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 PiranhaMax 197c DI Review

PiranhaMax 197c DI

PiranhaMax 197c DI

If you’re looking for the cheapest color fish finder with Down Imaging technology, the PiranhaMax 197c DI from Humminbird, IS IT! Believe it or not, this small unit excels in performance, and is one of the best choices that you can make in terms of fish finders for a small boat or kayak.

The unit has a small screen, 3.5-inch in diagonal, with a pixel resolution of 320V X 240H, full color and backlit. It comes with two types of sonar: Dual Beam and Down Imaging. The Dual Beam sonar can operate at two frequencies: 200 kHz, with a beam of 28°, and 455 kHz with a narrower, 16° beam, for more accurate results. The Down Imaging sonar only has one frequency: 455 kHz, and its coverage is 74°.

Even though it’s a small unit, it has a depth capability of 320 feet for Down Imaging, and 600 ft. for broadband Dual Beam. This is more than enough for fishing on canals, lakes and rivers, or in general, on in-land waters.

The unit comes with the Down Imaging transducer, XNT 9 DI T, which is transom type. In case you would like a through hull one, or a transducer for trolling, you can ask for a free replacement, though. The standard transducer also has temperature sensor built in. However, the unit does not support temperature alarm or temperature graph, but it does indicate water temperature.

There is no split screen function. You can only observe one sonar return at the time. But since it has Down Imaging, you will probably be using that all the time, since it’s capable of detecting much more fish than broadband sonar. The unit also has the Selective FishID+ function, which uses a different type of sonar processing, indicating fish with a fish symbol, if the sonar return meets a specific range of requirements.

The PiranhaMax 197c DI does not have any navigational features. In case you would like a more affordable fish finder with GPS and mapping, the HELIX 5 DI GPS might be a better choice for you.

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.

How To Catch Striped Bass – Tackle for Stripers

Striped Bass by Nils RinaldiStriped bass are anadromous fish, meaning they migrate to fresh water to spawn. They typically have an average size of 2-3 ft. (10-30lb. weight), which places them on quite a high position of U.S. game fish. They’re actually the top game fish for quite a few states, Maryland, South Carolina and Rhode Island for fresh water, and New York, Virginia and New Hampshire for salt water.

Regardless where you catch them though, out at sea or on fresh water streams or lakes, striped bass are solid fish, that put quite a fight, being a lot of fun to catch. So, here are a few suggestions regarding bait, lures, tackle and fishing techniques for stripers.

Striped Bass – Habitat and Habits

Stripers are present in most of the East Coast waters, beginning with St. Lawrence River in Canada, and reaching to the northern coast of Florida, and some parts of the Gulf of Mexico. There are also many fisheries hosting striped bass, and you’ll find a complete list of them, here.

When it comes to the places they prefer, we can safely say that they inhabit the coast surf, inshore bars, tide rips, estuaries, reefs and bays. They are highly active in places with tidal and current flows, and in the wash breaking waves. They roam in small schools, and their feeding activity is more intense at dusk and dawn. In midsummer however, they tend to become more nocturnal, and there’s a good chance to get better results on striped bass when night fishing.

Fishing Techniques for Striped Bass

Stripers can be caught in various ways. One of the most popular fishing methods for striped bass is surf fishing. Every year, the shores of the Northeast coast are crowded with anglers, practicing surf fishing and targeting stripers. The ones caught via this method typically weight between 10 and 30 pounds. Similar to surf fishing, another method is fishing from docks, piers and bridges, which also requires heavy duty gear.

Stripers can also be caught with top water lures, however this technique fits best to white water conditions. On lakes, jigging or actively fishing with lures for various depths can be very productive.

And finally, two other methods used for stripers are trolling, using heavier gear and various baits and lures, and down-dropping from a boat. When out at sea, whether you’re stationary or trolling, a fish finder of higher performance, such as a Humminbird 600 series, can be a lot of help, in fishing for stripers.

Baits and Lures for Stripers

Although about 90% of the striped bass’ diet consists of fish, they are opportunisc predators, and will grab whatever looks tasty. A wide array of baits can be used to catch striped bass, such as shad, herring, bunkers (or menhaden), anchovies, bloodworms, nightcrawlers, sandworms or even chicken livers or beef liver strips.

Live or cut bait will always get you bites, if the fish are feeding, so for this matter, just about any fish strips should do. I usually go with cut herring or bunkers. Shrimp, clams and squid are also not bad. When it comes to live bait, especially in midsummer, one of the most popular and productive is the eel. However, any of the bait fish mentioned above will work pretty nicely, when presented live and kicking.

Lures can also produce excellent results on stripers, but in this case you have to think big. Among poppers, a few great lures to try on striped bass are Gibbs Pencil or Gibbs Polaris, Super Strile Little Neck, Atom Striper Striker or Yo-zuri Surface Cruisers. Other great lures would be Lunker Slug-GOs, Tsunami Swim Shads, Point Jude Tins. An important aspect about using lures for striped bass, is that sometimes they tend to become rather picky, and when they enter this lure-pickiness mode, it’s best to go with lures that strictly imitate fish, or switch to cut or live bait.

Tackle for Striped Bass

Rods. For surf, bridge of pier fishing, evidently you should be looking for some surf rods, in general terms, something between 9′-12′, heavy action. A few recommendations would be the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater Spinning Rod or an Okuma Longitude – these rods fitting under the “El Cheapo” category. Or, you can aim for a Daiwa Saltiga Surf Spinning Rod or Tsunami Airwave.

For freshwater fishing, especially with lures, medium power, fast action rods within a 6’7″ – 8′ lenght range, are more appropriate. A good example would be an Abu Garcia Vengeance (another “El Cheapo”).

If you’re looking for a good trolling rod, a Shimano TDR Heavy Trolling Rods are never a bad choice.

Reels. A good reel choice for a Shakespeare surf rod stick would be the Okuma Coronado CD-80a. Penn 320GT or a Shimano Torium 30 are excellent pairings for a trolling rod. Whatever you do, don’t go for a reel with less than a 250 yards of 25lb test line capacity, if trolling or surf fishing.

For lighter tackle, a Penn Battle BTL5000 or Shimano Stradic 5000 (or even smaller), should do just fine.

Line. The best fitting line for striped bass fishing falls within the 20-40lb. test range. Most anglers go with monofilament. However, if fishing in deep waters, braided line may be a better choice. It’s stronger and less stretchy. Also, when fishing in very clear water, fluorocarbon may be a better choice, since it’s not visible.

Rigs. Many anglers use the simple freelining rig when fishing with bigger live bait, which simply consists of a hook at the end of the line, with a live shad or bunker on it, allowing it to swim as freely as possible. Carolina or fish finder rigs are also popular. It’s best though, that the leader is a 3-foot, 40lb. test fluorocarbon, if possible.

Hooks. Circle hooks are maybe the best choice for stripers, and Mustad are pretty cheap and effective. Depending on what (other) fish you’re targeting, and what bait you use, you should go with circle hooks between 7/0 and 11/0.

Photo courtesy to Nils Rinaldi / source: flickr.com

Humminbird Fish Finder ONIX10ci NT SI Combo

Humminbird ONIX10ci Side Imaging GPS Combo

Humminbird ONIX10ci SI NT Combo

The ONIX fish finder series from Humminbird offers quite several model that are pretty much all-inclusive. Some of them come with cross-touch technology, other are non-tactile, commands being inserted exclusively via the unit’s keypad. The ONIX10ci NT SI Combo is one of them.

Just like the crosstouch, ONIX10ci SI Combo, this unit includes pretty much all the features that you would expect from a top-class fish finder and chartplotter. First of all, it features quite a wide screen, measuring 10.4″ in diagonal, with a pixel matrix of 1024H x 768V, full TFT color, and with LED backlight. The unit has two SD card slots, great feature in case you need to use at least two cards, for mapping or sonar recording. Needless to say, like all the other ONIX models, the NT SI one comes with NMEA2000 and 0183 connections. The unit features a gimbal, standard mount, but the in-dash mount option is also available.

The unit comes with a standard XT 14 20 HDSI T transom transducer. This transducer incorporates a temperature probe, rendering the unit capable to track water temperature. Also, when it comes to temperature measuring, this unit has the Temperature Graph function, which can help by a lot in observing the water temperature variances from a spot to another.

When it comes to sonar capabilities, this unit is clearly at the top. It has HD Side Imaging, HD Down Imaging, and Digital Signal Processing, and comes with the transducer to back them up. For standard sonar, DualBeam Plus with Switchfire is also included. The Side Imaging extends up to 240ft. on each side, offering an 180° side-to-side view for the underwater environment. This is completed by the Down Imaging, which scans what’s directly under the boat.

The DualBeam Plus sonar can be operated at 200 / 83 kHz, with a coverage of 20° and respectively 60°. For DI and SI, there’s also dual frequency, they can be operated at 455 / 800 kHz with a coverage of 75° / 45° for DI, and 86° / 55° for SI. This unit is also XD ready, meaning that it can operate with a 50 kHz transducer, for higher depths. It’s also CHIRP ready, being able to use CHIRP technology sonar, for superior target separation. However, this requires the additional purchase of a CHIRP Ethernet sonar module.

When it comes to depth capabilities, with the standard transducer this unit can scan depths up to 150′ in Side Imaging, 350′ in Down Imaging and 1500′ in standard mode. Of course, with an XtremeDepth (50 kHz) transducer, and an SM3000 CHIRP sonar module, this unit can reach an 1000 watts RMS power output, and can be used at depths up to 10,000′.

Other sonar features include Switchfire, DSP, Selective FishID+ and sonar recording. Switchfire offers the possibility to filter noise quicky, between maximum sonar information, and an image completely clear of noise. This helps quite a bit with distinguishing between targets of various nature. On the other hand, this unit has Digital Signal Processing, meaning that it’s a bit smarter than its predecessors, being able to distinguish between noise, structure and fish, in order to filter the screen better, in order to provide a clearer view. Selective FishID+ is a more intuitive sonar feature. It simply gives fish icons (of various sizes and colors), to sonar returns interpreted as fish by the unit. And finally, the sonar recording feature gives you the possibility to save sonar on a blank SD card, to show your friends, use it with the Chart View, or simply to upload online.

An important aspect to be mentioned regarding the sonar possibilities of this unit, is its compatibility with 360 Imaging. However, this requires the additional purchase of a 360 Imaging transducer.

In terms of navigation features, the ONIX10ci NT SI Combo also offers quite a range of features. To begin with, it offers the best quality Precision GPS. The unit includes the TriFuel chart pack, combining elements from Navionics, C-Map and Humminbird charts. On top of that, it’s compatible with Navionics Platinum+, Gold and HotMaps, and also with C-Map 4D and Humminbird Mapping. It also has a 3D chart view. Evidently, like most advanced Humminbird units, this particular one has routes, tracks and waypoints functions. Its internal memory can store up to 5000 waypoints, 50 tracks (20000 points each) and 200 routes.

Last but not least, the Humminbird Onix10ci NT SI Combo supports i-Pilot Link, HD Radar, and of course, it has upgradable internal software.

Humminbird Fish Finder ONIX8ci NT Combo Review

Humminbird ONIX8ci NT Combo

Humminbird ONIX8ci NT Combo

If you want a Humminbird ONIX unit and you want to save a bundle on it, there’s good news for you! Humminbird has launched at the beginning of this year several, more affordable units, the ONIX NTs (non-tactile) models, which don’t incorporate the CrossTouch technology. Evidently, this cuts a considerable chunk from each unit’s price, but without actually leaving out any sonar and navigation features.

The ONIX8ci NT Combo is one of these new units. It’s not much different from the ONIX8ci Combo, only it doesn’t have a touchscreen. Anyway, let’s see what this unit can do for you.

Like all Humminbird units, this model comes with a transducer. It’s a transom type transducer, with dual frequency covering 200 kHz (20° beam) and 83 kHz (60° beam). The unit however can support 50 kHz frequencies and can work with a more powerful, Xtreme Depth transducer, for deep water fishing. With the included transducer, the unit’s depth capability can reach 1500 ft. However with a standard 50 kHz transducer, the unit can be used at depths up to 5,000 ft, while with a CHIRP Ethernet sonar module, this unit can reach depths up to 10,000 ft. CHIRP technology isn’t included with the unit though.

The ONIX8ci NT Combo features Digital Signal Processing (DSP). This means that the unit is quite a bit more intelligent than the previous models, and can distinguish between noise, structure and fish, in order to filter the screen better, to provide a clearer view. The unit has SwitchFire as well, which provides quick filtering, from full sonar information on screen in Max Mode, to clutter-free information, focusing only on the most important sonar returns.

The transducer incorporates a temperature probe, while the unit features a Temperature Graph function, which can help a lot in monitoring the variations of water temperature for various fishing spots.

This unit includes several other, very useful sonar functions, such as Sonar Recording, Selective FishID+, Fish Alarms, and Mark Structure. The Sonar Recording function is great if you want to review sonar later, show the returns to your friends, or load the data into your computer via an SD card adapter, to attach to maps. This goes for snapshots as well. This function requires an data SD card loaded into the unit for recording.

The Selective FishID+ simply gives fish icons to sonar returns interpreted as fish. It’s a more intuitive sonar function, which can help in case there’s a lot of clutter in the water column under the transducer.

Lastly, although this unit does not support Side Imaging or Down Imaging, it does support 360 Imaging. The gear for this type of sonar is available separately though.

The ONIX8ci NT Combo from Humminbird does not offer fancy sonar features as other units. However, it does come with quite bunch of highly advanced GPS features. First of all, it includes the Humminbird TriFuel charts pack, which offers a combination of chart from Navionics, C-MAP and Humminbird charts. It also provides both 2D and 3D chart views. Needless to say, the unit is also compatible with various charts, such as C-Map 4D, Navionics Platinum+, and Gold HotMaps, or Humminbird Mapping.

One of the very neat functions of the ONIX8ci NT Combo is the AutoChart Live. You can use this function to create and customize your own maps, or simply improve the ones that the unit already has, where there isn’t sufficient detail.

Waypoints, routes and tracks are functions offered as well by this unit. Via waypoints, you can mark your favorite fishing spots or any other points on the charts. The routes function allows you to connect waypoints in order to setup a navigation course. The track function features a breadcrumb system for recording your course. The unit’s internal memory can hold up to 5000 waypoints, 50 routes, and 50 tracks.

The unit comes with a 34-channel, built-in GPS antenna. However, the unit does not have an external GPS antenna input. Therefore, it you want to use one, you’ll have to use NMEA GPS adapter. Like most units from Humminbird, this one features GPS speed, meaning that the speed of your boat will be calculated through the GPS system. It also features Precision GPS, with WAAS correction.

Other important to be mentioned navigation options for this unit are i-Pilot Link, Radar HD, AIS, and SmartStrike.

The Humminbird ONIX8ci NT Combo features an 8.4″ display, color TFT, with 16.7 mm colors. It has a pixel matrix of 1024H x 768V offering exquisite HD quality imaging. The unit comes with an gimbal-type mount, but there are available options for in-dashboard mounting. It has 2 SD card slots, great feature if you use an SD card for charts, and one to save data. NMEA 0183 and 2000 connections are also included for this unit.

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