi-Touch technology which, along with a very wide array of other options, places it above most other fish finder models. It is currently the most complete fish finder and navigational tool from Humminbird. The reason it occupies only the 4th position in our classification, is that its price simply doesn’t fit to just any pocket. Other than that, this fish finder and chartplotter is simply an outstanding piece of technology.

It has an outstanding range of sonar capabilities. It offers High Definition Side Imaging and Down Imaging, DualBeam Plus sonar and Digital Signal Processing, with a standard coverage of 20° (200 kHz), 60° (83kHz) for DualBeam Plus standard. Side Imaging beams can be operated at two frequencies: 455 kHz for a coverage of 86° (x2), or 800 kHz for a coverage of 55° (x2) and a much sharper image. Down Imaging can also use two frequencies: 455 kHz / 75°, or 800 kHz / 45°.

Standard mode is reliable for depths up to 1,500 ft, Side Imaging – 150 ft. and Down Imaging – 350 ft. If you opt for a deep water transducer, this unit can increase in power up to 1000 Watts (RMS), and become capable of scanning depths of 5,000 ft. Its standard power is 500 Watts (RMS) / 4,000 Watts (PTP). Also, this unit is 360 Imaging and CHIRP technology capable, but these options are not included.

This unit has a 10.4-inch diagonal screen, backlit, full color, with a pixel resolution of 1024H x 768V. The screen features Cross Touch technology and can be operated via direct touch like most smartphones, which simplifies the navigation through the menus by a lot.

In terms of GPS and navigational capabilities, the ONIX10ci SI Combo also offers a consistent palette of features. GPS Speed, and Precision GPS built in, chartplotting and trackplotting are on the list. The data storage goes up to 3,000 waypoints, 200 routes, and 50 / 20,000 tracks / points. Comes with the built in TriFuel cartography pack – which provides a database of maps from LakeMaster, Navionics and C-Map. There’s also a 3D chart view option included. However, the unit does not come with full Navionics Platinum, Navionics Gold HotMaps or Lakemaster, these being only optional. Last but not least, this unit has NMEA2000, an excellent communications standard option, used to connect marine sensors and display units within ships and boats.

Along with the capabilities of this fish finder presented here, there’s quite a bunch remaining, including: Temperature Graph and Alarm, Selective Fish ID+, Custom View, Digital Readout, Sonar Recording, Freeze Frame, Ethernet and many others.

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.

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.

Humminbird Fish Finder HELIX 5 SONAR GPS PT Review

Humminbird HELIX 5 Sonar GPS PT

The HELIX 5 Sonar GPS PT is one of the newest portable fish finders from Humminbird, for 2015. Although it does not support Side Imaging or Down Imaging, it’s still an excellent unit to have, as it offers other advantages. For example, it makes a great choice for a kayak angler, or in case you have to rent a boat.

The specs are similar to the HELIX 5 SI GPS, only without the SI. This unit has a 5-inch diagonal display, with an 800H X 480V pixel matrix, TFT 256 colors. The screen is LED backlit, which offers superior readability during bright, sunny weather, or during night time fishing sessions.

In terms of sonar capabilities, this unit comes with DualBeam Plus sonar, with SwitchFire. In other words, you will benefit from two sonar frequencies, 200 kHz, with a coverage of 20° for a more focused and detailed view, and 83 kHz, with a coverage of 60°, for a broader view. SwitchFire mode allows a better control of the sonar returns display.

The standard transducer it comes with is the XPT 9 20 T. Its depth capability goes up to 1,500 ft., while its power output is 500 Watts (RMS).

The GPS and chartplotting specifications are the same for the entire Humminbird HELIX series. Therefore, this model comes with internal Precision GPS, and the UniMap mapping package. It can store up to 2,500 waypoints, 45 routes, and 50 tracks (20,000 points each). This model also supports Navionics Gold and HotMaps, and LakeMaster charts, upgrade which can be done via an additional SD card. This model features only on SD card slot.

Last but not least, since it’s a portable model, you’ll also get a soft-sided carrying case and a 7 Amp Hour AGM Battery and charger.

Humminbird Fish Finder Ice 55 Review

Humminbird Fish Finder Ice 55The Humminbird Fish Finder Ice 55 is the top fish finder within the Ice series. It’s actually one of the best tools for ice fishing that the winter angler can use, to easily eliminate the “dead water” under the ice, and easily locate the spots with high concentrations of fish.

Evidently, just like the other fish finders for ice fishing, it focuses on sonar features, without having an the usual screen such as the Hummingbird fish finders in the other series. Is features a simple, 6-color fiber optic display, with an LCD center for displaying depth. It also has backlighting, which is quite useful when fishing in dark conditions. It’s actually a flasher, therefore the Humminbird Ice 55 does not have cartography, or any other imaging features such as the depth finders in the other series, which makes this a much cheaper unit.

In terms of sonar capabilities, it has a selectable dual frequency sonar (240 kHz / 19° @ -3dB / 455 kHz / 9° @ -3dB), and will provide you with accurate results on depths up to 200 ft.

The unit comes with its own protective case, and battery is included.


Humminbird Fish Finder HELIX 5 DI GPS Review

Humminbird HELIX 5 DI GPS

If you’re looking for the most affordable and the most performant fish finder with Down Imaging, the HELIX 5 DI GPS has got to be IT. It’s one of the brand new units released by Humminbird for 2015, and has just about all the features of the 688ci HD DI Combo, only it’s less expensive. Let’s see what it can do.

First of all, it has a 5-inch diagonal display, just like the fish finders in the 600 series. However, the pixel matrix has a different layout, which gives you a better view of the sonar readings and maps. It has a LED backlit, 256 Color TFT screen, with a pixel resolution of 480V x 800H.

The sonar capabilities of this Humminbird HELIX unit include Down Imaging and DualBeam Plus sonar. The DI sonar can offer crystal clear views at depths up to 350 ft., which makes it a great choice for down dropping with various jigs, or when looking for bottom feeding fish. It allows you to select from two sonar beams, 75° / 455 kHz for a wider but less accurate view, or 45° / 800 kHz for a sharper image. The DualBeam Plus sonar, offers traditional sonar views, with a depth capability of 600 ft., and also two sonar beams: 28° / 200 kHz and 16° / 455 kHz. Although various sites list that the depth capability of the traditional sonar of this fish finder is up 1500 ft., that is not correct. As I mentioned here, it’s 350 ft. for Down Imaging and 600 ft. for DualBeam Plus, traditional imaging.

This unit has a power out put of 500 Watts RMS (4000 Watts PTP), and comes with a standard Transom Transducer, XNT 9 DI T.

The GPS and chartplotting capabilities of the Humminbird HELIX 5 DI GPS, include internal Speed GPS, and the UniMap cartography pack. However, the unit features micro SD card slot for various other mapping packs, such as Navionics Gold or Humminbird Mapping. Does not support Navionics Platinum or C-Map 4D. The unit can store up to 2500 waypoints, 45 routes and 50 tracks (20,000 points each).

Other features worth to be mentioned, regarding this HELIX fish finder and chartplotter, are the Selective Fish ID+, Water Temperature Alarm, Snap Shot and Freeze Frame function, Sonar Recording, and quite a few others.

How To Catch Burbot – Burbot Tackle

burbotBurbot are fish that don’t generate a lot of buzz, in general, among anglers. That’s because in most cases, they share the same habitats with other, more interesting game fish, like steelheads, pike, walleye, smallmouths or largemouths. Plus, they’re nocturnal, they’re “winter” fish, and they’re not that easy to catch any time during daytime, especially in summer time.

If you haven’t caught burbot so far, they look something between catfish and eel. Photo speaks for itself. But despite their rather ugly appearance, they’re really tasty fish. So, if you would like to try something new, and burbot are on your list, here are a few words about their diet, habitat, and some tackle tips.

Where to Catch Burbot

Burbot are specific to the 40°N latitude, most common in lakes and streams of North America and Europe, quite common in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie. Although they prefer, and they’re usually found, in cold rivers, lakes and water reservoirs, they can also live in brackish waters. They’re bottom feeders, crepuscular and night hunters, highly piscivorous. They tolerate quite a variety of bottom compositions, their feeding grounds can include sand, silt, rubble, gravel or mud. They spawn during the winter months, when they migrate to shallower waters near shoals, or leave the lakes for rivers.

Since burbot are bottom feeders, evidently you’re going to have to look for them on lake or river bottoms, and during summer, in deeper, colder water substrats. They can live at depths up to 300 m (over 950 ft.). On the Great Lakes, but also in general, the best burbot fishing is done from December to March. Within this interval, they move from the deepest parts of the lakes, to the gravelly and sandy shoals, to reproduce, and they can be caught in a depth range of 50-30ft. So, if you really want to score one or two decent burbots, you kinda have to prepare for some cold, late-winter nights.

Fishing Techniques for Burbot

There are two main fishing techniques for burbot: still-fishing with rather heavy sinkers and stink baits, dead or live bait, or active fishing with heavier lures, of various types. Of course, since burbot are winter fish, ice fishing is another method, which calls for a different approach and tackle, however, baits are the same.

Baits and Lures for Burbot

Since burbot fishing is night fishing, it’s always a good idea to provide some sort of glow-in-the-dark buzz. So, consider using glowing lures, jig heads, or small glow sticks tied near the hooks.

Live bait. Burbot are highly piscivorous, thus many anglers have reported better results with live baits rather than dead or stink baits. If you’re going with live bait, nightcrawlers, whitefish, minnows, eels, crayfish, leeches, freshwater mussels or snails are great choices. Also, whatever small benthic fish (bottom feeders) dwell in the lake or river you’re fishing for burbot, should be an excellent choice. But in general, they’re not very picky when it comes to food. Don’t forget though to check the regulations regarding live bait for in a new area you’re fishing at, though.

Dead baits. Among the dead baits, you can always try any type of fish strips available, like herring, salmon, sucker, carp or liver strips etc. It’s not a bad idea to prepare your dead bait one or two days before, adding some fish attractant (SmellyJelly – Crayfish is a great choice) to whatever fish strips or small dead fish you’re going to use, and letting them imbibe well.

An important aspect to know about burbot is that they will almost always grab their food head first, so, if you using small fish, no matter how you fix them on the terminal tackle, the hook should be near the tail of the bait fish.

Lures. Glow in the dark jigs, spoons and spinners are excellent for catching burbot, if you want to go with lures. For jigs, the classic 3/8 is always a good choice, especially if paired with twister tail grubs – Yamamoto curly tailed grubs are the ones I usually go with, however, small tubes, cover craws, or double-tailed worms work as well. Make sure that any rubber / plastic bait you’re using is glowy. If you’re fishing in deeper waters than 30-40ft., from a pier, from the shore of from a boat, you might want to use heavier jigs, up to 4oz.

Other lures I’ve had great results with were glow in the dark tandem spinners or Cleo spoons or Swedish Pimples.

In general, no matter what lure you use, you will considerably increase it’s productivity and buzz by adding a piece of natural bait on it, whether is a small minnow, a fish strip, a nightcrawler or red earthworm. They have taste organs on the small barbel underneath their mouth, and sometimes they check the lure. If it doesn’t taste right, they will move along.

Tackle for Burbot

Rods. Depending on the fishing method you’re using for catching burbot, you can use different types of rods. For example, if you’re still-fishing and you’re not handling the rod too much, a longer (9’6″ – 14′), slow action rod is better. In case you’re jigging, a shorter rod (6’6″-8′), fast or medium-fast action is best, as it will allow you to feel the jig, or whatever lure you’re using, better. Of course, for ice fishing, you’re going to need a short, ice stick, so a 34-36 graphite rod, with quite a bit of a backbone will do excellently.

Reels. The optimal lb. test line range for burbot is 10-15 lb., therefore, have your rod paired with a small / medium size reel, with a spool appropriate for this line range. Best recommendations I can make here, are Penn spinning reels, such as Penn Battle Spinning BTL5000, or BTL4000, an Abu Garcia Orra SX30 Spinner, or a Daiwa Exceler HA 3500.


Line. As I mentioned above, 10-15lb. test, monofilament, is a good choice for catching burbot. However, if you find a spot with bigger ones, you should go with 20lb. Also, depending on how snaggy the bottom is, braided might be a better alternative in some cases.

Hooks. Burbot have big mouths, so don’t be afraid yo use bigger hooks. No. 4 – 7 should do. However, depending on the bait you’re using, you may need hooks with long or short shank. For example, if you’re fishing with mussels, you’ll need short shanked hooks, while if you’re using fish strips or nightcrawlers, longer hooks with medium or longer shanks are better.

Rigs. When it comes to rigging for burbot, first it’s best to be informed about the rules and regulations of the area you’re fishing at. You may not be allowed to use more than a certain number of hooks, or specific rigs. But in general, the classic rig, with the sinker (4 to 8oz.) at the end of the line and the hook attached a 10 inch leader should do. Since they have small teeth, it’s not bad to have a braided or fluoro leader, as these types of line are more resistant to abrasion. Also, it’s important that the bait lays on the bottom, so using a small sinker on the hook, or a small jig headed hooks is not a bad idea.


Humminbird Fish Finder HELIX 5 Sonar GPS Review

Humminbird HELIX 5 Sonar GPS

The HELIX 5 Sonar GPS, is basically the same as the HELIX 5 SI GPS, the only difference is that it does not have Side Imaging sonar technology. This of course, cuts quite a chunk from its price as well. So, if you would like an affordable and performant fish finder, without SI or DI, this unit is definitely an option to consider.

Although it does not have Side Imaging or Down Imaging, it’s quite a reliable fish finder, with a depth capability of 1500 ft. It has DualBeam Plus sonar, which can be operated in two modes: one with a 20° / 200 kHz, more view, the other with a 60° / 83 kHz, wider view.

The two modes can be operated simultaneously and observed in split screen. This unit features a 500 Watts RMS power output (4,000 Watts PTP), and comes with a standard Transom Transducer XNT 9 20 T.

Speaking of the screen of this unit, it’s basically the same as for the other units in the HELIX series. It has a 5-inch diagonal screen, 256 Color TFT, with a 480V x 800H pixel matrix. It also has LED backlight, making it easy to read when it’s dark or in direct sunlight. The mounting system of the head unit is Gimbal type, or you can opt for an in-Dash mounting kit.

The navigational features of this HELIX 5 chartplotter, include Internal Precision GPS, and the built-in UniMap cartography package. It can store up to 2500 waypoints, 45 routes and 50 tracks (20,000 points each). It also has a SD card slot, in case you want to add the Navionics Gold/HotMaps, or Humminbird Mapping. Does not support Navionics Platinum though.

Among other features, the HELIX 5 Sonar GPS has the standard Selective Fish ID+ mode, Split Screen Zoom and Wide / Narrow Cone, Snap Shot and Sonar Recording, Temperature Alarm, SwitchFire and many more.

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